VLC is getting a new UI this year and possibly a new web version

Since being introduced 20 years ago, the free and open-source cross-platform media player VLC has been downloaded more than 3.5 billion times. To celebrate the incredible achievement, VLC developer and VideoLAN foundation President Jean-Baptiste Kempf revealed the popular media player is gearing up to release a major update in 2021 with a new UI.

In an interview with Protocol, Kempf revealed the new UI will be part of VLC 4.0, which is set to be released later this year. “We modified the interface to be a bit more modern,” Kempf told Protocol. Unfortunately, Kempf didn’t expound much more than that regarding the release’s design.

The overhaul will also include integration with more online content directly into the app, but in a very “VLC way,” according to Kempf. “Instead of giving everyone the same catalog of videos, VLC is getting extensions to pull in third-party content,” Protocol explained. “Still, Kempf left the door open to eventually also add ad-supported videos that could offer some financial support to the project.”

Additionally, Kempf revealed that VLC is also getting a new version for the web. The VideoLAN team is working on a version powered by WebAssembly and JavaScript. The app previously had a web plug-in that worked similarly to Flash and is no longer supported by most modern browsers anymore. Incidentally, Flash is also a product of a bygone era.

Finally, Kempf said that VideoLAN is working on a new initiative called Moviepedia Project, which is described as a “kind of IMDb competitor” and will include Wikipedia-style community editing.

It’s unclear when VLC 4.0 will be available or when Moviepedia Project will launch, but with Kempf sharing some details, hopefully, they’ll come out sooner rather than later.

The news of a major VLC update comes in a much larger, very fascinating look from Protocol at VLC’s history as one of the most popular open-source projects. Once more information is released, we’ll be sure to let you know.