Why VLC player Apple TV might not be the best media player for Apple TV?
Though VLC on Apple TV allows you to access all files and videos streams in their native formats without conversion and has developed many powerful features like Support for network streams, including HLS, MMS or RTSP; Playback speed manipulation and fine seeking; On-the-fly audio and subtitles track synchronization etc, VLC still might not be the best media player for Apple TV, at least for now.
Reason 1. VLC for Apple TV only support tvOS 9.0 or later which means if you are using Apple TV 3/2 you might have to buy a new set. (Both Apple TV 3/2 officially have no internal storage) therefore, the majority of Apple TV users who are using Apple TV 3/2 are off the offer.
Reason 2. VLC for Apple TV claims to play all files, in all formats, but it cannot be 100% accurate. Though common mkv, .mp4, .mov files work fine on VLC Apple TV, we still find that AC3 audio support for .avi files cannot be properly played; you can see the video, but it won't have any sound.
Reason 3. "I just downloaded VLC for my Apple TV and can't access my network share. It sees the SMB share and when I click on it, it asks for a username and password. After I enter it, I just get a screen that says "Empty Folder". When I access the same share with any other device, it shows a list of drives that are inside that main share."
"Empty folder" message on SMB server, AirPort Time Port, Synology NAS and Samba share etc is quite a big issue now for VLC on Apple TV. A lot of VLC Apple TV users are reporting this same issue on VLC Forum and find nothing.
Reason 4. A video file over 20G on local network will very likely suffer choppy playback quality when played in VLC on Apple TV.
Reason 5. It is also reported that the subtitle in some 1080P videos cannot be read by VLC on Apple TV.
Reason 6. From the perspective of sheer marketing strategy, the combination of VLC & Apple TV indicates Apple has found its way to promote the sale of Apple TV 64G as VLC stores media files locally on the device. And if the future of TV is apps, increasingly more great media players will land on tvOS and VLC will face a lot challenge that might make VLC a million miles away from the best media player for Apple TV.
Download VLC for Apple TV for VLC-Philes
How to download and use? You can free download VLC directly via Apple TV store.
There are basically three ways to play content in VLC on Apple TV: Local Network (media server), Remote Playback (a web browser) or Network Stream (web or FTP server). For detailed guide, you can refer to How to Use VLC on Apple TV.
Best Media Players for Apple TV – Alternatives to VLC for Apple TV
Since VLC for tvOS 9 is still in beta stage, you VLC-philes would better get some backup solution in case it encounters problems that cannot be solved immediately by the developers. Let's see what the best VLC alternative players for Apple TV are.
5KPlayer – Free Alternative to VLC for Apple TV
As a standard Apple TV AirPlay media player, 5KPlayer is one of the best media players for Apple TV 4/3/2/1 that is not running directly on that platform. It operates on both Mac and Windows OS that can at the mean time turn the device into a media server. Once the device running 5KPlayer connects with Apple TV, users can directly stream any files stored in the devices or the plugged-in flash drives to Apple TV without occupying any Apple TV storage. 5KPlayer also has 7 surround sound support and is able to play back 8K res videos encoded by H.265/VP9 and play 4K content via Apple TV 4. So for video quality pursuers and storage saving, 5KPlayer would be the best alternative choice.
Infuse 4 – Alternative to VLC Player Apple TV
Infuse for Apple TV fully support Dolby(AC3) and DTS audio, awesome subtitle support powered by OpenSubtitles. It can stream files stored in Mac, PC, NAS, wireless drive, or a server app like Plex, Kodi, or Serviio. The shortage of this free Apple TV app is that for more functions, you have to pay extras and it is not as fast as VLC Apple TV in reading files.