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Best iPad app to show media from a DLNA compliant UPnP Media Server?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by Casimono, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Casimono, Aug 13, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    #1
    Hi folks,

    I'm using "PS3 Media Server" on my Mac (a "DLNA compliant UPnP Media Server") to stream photos and movies to my PS3.

    Now I'm looking for the best iPad app to work with the same data. I've gone through about 30 free apps and they all stunk. Now I'm thinking about spending some money, but I don't want to buy all possible apps just to find the best one. Maybe somebody has already compared them and can tell which one is the best in August 2012?

    What I'm looking for:
    - no funny GUI business. Show me my media and let me play it. No "theming", all apps I've tried so far looked ugggg-ley.
    - when showing photos, they should show full-screen, enlarged to fill the screen, and let me zoom in. Let me use swipe gestures to go through a whole folder of pictures.
    - play back movies in mp4, wmv, flv and avi formats, up to 1080p. When I tap a video, it should start playing immediately, should allow me to jump to any point in time.
    - at all times the app should be responsive. Even when i justed tapped a movie to start and then changed my mind, it should just immediately stop.
    - should not crash.

    This would sound very basic, right? Well these apps are among the many that fell through for one of the issues mentioned above: AirAv, 8player, woon, MediaConnect, Fusionstream, Mlplayer lite, Yxplayer2 lite, iMediacontrol.

    Has anybody looked at several apps and can tell me which one is the best?
    Thanks! :)
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    #2
    I use Plex ( free ) on a Mac Mini to stream to my PS3 and iPad ( paid app ).... Works OK for me....
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    gorskiegangsta

    #3
    GoodPlayer ($2.99) works excellently for me. Easily connects to my NAS and immediately loads my entire HD library (about 700 files in a dozen or so folders) It does have trouble with some high bitrate 1080p files. 720p plays fine though.

    Another good app is AcePlayer ($2.99). Though, if I had to choose between those, I'd pick GoodPlayer.
     
  4. macrumors 603

    #4


    1, I'd stay away from AcePlayer as it doesn't support HW mp4 / mov / m4v H.264 decoding over UPnP.

    2, only few app do support HW decoding: GoodPlayer (strange you're having problems with 1080p playback: what files are you trying to play back? mp4 / mov / m4v or something else?), XBMC and RushPlayer(+). XBMC and RushPlayer+ only run on JB'n devices. The non-JB'n RushPlayer only allows scrubbing with SW-based MKV decoding; HW-based decoding, as with local playback, starts from the beginning upon every repositioning attempt.
     
  5. macrumors newbie

    #5
    Alright, GoodPlayer is the recommendation, then.

    What about PowerPlayer from the makers of GoodPlayer? It looks like it is a complete rewrite with better performance, and is advanced in almost every aspect as well.

    Can PowerPlayer show photos from my server as well? I'm asking because it's not mentioned in their specs.

    Is PowerPlayer compatible with my server ("PS3 Media Server")? I'm asking because their specs (http://www.hustmobile.com/powerplayer/) are difficult to understand, they say they can stream "over HTTP/RTSP/MMSH", but not "over SMB/FTP/SFTP". I have not idea which of these two cases "PS3 Media Server" falls.

    Thanks!
     
  6. gorskiegangsta, Aug 13, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    gorskiegangsta

    #6
    On the 3rd gen iPad, I am getting severe stuttering when attempting to play 1080p .MP4/m4v (x.264 encoded @ over 3mbps; 160-224kbps AAC audio). Up to 2800kbps seems to work fine in most cases.

    I've tried downloading those directly into the app but they still stutter just as badly, so I know it's not a network problem, besides my router (Linksys E3000) is a beast. Strangely, all those play back flawlessly through the built in video app (when manually synced to the ipad through iTunes).

    AcePlayer is alright, though not nearly as good as GoodPlayer. Admittedly, I did get it on sale for a buck, just as a failsafe ;) I rarely use it in stead of GoodPlayer, though.
     
  7. macrumors 603

    #7

    Are you absolutely sure HW acceleration is enabled in your GoodPlayer? (Settings > Hardware Decoding)
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    gorskiegangsta

    #8
    Yep, it was enabled, but so was HQ Mode. I tried disabling it and the app crashed.:confused: So, I removed all the local files, deleted the app, and reinstalled. It seems to work fine now. I can't believe I didn't do it earlier.
     
  9. macrumors 603

    #9
    I've tested them all - see the (currently beta and, therefore, pretty much messed up) chart of my forthcoming iOS Multimedia bible at http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13100693/html/042012RetinaHDVideoPlayers/201204-mm-chart.ods

    It already has tons of info, particularly on streaming, HW decoding, downloading vs. streaming; scrubbing with streamed contents etc.
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    #10
    Alright folks, I tried out PowerPlayer and by golly does it suuuuuck.

