VideoLAN recently debuted the first release candidate of VLC 2.0, a new version of its popular open-source media player. The update brings a number of improvements including an all-new UI for Mac users, support for fullscreen mode in Lion, experimental support for Blu-ray playback in OS X, and extended codec support.

VLC for OS X's UI has long remained the same, consisting of a plain gray video window supported by an additional navigation tool. The latest version merges playlists, media libraries, and common controls into one window, and does away with the old theme in favor of a Quicktime-style white-on-black look. The integrated control bar sits at the bottom of the window and additional control windows are now translucent, so they don't obstruct video playback. Frankly, the interface was overdue for an overhaul, and the UI update doesn't bring anything (aside from transparent control windows) that the Windows 7 version hasn't had for quite a while.

Another Windows feature long overdue for OS X is support VLC's Lua-based extensions, which is now finally included. The extensions allow users to expand the functionality of the player by, for example, fetching subtitles automatically or gathering information about a particular movie. One final gem from the changelog reveals VideoLAN is also working hard on a port of VLC 2.0 for Android and iOS devices — the latter comes as a big surprise given that a VLC app was pulled from the App Store over a year ago.

The release candidate is available for PowerPC and 32- / 64-bit Intel Macs or for Windows (32-bit only for now). You can find the download links below, but as the software isn't finished yet, we recommend installing VLC 2.0 alongside your current version for now.