iPhone Life magazine

REVIEW: Multimedia player CineXPlayer(HD) receives major upgrade: SuperSharp sharpening, MKV hardware playback etc.

UPDATE (19/Dec/2012): the iPhone version has just been updated. Now it supports MKV remuxing (just like the two-month-old iPad version reviewed below) and some other goodies. Full review HERE.

UPDATE (29/Nov/2012): 1, HERE, I've elaborated on the AVI playback / decoding capabilities of the player. In a nuthshell: it should be fixed as it, in addition to not being able to play back camera M-JPEG videos (tested with Canon 960IS videos), it doesn't support MS-MPEG4 videos either; for example, the well-known Big Buck Bunny one.

2, Unfortunately, there still isn't a Retina-friendly iPad version and the small-screen one is still at version 2.8.2 without, among other things, hardware MKV playback or even iPhone 5 screen support.

UPDATE (31/Oct/2012): the developer of the app has stated (his full post is HERE):

1,) the next version fixes the lack of the iPad 3/4 Retina screen support, fixing the biggest problem with the current version (3.0 released on Oct/22/2012) of the player

2,) they will license DTS as well.

Note that, as I've also mentioned in my nPlayer review, CineXPlayerHD supports displaying two subtitles at the same time. As with the recently-reviewed nPlayer and yaPlayer (review link), it also supports subtitle repositioning - a question discussed in the article comment sections HERE.

Original article: So far, I haven't recommended  CineXPlayerHD ($3.99; AppStore link) over the best players (It's Playing, GoodPlayer, AVPlayer (HD), ProPlayer, BUZZ Player etc.) in AppStore as it didn't have much to write home about: it had both  poor-to-average features and video decoders in no way so good as those of the best iOS players.

The update list of the recently-released major version (3.0) bump promises indeed a lot, sharpening being the best (and, on iOS, currently absolutely unique) of them. The MKV hardware playback is also a welcome piece of news.

Here's the AppStore update list:



and that of the built-in, pretty extensive help screen of the app:



(Note that, as you can see in the first screenshot, Gplayer and Video Downloader [Pro] - Download & Play Any Video has also dropped AC-3 support in the last week. The most recent version of RushPlayer+ (see the Facebook comments HERE), on the other hand, didn't. As usual, click the thumbnails for the original-sized versions.)

Unfortunately, the app doesn't really deliver, particularly if you're on a Retina-screen iPad 3/4 and not on an XGA-resolution one (iPad 1/2/Mini): it doesn't make use of the screen resolution when doing non-iOS-native (non-MP4/M4V/MOV) playback. This means you won't be able to make much use of the (otherwise, indeed excellent) picture sharpening DSP on your hi-res iPad. A screenshot showing this, with the halved screen to also show the effects of sharpening of the resolution chart (original file for you to test):



And even if you can live with the lack of Retina iPad support (because, say, you have a non-Retina model), the hardware-assisted MKV playback is definitely slower than on the top MKV players: HD Player Pro (review), AVPlayer(HD) (if you do have it) or the forthcoming, 3.7 version of “It's Playing”.

All in all, I (still) don't really recommend this player if you plan to play back MKV's and/or have an iPad 3/4. iOS native video playback is better but, again, then, you won't be able to make use of the sharpening unless you do what's hinted on in the docs; that is, rename the files to AVI's. Then, however, the playback will suffer from the same stuttering as with playing back MKV's.

A pros/cons list:

The good:
- sharpening is very effective and doesn't cause any runtime playback hit  (albeit see cons too)
- HW MKV playback (albeit see cons too)
- Web browser in Portrait mode, which is pretty much unique (dedicated article). An example:

(BTW, this shot also shows the DTS audio in this video (the standard Monsters benchmark video) couldn't be decoded either - see the "Audio format not supported" label in the top right. Also check out how pixelizated the video is because of the lack of Retina support.)
- AC-3 support is official, meaning it surely won't be removed

- excellent tagging and media info lookup capabilities

The bad:

- during non-iOS-native playback, no support for the iPad 3/4 Retina screen – a dealbreaker
- no sharpening or upscaling during playback of iOS-native files
- no DTS audio support – VERY bad!
- no support for any kind of embedded subtitles (tested with MKV and MP4 files)
- no way to switch between audio streams
- no OGG audio (Suzumiya test video), MS-MPEG4 (for example, the Big Buck Bunny AVI), M-JPEG (in camera AVI's) any kind of TS support - this title is definitely not a "play-anything-you-throw-at-it iPad movie app", as opposed to what its description states
- hangs upon encountering non-standard or unknown files (M-JPEG camera AVI's or the 4-minute restest)
- MKV playback isn't as good as that of the best players: it badly stutters
- while it does support gesture-based (single-finger left/right) rewinding / fast forwarding, it's fixed at 60 secs, which is far too much, particularly when rewinding (dedicated article)

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Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.

Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.