17
Jul
RockPlayer
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

What is RockPlayer?

The first multi-device, multi-format video and audio player for Android, RockPlayer, has been officially released on the Android Market today. The free version is fully functional, but features in-video ads on occasion. The paid version eliminates said ads for the price of $10.

RockPlayer gives your Android phone (more on which ones later) a formidable array of media playback capabilities which not even the iPhone can hope to match. The surprisingly long list, below:

Supported file formats: avi, mkv, rmvb, mp4, mov, wmv, asf, wma, wav, mpg, ts, mpa, dvd, au, mp3, mid, ivf, aiff, ogm, ogg, cda, flic, d2v, aac, roq, flac, drc, dsm, swf, pls, pmp

Supported audio and video encoders: AAC, AC3, DTS, FLV4, LPCM, ALAW, ULAW, MPEG Audio, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, RealVideo, RealAideo, Vorbis, AVC (H264), VC1, XVID, DIVX, SVQ, Theora, Bink

Whereas in the previously announced non-Market beta version, only ARMv7 devices were supported, now 3 different versions of RockPlayer are available based on your device’s processor, with device compatibility for each listed below:

  • ARMv7 instruction set version: Google Nexus One, HTC Desire, HTC Incredible, HTC EVO 4G, Moto Milestone, Moto Droid, Moto XT800, Samsung Galaxy S, Sony Ericsson X10 (and presumably Droid X)
  • ARMv6+VFP version: HTC Legend, Samsung i5700
  • ARMv6 version: All other devices

Performance

How does RockPlayer stack up in terms of performance? It’s a mixed bag. I did some testing on my Nexus One (running Android 2.2), and the results weren’t horrible, but pretty much what one would expect on a phone.

480P MPEG1 MPG

The screenshot below is from a 480P, MPEG1 encoded MPG file; the file size is around 50MB. It ran perfectly; no frame skipping, no audio distortion.

snap20100716_195725

1080P H264 MKV

The screen below is from a 1080P, h.264-encoded MKV file. For all intents and purposes, it failed to run (and the video scaling did not work, thus the small frame size)

snap20100716_195814

720P H264 Derivative AVI

A 720p, h.264-derivative (probably MPEG-4 Part 15) encoded AVI video, featured below,  ran at about 17-22FPS. The video did not appear with the distortion during playback, it only surfaced in the screenshot I took (there was too much data for the screenshot app to save in such a small amount of time).

During playback, the audio track raced ahead of the video. RockPlayer does not seem to natively support frame-skipping behavior (at least not with all formats). This led to the audio being anywhere from 3-10 seconds ahead of the video.

snap20100716_202736

I also ran two .MKV files of 720p and 1080p (A GI Joe trailer and an Iron Man 2 trailer, if you were curious) encoded in h.264. The 1080p was unwatchable (the frame rate was roughly 3-5 FPS), and 720p wasn’t great either (15-20 FPS). Both experienced the same loss of audio-video sync as occurred in the above video.

Presumably, this is a matter of how the ARMv7 instruction set processes video. The MKV container in particular seems to have some issues playing on RockPlayer very well. This is probably because MKV often uses very high-quality audio encoders (such as Ogg Vorbis or AC3) in conjunction with very high audio bitrates, eating up precious processing power while sound is being decoded. AC3 was the audio encoder in the above video as well.

Conclusion

You’re better off sticking to videos with resolutions of 480P and below (or mobile-optimized video) when using RockPlayer. While the ability to play back so many formats natively is nice, phone processors simply don’t have the beefiness to play back full-HD video that has not been optimized for mobile viewing. I would be interested to see how these files run on a Galaxy S device, though!

Also, for ARMv6+VPF and ARMv6 devices, RockPlayer is probably even more rough around the edges for performance.

If you’d like to let us know how the RockPlayer app works for you, drop us a comment below.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Bek

    "During playback, the audio track raced ahead of the video."

    Heads up, it seems RockPlayer just pushed out an update today. Per the release notes, this was apparently remedied.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I spoke with David this morning, and he said that he tested with the new version and the lag was still present.

      What is everyone's experience?

    • David Ruddock

      Unfortunately the problem is still occurring, and I think the bug they fixed may have been something else. But, it's hard to say as the developers are Chinese and the translation may not have been perfect.

  • Ryan Law

    I run some videos in my Galaxy S with RockPlayer. 720p format mp4. Don't put your expectation too high. As the frame skip quite a lot or laggy, unless you switch core, to default player core, and you can see a performance boost. Plus, also poor performance on those HIgh-Res RMVB.
    The default stock video player is much much more better ! Although it can't support RMVB.

    Samsung Galaxy S support wide range of videos file, unless you want to play RMVB, RockPlayer is not highly recommended.

  • Xcom923

    the "audio lag" is present when DivX (heck and a lot of other formats) are played and the CPU can't keep up with the video processing. Even on my Evo the problem is still there. Anything bigger than your native screen size will most likely still have this problem. Other than that it's been working very well on plenty of video formats. I love that it can play MKV with subtitles. Now I can watch my anime on my evo

  • Poor

    About the only if not the only option available to play almost any format so bought it so that they keep improving it!

  • sappy

    The demo player seems to work just as well and contains no ads. Both can be installed alongside one another which is nice.

  • wonder

    So call demo player is just an earlier internal version of RockPlayer, it is leaked and later someone replaced its logo and rename it as Rock DivX player.

    You may refer http://ip208-100-42-21.static.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=702737

  • mau

    Runs terrible on my htc hero with official 2.1 firmware. Audio went ahead of the video. This is probably due to the processor. Oh well :(

  • DWVENUS

    I am using this on my HTC Incredible and love it. I have searched everywhere for instructions on how to make this my default video player but with no success. Surely there must be some way to do this. Any help?? Thanks.

  • ajblaj

    I tried running some .avi files on my Sony Ericsson x10 mini, and it played them perfectly.