Not only do our Android devices make great MP3 players, but they make great portable home theaters, too. With the resolutions on many devices competing with the televisions in most people’s living rooms, they’re great choices for watching movies and TV shows on.
Most Android devices will bunch any movies, TV shows, or just home videos into your gallery application with your pictures and downloaded images. That’s generally not an ideal place for organizing them, and to make things worse, you’d only be able to watch the videos in the built-in video viewing application. More often than not, the stock app is lacking in many features or just can’t play all of the formats you may have your videos encoded in. Fortunately for you, this guide is going to go over the top 5 applications to make your video watching experience that much better.
MX Player is an extremely well-featured video player that not only has tons of tools and options out of the box, but it also offers a handful of plugins to get some additional functionality and customization. It also boasts a very large device compatibility list, supporting nearly any device from Android 2.1 up to the newly released Android 4.4 thanks to frequent updates.
MX Player features full hardware acceleration, which can be a pretty important feature when you’re dealing with very high resolution videos on your device. Not only that, if you happen to have a device with a multi-core processor, MX Player takes full advantage of that. Performance on any device like that (which includes just about any modern device) is claimed to be about 70% better than single core devices. On top of hardware support, MX supports a ton of different file formats as well as a broad number of subtitle formats, all of which makes it a very reliable video player for most of your videos.
As far as user features go, MX Player offers pinch-to-zoom support within videos, complete auto-rotation support (this seems like something every program should offer, but surprisingly, it isn’t) a subtitle scrolling option, and a plugin for a kids mode. The kids mode plugin locks other apps from being accessed on the device, so you can hand your phone off to your child to watch movies without worrying about them messing with anything else on the device.
MX Player is free, but it is ad supported. The ads aren’t intrusive, but there’s a Pro version that knocks out ads if they bother you.
RealPlayer is one of the oldest media players around. It was originally released way back in 1995, but it’s aged relatively well. Not only does it offer codec support for most popular file types, but it even doubles as a music player/manager and a YouTube browser.
For a video player, it does everything you would expect it to do with a clean, simple interface. It supports every format that your device supports, plus you can opt for support for RealPlayer’s proprietary rmvb files with an in-app purchase. You likely won’t run into many of those, but having it built-in is nice. As far as video playing goes, you’ll get all of your standard options such as skipping and restarting videos, as well as scrubbing through videos to find certain parts of the file. You can also bookmark videos and different places in videos, which can be handy if you like to watch movies in multiple sittings.
Where RealPlayer shines is the built-in library management tools. It seamlessly allows you to switch between your photos, music, and videos and even offers metadata editing for files, as well as a pretty decent equalizer available for your music files. Not only that, but you can browse the internet for videos, including searching YouTube and Bing. There’s even voice search baked in. Aside from that, RealPlayer offers a handful of other features that are standard to most other apps, including widgets, headset controls, and the like.
RealPlayer is free and there are no advertisements, so there’s no barrier of entry to test it out. A few features (graphic equalizer, metadata searching and editing) are available as in-app purchases if you decide you want to make RealPlayer your go-to video playing app.
GPlayer got a nod in our guide to the best floating apps available, and for very good reason. Not only does it feature a fantastic floating window for watching videos, but as a standalone video player, it’s a great app.
As an application, GPlayer features theme support, several different viewing styles to browse your video library, a very simple interface, and a ton of other tweaks to cater to your videos. It supports several different formats, and like RealPlayer, you can even view YouTube videos. Unfortunately, the process isn’t quite as simple as RealPlayer’s solution (you actually have to paste the YouTube link into GPlayer) but for longer videos, it can still be a handy solution. Best of all, no ads!
Outside of those tweaks, GPlayer is a floating video player at heart. You can pop out any video and move it anywhere on your screen and resize it however you see fit. For larger screens like tablets, this really makes GPlayer stand out over many of these over video players.
GPlayer is a completely free, ad-free application, but you can purchase a Professional Edition license via in-app purchase to support the developers.
Dice Player is a pretty basic video player, but for someone that wants something a little lighter than what the other apps offer, it’s worth looking at. The biggest selling point of Dice Player is the interface; it adheres to Android design standards better than any of the other apps on this list. It features a full slide out sidebar as well as colors and design language consistent with Google’s own Android apps.
Behind the simple interface, Dice Player does offer some pretty powerful features. You can connect it to any Samba, HTTP, FTP, or Windows Share server to play many formats of videos over a local connection, which is a nice feature for power users. It also has support for many popular subtitle formats as well.
Competing with GPlayer, Dice Player also offers a pop-up video player. Unfortunately, it isn’t as featured as GPlayer, but it does work well enough if you aren’t planning on using it on extremely large screens. You can’t resize the video like you can with GPlayer, but if you just want to pop out a video to check an email or reply to a text, it’s great.
Dice Player is also a free application, so it’s worth test driving to see if it fits your needs.
If you watch many different formats of videos on your computer, you’ve likely heard of VLC. On a PC, it’s one of the most popular programs for playing videos simply because it can play nearly any video format you can throw at it. Fortunately for Android users, a beta of the extremely popular VLC Player is available in the Play Store, complete with many of VLC’s features, including an extremely broad codec and format support and extreme fine-tuning control over your videos. This includes subtitles and language tracks, aspect ratios, video acceleration, etc. It’s the Swiss army knife of video players and tools.
Unfortunately, VLC player is still only a beta app. From time to time, it does have some performance issues, and occasionally there will be some quirky device incompatibilities. If your hardware is supported, though, and you want a solid video player that can handle anything you throw at it, look no further than VLC.
VLC, like the desktop counterpart program, is free, and you won’t find ads anywhere in the app. If nothing else, it’s worth checking out just to see check out if you have a compatible device to give it a spin.