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New Video Player App Coming to Chrome OS

chromium-update-tile-350x200Chromebook owners rejoice: a new, standalone video player app is coming to Chrome OS soon.

A dedicated video player app will replace the current ‘media player’, which is actually based on the same code as the Chrome OS file manager.

By creating a standalone Chrome app that can play videos developers will have more freedom to add new features and adjust the interface, free from the responsibility of inadvertently impacting the performance or codebase of the file manager.

The brief for the new player was laid out in a bug report opened in 2013. It proposes:

  • We want to separate the video player from playing inside Files.app
  • This will fix several issues with trying to watch videos and open Files.app
  • This separate video player should be a packaged app
  • The video player should not have a dedicated launcher icon

A commit introducing the change landed in the Chromium codebase recently, and should arrive to Dev Channel users in the next release.  For now the player is just a copy of the current embedded player.

Going forward we can expect an interface overhaul, playlist support, additional file formats (maybe even the holy grail of audio in .mkv!) and improved performance.

It’s also possible, though this is speculation on my part, that we’ll also see native support for sharing videos via Google Chromecast added.

No Icon?

Of the points listed above the last, that the player should not have a dedicated launcher icon, may sound strange but is actually a pretty consistent way of handling certain ‘apps’ in Chrome OS.

For example, the gallery does not have a dedicated app icon in the App Launcher, nor does the wallpaper changer or audio player.

The video player will show an icon on the App Shelf when open so that it’s easy to switch to and from while using other apps and windows, but it won’t be able to be ‘pinned’ or found in the app list.

The initial commit makes use of the following YouTube-esque generic video icon for when the player is open:

video

  • David

    This is definitely a nice concept, I’ve had way too many moments where I’ve wanted to work with the file manager and watch a video at the same time.

  • Craig Moss

    Hopefully this means that new features will eventually be added in the future such as subtitle support.

  • michaelfillier

    The absence of a launch icon makes sense. Normally you find the file you want to play and open it in the video player, not the other way around. I imagine the icon would be pulled to the right of the taskbar, like when you have the audio player or hangouts opened.

  • Neon Noir

    Will AC3 audio ever be supported? That and the lack of HD Netflix are the only two things that prevent my chromebook from being my main multimedia device.

    • http://www.nerdshowandtell.com/ nerdshowandtell.com

      Pretty sure the new Chromeboxes will support up to 4k HD with Netflix. You may want to see if this is just a limitation of your particular Chromebook.

      • Razer

        It depends on the core, I believe the Celeron core doesn’t support UHD, at least the ones ASUS use don’t.

    • Boothy

      What chromebook do you have?
      Netflix HD works fine on the Sammy Chromebox with a 1080p monitor.

      • Neon Noir

        HP Chromebook 14. When I press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+S I get this – http://i.imgur.com/ra0nDfE.png

        1750 = 480p. This happens on every movie even the ones I know for a fact are HD.

    • Guest

      HP Chromebook 14. When I press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+S I get this http://i.imgur.com/ra0nDfE.png

      Even on movies that I know for a fact are HD

  • http://www.apostolapostolov.com/ Apostol Apostolov

    What video formats are supported by ChromeOS video player?

  • Cameron Wright

    Would love to see better 1080p .mkv support, some of my shows just don’t have audio but it works fine on my phone/tablet/windows pc. Also support for soft subs would be nice for anime I have stored on HDDs, subtitle player can’t download subtitles for the love of money when it comes down to anime.

    • Craig Moss

      The reason you have audio problems is because Chrome OS can’t legally support AC3 (Dolby Digital) audio or DTS due to licensing issues. I really wish they gave an option to buy a license so we had the choice though.

      • Cameron Wright

        Thanks for the insight. Now to find a workaround xP.

        • mediumsizedrob

          I’d try it through setting up a Plex server

          • Anonymoused

            Works for me. I also use my Plex server for my Fire TV.

      • Bruce Harrington

        They are dumbshits.

  • Anonymoused

    Parks & Rec, nice :)

  • Ryan Howard

    Hope it will be able to work offline.

  • DRalis

    I hope it works with Chromecast. Giving Chrome buyers 100GB of online space in Google Drive for two years with no ability to cast video from there to their TV is kind of stupid. It’s the missing piece that makes their system bulletproof when compared to the competition.

    • Bruce Harrington

      Google engineers are the dumbest, lame, good for nothing but making you wish you never bought a chromebook idiots in the universe.

  • pieman

    I think the new video player should have a circular icon like the new music player and if so they should continue this with a new photo viewer icon that’s a circle.

  • Dmitry Trofimov

    I just bought a Chromebook and I found no good Video players for my child to watch her cartoons collection in the car. All apps stop after a video is finished and its difficult for her to start a new one.
    I had to develop the one that use YouTube-like gallery to choose a video to play and then continuously plays all videos in the gallery. If you need a super-easy video player for your child – that’s the one:
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/video-player/gdebnehfojpoccpaocfbelbclfnpbmij

    • Bruce Harrington

      thank you for the link. google is soooo lame not to have a decent media player out of the box!

  • Bruce Harrington

    Wow, maybe they will catch up to win 98 with this media player!

  • Thomas Lonchampt

    Well, we’re waiting lol

  • Chuck

    Any update on this?

  • Martin Rheaume

    Chromebook sucks. Worst purchase ever

    • Anonymoused

      - Someone who has never purchased a Chromebook

      • Martin Rheaume

        Yea, I’m going to waste my time criticizing a product I’ve never bought or have no experience with /sarcasm/eye roll/.

