There was a time when MX Player was one of the best apps for watching videos downloaded to an Android phone or tablet. But these days there are plenty of other options, including the excellent VLC media player from Videolan, which happens to be a free and open source application with versions available for most popular operating systems.
But while MX Player may not be king of the Android hill for local video playback anymore, it looks like the app may have a second life as the basis for a video streaming platform.
Indian digital media organization Times Internet acquired a controlling stake in MX Player earlier this summer, for about $140 million. Now Beebom is bringing us an early look at the company’s plans for the app: Times Internet wants to build a Netflix rival for the Indian market.
There’s already a beta version of the new MX Player available for download, and it brings an updated user interface with an emphasis on streaming media. Right now the selection is limited and xda-developers notes it mostly consists of YouTube videos and a few popular movies and TV shows. But in the future Times Internet plans to add more content, including about 40 original shows, 100 thousand hours of existing content, and support for live TV streams.
Contnt will b available in English, Hindi, and a number of regional languages spoken throughout different parts of India. And MX Player will use a freemium model, with ad-supported and paid content tiers.
Future versions MX Player are also expected to use neural networks to make recommendations, helping users sift through all that content. And the developers plan to account for the fact that Internet connectivity isn’t always reliable in some parts of India by optimizing content so that it can be streamed even when network conditions aren’t great.
All of which is to say that while you can certainly continue using MX Player to watch videos stored locally on your device in any part of the world, the future of the app seems very India-specific. So if you happen to still be using the app in another region, you might want to check out VLC or look into other alternatives.