We learned recently that VLC was getting a significant update, with an all-new and more modern VLC 4 user interface. But a sneak peek at the Windows version unfortunately doesn’t look good.

It does indeed look more modern (seen next to the current UI on the left), but it appears to be trying an iOS-like approach to simplicity…

ArsTechnica grabbed Friday’s nightly build, with the new UI, and starts with the good news.

When opening up the 4.0 dev version of VLC, the first change that leaps out is an interface shift from “file opener” to “media browser.” In older versions of VLC—from its beginnings in 2001 all the way through the 3.x version being distributed now—it opens to a blank player window, with VLC’s iconic traffic cone displayed in the center. The new VLC instead opens to a media-browser interface, showing thumbnails of all videos present in the user’s Videos folder.

This is the view associated with the Video view displayed along the new version’s top menu bar; it also presents Music, Browse, and Discover. Music offers a similar view into the user’s Music folder, Discover presents a network browser looking for shares and streams present on the user’s LAN.

The bad news, though, is an iOS-like attempt to dispense with a file system.

As long as your videos are all in your local Videos folder, you probably won’t have any difficulty with the new interface—but in its current state, it’s not much fun for browsing large numbers of files in multiple directories. If you want to get out of your Videos directory, you’ll need to click the hamburger menu on the upper left of the playlist and select Media > Open Directory.

Selecting Open Directory, unfortunately, doesn’t actually take you to the new directory—instead, it scans all files both inside and beneath the new directory you select and adds them all, willy-nilly, to the Videos tab itself […]

[This] doesn’t fit too many use cases. I don’t necessarily want to see all the dumb memes I’ve downloaded and video clips I’ve recorded with my webcam when I’m looking for movies, or vice versa.


Based on reader comments on the last piece (thanks, Fumi), I’ve been trying Inna as a VLC alternative, and after one strange color glitch resolved itself, I’ve been impressed. It’s a very clean look, but one thing I love is that you can click the gear icon to open up a side panel with instant access to a whole bunch of adjustments.

These include brightness, contrast, and saturation; adjusting playback speed; fixing audio sync issues; rotating vertical video; and more.

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