Don’t get me wrong. The stock video player on Android works just fine for most folks. But, you’re not one of “most” Android folks, are you? That’s why you’re looking for a video player app for Android–and one that will satisfy your steep demands for smooth, non-frame-skipping, seamless video playback. Well, you’ve come to the right place. (We’re not called Android Authority for nothing, you know.) In this post, we feature 6 completely free, feature-filled, and awesomely efficient video player apps that you can replace Android’s stock video player with. All these are just a few taps away from the Android Market, are the most-rated, and belong to the crème de la crème of video player apps on the Android Market. Some of these have paid versions, but the free versions work just fine and usually suffice for most video-playing needs. (CAUTION: Video playback relies heavily on CPU power, among other factors. So, don’t be surprised if video playback on your 600-MHz-processor device turns out sluggish and erratic.)
MoboPlayer (Mobo Team)
The app developers weren’t kidding when they decided on an appropriate tagline for MoboPlayer: “Enjoy your video.” MoboPlayer is devoted to video playing, and it does the job without much hassle. Unlike several video players for Android, this app can play all video formats without having to transcode (i.e., converting one container format to another container format). External subtitle formats such as SRT, SSA, and ASS are fully supported, as are built-in subtitles in such container formats as MKV, MOV, and MPV. MoboPlayer also lets you enjoy streamed videos that use HTTP or RTSP protocols. It even shows a 3D carousel of your videos’ thumbnails. The developers of MoboPlayer wants their app not just to run smoothly but also to run smoothly on as many devices as possible. That’s why they’ve provided several codec variants for specific hardware platforms. You don’t need to install the codec for your phone’s hardware, though, if MoboPlayer plays well right out of the box (which happens most of the time anyway).
Just like MoboPlayer, mVideoPlayer is another highly recommended replacement for your Android’s stock video player. Unlike MoboPlayer, though, mVideoPlayer has no “software decoding” ability, and thus, can only play audio and video that your specific phone model supports. I particularly like how the app developer puts this information upfront on its description page on the Android Market because many video-crazy Android users seem to want a video player that is hardware blind. If the video you want to play isn’t supported on your phone, you can transcode (i.e., convert) it to a format that is supported by your Android phone so that mVideoPlayer can run it. Its advantages over MoboPlayer is that mVideoPlayer supports more subtitle formats, has an in-app search function for querying OpenSubtitles.org and the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) database, and comes with themes and numerous options for you to customize your player according to your needs.
arcMedia provides a wider range of container and codec support for video playback. Everything that the opensource FFmpeg can play, arcMedia can also play–because the app is built on FFmpeg libraries. If you have a superpowerful Android phone with a lot of CPU power, arcMedia can take advantage of it and use software decoding to play back video formats that may not be natively supported by your phone’s hardware. arcMedia can also play streaming videos from DailyMotion, YouTube, and other similar sites. DRM-protected videos aren’t supported yet. A Honeycomb version is also in the works.
RealPlayer Beta (RealNetworks, Inc.)
Most people who install RealPlayer Beta love its awesome music-playing and music-organizing abilities. The fact, however, is that RealPlayer Beta is an all-in-one multimedia app that not only works for music but also for photos and videos. This is one of the video player apps with intuitive playback controls and a modern look-and-feel. RealPlayer Beta also includes a download manager that lets you download and save several media files at the same time.
doubleTwist Player (doubleTwist)
doubleTwist Player claims to be the best all-in-one multimedia player for enjoying audio, video, and radio playback. It can crawl through all audio and video files on your Android device and sync them with the media on your desktop or laptop through a free program also called doubleTwist (available for PC and Mac). If your multimedia files already come with embedded artwork, doubleTwist Player can show it at full resolution. Album artwork is not a big deal for many folks, though. But, in case it is for you, you can upgrade from within the app itself to enable doubleTwist Player to search and download missing artwork for your media files through Gracenote. doubleTwist Player can also import your iTunes playlists, ratings, and play counts. This app is being actively developed, so expect several twists and turns in its behavior from time to time.
Meridian Media Player Autonomy (Romulus Urakagi Ts’ai)
If you need a video player that gives you a lot of room for customization, Meridian Media Player Autonomy may be a good pick. You can’t use this app’s widget, though, if you place it on your SD card. Meridian Media Player Autonomy plays audio and video files on your phone. It supports SRT subtitles for movie playback, and can turn off the video stream of a movie file so that you can listen only to the audio (i.e., really handy for music videos). Its two most important features are the toolkit for cleaning up your multimedia library (i.e., very useful for removing duplicate entries) and advanced folder browsing and exclusion–at any folder level or depth. Only MP4 videos are supported. If your videos are not MP4, you will need to convert them first.
And so, there you have it! The best Android Apps for playing video! Any we missed? Let us know in the comments!