    - Funny GUI business: going to the upnp media server takes countless clicks, click targets could be a lot bigger (when 90% of the space is empty, you're doing it wrong). No difference is made between a folder and a file - they both look the same way. When opening a folder, we're presented with an empty list for many many seconds and no notice whether files are still receiving or this folder is indeed empty. Once we tap a movie file, I expect it to immediately start playing. Instead I get presented with options to save it and do other stuff besides playing it. The developer should either completely remove that cruft, or think about the most used option and relegate the less often used options behind a blue-round-arrow-button on the right side of the list, like in many other apps. These bad bad decisions alone show me that this developer has no taste at all and will never be able to produce a quality app.
    - cannot show Photos. At all.
    - despite what they say, countless .mp4, .mov, .avi and .flv files fail to play. If they did play, none of them allowed me to jump to any point in time.
    - responsiveness is a joke. When loading a new video, the app goes into a sleep state: the back button on the top left is greyed out, and it is completely irresponsive to anything you do. Sometimes it proceeds after 10-20 seconds, but it often stays in that state forever. The only way to gain control of it again, is to close it, then force quit it, and then restart it, which also means that you have to go through all those bad hoops to get back to the upnp media server.

    Bottom line: PowerPlayer is one epic fail. Its developer should be ashamed of itself for not doing the iPad justice.

    If that is the best app in the store, this section of the market is ripe for disruption.
     
  11. macrumors G3

    rhett7660

    #11
    Just curious on why you went with this player when everyone here was recommending the other? :confused:
     
  12. Casimono, Aug 15, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    #12
    With that recommendation, you not only recommended an app but also a developer. PowerPlayer is by this same developer. It's its new sibling, a ground up rewrite that is more cpu efficient.
    That's not what I say, that's what the developer of the most recommended app here says. I would paraphrase that as PowerPlayer has the same quality developer behind it, and it's bound to be the next upnp player king.

    After playing with it, I seriously doubt that what this developer was doing with its first app was a good player at all.

    But I might give it a try. Have you tried it, do you like it, do you think it will be good enough for the points outlined by me in the first post?
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    #13
    Alright, I'm planning to give GoodPlayer a go and review it here later.
     
  14. Casimono, Aug 16, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    #14
    Alright, here's the review of GoodPlayer:

    In two words: Not good.

    - There's lots of funny GUI business going on. Source lists have no loading indicator, so when you enter a folder, you get presented with a empty list and no loading indicator. Wait a bit - from 5 seconds up to 30 seconds, and if there is something in the folder, you will see it now. If the folder is really empty, you just wasted 30 seconds of your life. Guys, show me the state of the app! Also, everytime I try to play a video, I get asked whether I want to download of play it. Every. single. time. This should be moved to an optional menu behind that blue-round-arrow-thingie on the right side of lists. And if that video is an mp4 video, there not one option to play the file, but two: The app asks me whether to use its normal internal playback engine or the "ipod" playback engine. Dear developer, that's totally not how it works. I'm paying you to figure this out yourself! When I click a file, you figure out what the best way to play it back is, then do it - automatically. This is a travesty beyond words! All these things shows lack of thought by the dev and no concept of usability, at all.
    - Regarding photos: I asked the developer whether it can show them. He said "jpegs yes". Guess what - it does not work. Most jpegs don't show up at all, some of them show up as 5 second still frame movies with very bad quality.
    - mind you that this app was continuously updated for 18 months, already. That it still is this bad doesn't bode well for the developer. Considering the current quality was reached after 18 months of "refinement time", I don't expect this app to get anywhere near "good", for basically forever.
    - now the most important question: will most movies play? Answer: no. Some will (about 20% or so), most won't. And once you go beyond about 600x400 pixels, they will first show you 2 minutes of black screen, followed by very jerky animation (about 3 frames per second - note: this is on the 2012 "iPad 3"). That initial waiting time occurs before every movie. So imagine you've got 70 holiday movie snippets on your server and are looking for the right one to show your friends - with this app, that will take the full duration of of "2001 A space odyssey" to just go hunt for the right one. It's totally ridiculous.

    Bottom line: my first exposure to this developer should have told me to never trust it again. Next time I will listen to my gut.

    This is the crappiest app since crap was invented and first hit an iPad. Buyers beware.

    Again, if you're asking yourself what kind of an iPad app to develop next: here's a market where every single existing app is crap. This space is ready for something better!
     
  15. Menneisyys2, Aug 16, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012

    macrumors 603

    #15
    Well, if they moved the DL / HW (iPod) playback / SW playback setting into Settings, this would result in having to tap a lot more for people that want to download some titles but stream the others. Probably a download arrow on the right would be better, the way it is done in some other apps.

    Nevertheless, I myself don't consider this a problem. After all, one should be happy to have the best, most standards-compliant streaming support. Let me refer to my multimedia chart ( http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13100693/html/042012RetinaHDVideoPlayers/201204-mm-chart.ods ) again: in my tests, I've found GoodPlayer the most standards-compliant client after the industry-quality (jailbreak-only) XBMC. Very few other players have such a good support for streaming protocols.

    Yup, GoodPlayer can't render JPG's (see the "<b>Still (JPG) image handling</b> (stock Photos app / Photo Manager Pro http://itunes.apple.com/app/photo-manager-pro/id393858562?mt=8 4.0.4 )" section in my chart, where I've also emphasized this). The devs may have misunderstood your question maybe? We regularly exchange e-mails and I've too found out sometimes they misunderstood my sometimes really simple English questions or statements.

