One of the benefits of the iPad is the larger screen-size, making it the perfect medium for watching video while mobile. One of the caveats of iPad (or any iOS platform) video is that you have only a few options to get it on your device, as Apple only supports a couple of video formats. To get your video to your device, it usually involves iTunes in some way or another. Even if you use your own DVDs, you have to convert them with a third-party program, which isn’t bad, but it does take time. Enter AVPlayerHD: an app for your iPad that allows you to play your videos without conversion.
Developed by ePlayWorks, AVPlayerHD supports a variety of formats including XVID, AVI, WMV, RMVB, ASF, H264, MKV, and subtitle formats like SMI, SRT, and TXT. Once upon a time, there used to be another player for the iPad called VLC. VLC was great because it played almost every video format you can throw its way. Available for nearly every operating system, it seemed a natural fit for VLC to have an iOS version. It was available as an app on the App Store for a while, but Apple eventually removed it. I would think that giving users the ability and ease of use to avert the iTunes store for video might seem counterproductive for Apple, so now AVPlayerHD picks up where VLC left off. Hopefully it’ll last longer than VLC did in the App Store.
(If you want to see what VLC can do for your iOS device, it’s still available on their website, but not through Apple. Go to https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-ios.html to download an archive that you’ll need to extract and drag into iTunes to sync with your device.)
Once installed, the interface is very simple. You have the option to view your video library (Media Explorer), initialize a “Wi-Fi Transfer”, or navigate the “Settings” for the app. To begin, since I didn’t have any media on my iPad, I attempted a Wi-Fi transfer. The app instructs you to use your web browser on whichever computer contains the video files you want to transfer to your iPad. Simply type in the exact address it gives you, and you can browse for files to move over. One piece of advice: let the transfer finish on the iPad before you go playing with some other app. It will cut off your transfer and you’ll have an incomplete video file. It’ll play, but you’ll be disappointed when the movie cuts out. You can also use a USB connection and transfer your videos with iTunes, which works a little faster.
Playback on the iPad is great. Depending on the resolution of the original video, AV Player will display them all, adding black bands when needed for widescreen aspect ratios. You can also zoom full screen, which crops the video to fit. With the proper peripheral for output to TV, you can watch your iPad video on a larger display, with the settings allowing you to tweak your experience. Being able to lock the screen to landscape is nice, and subtitles work well. A slew of other settings are also available for color adjustment, password security, and more.
At a nice price point ($2.99), AV Player HD is a must-have app for anyone that wants to easily watch videos without the painful wait for converting them.