iPhone Life magazine

Review: new multimedia player yaPlayer

I've been asked about the brand new (THIS and THIS MR threads announcing the player have been started yesterday by the developer) “yaPlayer” player so I very thoroughly tested it. The AppStore description introduces the player as follows: “yaPlayer has the best performance and gorgeous interfaces than any other available video player!” so I was eager to find out whether it's true.

As has turned out, while this isn't the case with some video codecs like MSMPEG-4 and WMV, both the  MPEG-2 and the h.264 decoders of the player have turned out to be pretty good. There are some neat and unique features in the app. However, I still think the better-established players like  AVPlayerHD or It's Playing offer a lot more features and better compatibility than this player.


(file list view of the app)

The app has a jog control to navigate the video file currently playing. This is advertised as one of the main features of the app. I, personally, haven't found it much better than the adaptive, excellent scrubbing capabilities of the stock Video player or the third-party ones (Falcon Player, TTPlayerHD, PlugPlayer, ProPlayer, OPlayer HD, Gplayer, Movie Player – Plays any Video! by Dominic Rodemer, AVPlayerHD etc.) also sporting this kind of control. However, you may still find it more precise to really fine-tune your positioning.

Speaking of quickly rewinding / fast forwarding some seconds (please see THIS for an explanation / list of players that do support this very important feature), it's painfully missing from the app. You can only use the jog dial for any kind of scrubbing – there's not even a rewind / fast forward icon.


(a during-playback screenshot showing both the jog control in the lower right corner, the scrubbing speed control in the lower left one and the subtitle position / size etc. controller in the top right one. The shot also shows the app supports the Retina screen of the iPad 3. A subtitle is displayed at the bottom. As usual, click for the original image.)

Pros:

- Very good MPEG-2 decoder – probably even better for 1080i DVB playback than that of Oplayer HD!

- The h.264 and OGG decoders are also of high quality.

- Stock Videos database access – albeit I don't think you really want to prefer using this interface as it doesn't really offer anything over the standard one (no DSP's, no special zoom modes – only playback speed change). The only true advantage of it is that you can link external SRT subtitles to videos in this database – something impossible with the stock player. (Albeit you can always import your SRT files to your MOV / MP4 / M4V files with Subler or MP4Tools on your desktop computer so that they can also be displayed by the stock Videos player. That is, you'll only want to use this feature if you cannot add SRT's to your video files and you absolutely must keep them in the stock Videos directory.)

The following is a screenshot of linking an external subtitle to a videos in the stock Videos library (that is, not a video in the home of yaPlayer):



Cons:

- major buffering problems with some higher-bitrate videos played back using hardware decoding; for example, the one I've linked to yesterday with a 40 Mbps video and an AC3 and an AAC audio track. (Both the optimized and unoptimized versions.) The same file is played back by the stock Videos app and third-party apps using HW acceleration (for example, GoodPlayer) just fine. Note that the same video but without any audio is played back just fine in yaPlayer – that is, the problem might be related to the audio tracks, not to the high bitrate of the video.

- only external subtitles are supported. There's absolutely no support for embedded textual / VobSub subtitles of any of the tested containers (MKV, MOV, TS). While there are some basic features like offset / size / background / encoding setting for subtitles, niceties like bilingual subtitle displaying (like in AVPlayerHD for external SMI files) or time multiplication (to easily fix, say, the 24p and 25p difference), present in several players like XBMC and AVPlayerHD (with the latter, only for external files) are missing. Actually, if you link a subtitle to a video, you'll unbind the previous link, including the automatic one (to the SRT files named the same as the video) - that is, you can't even switch between different subtitles while playing, you need to stop playing altogether and link to another SRT.
 
- absolutely no DSP's – not even volume boosting, let alone saturation / brightness boost (unlike in It's Playing)

- no support for non-standard zooming, including both zooming not using the official aspect ratio and zooming into any part of the (moving) image (as is done by It's Playing)

- the MSMPEG-4 and WMV decoders aren't as good as in some of the other players (e.g., AVPlayerHD)

- no support for audio-only (WAV, Flac, WMA etc.) files

- can't disable hiding files from iTunes – files can only be deleted from inside the app

- major A/V descynh issues with some files, for example, with the standard Harry Potter test MKV

Feature and benchmark chart

As usual, I've updated the chart (it's HERE; LibreOffice Calc format!) with info on the reviewed player. Currently, it's in Column C.

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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.