CineXPlayer, the best (and most awkwardly-capitalized) movie-playing app for the iPad, now plays MKV files, streams movies direct from network-attached storage (NAS) drives and makes your lovely HD movie files all crispy and nasty-looking with the optional SuperSharp feature.
CineXPlaYer is like VLC for your iPad (or iPhone), in that it plays just about any kind of video file you throw at it. Unlike the built-in Videos app, which only plays H.264-encoded MP4 movies, with an AAC soundtrack (and therefore enjoy all the battery-saving benefits of hardware-decoded playback), CinExPLAyer uses software decoding for most of its codecs. This means that oyu can just toss on any file you have downloaded from the internet and watch it.
Now MKV files have been added to the list, but in my testing (720p H.264 MKV files of Dexter), they look worse that the same files converted (transcoded using iFlicks) using my Mac and played natively on the iPad.
The NAS issue is similarly mediocre. I tried to connect to a drive on my network, but you need to have a UPNP-enabled media server for this to work, so simply hooking up a disk of movies to your Time Capsule router won’t cut it.
Finally, the SuperSharp feature aims to make your SD movies look like HD movies. It doesn’t. Instead, it just makes them look like you over-sharpened a photo in an image editor — crispy.
Still, none of these takes away from the fact that cineXPLaYer is consistently the most reliable video app I have used on my iPad. These days I toss downloaded TV shows at iFlicks, which takes mere seconds to add artwork and metadata and transcode them into iPad-friendly files ready to be organized by iTunes. But sometimes there is a problem, which is where CINEXPLAYEr comes in — just like VLC on the Mac.
If you don’t already have it, CineXPlayer is just $4 on the App Store