VLC Media Player is without doubt one of the most popular media players out there right now. It offers incredible out-of-the box support for the majority of audio and video formats that you will come across on the Internet or locally, and an impressive set of other features that let you tweak, change and modify how video or audio is played on your system.
You may have also heard that the VLC guys are working on a Windows 8 application port of VLC, which they decided to do after they ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for it.
The project was funded successfully on December 29, 2012, and VLC has been working on the implementation ever since.
A first partially-working version of the VLC Media Player app for Windows 8 was submitted by the team to Microsoft which got rejected because of audio related issue that crashed the app.
The team has been working on that bug ever since, while work continued on revamping the interface of the player.
While the team continues its work on fixing the audio bug, new screenshots of the user interface of the app have been published by it as well.
Who is going to use it?
Whenever I see a new project to bring desktop software to Windows 8's "Modern UI", I wonder who is this done for. Mozilla has been working on a Firefox port for Windows 8 for example for some time, and I cannot come up with reasons to use it when it is done.
The situation is slightly different in regards to VLC Media Player. VLC, unlike Mozilla, intends to bring the player to PCs running Intel or AMD chipsets first, and then in a second step, to Windows RT as well.
I can see the use of a new media player that is compatible with the Windows RT platform. Since you cannot install desktop programs on it, you are limited to apps offered in Windows Store, and the programs that Microsoft integrated into the system.
For desktop systems on the other hand, I cannot really see any use. The core reason here is that the desktop version of VLC Media Player is available as well, and judging from experience, will be way more powerful than the apps version.
I'm talking about functionality here mainly, but also usability unless you happen to use a touch interface.
You can run videos in full screen using the desktop app, just like the app-version of VLC Media Player will run in full screen.
What you cannot do with the app right now is change the video player size. Sure, you can snap it to one side of the screen, and maybe it will come with presets to change the player size, but a window gives you way more control over it than an app can.
This may change in the future, if Microsoft allows Windows Store apps to be run on the desktop in windows. For now, it is a serious limitation.
I can see its uses in the future, once it got ported so that it runs on ARM devices as well. It may also be an option for touch-screen users, or users who prefer to run the Modern UI app for whatever reason.
Don't get me wrong. I think it is a good thing that VLC is porting the media player to Windows 8. I also think that Mozilla should do it. Giving users choice is always a good thing, and bringing something to the platform does not take away anything from users who do not like it or do not want to use it.
I'm pretty certain that I won't be using those apps though, apart from testing them for reviews. What about you? Are there situations where you prefer to run an app on Windows 8?