VLC player on iPad rendered useless

I’ve been using VLC player on all my computers, desktop or laptop, Android or iOS. It just works.

However, one day last week, when I try to play a new movie I copied to my iPad, I got an error message like this:


And there’s no sound for this file. Well, it could be just a broken file, so I didn’t really look into it, till the next day I found that virtually all my video files have this issue.

Yesterday I had some time and a Google search revealed that this is actually a patent issue:


To put it simple, the audio codec AC3 is a patent of Dolby Digital, who demands license fee for decoding AC3 encoded videos and complained to Apple that VLC player for iPad violated patent law. Apple removed VLC player for iPad from App Store. In order to bring VLC player for iPad back to App Store, Video Lan had to remove the code that decoding AC3 audio.

Now, if you upgrade to this new version, you loose the ability to decode any AC3 encoded videos.

According to VLC forum, the team is still in communication with Dolby. There’s information showing that Dolby demands 2,000,000 USD. That would be too much for a small company like Video Lan.

Right now Video Lan is considering to put this AC3-decoding ability as a in-App purchasing item. However, there’s no timeline so far.

That’s very unfortunate for VLC. It’s a very crappy situation for me personall – with more than 60G of video, most of them now unwatchable. If you’re still use VLC 2.3.0, maybe it’s a good idea not to upgrade it to the latest version for this moment.