Essential iPad paid app to play all movies: AVPlayerHD
This is a discussion on Essential iPad paid app to play all movies: AVPlayerHD within the iPad Reviews forums, part of the Apple iPad Discussions category; Here's a review of the AVPlayerHD written by myself and i've also gone to great lengths in order to properly explain how to transfer files ...
Post By sharkskill
Post By sharkskill
Essential iPad paid app to play all movies: AVPlayerHD
Here's a review of the AVPlayerHD written by myself and i've also gone to great lengths in order to properly explain how to transfer files onto the iPad using USB cable and iTunes. I have to admit that since i've got my new iPad a few weeks ago, i've had huge trouble to find correct and detailed instructions on how to proceed with the file transfer. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as with Windows or Android, but once you get the basics down, it's not so complicated.
Review (also submitted and approved on iTunes for that app. Please vote for this review by searching for this app on iTunes and then click on "Most Recent" in the reviews list to find it, so that more people can read and learn from it. I really felt like i had to write this guide as it's much more complete and helpful than the other reviews for that app):
After doing a lot of research on the best iPad apps, this was my very first essential iPad app when i bought my new iPad 4th generation (iPad Retina) and it's a required app for anyone who would ever play videos on their iPad. It plays almost all video formats easily without any need for conversion. You just copy the movies to your iPad using iTunes and then launch the AVPlayerHD to play the video files.
After you've downloaded the app, here's a guide on how to copy any video to your iPad in the most efficient and fastest way: First, connect your iPad via USB to your computer and launch iTunes (make sure your iPad and iTunes are up-to-date, to avoid any possible complications/crashes/bugs). I am using the current latest iTunes 11.0. In the sidebar, find your device listed under Devices. If you don't see the sidebar, enable it; from the iTunes top menu, click on View -> Show Sidebar. You will then see your iPad name (whatever you have set in the iPad settings). Click on it (it has a small iPad icon to the left of your iPad name and a battery indicator to its right). Then, on the right, you'll see information about your iPad (Capacity, Serial Number, etc). In the same window, look at the top menu and you will see the following options; Summary, Info, Apps, Music, Movies, etc. Select Apps. You will see two main sections; Apps and File Sharing. Under File Sharing (with the following description: The apps listed below can transfer documents between your iPad and this computer), you will see the heading, Apps and Documents. In the list under Apps, select AVPlayerHD. On the right, under AVPlayerHD Documents, you will then see a list of all the files stored on your iPad which are immediately available to be played with AVPlayerHD. On the iPad, supported files are directly associated with a particular app, hence why you need to place all the files to be played with a particular app, in the latter's own folder. Initially, you will see this folder __InternalData__ which contains the installation files for AVPlayerHD, so do not modify its filename or contents. To copy your video files, simply drag and drop in that window space below that folder or you can use the "Add..." button.
You can also use the Wi-Fi Transfer option from the app, but it's much slower than using USB cable. The Wi-Fi feature in this app was unreliable during my testing (although that could be a port setting blocked on my router) and it didn't work for me, although the file transfer began and completed, it automatically restarted the transfer a few times before failing. In the Settings option of the app, i would highly recommend that you enable the Hybrid Decoder option to force maximum compatibility to play your copied video files.
To manage the copied files, launch the app on your ipad and use the Media Explorer option to play or delete the files. You can also delete the copied files by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard while having the file selected in iTunes in the AVPlayerHD Documents window. I've tried several media formats, and successfully played 720p and 1080p mkv files using the popular standard H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec. The playback was smooth. If you get any lag, check the app settings on your iPad. You can also forward or rewind easily without the audio or subtitles going out of sync with the video. Most subtitles work, when included within the mkv file or as a separate srt file, but the srt filename has to exactly match the video filename in order to be recognized by the app.
