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Newcomer - not happy with iPad

pdanes

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I have an IPad borrowed from a friend. I am learning sign language and want to use it to play instructional videos. The videos are short - a few seconds each. So far, my experience has not been very good.

I installed Box.com as a source for the videos, and when I can get them to play, it works fairly well. The picture quality is great, but operating the device is giving me fits.

1. It regularly demands a password to access the videos. I want to use it to play the videos when commuting by mass transit, with no WiFi signal. When it picks a such a time to demand a password, the device is useless until I can get to a WiFi node again. The videos are in the device, but inaccessible. Instead of storing a hash, it has to actually connect before letting me play my own, already downloaded videos.

2. Every time it sees a WiFi node, it tries to get me to log into an iStore account. I am sick of having to cancel this every time. There is "Connect" and "Cancel", but no "Cancel and don't ask again".

3. The video jumps back and forth between full screen and framed, with no input from me. I start one playing, and it suddenly jumps to full screen, rendering the title invisible. The title is the text of the signed phrase, and having it disappear for no reason is frustrating.

4. The play button is very difficult to hit properly. It seems that the target area is much smaller than the actual icon, and I often end up toggling between full screen and framed, when what I want is to start or stop the playback.

5. There does not seem to be any way to play more than one video. I have to move each video into the frame by hand and start the playback by hand.

6. It regularly locks up, stuck on a video. I can't move to the next or previous one, and I can't close it. I have to close the entire app and re-open it. Then it usually starts working again, but not always, and not always does it return to the video I was playing. Sometimes it just goes to a completely different folder, and frequently wants me to log in again.

I can't tell if the device is defective, if I'm just a klutz, or if I'm simply trying to do things it was not designed for. And I have no idea if it's just the Box playback, or if all videos operate this way. I tried installing VLC, but it was unable to access any videos I had downloaded, and refused to download any itself. I used the built-in video player, but it did not show the titles at all, which is kind of useless for instructional videos. I have decades of experience with computers, and make my living as a database tech, so I don't think I'm a complete techno-fool, but this is making me feel like one.

I had a tablet from a different manufacturer prior to this, running Android. It was a joy - hooked it to my computer, both devices instantly recognized each other, and transferring the videos was a one-move, drag and drop operation. I downloaded VLC, it happily played the videos with not a single hitch the whole time I had it, variable speed (slo-mo is VERY useful for these vids), through an entire folder, in sequential or random order. I could stop a video, scroll backward, forward - anything I wanted.

Is this normal? Is there something basic I'm missing? Other things work great. Skype runs like a dream, the recording quality for photos and videos is phenomenal, but the main reason I have the thing, these hundreds of instructional videos, is just not working the way I need.
 

Jupiter7

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I think the reason you are having difficulties is that you are trying to use a cloud service to play videos. Box.com stores videos, but only allows off-line viewing for files and folders
 
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pdanes

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But this does work, sometimes. Actually, it works most of the time, but it blips out often enough to be extremely annoying. The Box app has a feature named "Mark for offline viewing" (translated from Czech) and it works, mostly. When it does, I can view the vids anywhere I want.
 

twerppoet

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You would be better off using an app like VLC or AVPlayer. These and other dedicated video/audio players will work far better than trying to use Box.com. You should be able to import the videos from your box.com account, and having the files local will prevent box.com from asking for passwords.

I like Box.com, but video streaming is not it’s strong point.
 
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pdanes

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I did try to use VLC, based on the great experience I had with the previous tablet running Android. However, as I wrote in the original post, VLC did install, but refused to play anything that was already in the device, and refused to download anything on its own. I don't remember the exact text now, because I removed it after several weeks of fruitless effort, but it was something to the effect of "Unable to access requested files". I can try installing it again and relay the exact text, if you think it will help matters.
 

NSquirrel

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One of the unusual thing about ios is that every app is sandboxed and hence generally inaccessible to anything outside the app sandbox. Videos would need to be loaded into vlc or alternative to play. Some apps do allow you to download a file and then open it in another app - as long as that app supports the file type.

Sandboxing is one if the aspects that makes ios safe against any virus, etc., but is confusing to almost everyone from an Android, Windows, etc. background.
 
