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Old Feb 24, 2013, 08:58 AM   #1
Menneisyys2
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Excellent multimedia player iMedia Player re-released as 'MPlayer' with AC3 support

As has been pointed out in my yesterday's article, iMedia Player is an excellent media player. Its developers have just debut with a separate, commercial ($2.99; AppStore link) app, MPlayer, (at least according to the devs) officially licensing the (E-)AC3 audio codec.


(AppStore description; also showing it being installed on my iPad after my purchasing it. As usual, click the image for the full-sized original.)

While, in the AppStore, the seller / developer names are totally different (based strictly on them, I wouldn't have thought the two players have anything to do with each other), in the just-released iMedia Player update you're actually taken to the new player in AppStore:


(a screenshot showing the dialog taking you to the new, AC3-friendly app in the AppStore. The background shows the biggest problem of both apps: the lack of Retina support - here, I try to play back my resolution tester MKV file with AC3 audio.)

There are absolutely no differences between the just-released MPlayer 1.0 and the newly-released iMedia Player 2.0 update, except for MPlayer's not being ad-supported and, of course, supporting AC3 audio.

This also means the pros / cons lists are the same for both apps (again, with the exception of AC3 support) – see below.

Do I recommend it over AVPlayer(HD), the other player to officially support AC3? (As far as AppStore, that is, non-jailbroken players are concerned, of course. For jailbroken devices, I highly recommend the basically (you won't need to purchase the IAP if you don't need access to the icons in the filelist view – playback works just great without them) free RushPlayer+ and the completely free XBMC. Just keep in mind that XBMC has a little bit lower-quality H.264 / WMV / MKV decoder than the best titles out there.)

Well, if you don't have a Retina device (anything newer than an iPhone 3GS, a 3rd-gen iPod touch, an iPad 2, not counting in the non-Retina iPad mini) and/or you don't want to play back any video in software and/or if you don't plan to play back high-resolution videos, then, this player can prove handy, particularly if you need SMB streaming or HTTP (Web) streaming / access / download, which AVPlayer(HD) entirely lacks. Otherwise (apart from the major problem of the lack of Retina support), the two players are pretty comparable. If you have both small-screen devices and iPads, MPlayer may be a better choice because you'll only need to pay once (the player being Universal), unlike with AVPlayer.

However, do keep in mind that any time you'll need to rely on software decoding of high-resolution videos, the resolution will greatly suffer on anything Retina. In this regard, AVPlayer and AVPlayerHD are far better. Also, they lead in their MKV (MPlayer doesn't support MKV playback in hardware) and the newly-enhanced (see my yesterday's article) FTP support.

The pros / cons list of MPlayer (the same applies to the free iMedia Player – except for the AC3 support, of course):

Cons

The biggest one: No Retina support on anything (both small-screen devices and the iPad 3/4) while software decoding (no such problem with HW-decoded, that is, iOS-native videos)
No CC support in native videos (albeit they're played back in hardware)
No full SSA subtitle support (text subs are supported)
Pretty weak DVB TS support (no scrubbing support, doesn't detect 16:9 videos (renders everything in 4:3); while it renders DVB subtitles, it shows them over a pretty ugly background; interlaced fields are merged in a very ugly way when there's a lot of movement in the frame)
No filelist sorting
No metadata display

Pros

Official(!) AC3 support
Universal
Playlist support
Excellent (fast) H.264 decoder – the player can (unless battery life is important) be used to play back even 1080p MKV videos
Very fast and compatible WMV decoder (no WMA Pro audio support, though)
Gesture-based ffwd / rewind support (20 secs in both directions; unfortunately, can't be configured)
DTS support
Absolutely flawless 1080i60 (ATSC) playback (no scrubbing / subtitle support, though)
Passcode lock support
Support for mp3 / ogg audio tracks
Audio file playback-wise, WMA (but no WMA Pro!), FLAC, APE and WAV audio too (no WV or OGA files, though)
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 09:46 AM   #2
Cptnodegard
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Bought AVplayerHD, but I'm not at all impressed.

First off, resume is broken. It's repeatedly incapable of resuming a file after the app is completely closed, the very same file that my other video player apps have no problem with.

Second, the subtitle system is broken. It requires the subtitle file to be named the same as the video file (other players don't), and even then it's not capable of seeing the file most of the time.

To top it off, it doesn't use standard design guidelines for buttons and whatnot, a minor but unnecessary annoyance.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 09:50 AM   #3
Menneisyys2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cptnodegard View Post
Second, the subtitle system is broken. It requires the subtitle file to be named the same as the video file (other players don't), and even then it's not capable of seeing the file most of the time.
You could embed the subtitle file(s) in the main video itself; for example, with Subler (if it's an iOS-native file and not an MKV). It can be very easily and quickly(!) done, with some clicks only, and it also helps in maintaining your files (no need to separately save / transfer sub and video files).

Then, it'd surely work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cptnodegard View Post
First off, resume is broken. It's repeatedly incapable of resuming a file after the app is completely closed, the very same file that my other video player apps have no problem with.
Does this happen with iOS-native files, or, with MKV's / other non-native formats?
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 10:31 AM   #4
Cptnodegard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys2 View Post
You could embed the subtitle file(s) in the main video itself; for example, with Subler (if it's an iOS-native file and not an MKV). It can be very easily and quickly(!) done, with some clicks only, and it also helps in maintaining your files (no need to separately save / transfer sub and video files).

Then, it'd surely work.



Does this happen with iOS-native files, or, with MKV's / other non-native formats?

I could also just rename the subtitles, but my point is that it's an extra hassle with this app that isn't with other apps.

The file in question is an xvid (.avi) file, SD. Only file I have on my iPad atm, so that's what I tried it with.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 10:35 AM   #5
Menneisyys2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cptnodegard View Post
I could also just rename the subtitles, but my point is that it's an extra hassle with this app that isn't with other apps.

The file in question is an xvid (.avi) file, SD. Only file I have on my iPad atm, so that's what I tried it with.
For SD-only Xvid AVI's, there are a lot of other players that play them properly (unless it has an AC3 audio track, which is pretty often the case with AVI's). AVPlayerHD is mostly recommended for high-res MKV playback where the audio is AC3.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 03:46 PM   #6
Cptnodegard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys2 View Post
For SD-only Xvid AVI's, there are a lot of other players that play them properly (unless it has an AC3 audio track, which is pretty often the case with AVI's). AVPlayerHD is mostly recommended for high-res MKV playback where the audio is AC3.
I know, but obviously I'd prefer to have one player to deal with all the time. It's a problem to me when I essentially need to have multiple apps of any type installed because they all fail in some respect :P
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 04:38 PM   #7
Menneisyys2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cptnodegard View Post
I know, but obviously I'd prefer to have one player to deal with all the time. It's a problem to me when I essentially need to have multiple apps of any type installed because they all fail in some respect :P
Yup, there's no "best" video player doing everything properly and better than anything else.

This is why, BTW, I recommend jailbreaking and using iFile to quickly transfer even tens of gigabytes of videos between apps if one of them turns out to be unable to properly play something. (The built-in file transfer capabilities of iOS - without jailbreaking - are completely useless with videos over 200 Mbytes.)
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