Free Android AVI Video Player App that Play Everything (almost): VPlayer vs RockPlayer, ArcMedia and 10 others reviewed

AVI Support on Motorola Droid

Motorola Droid, and Android phones in general, do NOT play AVI video files. This causes problems as most Windows PCs use AVI files. Instead, Android natively support MP4 video file instead. Samsung Android phones support AVI files with their customized Android firmware, but what about the rest of us? Fortunately, Android's open platform allow programmers to port software over, and many solutions have reached the market.

  • YxPlayer (also known as YxFlash for a while)
  • RockPlayer
  • Vplayer / Pro
  • ArcMedia (player)
  • Vital Player
  • QQPlayer
  • BaoFeng Player
  • MoboPlayer
  • Seaman Player
  • iMPlayer
  • Best Video Player / VPlayer Pro / Summer Player / Mobo Video Player (spam app)
  • DICE Player Ad. (updated)
  • araMoviePlayer (added)
  • BSPlayer Lite ( added )
  • PBPlayer ( added )
  • MePlayer Movie (added)

All of these programs are free, can be found on Google Play Store. All claim to play AVI files (in addition to other files). So, which of these are actually a worthy AVI player?

If you rather convert your video to MP4 and use the native player, read my other hub on how to convert your video for playback on Motorola Droid or any other Android device.

Revised: 23-MAR-2012, added several new candidates.

AVI File Icon
AVI File Icon | Source

YxPlayer: the first, but not the fastest or the best

YxPlayer is the first to claim AVI playback capability, but their first version only plays for 2 minutes of your video as a 'demo', and the file browser leaves a LOT of be desires, as it is UNSORTED. So the initial reaction is absolutely horrendous.

Previously tested version is ad-supported, have no other limits. It also added OpenGL rendering and ARMv8 acceleration for better performance. However, a version downloaded in December 2010 requires you to enter a "code" to unlock or else you have to request "trial mode" at each use. It is very annoying.

In actual testing with AVI files transferred through a PC (a 700MB AVI file, and some other misc. AVI files) tearing and vsync problems are visible in action scenes. Subjectively, the player seem to be showing only about 10-15 fps, and video quality is not quite good. However, turning off the OpenGL rendering seem to improve the frame rate somewhat. Still, the ad stays at the bottom of the playback screen.

The file browser is EXTREMELY annoying. First, it defaults to INTERNAL memory. You have to click on "SD Card" button to browse the SD card. THEN you realize the directories are UNSORTED (i.e. physical order). The only redeeming feature is a "playlist", but even then the program is annoying. You click on a file, and it asks you if you want to play, add to playlist, or cancel. It is NOT proper Android UI!

It also lacks the "widgets" and additional controls like brightness available in other players. It, however, have the smallest footprint of all players: 3.3MB when all the FFMPEG based players are over 4MB (VitalPlayer is over 8 MB!) After Move2SD its footprint is under 2MB.

Overall, it works, but it is aggravating to use. Why put up with this when there are MUCH better choices?

Rating: 6 out of 10

Link to Appbrain for YxPlayer Neon (Cortex A8 only)

RockPlayer Lite, now extra large

RockPlayer came upon the scene a few months ago, and the first demo (with a DivX logo, named "demoPlayer") is very impressive. The current version, known as "Rockplayer Lite" (formerly Rockplayer Universal) is a HUGE file. While download is only about 3.8MB, the actual file takes up over 8 MB of app storage!

With the same 700MB AVI file, RockPlayer was able to deliver a smooth playback, and better video quality, with no noticeable video/audio sync problems. It played WMV test file with no noticeable problems.

There is a small ad, but the ad can be hidden by tapping the (R) logo in the upper-left corner during playback. It also hides the controls and the seek bar, but that's a small price to pay. You can also see clock and battery level, and you can fit or unfit the playback.

The file browser is a bit annoying, as it sorted capitalized first, then non-cap, but usable.

Overall, this is formerly best AVI player available for Android. It has a decent file browser, and the best playback. Even the ad can be hidden. What else do you want for free? (Except Vplayer or QQPlayer, which has NO Ads and allegedly better control! See below)

Rating: 8 out of 10

Link to Appbrain for RockPlayer Lite

ArcMedia: improved a lot

ArcMedia also used FFMPEG decoding library for their player, and promise support for almost every video and audio file format available. The latest version, on overclocked phone, works a lot better. Playback is now working for all MP4's and AVI's. It also has better scaling and fitting controls.

