As far as I can remember, VLC has never received a major user interface update. For being such a popular tool, it looks quite unassuming. That's changing in the near future as the VLC developers are working on a major user interface overhaul. ARS Technica took a look at a nightly test build of VLC 4.0 to check what users can expect.
The new version of VLC will no longer present you with a blank media player when opened -- instead, it will offer a media browser view. This media view will show thumbnails of all videos that are present in your Videos folder. The top bar has been changed too and VLC is moving away from single-windows use:
Another major change isn't evident until you open a video. In older versions of VLC, a single window provided both the video content and its controls. VLC 4.0 instead spawns a new player window, separate from the browsing/control window from which the video was selected.At the moment, it's unclear whether VLC 4.0 will offer users an option to switch back to the old-style interface. The new version is still heavily under development so perhaps early test versions aren't a good indication of the capabilities of the final product.
The image below offers a side-by-side of the old VLC versus the current state of VLC 4.0.