Developer: NXP Software B.V.
Price: $3.99
Version: 1.2

Design Rating: ★★★★☆
Features Rating: ★★★★☆
Integration Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

CineXPlayer is a major step forward in iPad video playback. Apple’s video codec support is heavily limited in its playback capabilities, rendering .avi files useless without conversion. With CineXPlayer, no conversion or transcoding is necessary.

Getting started is a simplistic, painless process – everything is done through iTunes. Add in the media that you want through the “Applications” tab in iTunes, sync and play. Presently, the application plays files with the Xvid codec, a highly popular codec found on most .avi files. Unfortunately, file formats like .mkv (used for HD content) and AC3 (Dolby Digital) are not yet supported, although the latter is coming soon. Through VLC’s application we know that it is possible to implement these file formats, meaning an update to CineXPlayer to provide more playback capability is not an out-of-this-world possibility.

CineXPlayer’s interface is clean and uncluttered. Two menu bars provide instructions on how to hide a new movie and seek help (top), as well the ability to clear all resume points on videos and mute the volume (bottom). Most of the screen is taken up by a library of your added movies in list format with their name provided. To delete movies, Apple’s standard swipe-to-right feature has been implemented. I feel that the interface could be improved, particularly with the implementation of watched/unwatched markers and a different library viewing style. For example, VLC has implemented a bookshelf style approach that works well, providing a screenshot preview of the content at hand. Nonetheless, the clean theme works well in this application.

When watching video, the interface is equally minimalist. A menu bar along the top provides a time-scroll bar coupled with dual upward / downward time counters, allowing you to navigate to any particular second in the movie with no guessing involved. Furthermore, additional tools allow you to view the content full screen with no dead space (usually at the cost of removing some sides of the video), play / pause and move video back to the start. There is only a temporarilyy visible watermark on the video that disappears after a few seconds of inactivity, meaning you can enjoy all of your content without any distractions elsewhere on the screen.

Through testing in iOS 4.2, I discovered that CineXPlayer already has AirPlay support integrated, the tool developed by Apple that allows you to stream audio to another source. AirPlay will become available to general public with the release of iOS 4.2 in November.

Overall, I am surprised that Apple allowed CineXPlayer into the App Store, given its strict video playback rules. For those who wish to enjoy any Xvid media on their iPad, CineXPlayer suits nicely and is a welcome addition to any iPad. There’s even an iPhone version to go with it. Subtitles are due to come in a future release of CineXPlayer, with a preview available below:

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Utilities, Reviews

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