AVPlayer in Review – It only took 3 years to get avi, mkv and wmv playback…

For the longest time, one of the arguments by Apple haters against getting an iOS device had been the lack of support of 3rd party video formats. Of course, the native H.264 mp4 is arguably one of the best codecs out there, providing unsurpassed quality/size compression ratio. But still, there are a LOT of videos out there and, unfortunately, not everyone moves with the times with most of the low-def stuff available in AVI (usually XviD) and hi-def in MKV. But thankfully, that’s all changed as we finally have apps like AVPlayer – the answer to many an iOS user’s cries of despair.

AVPlayer is built with one thought in mind – to finally provide iDevice users a way to play videos in most formats available out there. And it does, featuring support for XVID/DIVX (including AC3) AVI,WMV,RMVB,ASF,H264,MKV and “most of all movie file formats” along with a bunch of other features, including support for SMI, SRT and even some basic post processing.

Getting videos to AVPlayer is fairly straightforward. You can either use the iTunes filesharing or start up the Wi-Fi server mode and access the storage via your PC’s browser. No “Open in…” support though at the moment. AVPlayer boasts strong file management, not only providing a way to organize your stuff in folders, but even a way lock them with passcode. Now why would anyone want to do that? It’s not like we have anything to hide, right? Anyhow… You can also move, rename and delete files and folders if it strikes your fancy, as well as access some information about the files including details about the video and audio codecs used.

Now to the most interesting part – the video playback. First and foremost, AVPlayer indeed lives up to the claim of being able to play almost all video formats out there. I have crunched all the files I was able to come up with no problems, whether it was the most common AVI in XviD or DivX varieties, an MKV, a WMV and even a Flash video (FLV) file with various resolutions and bit sizes. For the most part, all file formats played just fine, save for the MKV variety. An mkv file of BSG (Battlestar Galactica for the uninitiated) with 624×352 and h264 encoding ran with noticeable lags in any scenes where more than a little bit of the screen changed. And that was on an iPhone 4 nonetheless! AVI XviD files with 640×352 and a reasonable bitrate of about 1 Mbs played with no noticeable slowdowns. All other videos I had were of lower resolution and played with no performance issues.

AVPlayer offers a refreshingly robust player interface. Apart from the standard progress bar and movie running time, it offers an option of toggling the aspect rate between 4:3, 16:9, stretching it to fit the screen and automatic, as well as in-play video file information, subtitle support (external SMI and SRT files only) and even some simple post processing, like colorizing, sepia and grayscale. In addition AVPlayer recognizes some basic gestures, allowing for even more convenient control. One thing I felt missing, being the lucky owner of an AV-out cable, is the total lack of support for TV-out.

In the land of the App Store barren of video player apps,  save for the few like AVPlayer and VLC Media Player, the former offers iDevice users a solid choice for playing almost any type of video out there. And it does so with reasonable success, though to get really good performance on high-def videos, native mp4 is still very much recommended. However there really isn’t much to choose from at the moment and with a bit more optimization to increase performance and the implementation of some basic features, like support for TV-out or Open in… AVPlayer has everything in it to justify its cost.

With this I declare AVPlayer officially touched!

App Summary
Title: AVPlayer Developer: EPLAYWORKS
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 11.84MB
  • Plays back almost all video formats imaginable
  • Robust file management inclusing password protecting folders and file transfer via Wi-Fi or iTunes
  • Reasonable performance
  • Excellent player interface with gesture support
  • Audio playback for your music collection
  • Not very good performance on MKV files
  • No support for TV-Out
  • No support for Open in… functionality


A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well): http://twitter.com/ChiffaNe

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