    BTW, it's always the best to ask fellow users instead of devs. You could have saved yourself a disappointment if you had asked JPG support from us (for example, from me, who have tested all of the players in this regard too) before shopping for a JPG rendering-capable video player.

    I'm not only referring to GoodPlayer but regularly any player. Misunderstandings like the above aside, some devs may paint a rosier pircture of their apps than independent users and are, therefore, not as reliable as independent users. Again, I'm in no way stating that the GoodPlayer devs have puposefully (=knowing they are lying) lied to you. They must have misunderstood the question.
     
  16. macrumors member

    #16
    Hello, Guys.
    Have you tried ArkMC application?
    It has clear interface, supports a lot of file formats.
    But, current version doesn't support pictures playback.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Myslate

    #17
    Music player for UPNP

    All I want to do is stream music from my UPNP Seagate drive. Every player I look at does one song at a time....which is quite tedious. I have tried Seagate software, which doesn't even see the files (from Roxio and Media Player), and Goodplayer yields the one song at a time deal. Ditto Media Connect. Any recommendations? Replies appreciated.
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    #18
    I had hard time finding how to do that too, but GoodPlayer can play folders :)
    When you're in folder view, click on that small blue icon on right side of screen (each folder has one) and it will give You option to "Play all files inside this folder". Works like a charm :)
     
  19. macrumors regular

    #19
    I recommend AVPlayer HD. Now if you are looking for a media server that can stream from a mac to any ios and to atv then plex is the way to go.
     
  20. macrumors newbie

    #20
    I hope this thread is still moving !

    So I followed the recommendations here, and have still to find a media player with DLNA support that works with subtitles !!!

    Here's what I tried so far (all videos were played through a NAS with DLNA) :

    1. Googplayer : almost all videos have no sound due to AC3 (...) not being supported (copyright issue). Subtitles do not show up. Very good video rendering and fast-forward responsiveness. Useless until all audio codecs are working !

    2. MoliPlayer : Have hard time finding the DLNA server (need to refresh server list, sometimes several times). Has a message that display below videos to tell that audio codec is not supported (nice) but like Goodplayer, lot of major audio codecs are not supported due to restrictions (not so nice). Videos are not as smooth. Subtitles are not recognized (and there's no option on the video screen to switch them on). Useless until all audio codecs are working !

    3. PlayerXtreme : Need inApp Purchase to access DLNA servers (~3 euros). Subtitles are not recognized. Audio is well supported. Video is *laggy* as hell ! Not usable in this state !

    4. Ark Media Center : Best shot for the end. Videos are smooth (with occasionnal, short hicups), audio is well supported, has switch for subtitles (do not work) and one for audio tracks (do work). Fast-forward is a bit laggy and async the audio :)/). Main screen show all servers on the network (good list supported) which are found instantly. No option screen, so no way to set anything up. It works or not, it's up to the app (but main config show good render and video/audio support).

    So nothing good right now. Nothing really usable but ArkMC (without subtitles or FF). I wonder if GoodPlayer would play as smooth with AC3 audio working. If it is the case it would be the best shot from the 4. With subtitles support over DLNA, it would be THE app for iPad. For now, it is the best app for video with audio working (2 videos only out of 4 from my tests worked with audio, an AVI and an MKV both with MP3 audio).

    I hope people still come to this thread to continue the search for a good DLNA iPad media player with all audio codecs, subtitles and fast-forward support.
     
  21. macrumors regular

    #21
    nPlayer - hands down the best UPNP/DLNA streaming client for the iPad/Phone (universal app). One of the few to actually support AC3 decoding, too.

    I downloaded it yesterday - 100% satisfied.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    #22
    vatter69, you made my day !!!

    So this app (nPlayer) just works, and allow to put subtitles inside a local folder to choose from when playing a video. Nice addition since I think that subtitles discovery not working with NAS or DLNA seems to be a protocol limitation.

    Video is damn smooth, fast-forward is very well implemented (with rotating cursor to show that the app re-buffer the video) and works without asyncing audio, DLNA server is found immediately, audio codecs are fully supported, lots of options (for subtitles styling, it's also nice)...

    Well, this app beats them all, and you would have been here earlier to tell me about it, I would have avoided 10 euros lost in space !!

    Anyway, thanks :)
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    #23
    I'd recommend 8Player and ArkMC. ArkMC supports AC3, and, after last update, has very good new video player. Now I can select audio track and subtitles. Also I can stream movies to TV.
     
  24. macrumors 603

    #24
    Just a quick warning: nPlayer 1.10 has just been released, taking away audio boosting, which worked just fine in 1.8 / 1.9. I think it's a mistake by the dev and he didn't really mean to remove it.

    That is, do NOT update if you want to keep volume boosting.

    I'll mail the dev.
     
  25. macrumors newbie

    warrenpeeps

    #25
    Plex is by far the best . And it can pull from a NAS too.
     

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