The file browser is decent, alphabetized (ignores upper- and lowercase), and good visibility, not too big that you have to scroll too much, not too small that you have to strain your eyes.

This program shows promise, but doesn't have anything really special to stand out.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Link to Appbrain for ArcMedia

VPlayer (beta): now trial only

VPlayer is another FFMpeg derived media player for Android, and the beta surpassed the former champion, RockPlayer. However, due to shift to trial / pay model, the editor's choice was modified for "best for-pay AVI player".

Vplayer was tested on several AVI and MP4s.The Alpha version had audio bugs, but the beta version fixed all that, and added a lot of features... Aspect ratio is now adjustable via pinch-zoom. Brightness and volume is now adjustable by simply sliding up/down along the left and right sides respectively. Seek is done by simple drag left/right along the bottom. There's subtitle support, and you can choose to turn on the clock and battery level (just like RockPlayer).

Performance is quite good, subjectively it seems to deliver 20-25 fps on the overclocked Droid, so it should deliver about 15-20 fps on a stock Droid, quite good. What's better: it accepts intents like the built-in Video player. So if you open the file from say, a File Manager like "File Magic", it'll pop up a menu and let you pick a player.

The only bug I notice was on WMV playback, where it lost an initial keyframe, but it does not substantially detract from enjoyment.

It has no ads, accepts intents, and matches Rockplayer feature for feature. However, it has switched to pay model with only a trial available.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10 EDITOR'S CHOICE FOR PAID PLAYER

Link to Appbrain for Vplayer (Trial Only)

iMPlayer: nothing too special here

iFlux Movie Player is another FFMPEG based software player that supposedly plays everything. Honestly, it looks very much like VPlayer, except the controls are visible, and must be pressed, instead of just slide like VPlayer. It also refused to play the MKV (though I admit the MKV is 1 GB in size and makes all players choke). It had no problem playing back the WMV or any AVI. However, the audio had a transient crackling noise.

The controls are a bit hard to hit even with it popped up. Also the onscreen controls are not very obvious. However, you CAN choose subtitles, playing speed, AND brightness with onscreen controls.

Due to slight problems with audio this gets 0.5 off Vplayer.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Link to Appbrain for iMPlayer

VitalPlayer: nothing special either

VitalPlayer is yet ANOTHER FFMPEG based software player, and this one somehow expands to 8MB after download, even though it was only about 4.8MB to download. Performance is about the same as all the other players, though the file browser is more annoying. Onscreen controls allow you to decode black and white only instead of color, but I don't see any improvement in speed.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Link to Appbrain for VitalPlayer (Neon) (Cortex A8 only)

QQPlayer

QQPlayer is yet another software FFMPEG derived video player, this one out of China.

This one seem to be more aimed at weaker Android phones, as it has two options previously not seen on players: ability to lower image quality to assure continued audio playback, and ability to silence the audio in order to decode video better. When it opens it spends some time to scan your SD card for all the video files which it then browses. Thus, you don't have to scan individual directories for them. That is nice.

The homepage is in Chinese, unfortunately, but the app is in full English. It does NOT support subtitles, and lacks the nice gesture support for brightness and volume from Vplayer. In fact, I cannot find brightness control at all.

In tests, WMV decoding is slightly off as it lost a lot of frames, but audio is perfect. A test on a VERY difficult high-bitrate FLV file and a HUGE 1GB MKV file shows both can be played, albeit a lot of frames were lost, but audio is perfect.

And the app really is free, no trial, no nag to register. It really is free. There is not even an ad in the whole thing.

Due to VPlayer shifting to a paid model, with only a trial version available free, QQPlayer is now the editor's choice with moboPlayer

Rating: 8 out of 10 CO-EDITOR'S CHOICE FOR FREE PLAYER

Link to Appbrain for QQPlayer

MoboPlayer: brilliant soft player

MoboPlayer appear to be very similar to VitalPlayer and iMPlayer as it also expands to like 8MB upon install even though the APK was only about 3.6 MB downloaded.

Upon launch the app asks you to specify one or more directories as a "media directory" where it will scan for new content. However, the scan process appear to be flawed, as it choked on several simple AVI files. In a directory of 30 files, it got stuck right about 60% or so. The scanning process also took up extreme amount of free memory, for no apparent reason that I see. It should not take that much memory just to generate thumbnails.