However, there is still a lot of improvements to be made in certain areas of the app; the playback of WMV HD format is far from perfect, since there is noticeable lag and audio goes out of sync. For some MKV videos, the subtitles are not displayed if the subtitle has special font, colour and shading. This needs to be prioritized in the next update of this app. The app should come with a pack of the most popular fonts used. On my PC, Media Player Classic Home Cinema has no trouble at all to detect and display the subtitles perfectly. Also, subtitles that use format tags, for example, tags used for italics, <i></i> are not supported, resulting in displayed subtitles with those tags showing. These tags should be parsed by the app, but this is another area of the app that needs more work. Other than those couple of specific problems, the iPad wouldn't be complete without this essential movie player app. It's way better than any other iPad movie app out there.
Last edited by sharkskill; 01-22-2013 at 05:14 AM.
01-20-2013 11:22 AM
Nice review. I have transferred quite a few movies and adplayerhd has worked every time.
I've been doing further testing with AVPlayerHD (currently, the latest version of the app is 1.51) and i think i've nailed down the best settings for maximum compatibility with almost all MKV files.
AVPlayerHD had problems decoding some MKV files. It became annoying, but i managed to tide my regrets over by viewing other MKV files which played flawlessly. Initially, i thought those few incompatible MKVs were encoded with some non-stardard profiles, etc. But as i pulled my staggering collection of movies, tv shows and especially anime from my hard drives and tested them in turn on my iPad 4, i realized... An increasing number of these MKV files were having various playback issues. So, i decided to make a list of these problems and i'll explain how i managed to fix these issues.
I think this list of potential issues will be incredibly helpful to all AVPlayerHD users who might be desperate or having doubts about their purchase when playing MKV files:
1. MKV files refused to play at all. You might have seen the loading ring icon in the middle of your screen for a few seconds and then it exits to show the list of videos.
2. MKV files refused to play if the video was forwarded or rewinded manually. But if left alone and video started from the very beginning, the video played from start to end without any issues.
3. MKV files played but often the video distorts into green/blue/red patches (mostly green during my tests) and basically, this made the video very difficult to watch as i encountered those distortions every 5 seconds or so. It was exactly as if the media was damaged, or when watching a scratched DVD as the lens goes over the scratched areas of the disc.
4. The MKV files played but with choppy, intermittent freezing issues. Especially if your file is 1080p, but if the bitrate of your video is high enough, it could occur for even 720p files.
I have to admit that it is really disheartening to observe the widespread lack of information/guide/instructions to resolve these fundamental problems on the iPad, as i have searched for several days (i trust my searching skills and i'm definitely no Google newbie) and couldn't find any accurate or complete guide that dealt with those playback issues. The iPad is a terrific multimedia device, so for me it is still absolutely unimaginable how people manage to enjoy videos when there are severe limitations set by Apple on their devices. Does everyone use their iPad for work? The Retina screen is meant to be enjoyed via high resolution media, and unless you're a graphic artist/designer/editor, i don't see what other work might require you to use such a high resolution display. Therefore, in conclusion, most people who paid for their iPads (since it's obviously one of the most expensive tablets) must be using their Retina screens for videos or high resolution pictures.
Solution: While testing and sorting my huge stash of videos, those MKV files which didn't play perfectly were stacked in a corner, possibly heading to the bin or forgotten in a bottom drawer, before i started playing around with the AVPlayerHD settings and i realized that changing the settings to the correct modes, made a huge difference. Initially by trial and error, i was able to figure out how to fix all the problems described above. I will list my optimum MKV playback settings for AVPlayerHD, but for simplicity, i will omit some of those settings which do not affect the video compatibility issues.
Retina Display ON (no, it's not necessary, and you can set it to OFF, but why would you not want to enjoy the maximum quality of your videos on the beautiful Retina screen?)
