iPhone Life magazine

Review: two new multimedia players "iMedia Player" and "Movie Player HD+"

Today, let me review two new multimedia players iMedia Player and Movie Player HD+. The former is free and Universal; the latter is $1 and has only an iPhone version.

As usual, I've updated the main chart (the latest version is HERE; look for the two new columns currently "C" and "D") of my forthcoming Multimedia bible with information on these players.

iMedia Player (AppStore link)


(The interface of iMedia Player during playback using software decoding. As you can easily see, there's no Retina iPad 3 support – videos are rendered at the resolution of 1024*768. As usual, click the image for the original-sized version.)

Pros

- Free but still capable of quality playback with some formats

- Very good WMV playback for WMV or VC-1 files with no WMA Pro audio. (WMA Pro isn't at all supported)

- Very good software H.264 decoder at 720p (albeit lipsynch issues are a real pain)

- Very good MS-MPEG4 decoder

- 15/15s quick rewinding / fast forwarding with single-finger swipes and dedicated ffwd / rewind icons (see THIS for more info on why this may be very important). Doesn't work in hardware decoding mode, though.

- Good ATSC DVB 1080i60 MPEG-2 playback – unlike for SD broadcasts

- Support for HW playback of native iDevice file formats – uses the original interface, allowing access to everything (audio / subtitle track selection etc.). HOWEVER, swipe-or button-based repositioning doesn't work in this case!

- FLAC and Ape support (audio)

- Tries to find album artwork for audio playback. A screenshot of this:



Cons

- No iPad 3 Retina support with SW-decoded videos. (HW decoding does use the full resolution!)

- No SSA subtitle support: the  Suzumiya  subs are displayed as unstyled English – not even the Japanese text is shown

- Poor SD DVB 576i50 support

- Doesn't even list MTS videos, let alone playing them

- Lipsynch issues with a lot of videos

- Poor (very slow) M-JPEG decoder (for unconverted camera videos)

- Constantly displays annoying ad dialogs. Some other, also free players do this much more discretely and in no way such an annoying manner; for example, RockPlayer2 (review).

- Swipe-or button-based repositioning doesn't work with hardware decoding

- No OGG video support  

- WMA support-wise, not better than all the other iOS players (except for XBMC, of course - see THIS)

Verdict

If you don't need Retina support for the iPad 3 and don't want to play back formats not (OGG, MTS videos, WMA Pro audio also extensively used in WMV videos etc.) or poorly (standard-definition DVB MPEG-2 TS or M-JPEG videos; ASS subtitles etc.) supported, you may want to give it a try - after all, it's free.

Movie Player HD+ (AppStore link)

This $1 app is (still) iPhone / iPod touch-only. The developer has no iPad version at all. Therefore (and because of its, on average, pretty mediocre and, with H.264, plain bad video decoders), I don't really recommend it for iPad owners.


(main list view)

Pros:

- The developer is continuously giving away free promo codes at MacRumors (see THIS)

- Definitely better SSA subtitle support than with most iOS players and orders of magnitude better than that of iMedia Player (see above): while they aren't animated / colored / positioned, both the original Japanese and its transcript is displayed, along with the English translation. An example screenshot showing this, along with the other playback controls of the app:



Cons:

- No iPad version

- Poor WMV support: even the lowest-resolution videos stutter (albeit WMA Pro is supported, unlike with iMedia Player)

- Poor H.264 decoder

- No dynamic MKV remuxing for HW playback

- Major lipsynch issues with even lower-resolution (e.g., the 720p Harry Potter test video) movies, let alone larger-resolution  ones. Frame dropping to keep audio and video in synch can't be enabled.

Verdict

Well, this is a pretty mediocre player. If you can get a promo code and can get it for free, you may want to give it a try. However, I don't think it's worth the $1 in its current state. Hope the developer improves it over time.

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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.