VLC plans AirPlay support for Android as app nears 3B downloads

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Videolan, developer of the ubiquitous VLC media player, is looking to bake support for Apple's AirPlay protocol into its main app, a move that would allow Android users to stream content to compatible devices like Apple TV.

While a release timeline has yet to be announced, Videolan lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf said VLC users might see AirPlay support appear in the player's main app in about a month, reports Variety.

Whether VLC will support AirPlay or the latest AirPlay 2 specification remains unclear. Unveiled at WWDC in 2017 and released nearly a year later, AirPlay 2 is Apple's next-generation wireless streaming protocol that enables synchronized multi-room audio playback and other advanced features.

Adoption of AirPlay 2 has been slow going, with only a handful of major audio hardware manufacturers promising support for the technology. Late last week, however, Samsung in a surprise announcement said it would add both AirPlay 2 and a native iTunes app to certain 2018 and 2019 television models. Major TV makers followed suit at CES, with LG, Sony and Vizio promising AirPlay 2 compatibility in upcoming products.

Demand for Apple's technology could get a boost with integration in apps like VLC, cross-platform software that exposes the protocol to new demographics like Android device users. And for VLC, that audience is substantial.

Kempf said Videolan expects all-time downloads to hit the three billion mark on Friday. He also noted that in addition to AirPlay functionality, the VLC team is researching ways to build a more complete media library system that simplifies the transition from iTunes. That said, the company is not looking to compete with the likes of Plex or Kodi, which offer comprehensive tools for managing large content libraries, according to the report.