What you need to do instead is IGNORE the request to designate a media directory, but instead press the upper-right button (which looks like "playlist" button) and directly go to a directory to browse for the video file you want to play.

The player when you got it to work, is very impressive. It appears to have improved upon Vplayer. Slide on right side up and down to change volume. The controls are a bit touchy, but the "analog" gauge looks better than the pure digital gauge of VPlayer. Again like VPlayer, MoboPlayer allows you to slide up/down on the left-side to adjust brightness within the player. However, this one does not have an analog gauge. Makes one wonder if this player had borrowed bit of their code from Vplayer.

Performance-wise, this app is quite impressive. It played most of my test files with no problem. It also played FLV files easily. The only glitch came from a very high bit-rate FLV where the sound and the video lost sync.

All in all, if this app remains free this may be a good alternative to VPlayer. In fact, it is now co-editor's choice along with QQPlayer.

Link to MoboPlayer via Appbrain

And here's Lifehacker's writeup on Moboplayer.

SeamanPlayer

Seaman Player appears to be an exact clone of RockPlayer, albeit without the "try" dialog. Unfortunately, the file browser interface is UNSORTED, which makes it completely USELESS.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Appbrain Link to SeamanPlayer

The Medial Player of BaoFeng

There is no misspelling (at least by me) but rather that's the way it was spelled in the market.

BaoFeng Player, or translated "Storm Player", is yet another multiformat player. This one doesn't claim to be based on FFMPEG library, but then it doesn't play WMV or certain FLVs but can lay other FLVs. It claims to play over 80 different formats, but it's a Chinese app. All the menus are in Chinese.

It also has a very basic video interface. it shows the exact same video player interface as the stock Video Player (3 buttons and seek bar only). Furthermore, the browser interface has no alphabetizing (only shows unordered) and has no search capability at all.

Overall, this is a piece of junk compared to the other players. It does play quite a few files though.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Download "Baofeng Player" from Appbrain

FAKE VPlayer (Spam App)

This app keeps changing names. First it was "VideoPlayer", the Vplayer. Then they changed name to Summer Player. Now they changed it to "Best Video Player Pro", then again to "Mobo Video Player" It's the SAME APP!

This app is so suspicious I am no longer linking to it. Here's the XDA discussion on it:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1075416

Rating: 8 out of 10



Dice Player Ad (updated)

A new contender from Korea, this "new" version of DICE player is completely free (ad in the settings / seek screen). It does support subtitles, both VOBSUB type and embedded. Unfortunately it doesn't find the subtitles for you, but it works well enough when the subtitles are already in the subdirectory that you want to play.

The player has timing controls on screen, allowing you to play the video faster or slower. It also has a very special feature: lock the screen. Works great on tablets, even support 720p MKVs.

The full version is $5.54 (as of March 2012)

Download DICE Player Ad. through Appbrain

Rating: 8


BSPlayer Lite

BS Player is a pretty good media player for the Windows platform, but I am pretty sure this version is NOT related to the Windows version.

Detailed review coming soon

Download BSPlayer Lite through Appbrain

MePlayer Movie

Not a true player, but more of a video player with subtitle support that displays multiple lines instead of just one line.

Conclusion

We got a change in the top candidates.

For free AVI file playback, MoboPlayer and QQ Player are currently the favorite player(s), with iMPlayer fallen to third place.

For paid app playback, VPlayer has displaced RockPlayer as the reigning champ in AVI playback. Gesture support, intent support, and no ads is what put it over the top. Rockplayer is currently 2nd place due to ads and lack of some small features.

This field is heating up. Awaiting more optimization and shrinking of executable... 4 MB and larger is quite a bit of space for an app.

More by this Author


Comments 30 comments

Jan 6 years ago

How can you set the RockPlayer as default for all movie playing? For example when you put the movie inside DropBox.


kschang profile image

kschang 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

So far I have not found a way to do that. Someone needs to write a utility that launches files with the default app.


wonder 6 years ago

Finally, today's new version, RockPlayer Universal 1.1.42 supports file association.


kschang profile image

kschang 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Except it expands to 12 MB inside your phone! (Check "Manage Applications" in settings). Argh! I think I can live with the old version a bit longer while they learn how to write tighter code. :P


kschang profile image

kschang 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

They just put out a new version that allowed move to SD, but it's STILL 4+ MB installed in main mem...