Auto Play Next Video OFF (i prefer this setting so i can have total control over which file is being played, since playback of various videos in my list will get mixed up if they just follow on to the next)
Enable Play Resumes ON (the advantage is obvious. You stop the video to get a cup of coffee or just before you doze off, and when you're back you can resume where you left off)
Lock to Landscape ON (that's the best way to watch movies, especially the high resolution ones, like 720p and above)
Use Multitasking OFF (to have the best playback possible, you want your iPad's hardware to focus entirely on the video being played, meaning you don't want to share the limited resources of the iPad with other non-essential apps running in the background)
Auto Hide Menu OFF (like i said for the Auto Play Next Video setting above, i prefer to retain complete control over the files being played and how the playback is affected, so a simple tap will suffice to hide the Menu when i am ready to resume playback. I don't like the Menu to go off on its own and then i would have to tap to see it and then be forced to hurriedly do any changes before it goes off again. When the Auto Hide Menu set to OFF, you take your time to mess with the settings and forward/rewind the video before you settle down and watch the video)
Enable H/W Decoder OFF (we have reached the crucial parts of this bonus guide, as it took me weeks to learn about it and confirm my suspicions via extensive testing of various video formats, but H/W Decoding is basically bad. Disable it whenever you see it in AVPlayerHD and possibly even in other video player apps. The iPad hardware actually tends to interfere with the smooth process of decoding some video files, especially foreign unofficial formats, like MKV. Software decoding is the best option and since iPad 3 & 4 are quite powerful, most video files should be able to play without requiring the added assistance of the H/W Decoder. The software decoding procedure basically runs within the third-party app, in this case, AVPlayerHD, in a layer of its own, but if you enable the H/W Decoder, the video decoding process will be parsed outside of the app and will inherently be vulnerable to whatever the iPad decides to process, especially since the iOS doesn't want to decode anything else than its predefined set of video formats).
Enable Hybrid Decoder OFF (as i've said above, this option should not be enabled, unless you notice choppy playback, then you can enable it and test if it that helps. But if software decoding keeps your video files running smoothly, there's zero reason to enable the H/W decoding options.)
iTunes Backup OFF (i don't want my video files to be copied again and duplicated on my PC via the iTunes Sync feature, as i usually copy video files from my PC to my iPad. Then after watching, i delete these files from my iPad. The iPad doesn't have enough memory to be used as a long-term storage device or backup storage. To even consider that would be frankly stupid. The prices between the iPad 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models are so unnecessarily expensive, you would do better to buy a hard drive for your computer rather than spend more for a higher capacity iPad)
Gestures: these are very useful, and i've modified them a little so as to better suit my needs. Here goes my configuration (which works really well):
Tap - Show/Hide Menu
Double Tap - Change Display Size
Swipe Left - FWD 10 Sec (the default settings are Swipe Left to go backward, but during my extensive testing and use of the app, i found that swiping left to go forward is somehow more intuitive and it just seems more natural as it's exactly like turning the pages of a book, so if you do the motion to turn the next page, it forwards, and if you swipe just as if you were to read the previous page, the app rewinds. As for the description that appears when you swipe left or right, you would think that with all that space on the screen, those developers at AVPlayerHD could have at least typed it all out instead of using FWD for FORWARD or BWD for BACKWARD)
Swiper Right - BWD 10 Sec (here again, the settings were swapped from the default configuration)
Swipe Up - Volume +5%
Swipe Down - Volume -5%
Additional Gestures: these are not necessary in my opinion. I prefer to keep the taps to an arguably limited set so you remember them easily and don't accidentally mess your playback experience if you miss and your fingers touch the screen and activate an undesired feature/action (happens very often for most people, especially if we're relaxed on the couch and/or feeling lazy, which is mostly when we would have an iPad, with AVPlayerHD running, in our lap).
I hope this settings tour and bonus guide on AVPlayerHD have been useful to you. I felt like i had to take some time off and get this information out to prevent people from judging the iPad as an unworthy universal media player, as i did before i discovered what i've shared above.
Edit: In my review above (1st post in this thread), i said that 10-bit H.264 MKV videos were not supported, but after disabling the H/W Decoding options, all 10-bit H.264 MKV files now work perfectly!!
Last edited by sharkskill; 01-28-2013 at 02:21 AM.
Wonderful. I plan to implement your settings to see how they work for me.
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