iPhone Life magazine

Want to browse the Web while watching video on your iPad?

You may remember the simple video player I've written as an answer to a reader's request, allowing people to watch a video while entering / editing text (article, with full sources, HERE).

In the AppStore, a similar app, “Video DS - DualScreen Video Player”, has recently debuted with a built-in Web browser, letting for browsing the Web while watching a video from both the stock Video's database and videos directly transferred to the home folder of the app. (AppStore link; $1.99)


(the main app interface in Portrait mode, displaying the resolution chart and the playback interface controls at the top and the tabbed Web browser at the bottom. Click for the original-sized image.)

Pros

- Direct access to (unprotected) videos synchronized to the stock Videos app

- Dynamically settable zoom level

- While the browser is really simple, at least tabs (with closing via tap-and-holding) and favorites are supported

Cons

- Absolutely no support for non-iOS-native video formats – don't even think of MKV, WMV, TS, MTS etc. support. This also means AVI support is restricted: only ones with M-JPEG will be played back; that is, your non-camera AVIs won't be played. (It's only camera videos that use the very inefficient M-JPEG encoding. This is why for example the Big Buck Bunny AVI (it's HERE, linked from HERE) AVI isn't played back either - it uses the MS-MPEG4 format.)

- No support for embedded subtitles or audio track selections, both available in the built-in player.

- Absolutely no support for any kind of direct streaming or alternative ways of file up/download before playback

- Absolutely no support for directory sorting, adaptive scrubbing, DSP's, gesture-based rewinding/fast forwarding, aspect ratio overriding to maximize the viewing area by sacrificing the original aspect ratio

- The browser is really simple and is incomparably less featured than Safari, let alone the best titles like iCab Mobile (or Safari with all the available scriptlets running on a jailbroken device with all the Cydia goodies like page saving, upload support and full screen support)

Verdict

If you don't jailbreak for complete windowing freedom with Quasar, it's a very decent and cheap app – unless you want to play back non-iOS-native formats, of course.

If, however, your iPad is jailbroken, and you have already purchased the, despite the bugs (with which, if you learn them, you can live), highly recommended Quasar, you might want to give it a try first if you want something like this app – it gives you far more flexibility. Using it, you can run any video player in a window, with support for everything not supported by this app and you can also save $1.99 by using your existing players. Just an example screenshot showing running the stock Safari (rotated to Portrait mode so that it fills in the entire right half of the screen), the arena chat area of the excellent card game "Spectromancer" (bottom left quarter) and the excellent third-party video player "It's Playing" (top left quarter) in separate, resizable, relocatable windows (click for full size!):

 

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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.