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Watch more videos on your Android-powered smartphone

Technically speaking, a smartphone running Google’s Android OS is not the best platform of choice for enjoying video content, simply because it is incapable of supporting the huge myriad of media formats available. But if you are the kind of person who uses a smartphone for viewing videos while on the move,there is hope yet.

Read on to find out more.

In the past, people would have probably given you ‘that look’ if you asked for a mobile phone powerful enough to play videos. Fast forward to the present, and the question today is not about whether videos could be played off a mobile phone, but what video formats are supported. How technology has advanced.

Unfortunately, playing videos on a smartphone also comes with its own set of issues. And it is not just the hardware involved: Android lacks the capability to support any video besides those encoded in H.264 with either an MP4 or 3GP container. Woe befall those who have a huge library of the latest anime episodes or Hollywood films encoded in anything outside of H.264 or exported in a different container.

But as one knows, the potential of the open-source community is almost limitless. And it is this limitless potential that has led the community to leverage on the current FFmpeg project to provide a better video playing experience for the Android platform.

For those who are not familiar, FFmepg is a community-led effort to produce libraries and and various programs capable of decoding and playing back media files. More significantly, FFmpeg is used to power the popular VLC player. Now imagine having a mini VLC player on your Android smartphone, and the idea of having a mobile phone capable of playing a huge variety of media formats suddenly becomes very real.

Because VLC has not been ported to Android yet, members of the open-source community had to build their own media players for Google’s smartphone OS from scratch. As a result, it seems that there are only two media players in the Android Marketplace which boast FFmpeg-backed decoding : RockPlayer and arcMedia.

While both RockPlayer and arcMedia leverage FFmepg for their playback capabilities, they also sport certain differences. More significantly, RockPlayer is available in both paid and free versions, while arcMedia is a fully free download. So if you are interested in having some videos while on the go, you might want to give these applications a try and see which works out best for your smartphone.

And just so that we make ourselves clear, VR-Zone did not make either of these applications. So, you will have to try them out at your own risk, because we cannot be held accountable for bricked phones, exploding battery packs or infinite loops of Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ driving somebody psycho. 

Last but definitely not least, this is also not an open invitation to start torrenting the latest episode of the K-ON! Season 2 or the full-length Avatar film under the pretext of ‘testing out my new smartphone app’. So don’t do that, ok?

Source: Ars Technica

*RockPlayer and acrMedia are available as free downloads from the Android Marketplace

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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