iPhone Life magazine

REVIEW: New version of free(!) multimedia player RockPlayer2

Being a video format / playback / encoding pro, I've been asked by the RockPlayer2 developers to post an honest review of their new app now that they've fixed some of the bugs and problems I've pointed out in the previous review. Here it is.



(The AppStore update list; as with all the images in this article, click for a larger, better-quality version)

Pros

- the player no longer uses low (non-Retina) resolution on iPhones (including the iPhone 5). On the iPad 3/4, the Retina screen is also made use of.

- it's able to quickly exchange videos in the Camera Roll, unlike the previous version. This means you can use this free(!!) app to quickly send the videos you shoot with the camera of the app to other iDevices, assuming they also have RockPlayer2 installed. And if it isn't installed, the app is free and is just a quick download away - which is far better than forcing the receiving partner purchase an app just to be able to receive videos from you. This means, should you want to quickly exchange videos, you no longer need to purchase third-party tools like Photo Transfer – the free RockPlayer2 will do just fine. (Sorry, there is no real Bluetooth file sharing in iOS, unlike in all other, decent, competing mobile operating systems. Apple, it's time to get iOS a bit more up-to-date!)

- still (ad-supported) free. Ads are, as with the previous version, only displayed if you pause the video, not during playback – unlike with the lite version of some other players (e.g., Playable). An example screenshot of this (also showing the Retina screen resolution is being used on iPhone 4+ and iPod touch 4+ models):



(note the local (Finnish) ad at the top)

- there are some new TV channels in the app (albeit all Chinese only, it seems):




- it can also stream videos over HTTP:



Cons

- the H.264 decoder is still significantly worse than that of the top players in this regard; for example, yaPlayer. You will NOT want to use this player to play back 1080p MKV's with H.264 in them, ot even on the fastest hardware (currently: the iPhone 5 and iPad 4).

- file exchange sometimes doesn't at all work. For example, I've never managed to make my iOS 6.0.2 iPhone 5 visible to my other test devices (5.1.1 jb'n iPad 3, 5.1.1 jb'n iPod touch 4). Between the latter two, on the other hand I had significantly better luck – sometimes they did see each other and also let for transferring files between them.

- there is still absolutely no subtitle support

- the OGG video player is still significantly worse than that of better players – the Big Buck Bunny 1080p test video still stutters even on high-end hardware like the iPhone 5

- gesture-based rewinding / fast forwarding still hasn't been implemented. By swiping left / right, based on the swipe length, there is scrubbing support, but it's definitely not as easy to do as traditional positioning changing as is done by, say, It's Playing.

- crashes upon trying to directly play back ATSC content. The previous versions that still supported AC-3 didn't do this (nevertheless, their ATSC playback quality was far inferior to, say, Oplayer, so you really didn't want to use this player to play back your direct TV recordings).

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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.