Mario 6 years ago

After I installed Arcmedia on my HTC Hero, I can't watch avi files without sync problems on any of this players, before that Rockplayer works fine for me, I try everything, even reinstaling ROM, now on Rockplayer I can't watch even mp4 files, they are without sound, on stock player plays fine, anybody knows solutions how can I turn my phone in previous state


Jordan Thoms 6 years ago

Worried about 4MB... heh, I love my Desire HD, installed tonnes of apps and have .93GB free on internal :)


leechgod27 5 years ago

i didn't find vplayer in market,plus its .apk that i downloaded and installed shows it hs expired!!!??


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

It shows up on my, just searched for VPlayer. You may have gotten the older ALPHA version. The current one is "beta".


gk 5 years ago

Thanks for a great writeup. Can you please clarify which of these players have soft subtitles (srt, sub) support and how to enable them?


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

All of them seem to support subtitles in SRT format. As long as the SRT file have the same name in the same directory it should be loaded automatically. However, I admit I didn't test the subtitle capabilities.


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Review coming soon: iMPlayer, another similar FFMPEG derived player.


James Spratt .org 5 years ago

Searching for an avi player instead of converting every single one of my movies. Tried all of these on my new Samsung Galaxy Tab and not one can play an avi for me.


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

New player on the market... (The Other) VPlayer. This one shares the name but seem to be even MORE polished. It can scan your SD card for media, and present those, instead of making you browse individual directories. A more extensive review is coming very soon!


jim 5 years ago

nice reviews man but no market dl link for QQPlayer ?

we are your lazy readers!

=P


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Fixed. Thanks for reminding me!

NOTE: the other VPlayer was renamed Summer Player and review has been added.


Abhishek 5 years ago

considering a lot of these players have come out of Beta, moboplayer is now available on Market etc. how would you rate them in their current avatars


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Need a revisit of all of them. Stay tuned.


hari 5 years ago

i am having galaxy fit (froyo) and to play mp4 i used moboplayaer in which i selected software decoder ,its very very slow.how can i solve this ?


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Software decoding works better if you overclock the phone by loading a better kernel, but that requires you to root the phone and load mods. You may also want to shrink down the video by first transcoding it on the PC (reduce resolution / bit-rate / etc.)


Omkar 5 years ago

Is their any of app to play h.264 (hd) videos on my galaxy fit


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@Omkar -- try Dice Player, supposedly the best H264 player available.


joe shmoe 5 years ago

You wrote about Fake Player, also known as MoBoPlayer. You called it suspicious and you were no longer linked to it, and gave a link to a discussion board about this fake player... Then, in your very next review/conclussion, you wrote that MoBoPlayer is currently your top 3 favorate player, a great review and gave it a rating of 8 out of 10... Do you read what you write? Sorry, but i came to this site for andwers, and now i'm leaving it more confused. Unless, I just discount everything I read here, and just chalk it up to one more site where they just don't know what they are talking about... I think I'll choose the latter.


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@joe shmoe -- The fake player goes by "Mobo Video Player", not "MoboPlayer" which is the editor's choice. (Indeed, that's why the Fake Player picked that name).

You can try reading the fake player info more carefully. Their campaign at confusion is working, as it has definitely confused you.


Phædrus 4 years ago

Dice Player is the best, hands down. I hope they get the full version on Market soon so I can buy it.


chrishowitt 4 years ago

I am wondering if there is a player for android that supports dual subtitles (two subtitles in different languages playing at the same time).??


kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@chrishowitt -- I've been trying another 4-6 for new revision of this article and I haven't seen one. AraMovie plays MP4s, but can display multiple LINES of same subtitle. I have yet to see one that will display MULTIPLE subtitles though.


chrishowitt 4 years ago

@kschang - thanks. I have since discovered that is isn't too difficult (providing you have a desktop/ laptop) to hardcode subtitles onto MP4's - just takes time and is CPU intensive. Also it seems that mVideoPlayer allows you to, amongst other things, change the position of subtitles. So hopefully the player will load the movie with the hardcoded sub on the bottom of the screen and the soft sub at the top....


kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Interesting work around. I know one of the video players I was testing will display subtitles BELOW the video (in portrait mode) so that could be beneficial!


pinappu profile image

pinappu 3 years ago from India

Many new players are listed by you @ Mr.Chang. You have reviewed a lot of apps. You are more diligent than me, it seems.

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