Saturday, 17 September 2011

Lack of a decent free DivX video player

The standard Photos & Videos app that ships with the TouchPad is pretty useless when it comes to playing the video format I almost exclusively use: DivX. And, no, I absolutely will not run any converter to another format - that is just a waste of time.

What I'm after in a TouchPad video player is:
  • Must be free. I certainly don't pay for the likes of mplayer or VLC on my desktop, netbook or laptop, so why should I pay for something like that for my TouchPad?
  • Must be able to handle at least 480p without issues in DivX (720p is optional). That includes correct audio syncing, support for AC3 and MP3 audio and automatic detection of the aspect ratio (with a manual aspect override if it's been coded wrong, which happens surprisingly often).
  • Some sort of automatic multi-speed picture search fast-forward, since I use that a lot in mplayer (via the arrow keys) to skip boring bits.
  • Basic video player controls like a typical Flash video player has (slider, elapsed/remaining/total time, pause/start/stop).
  • Play from local filestore with a basic file browser. Would be nice if file list could be sorted in date or alphabetical order (for episodic viewing).
  • Optional: Pick up files via DLNA.
I tried Preware's Touch Player, but its big problems are that it gets the aspect ratio wrong and it does DivX via software (ffmpeg is the transcoder), which results in about one frame every 2 seconds on most videos I tried. I tried the trial of Kalemsoft Media Player and it botches the aspect ratio most of the time (the manual ratio presets often don't match either!). The trial has expired anyway, plus it's a paid product so it fails on the #1 point!

It's pretty sad that the TouchPad has no free usable DivX video player - yes, it'll do YouTube (Flash) and claims to do H.264 (but probably in some useless container format), but the lack of DivX is something of a major weak point of the TouchPad and makes me yearn for the TouchPad Android port to be completed. If you know of a decent free DivX video player for the TouchPad, please leave a comment below.

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