        My Chromebook sucks, because it’s always a coin flip if I’m going to be able to watch a youtube or netflix video without lagging. It sucks, because sometimes, it decides it doesn’t want to give me sound on videos. It sucks, because sometimes having two tabs open at the same time is just too strenuous for it. It sucks, because right now, it doesn’t want to recognize a .zip folder, so I can’t access the contents within it. Or maybe, because it just drops the internet randomly.

        At least it stopped restarting for no apparent reason out of the blue. It hasn’t done that for a while, so maybe all the other problems I have with it will fix themselves too, but for the time being, I’m disappointed with my purchase, and I would never recommend a Chromebook to anyone.

        Then again, maybe I’m just trolling, because I like to waste my time on comment boards by making crap up about stuff I don’t own for no apparent reason. I’ll let you decide which option is more likely.

        • Anonymoused

          And basically what you did was bash the entire OS for something YOU as a user cannot figure out how to do, which is also incredibly misinformed.

          • Martin Rheaume

            If I have to figure out why sometimes videos play and sometimes they don’t and sometimes I have volume and sometimes I don’t and sometimes my computer doesn’t have the balls to have two tabs open at the same time without one of them being incredibly unresponsive and why sometimes a .zip shows up in the files window as an external device and sometimes it doesn’t, I fail to see how that’s my fault.

            Maybe I’m asking too much, but when I press play on a video, I expect it to play without interruptions (yes I’ve tested it with other devices to make sure it’s not the internet). When I turn the volume up, I expect to hear some sound coming out of my computer without having to go through the trouble of restarting it and crossing my fingers. I din’t know I needed some secret knowledge to watch a video with sound on my computer. I guess that just shows how ignorant I am. So yes, I’m too stupid to use the Chromebook and for that I bash it.

          • Anonymoused

            If videos sometimes play and sometimes don’t, it’s not the OS’s fault. Is it the website you’re on? A plugin you’re using? You can’t blame the OS for all of your problems, especially if you’re not taking care of it the way you should be. If you’re trying to use a 2GB RAM Chromebook with an ARM processor to load two very ‘heavy’ tabs at the same time, yes, it IS your fault for not knowing the limits of your device and blaming an entire line of products for your specific limitations. I’m not going to whine that an iPhone isn’t capable of running Lightroom CS5, because that’s not what an iPhone was made to do. I wouldn’t complain that I can’t use it on my chromebook either, because again — this is not what I purchased it to do. The bare minimum chromebooks, the kind I’m assuming you own, were made to do light tasks, and are perfect for those.

            You’re being ignorant in blasting the system and the entire line for your misplaced belief that they should do everything a computer that costs $200+ more does.

            As for your own other INDIVIDUAL problems (yes, individual, because you seem to be the only person having these problems, let alone all at the same time), you’d benefit by visiting forums or simply googling the issues, rather than coming to a site that is made for those who enjoy the devices and whining about how you hate it.

            (It seems OMGChrome! hasn’t posted my fuller response to yours,and all that posted was the afterthought snippet, so I apologize for the lack of “fullness” in that response)

          • Martin Rheaume

            You win. I’m stupid, but I still hate my Chromebook.

          • Anonymoused

            Just curious, which one do you own?

          • Martin Rheaume

            Samsung, $249, wi-fi, about a year old.
            In all seriousness, I know this isn’t the right forum for discussing this stuff, but I have spent some time searching for video problems about the chromebook on other sites, and that’s the primary source of my frustration, and I’ve tried it in guest mode, and I just can’t rely on it which is frustrating when I settle down to watch a movie or a show on Netflix or youtube. I’ve also found that using Google Docs is a struggle as well, because of a serious lag, even when it’s the only window I have open. When something is advertised as a cloud machine, I do expect it to be able to use Google Docs relatively seamlessly and stream a video without a bunch of hiccups. I’m not trying to edit images or videos on it. If I had known that watching a video was too much to ask of it, I would have spent the extra money and gotten something better.

            If people like their chromebooks, I’m not trying to convince them otherwise, but there’s no way I would buy one again.

          • Louis p.

            you obviously do not know what you are talking about anonym…,It definitely does not depend of the web page you are on,If you owned or even had one day put your hands on a chromebook you would know that even offline the avi files for example are only treated as sound track(mp3) and the basic mediaplayer on this plateforme does NOT read avi video files,so Martin is far from being stupid,on the contrary,and as a matter of fact all your blabering is total cr a p…very common on internet;virtual experts…

          • Anonymoused

            I’ve never had a problem viewing .avi files or .mp4s for that matter on my CB while offline.

  • Chris

    I cannot play my .mov file, it works in VLC on an old computer but I want to play on my new Chromebook. Why has this app not been created yet? It has been 4 months since this article was published.

  • Dave B

    Don’t bother buying a chromebook.The whole point about a chromebook is being available for media, no AC3, no video. Waste of money. PS Nexus 7 & 10 work fine with it!

  • Mitchell Bogatz

    I love my chromebook. I really do. But I also love watching .MKV files, and there is virtually no support. There’s no excuse for it at this point.

  • Daniel Of Oz

    Where is the freaking VLC for Chrome OS App?????? Come on already. You’re suppoesed to be ahead of the game, not wondering where it’s being played… d’oh! Sucks to be Chrome, this platform sucks!!