Another crossposted article for today: Excellent multimedia player iMedia Player re-released as 'MPlayer' – with AC3 support!
As has been pointed out in my yesterday's article, iMedia Player is an excellent media player. Its developers have just debut with a separate, commercial ($2.99; AppStore link) app, MPlayer, (at least according to the devs) officially licensing the (E-)AC3 audio codec.
(AppStore description; also showing it being installed on my iPad after my purchasing it. As usual, click the image for the full-sized original.)
While, in the AppStore, the seller / developer names are totally different (based strictly on them, I wouldn't have thought the two players have anything to do with each other), in the just-released iMedia Player update you're actually taken to the new player in AppStore:
(a screenshot showing the dialog taking you to the new, AC3-friendly app in the AppStore. The background shows the biggest problem of both apps: the lack of Retina support - here, I try to play back my resolution tester MKV file with AC3 audio.)
There are absolutely no differences between the just-released MPlayer 1.0 and the newly-released iMedia Player 2.0 update, except for MPlayer's not being ad-supported and, of course, supporting AC3 audio.
This also means the pros / cons lists are the same for both apps (again, with the exception of AC3 support) – see below.
Do I recommend it over AVPlayer(HD), the other player to officially support AC3? (As far as AppStore, that is, non-jailbroken players are concerned, of course. For jailbroken devices, I highly recommend the basically (you won't need to purchase the IAP if you don't need access to the icons in the filelist view – playback works just great without them) free RushPlayer+ and the completely free XBMC. Just keep in mind that XBMC has a little bit lower-quality H.264 / WMV / MKV decoder than the best titles out there.)
Well, if you don't have a Retina device (anything newer than an iPhone 3GS, a 3rd-gen iPod touch, an iPad 2, not counting in the non-Retina iPad mini) and/or you don't want to play back any video in software and/or if you don't plan to play back high-resolution videos, then, this player can prove handy, particularly if you need SMB streaming or HTTP (Web) streaming / access / download, which AVPlayer(HD) entirely lacks. Otherwise (apart from the major problem of the lack of Retina support), the two players are pretty comparable. If you have both small-screen devices and iPads, MPlayer may be a better choice because you'll only need to pay once (the player being Universal), unlike with AVPlayer.
However, do keep in mind that any time you'll need to rely on software decoding of high-resolution videos, the resolution will greatly suffer on anything Retina. In this regard, AVPlayer and AVPlayerHD are far better. Also, they lead in their MKV (MPlayer doesn't support MKV playback in hardware) and the newly-enhanced (see my yesterday's article) FTP support.
The pros / cons list of MPlayer (the same applies to the free iMedia Player – except for the AC3 support, of course):
The biggest one: No Retina support on anything (both small-screen devices and the iPad 3/4) while software decoding (no such problem with HW-decoded, that is, iOS-native videos)
No CC support in native videos (albeit they're played back in hardware)
No full SSA subtitle support (text subs are supported)
Pretty weak DVB TS support (no scrubbing support, doesn't detect 16:9 videos (renders everything in 4:3); while it renders DVB subtitles, it shows them over a pretty ugly background; interlaced fields are merged in a very ugly way when there's a lot of movement in the frame)
No filelist sorting
No metadata display
Official(!) AC3 support
Excellent (fast) H.264 decoder – the player can (unless battery life is important) be used to play back even 1080p MKV videos
Very fast and compatible WMV decoder (no WMA Pro audio support, though)
Gesture-based ffwd / rewind support (20 secs in both directions; unfortunately, can't be configured)
Absolutely flawless 1080i60 (ATSC) playback (no scrubbing / subtitle support, though)
Passcode lock support
Support for mp3 / ogg audio tracks
Audio file playback-wise, WMA (but no WMA Pro!), FLAC, APE and WAV audio too (no WV or OGA files, though)