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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

      • 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

  • 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.