If you don't jailbreak (ruling out XBMC and RushPlayer+) and do need hardware video playback of iOS-native files with AC3 audio (which rules out the software-only 8player – see THIS), your only choice is, currently, CineXPlayer for movies containing AC3 audio.
The small-screen (iPhone + iPod touch) version has lagged behind the iPad one, which received a major upgrade slightly less than two months ago (review): hardware-accelerated (albeit not very fast) MKV playback, a unique digital signal processor (DSP) module called “SuperSharp” and some other goodies. The iPhone version, which stayed 2.8.2 last updated in August, didn't even support the 16:9 screen of the new, small-screen iOS devices' screen (iPhone 5, iPod touch 5), let alone accelerated MKV playback, SuperSharp etc.
The brand new version was released today and it supports all these. The AppStore update list:
(Click for a larger version!)
- indeed the MKV remuxing works, unlike in previous versions. (But is only really recommended on iPhone 5's and nothing else with 1080p videos – see the “Cons” section below.)
- so does sharpening (it's another question whether it's actually worth using – after all, the oversharpened images, as always, do show the in this case well-known and absolutely natural “halo” effect.)
- Still no sign of DTS audio support. (And the less-used but still important Vorbis audio isn't supported either.)
- The MKV remuxer engine isn't at all more effective than that of the iPad version (which is, again, almost two months old). This means it's only with the iPad 4 and iPhone 5 that you'll enjoy 1080p MKV's with sensible (not absolutely low; that is, something under, say, 2-3 Mbps) bitrates. iDevices with slower CPU's will stutter as badly as the iPad version does.
- While the description of the app claims the app does support NAS streaming (as has been doing the iPad version), it doesn't seem to do so – see the next section.
Where's the NAS streaming support?
There must be a bug in the new app. While the app description does emphasize the new version does supporting NAS streaming, I in no way could find a way to do this – unlike with the iPad version, where UPnP support turned out to be reliable (see my complete, dedicated bible HERE).
This is where you can access UPnP NAS sources in the iPad version (see the red rectangle-annotation):
This icon is completely missing from the small-screen version, even in Landscape mode as can be seen as follows:
Two other screenshots
File list with icons in Portrait mode:
Playback of Monsters on the iPhone 5: