iPhone Life magazine

REVIEW: new multimedia player "ASF WMV Player"

Today, I've found another WMV video player,  ASF WMV Player, in the AppStore ($1; link). As usual, I've very thoroughly tested it.

The app is advertised as mainly a WMV player (please see THIS for my previous WMV Playback bible), but, as I've found out, it's capable of playing back almost all the other, generally used file formats. However, the playback of most of them is pretty weak at higher (generally, at 720p and over) resolutions, particularly at Full HD (1080p).


(the main filelist view of the app - click for the original image)

If you thoroughly read the Pros / Cons list below, you'll realize this app doesn't really have any feature that would make it at least partially better than most other players. It's probably only the low-res MPEG-2 DVB playback that is worth mentioning – nevertheless, even that is done better by players like GoodPlayer. (And GoodPlayer also supports DVB TS subtitles and audio track switching).

All in all, I don't recommend this player. Save that $1. There simply are better alternatives – even for free.

Pros

- Can play back other, non-iOS-native containers (for example, TS, AVI and MKV) and video formats (e.g., MPEG-2, Vorbis, (camera) M-JPEG)

Non-WMV:

- Excellent MPEG-2 SD DVB TS support (dynamic aspect ratio switching, fast decoding, scrubbing support – but no subtitles or audio track switching). Note that 1080i60  MPEG-2 DVB playback is absoluely useless – as with anything 1080p/i.

WMV:

- WMA Pro audio support

- Fast playback up to quarter-1080 (unless it has WMA Pro audio, see the Cons section below)

Cons

- Absolutely no features like directory sorting, gesture-based fast forwarding / rewinding (the two arrow icons step by one minute in each direction, which is far too much)

- 1080p playback is absolutely useless with all formats (MS-MPEG4, MPEG-2, H.264, WMV etc.)

- Even SD playback is slow with for example Vorbis videos (see Muzuyima)

- It doesn't support WMV (ASF) Internet streaming at all, unlike a lot of other players. (See my next article.)

- Really poor built-in help (basically, small-sized images zoomed int the full screen resulting in major pixelation issues; the images can't even be zoomed out permanently.

Non-WMV formats:

- No hardware acceleration for iOS-friendly video formats

WMV:

- WMA Pro decoding taxes the CPU considerably, making playback of quarter-1080 footage far more stuttering

- 1080p WMV playback: absolutely useless – titles like ProPlayer, nPlayer (which, incidentally, has received a pretty nice update today), MoliPlayer etc. are way(!!) better (click the links for reviews!)

- Uses dithering, considerably worsening image quality
 

Want to master your iPhone and iPad? Sign up here to get our tip of the day delivered right to your inbox.
Topics:
Email icon
Want more? Get our weekly newsletter:

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.