Android’s standard Movies app is a little lacking; much like the stock music app, it’s functional but leaves quite a bit to be desired in polish and features. Thankfully, Android’s robust developer community have taken it upon themselves to create some video players of their own: here’s some players that are not only more polished and nuanced but are fully-featured, well-crafted video playing apps in their own right!
RockPlayer is an absolutely amazing app. It’s the VLC of the Android world, being able to play just about any media file out there. It took everything I threw at it, from AVIs to MKVs and back again, and on the website the list of codecs and containers that it supports are quite long; they’re basically a list of all the most commonly used video files today!
Don’t expect much else feature-wise out of RockPlayer; While RockPlayer’s support list is impressive, it’s a video player, plain and simple, lacking much of the customizability of some of the other video players on this list. Another con is that the ads can sometimes get in the way. That said, however, it’s very good at what it does, and absolutely worth the download if you’ve got a file that simply won’t play (or just want a solid video player for daily use!)
VitalPlayer is similar to RockPlayer in that it’s got support for a great deal of different codecs; if you’ve got a video that won’t play, chances are that VitalPlayer will be able to succeed where your other video player failed. Like RockPlayer, it took every video file I sent at it (though, admittedly, that’s mostly AVIs and MKVs). It was smooth, fast, and feature-full. The UI is quite usable as well, and it has a very handy gesture system in place for handling user input; it’s simple and intuitive, and the program provides a helpful info box in the beginning to get your gesturing all set right from the get-go!
Like RockPlayer, however, the ads can be annoying at times; the solution for that is to buy VitalPlayer Pro, which removes the ads. Also like RockPlayer, it isn’t the most feature-packed app; it’s got some settings for decoding and video mode and that’s it. Some users have also reported significant slowdown or choppiness, but I can report that my Nexus One had no problems with the test files that I played. Overall, a very solid app and one I definitely recommend in anyone’s video playing cabal!
mVideoPlayer is a great video player replacement for the native Android player; it’s got subtitling (with a built-in feature to download subtitles for whatever you’re watching from OpenSubtitles.org, an amazing feature indeed!), very nice controls, video library and IMDB support. The app is eminently tweakable and has a great deal more features than many of the video players on this list, making it a must-have app for any of those users out there who love playing with their media players to get the best speed or quality out of them.
mVideoPlayer’s big flaw, however, is the limited amount of codecs it supports. It only supports the native Android codecs, meaning that if you’ve got any files that won’t play you’re just out of luck; Android’s stock support is only handful of different codecs. That said, mVideoPlayer belongs here due to its sheer polish: It’s an amazing app with a great UI and tons of features and is very usable. Definitely worth it for as a long-term replacement to the default Movies app when watching Android-compatible videos!
ArcMedia is a player aimed at providing compatibility with a wide range of video formats, much like RockPlayer and VitalPlayer. It supports a wide range of video formats, including Flash files, meaning that you can download FLVs to your Android device and watch them later outside of whatever streaming video place you found them. Its playback is also fast and smooth, with great quality; though it uses the same software decoding library as both RockPlayer and VitalPlayer (ffmpeg) it seems to be a tiny bit more responsive than the both of them.
While both RockPlayer and VitalPlayer offer this kind of support, arcMedia has neither ads nor a pro version; what you see it what you get, making it a welcome video player free of clutter or cost. It’s very simple, however, not having the features of some of the other video players here (this seems to be a trend among the jack of all trades style video players), and it’s still in beta: crashes and bugs might come along (though I experienced none in my testing) until it finally hits a stable release. Overall, a solid video player and definitely worth a download!
5. Act 1 Video Player
Act 1 Video Player seems to be in the mVideoPlayer crowd; it’s got a slick UI and tons of features similar to mVideoPlayer, including subtitling, playlists, zoom, on-screen clock & battery, and more. It’s got tons of little nooks and crannies offering a bunch of different customizable settings, and will likely satisfy the tweaking crowd among us.
I mentioned that it’s in the mVideoPlayer crowd, and it also suffers from the same limitations: namely, it cannot play any video files other than the ones supported by Android natively. The free version also only limits you to a 2 minute trial, though the app isn’t terribly expensive. Definitely a very slick app with a great user interface, and worth a look if you’re in the market for an alternative video app!
And there you have it; my Android Top 5 Video Apps! Each of them is stellar in their own way, and we hope that of the 5 you find one that suits you in your video playing!
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