By Werner Ruotsalainen on Sun, 02/17/2013
A brand new video player, Fresh Video Player, has recently been released (AppStore link; $1.99). As its developers flooded quite a few iOS forums (for example, that of iPadForums) with their ads, I've found it necessary to thoroughly test the app to find out whether it's any good so that my readers are properly informed.
In a word: it isn't. It's, as of version 1.0, only recommended if (and only if!) you need a strictly iOS-based app to display the metadata of a video file. (This, as has been pointed out in the Video Metadata bible & Roundup, isn't at all supported by most other players.)
(The filelist view. Click the image for the full-sized version.)
The other (single) advantage it has is AC3 audio support – at least for now (as of version 1.0). However, I'm pretty sure it'll be removed in the near future, in subsequent (and REALLY needed) updates; that is, you shouldn't purchase the app because of the AC3 support. Particularly now that AVPlayer(HD) has been re-released to the AppStore with officially licensed (and, consequently, future-proof) AC3 support.
Needless to say, AVPlayer(HD) is really-really superior to Fresh Video Player. Its only disadvantages are the lack of Universal support (meaning you need to pay significantly more for the two separate versions if you want to run them on both your small- and large-screen iDevices), HTTP streaming and metadata display support. (Nevertheless, as I've also pointed out below in the Cons section, the HTTP support of Fresh Video Player isn't anything to write home about – there are a lot of other players with significantly better HTTP support.)
All in all, I in no way recommend this player in its current, initial version. (Hopefully subsequent versions will be bugfixed and enhanced.) Again, you should only consider it if, for some reason, you need an iOS-based player with metadata display support.
A detailed pros/cons list (note that I've published a full roundup / tutorial on almost every single bullet below. To fully understand what these bullets mean, you're supposed to read all those roundups.):
- AC3 support!!!
- DTS support
- metadata display support; an example screenshot showing the metadata included in THIS file (provided in my Video Metadata bible & Roundup):
As you can see, almost everything is displayed, except for the embedded image.
- universal & 16:9 screen support (currently, the iPhone 5 / iPod touch 5)
- absolutely no HW decoding for iOS-native file formats
- the above also means there's no non-Mirroring-based AirPlay support at all (and during mirrored streaming, it doesn't make use of the horizontal screen estate as opposed to several players like CineXPlayer (my dedicated, current post is HERE, which I may make into a full article some time). The horizontal screen estate isn't even fully utilized on the iPhone 5 / iPod touch 5, which have 16:9 screens but still leave a black bar around the image in mirrored mode
- no wired HDMI / VGA output (other than plain mirroring, which doesn't make use of the entire horizontal screen area either)
- no iPad 3/4 Retina screen support
- absolutely no subtitle support
- slowish H.264 decoder – forget anything over lower-bitrate 720p (or normal-bitrate Standard Definition)
- only HTTP streaming is supported (no UPnP / SMB / FTP) – by direct links only as there's not even a built-in Web browser in the app
- absolutely no (M)TS container support
- while it does support WMV files (WMV1, 2 and 3 are all supported), WMA Pro audio isn't supported, which renders many of the WMV files unplayable.
- no support for common audio formats like WAV, FLAC, APE, WV, Ogg.
- (audio-only) WMA is only partly supported: only one of my (non-Pro) simple test WMA's were played back properly
- even Camera MJPEG videos (at XGA resolution) are played back very choppily
- no hardware acceleration for MKV / AVI (either)
- no sorting, playlists etc. - the only file listing / organizing feature is file renaming and opening in other apps
- absolutely no gesture-based rewinding / fast forwarding support. (The two (rewind/ffwd) icons do step 15 seconds backward/forward.)
- no support for force-filling the entire screen (with the inevitable aspect ratio distortion) to make use of its entirety while not cropping out anything