updated 11:35 am EDT, Thu September 26, 2013
MKV gets better subtitle support, faster seek
VideoLAN has released a major update of VLC, its open-source, multi-platform media playback software. Version 2.1 -- codenamed Rincewind -- is the first to support 4K "Ultra HD" video, and has been given quicker video decoding and a rewritten audio system, the latter with improvements like higher fidelity, new effects, and better volume and device management. OpenGL output has been ported to OpenGL ES, which should make it easier to port to iOS and Android, and MKV playback has received faster seek performance and enhanced subtitle metadata support.
The app's interface has also seen upgrades. The playback menu can now be customized, giving users the ability to toggle each control. Subtitle selection has been brought into the main player view, and on the Mac the UI has gained wider compatibility with accessibility functions like VoiceOver. An unusual new feature is the ability to make videos desktop backgrounds.
VLC 2.1 is a free download for Mac and Windows. Changes have yet to migrate to the Linux and iOS apps, but updates are expected shortly.