I got word that VLC officially hit the iPad and I was psyched. I had previously tested out the Xvid-playing app CineXPlayer to lousy results and recommended that you stick to Apple-approved formats for your iPad. Then an app calling itself “VLC” appeared.
If you watch video on your computer, you probably know about VLC — it is the Swiss-army knife of video players. Dang near every file format plays well on VLC, plus it is free.
The free iPad app, on the other hand, is not quite as powerful as its desktop sibling. Being the nerd that I am, I read the included instructions, and loaded the app up with videos through iTunes. I threw a ton of file formats at it: AVI (both Xvid and DivX varieties), M4V, MKV, even VOB.
The only problem was the app kept crashing upon activation. After deleting all the videos, I added files one-by-one until I found the culprit – MKV. The VLC app would crash every time I would add MKV files. You don’t even have to pick the MKV file, just load it, and VLC will crash.
I found that VOB files can be loaded but do not show up as a selectable option. You also cannot load full Video_TS folders, but why would you want to? Additionally, the M4V files I wanted to watch did not play back too well as you can see above.
On the upside, VLC played everything else I threw at it. Xvid and DivX files played back smoothly without the need for any silly conversions. VLC is pretty honest with you too, I loaded an HD M4V and a pop up said the iPad may not be fast enough to play back the video. Sure enough, VLC was right.
The VLC video player controls are just as you’d expect on any video player on the iPad. You get the usual scrubber bar and pop-up play/pause controls that fade away when they are not in use. If you get interrupted and have to stop video playback, VLC automatically remembers your position when you return.
All in all, this is a great first effort and VLC on the iPad can only get better. If you have lots of Xvid or DivX files, I think you’ve found your app.
VLC for iPad is available as a free download from the App Store. The developer who ported the app says an iPhone and iPod touch version is coming soon.