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pdanes

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I did run into that in trying to figure out what how to use the device. I can see the advantages in such a design, but for me, and what I'm trying to do, it's rather annoying. Every video player I want to try, I have to download a separate copy of the video into that app's sandbox. I can't play the same video using several different players. For these instructional videos, it's not that bad, but for long films, I suppose you would have to be pretty well set in your choice of players, or the multiple copies would clog storage. And what do you do with videos you want to edit, then play? Do you have to edit them in one app, upload them off the device, then download them back into the playback app? That's certainly doable, although a hassle, but what if you don't have a place to upload? Not online, don't have a PC handy - are you just stuck, and can't play your video?

This sandbox regime is one of the reasons I suspect that I may simply be trying to use the device in a way not intended by the designers. If that's the case, and playing numerous videos in a round-robin fashion as I described is just not something an iPad can do, then I will return it to my friend and go buy something that fits my needs.
 

NSquirrel

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There are various apps you can upload your videos to, in one go, and then share with another app player. File Browser and Readdle Documents are two examples.

There are quite a lot of players. E.g. 8player and nplayer are two I use as well as vlc. (Whether I need all of them ...? ) Many apps have players incorporated: FB and Docs above have players.

I have not done any editing, so cannot comment except to say that imovie edits. Others will hopefully come along with their suggestions.
 

NSquirrel

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I meant to add about sandboxing, or perhaps it is just IOS. I have been using computers varying types for rather a long time of different types ... and op. systems, from around the time of the advent of 4 bit processors, and it took me quite a while, with many questions patiently and gratefully answered here, to adjust and understand IOS on my iPad as it is so different.

(The adjustment was worthwhile, for me anyway.)
 
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pdanes

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No doubt there is a learning curve, and I'm still very much on the uphill side of it. But maybe someone can save me a bit of time and effort. Is there a player that will allow me to do what I specified in the original post? That will play all videos in a folder (numerous very short videos), or multiple folders, without having to manually start each one? That allows easy start - stop - change speed? That will leave the title on the screen unless *-I-* specify that I want it gone? That doesn't freeze regularly?

And is there a way to make it stop constantly hounding me to connect to their iStore?
 

NSquirrel

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iStore thoughts:
I assume most users sign into the app store and itunes pretty well automatically.

It may be the ipad is just trying to get you signed in; is trying to get into it to check for updates; or the player you are using is trying to get you to do an in-app purchase. Also the box may be trying to get the app.

Can you sign in, or as the iPad is borrowed, do you not have the password? (As far as purchases go, you would be asked if you want to buy, and then I think have to put in your password or fingerprint to authorise at the time of purchase. Hence, as far as I know, signing in would be *financially* safe.)

At a guess, unless you do sign in, you are going to be asked to, continually everytime you have a wifi connection.

The playing questions, I will leave for others, but taking copyright into account, it may be that uploading a couple of the short videos, or providing web links, may assist others to investigate and help solve the problem - one way ir other.
 

NSquirrel

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Another thought: if you load all the videos onto the iPad, then turn on airplane mode, your wifi will be off, hence there will be no further app store connection attempts.
 

NSquirrel

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As I understand it, Nplayer has a shuffle playlist, where it will play videos in a random order. I tried playing one sample video and it showed the file name continuously displayed at the top of the screen. How it will perform on a mini, I cannot check.

There is a lite (free) version of nplayer.
 
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pdanes

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Thank you, I will try your suggestions.
 
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pdanes

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Well, I downloaded Nplayer. Looked good at first - seems to have at least some of the functions I wanted, like playback speed control. Unfortunately, after EVERY SINGLE VIDEO, it jumps out of video mode and blats out a full-screen 'offer' to sign up for some jack-ass local store mailing list, like Tesco, and the POS offer is almost impossible to dismiss. The "Not interested" button does nothing, the "More information" button opens a browser app that I then have to dismiss. And even when not playing a video, there is a large, constantly running fraphic banner ad at the bottom of the screen, that also is impossible to close. Thank you for the suggestion, but this is the worst piece of nagware I have ever seen.
 

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