Infuse in Review – A beautiful video player for the iPhone and iPad

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Infuse is the latest play-it-all video player app to hit the App Store. Long gone are the days when you first need to convert non-MP4 files before importing them for viewing on the iDevice. Infuse doesn’t just play 14 different video file formats, it’s also hands down the best looking app of its kind on iOS, it syncs with your trakt.tv account, and importing subtitles for TV shows or movies is an absolute breeze.

Importing videos can currently be done via several methods: iTunes File Sharing (plug iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch into your computer, go to device –> Apps –> Infuse and drag files into right window), email attachments, Dropbox and any other app that supports the “Open In..” feature. According to FireCore, developers behind the app, Wifi and FTP uploads will be coming in the future.

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Game of Thrones on the iPad: Metadata on a movie stub

The great thing about Infuse is that imported videos files will pull metadata and artwork from TheMovieDB and TheTVDB. So all your shows and movies will be displayed in a thumbnail poster, along with all the relevant info like Director, Cast, Writer, Movie Synopsis and more. Meanwhile, the interface is designed to the theme of a movie theatre, from the red stage curtains to the metadata displayed on a traditional movie stub.

Already use trakt.tv ? Login via Infuse and automatically “scrobble” all the latest videos watched to your account. If you’re not familiar, trakt basically keeps track of all the tv shows and movies you’ve seen, and the social movie site also lets you rate and discover content and follow others with similar tastes.

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Subtitles can either be imported or downloaded on the fly and it really doesn’t get easier than this. No other video app have I come across that makes the entire process so simple. While playing a video, open settings (top right corner) and tap on the Subtitles icon. There you can select those you’ve already imported, and if not, choose a language, then available subtitle. A host of subtitle options can then be tweaked: Size, Color, Weight, Outline, Vertical Alignment, Encoding and Time Offset.

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Infuse on the iPhone 5

As for video file compatibility, Infuse supports a whopping 14, including MP4, M4V, MOV, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DVR-MS, FLV, MKV, OGM, OGV, WebM, WMV and WTV. Dolby Digital Plus (AC3 and E-AC3) audio is also fully supported. I’ve tested several video formats (MP4, 3GP, AVI and MKV) and they all played great on my iPad mini and iPhone 5. FireCore claims that Infuse plays 1080p H.264/AVC files at a cool 30FPS. And due to iOS limitations, DRM-protected content purchased from iTunes won’t work with Infuse. This probably isn’t the right app for those who primarily download their movies and shows through the Apple ecosystem.

Unfortunately, Infuse doesn’t support streaming at the moment, meaning those of you who have a ton of videos stored on a computer, media center or a NAS and would prefer to stream them to the iDevice are out of luck. Thankfully, streaming (and Airplay) is something that FireCore are working on for a future update. Personally, I can live without it for the time being, though it’ll definitely make Infuse more complete as a video app.

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I do have two minor quibbles with Infuse. For starters, some kind of folder support would be great. As it stands, when you load a bunch of episodes of a particular TV show, the same poster thumbnail is shown multiple times on the main page. With a large enough library, it’d be much easier to navigate if all these episodes are placed under one thumbnail/folder. The other thing I’ve found lacking is gesture support during video playback. Apps I’ve been using prior to Infuse (AcePlayer and OPlayer) allow you to change the volume or skip x-seconds forwards or backwards by simply wiping up/down or left/right, respectively.

In just a short while, Infuse has become my favorite video player on iOS. You’d be hard pressed to find a better designed UI for a video app that plays just about anything you throw at it. The integration of trakt, ease of importing subtitles on the fly and automatic importing of artwork and metadata all help make Infuse hard to resist. Too bad that the initial release lacks support for streaming, but once it’s implemented in a later update, Infuse should be a heavyweight contender for “Best Video Player” on the iPhone and iPad.

Grabt It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Infuse Developer: FireCore
Reviewed Ver:1.2.2Min OS Req:5.0
Price:$4.99App Size: 42.1MB
  • Gorgeous interface
  • Supports 14 video file formats
  • trakt.tv sync
  • Subtitles extremely easy to import and they’re customizable
  • Artwork and metadata pulled automatically
  • No streaming or airplay
  • No gestures support for playback
  • Multiple episodes for a tv show should have only 1 poster thumbnail

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