By Werner Ruotsalainen on Wed, 08/08/2012
(Please read THIS for more info on MKV's and why they're preferable to any other format when you, say, rip your own DVD or Blue Ray discs to be played back on your iPad / iPhone. The last article on other hardware playback-capable AppStore players is HERE, with further links to other, previous reviews.)
BEWHERE PROJECTS LTD, which already has several (albeit, compared to the best players like AVPlayerHD, It's Playing, GoodPlayer, BUZZPlayer or, as far as free apps are concerned, FlexPlayer, MoliPlayer or QQPlayerHD, not very good) video players in the AppStore, has just released a brand new player, 1080 Play (free, ad-supported lite version HERE in the AppStore; $5 full “Pro” version HERE) with MKV remuxing capabilities.
While the player itself, just like the developer's other video player products, is pretty weak and really lacking features, it offers something that no other player in the AppStore does: remuxing (the video-specific word of converting the container and possibly the audio track while leaving the video track alone) before playing back. This feature has been sorely missing from all the other AppStore players.
(a screenshot of the app asking the user whether an MKV should be converted (just tap Yes-Optimize). It also shows what happens when you don't want to use the results of the online movie metadata – empty thumbnails will be displayed (Also see the Cons list below). As usual, click the screenshot for a much larger and better-quality image.)
So, let's take a look at the pros and the cons.
- Seems to be able to convert all kinds of widely used multichannel audio formats (DTS and AC3), unlike BUZZ Player, which doesn't like DTS at all.
- As it playing back previously-remuxed, native MOV files, there are absolutely no playback problems (stuttering or pauses) and repositioning inside a file is instantaneous
- Pre-converting, if and only if you have the necessary storage, is vastly superior(!!!) to background remuxing while playing back. Currently, 1080 Play is the only player that allows for remuxing before any playback. (It's Playing, AVPlayerHD, BUZZPlayer, PowerPlayer, EC Player and RushPlayer all use background remuxing and can't be forced to remux entirely before playback.)
- Has a fully-functioning lite version with “only” an “Upgrade” button to be different from the commercial version
- No audio track selection support for multichannel videos
- Not any kind of subtitle support, not even SRT's
- No goodies like DSP's (see It's Playing)
- Frequently crashes
- Pricey if you don't want to see the “Upgrade” button – AVPLayerHD is far better in almost every respect while maintaining a lower price point (but, of course, it can't pre-remux the videos, unlike 1080 Player)
- If the videos you want to play back aren't recognized and/or you tap “No” after the automatic recognition process, there won't be a thumbnail displayed in the main video selector window.
All in all,
If you need a player that, unlike any other MKV hardware playback-capable players, can convert MKV videos before playing back and, therefore, is absolutely free of any problems related to on-the-fly remuxing, and can live with the problems outlined above, go for it.
Again, this only applies to non-jailbroken devices – the jailbreak-only XBMC and RushPlayer+ can play back MKV's without any kind of remuxing (again, on jailbroken devices only). And, of course, you'll always want to try to remux your videos on your desktop computer (with Subler an the like), before transferring them to your iDevice.
(a screenshot of the app playing back a 1080p MKV test file on the Retina iPad 3. As you can see, the app makes use of the Retina screen.)
Note that the program uses the ”play1080” name in iTunes File Sharing list box and not 1080 Play.