Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Best Video Player for the iPhone is OPLAYER.

(This article is taken from my archives.  I originally wrote it in January and in March, I haven't changed my tune, and yes, this is another one of my rants on codecs and iTunes)...

Update October 19th, 2011:  I have posted a new article reviewing what I believe to be the best video players for both the iPhone and iPad.  It is an update on this article

I waited for a long time to see VLC show up on the iPhone - 2 years to be precise.  But having downloaded it on its first day of release, I have yet to use it.  Why?  Well, upon reviewing the early users of the program, although the reviews were good, one reviewer placed a very interesting comment, something to the effect of, "not as good as Oplayer..."  You don't have to say this twice to know that you may be missing something.   Immediately I took the opportunity to download the Oplayer program followning the VLC download.

The reason for a third party app is due to the fact that Apple's Quicktime refuses to play anything other than .MV4, .MP4 files or other simple file types.  It will not play .DIVX or .MKV files.  I don't know if licensing is an issue or something else, but it has been a frustrating endeavour listening to the Jailbreakers and Android owners boast about being able to play different codecs.  So it was a hearty surprise when an app called CineXplayer was accepted into the iPad app store.  It allowed the above mentioned codecs to be played by going around Apple's codec limitation and allowing the .AVI files to be uploaded via iTunes.  I fully expected this to last for only a few days and be removed from the App store, but it wasn't.  The only problem was that I do not own an iPad.  So it was watchful waiting until the CineXplayer developers released a version for the iPhone and iPod Touch.  The rumor mills were filled with VLC entering the fray and I was thrilled to find out that VLC would be released soon.  I downloaded it the first day.  But it was Oplayer, an App that, until noted in the review, made absolutely no noise in the video environs, that eventually won me over.

I was able to immediately use the Oplayer App but not the VLC application due to the fact that the OPlayer application allowed for OTA (Over the air) downloads immediately.  The VLC application, similar to the CineXplayer on the iPad, requires iTunes to transfer its .AVI files to the device.  OPlayer does not. 

Oplayer is far from perfect, but I have not found any significant faults thus far.  It plays Xvid files and other .AVI files wonderfully, while distributing its .MP4 files to the Quicktime player, the native player of the iPhone, thus not duplicating services. 

One very interesting thing that Oplayer does is to change the port for each download.  It's a wonderful security measure and obviously something that the creators of this software program thought about for a long time.  You may start on port 2456, and not the usual 8080, but after owning the software for a few weeks, you will soon see 5255, but never the same port on the same day.  Again, brilliant security feature.

Standard video plays better than HD video due to the iPhone using Hardware acceleration for its native Quicktime videos but not for standards that it does not natively support. But Oplayer even has a solution for that.  Just like in the Palm days, there is a Skip Frame feature whch may improve performance with HD video.

Of note, you can also play .mkv, .3gp, .mov and .rmvb files, not to mention Microsoft's .wmv files.

Some things that I would like to see in the future are batch downloads, support for the Mac Centric AFP network for Airport and a working meter to tell how much longer the download will take. Other than that I really have no issues with the software.  It does its job very well.

So, if you are looking for an alternative to QuickTime, I think Oplayer is worth a look.  In fact out of all the video players that I own on my iPhone, I would rate this as the best.  The cost is $2.99 as of this writing and it is found in the App Store on iTunes.  The maker of the software is Olimsoft.


Update:  A few newcomers have joined the fray since my post, but rest assured, although there was a little hiccup in an update made to the software a few months ago, the most recent iteration of the OPlayer app remains my pick for the best video player for the iPhone.   There is now some early support for SMB direct streaming and downloading.  Although not quite AFP, SMB or Samba, is a worthy alternative and OPlayer streams flawlessly.  So if you have a NAS drive you can access movies, music etc directly.  This addition is quite welcomed.  

Updated September 16th, 2011.



  1. OPlayer remains my pick of the litter for video on the iPhone. I have seen one worthy and picturesque newcomer - AVPlayer- which sports a great minimalist UI, but OPlayer is still the most robust for playing videos on an iPhone.

  2. I have posted an update to this article on October 19th, 2011. Please see the new update on the best video player for the iphone and the best video player for the ipad.

  3. The best video player for the ipod touch / iphone is the native player that Apple provides. Yes, it doesn't allow multiple formats, but it elegantly gives the user the options to see and skip by chapters, to select closed captions, and to see and select from multiple audio streams. If you use HandBrake, you can include all of these features into your video and then import it into your ipod touch / iphone via itunes. Handbrake even allows you to title your chapters and audio streams. Unfortunately, with Apple's last firmware update, the audio stream titles no longer come through; so you're left with generic titles to your audio tracks. I've tried many of the 3rd party video player apps., including Oplayer, and was very disappointed with performance, features and/or options. If someone were to build the best video player, it would have all the capabilities of Apple's native player while supporting more video codecs, especially MKV. It's too bad that this video player doesn't exist yet (as of 1/27/12, at least).

  4. I didn't get to see your response until now, my apologies.
    mkv playback has not been a problem for either of the players that I have mentioned. While I agree with you on the native player being the best, its inability to play back alternative codecs remains a sticky point at best.

    If you read my first posting on this subject, this was the main reason for reviewing the AV players in the first place. I think that it is an absolute failure to expect people to use Handbrake every time they have a video just so that they can play it on their iPhone or iPod Touch. It was a pain in 2007 and 2008, but acceptable because the technology was new. As Apple began dominating the iPhone space, this became a tedious task, particularly when going on vacations. Transcoding became a chore and really unnecessary.

    OPlayer has many tweaks that need to be made on a per file basis. While I do not think that there is yet a perfect video player out there, I have tried 20 of them (all paid for) and found this one to be the best so far.

    Again, I really do appreciate you taking the time out to comment on this post. As always, I am open to suggestions if someone finds something better out there. From the looks of things though, this issue of codecs is a very big one for many people buying their first iPhone.

  5. Please check this

    Free :

    -Replayer is the non-encoding video player which supports most of videos.
    It provides the specialized functions such as zone replay, multi-speed, bookmark, integrated subtitle and subtitle screen.

    Help :

    Thank you.


I will be trying unmoderated comments for a while. If this gets ridiculous, then I will have to move to moderating the comments once again.