Support for non-native video formats on the iPad and iPhone has been somewhat of an issue since the introduction of both devices. Users with existing libraries that work with their televisions or other streaming devices often have to spend a lot of time converting their content to formats that will work on iOS devices. But Apple started letting third-party apps that play files like DivX-encoded AVIs into the App Store not too long ago, and one of those, AVPlayerHD, got an update this week that makes it pretty much perfect.
AVPlayerHD($2.99), like the now-removed VLC for iPad and a number of other video player apps, allows you to sideload your own movie files using iTunes’ File Sharing feature for iOS devices, or you can use your browser to transfer files over Wi-Fi from your computer to your iPad. The app supports XVID/DivX files, AVI, WMV and MKV files, and can even use external subtitle files in SMI, SRT, TXT and other formats.
It also offers a number of other attractive features, like support for TV out, AirPlay, playback ratio selection, folders and playback speed control. Like most other video player apps, AVPlayerHD had trouble with HD content, though, until a recent update that introduced support for full dual-core processing on the iPad 2. Now, any HD file you want to play back (even those tricky .MKV files) play smoothly (at least the 720p backups I created did) on Apple’s latest tablet device.
The multi-format video player category has become a crowded field on the iPad, but thanks to this update, AVPlayerHD is now the most useful of the bunch, especially if you’re an iPad 2 owner. If you have a considerable existing video archive (perhaps one backed up from your physical Blu-rays or DVDs), or if you’d just rather shop somewhere other than iTunes for your video content, this app does a lot to help alleviate the incredible additional annoyance of having to reconvert those movies to play on your iOS devices. It also shows that the A5 found in the iPad 2 (and hopefully, the next iPhone, too) is more than equal to the task of doing some heavy lifting with rich media content.