Without a doubt one of my favourite ways to use my iPad is as my personal small-screen cinema. Unfortunately, the stock Videos app is incredibly lacklustre in almost every department. This is where CineXPlayer comes in, as it is without a doubt the most powerful video player available for iOS.
Truth be told, up until recently I was fairly impartial about CineXPlayer as my video player, but when it received a new update a few weeks bringing with it a slew of new features and a stunning revamped interface, it cemented itself as my video player of choice. But why bother replacing the stock Videos app with a third-party one, you ask? Eell, along with the extra features that these apps have, the main advantage is being able to directly copy your video over to your iPad — regardless of its format — eliminating basically the need for converting your video files.
As I said above, up until recently CineXPlayer had a very stale and ugly interface, but in a recent update it got a complete revamp. This revamp brought with it a new, colourful interface along with several tweaks that go a long way in making the app easier to use and easier on the eye.
You will also probably notice how simple the interface of the app is. Most users should have absolutely no problem getting to know this app thanks to the simple approach that the developers have applied and how everything is so clearly laid out.
Unless Game of Thrones got a recent revamp, this certainly isn’t it!
The app also connects to IMDB and downloads metadata for the videos that you have added to the app. This means that TV shows and films that you have added to the app will have a synopsis, cast listings and cover art attached to them. Unfortunately, as evidenced in the above screenshot, CineXPlayer sometimes get the the wrong metadata altogether, and with no current way to manually enter the IMDB link, getting the right information can quickly turn into a 50/50 gamble.
As I’m sure you have guessed by now, the most important part of any video playback app is how it handles the playback of your videos and I’m happy to report that CineXPlayer does this with absolutely no problems.
CineXPlayer’s video playback screen.
When you select the video that you want to play and then select play from the next menu, you are immediately brought to the playback screen.
CineXPlayer has several defining features that separate it from the rest of the pack. One of these features is the SuperSharp feature that is presented to users when they start playback of their video. Basically, this feature sharpens your video on the go — and in some cases makes the video more legible. Honestly I leave this option off 90% of the time, especially when dealing with 720P videos as it tends to make the video far too sharp, even at low intensity.
SuperSharp sometimes does more harm than good!
CineXPlayer is one of the few apps on the App Store to support Dolby Digital Plus for the audio of your video files. What this means is that Dolby’s trademark technology processes the audio of your video files and manages to make the audio more realistic and improves the clarity of it. The difference between Dolby and standard audio is definitely noticeable by audiophiles and casual listeners alike, but for the full effect to be appreciated, earphones should be worn when trying out this feature!
Switching Dolby Processing on.
TV in Your Pocket
When I said earlier that the update of CineXPlayer brought some new features with it, this was one of the ones that I most looked forward to giving a trial run – and I wasn’t disappointed.
A fraction of the channels available to watch in CineXPlayer.
Whilst the legality of it all is questionable (especially with channels such as HBO), I can’t fault how CineXPlayer excellently delivers this feature. The App Store is littered with apps that claims to allow users to watch live TV, but none of them have done with the grace that CineXPlayer manages to achieve.
A stream of HBO HD.
Although at times the streams can be a bit shaky, and on rare occasions refuse to open altogether, the 90% of the time that this feature does manage to work makes the $3.99 price tag worth it alone in my opinion.
When I watch a TV show on my laptop, there’s nothing I love more than being able to check Facebook or tweet what I’m watching whilst having the video playing back in the corner of my screen. When I watch a video on my laptop I sorely miss this functionality, but thanks to CineXPlayer built-in Screenager functionality, the void in my heart can be filled!
Surfing and watching simultaneously!
Once you turn your device into portrait, the video is pushed up to the top of the screen and a web browser appears below it. From here, you can surf the web to your heart’s content — all whilst having your video playing back above you. This has without a doubt increased the enjoyability of watching a film on my iPad tenfold, as I tend to get annoyed having to switch between Safari and my video app constantly.
Although CineXPlayer mostly focuses on the playback of videos, it also has a well designed and functional music playback feature as well.
The list view of the user’s music.
Users can see their albums in a listview (rather than in the traditional grid view offered by the stock Music app). Feature wise music playback is pretty barebones, but it does have a queue function – which is something that is sorely missing from the stock app.
The album view.
I can safely say that CineXPlayer is my video player of choice on iPad, with no app coming close to knocking it off the throne. The combination of subtitle support, live TV and allowing me to browse the web alongside the playback of my video makes this app a sure winner for anybody hoping to make their iPad the perfect portable cinema!