Smaller format movies with 320 or less pixel-width play nicely
above the controls. All controls may be changed during play, including
screen orientation on the T3. Full screen may be chosen simply
by tapping on the screen. MMPlayer includes an On Screen Display
(OSD) that uses the four Palm PIM buttons when playing full screen.
Also, the T3’s 5-way navigator can be used to control basic
play features like volume, pause/play, and next/previous video.
The full screen screen shot comes from
a special 480x208, 25 frames/second Star Wars video in MPEG format
which I found on PDAVideos.com.
This video’s format and speed will outrun any unaided PDA,
even the 400 MHz Tungsten C and T3.
Overclocking my T3 to 588 MHz with PXAClocker
4.3 Pro enabled it to play the video quite nicely. The I Robot
trailer was coded at a slower frame rate (~15 fps I think) and
smaller screen size (320x176) and played fine without overclocking.
The video in both cases proceeded smoothly with brilliant color
and their sound “filled the theater” even without the
equalizer, providing an outstanding user experience.
MMPlayer doesn’t provide an easy way to
discern the encoding parameters of videos, but it does have an
extensive monitoring function. These monitoring results display
on a Statistics screen available from the menu. The screen shot
shows the excellent performance of the 25 fps Star Wars video described
above with the T3 overclocked to 588 MHz— it only dropped
6/3763 frames. This screen may be used to tweak the extensive options
available on the Settings screens. There is also a benchmarking
function that will run a video as fast as possible to determine
your device’s playback
As for settings, MMPlayer provides a host
of adjustments to optimize the user experience. The video, audio,
playback buffers, display, warnings, and streaming settings may
all be changed. The buffer setting screen also provides a display
of both the storage and dynamic memory heap size and availability,
enabling the user to troubleshoot problems or set the buffer
sizes within reason. For average video playing, the user doesn’t
need to adjust any of these advanced settings, but then who can
MMPlayer doesn’t have dedicated video
construction software because it plays native desktop formats.
There’s an interesting
discussion in the manual about file compatibilities from which
I learned a number of things that helped overall with this review.
The tested version includes MPEG-1,2,4, H.263, DivX, XviD and MJPeg
video codec in one library file. These files generally have MPEG
or AVI extensions. Like the other players, MMPlayer’s web
site has a number of nice examples, including an outstanding hi
res ZZ Top music video that required slight overclocking (472 MHz)
to run in full landscape without frame dropouts.
MMPlayer also doubles as an MP3 audio
player. In this role, it reads M3U playlist files but doesn’t
have the sophisticated metadata handling of PocketTunes. The
sound output rivals the best of the dedicated audio players even
without the equalizer, but lacks the common features of other
audio players. It does support screen blanking, though, to save
battery during audio playback. I wouldn’t recommend MMPlayer
as your only audio player, but if you mainly watch videos and
only occasionally listen to MP3s it may do just fine for you.
As if that wasn’t enough, MMPlayer will also stream from
http addresses on the web. There’s a dedicated setup screen
for streaming settings. I didn’t have a way to test this
capability. It also has a bookmark function that works in all modes.
There are a number of skins both provided in the distribution archive
and available on the web to modify MMPlayer’s appearance
to your liking.
Because MMPlayer doesn’t require
a dedicated file format, there exists no dedicated software to
generate videos for MMPlayer. However, the manual and web site
recommend a number of quality (including free) software packages
to create videos in standard formats. The manual also includes
step-by-step directions for the process.
MMPlayer 0.2.14 holds
the title for most sophisticated Palm OS multimedia player. The
shareware version only plays unimpeded for a minute before a nag
screen displays and the volume decreases. Registration goes for
$14.95. If you’re looking for a multimedia player with the
maximum flexibility, outstanding play quality, and are comfortable
reformatting or converting videos too large for the PDA screen
if necessary on your own to bring them from your desktop, look
Excellent sound and video quality out
of the box
Readily-accessible controls for video settings and an equalizer for sound quality
Natively plays MPEG-1,2,4, H.263, DivX, XviD and MJPeg desktop video formats
Plays common MP3 audio files
Maximum control over playback parameters
Measures and records playback quality statistics
May be too complex for some
No dedicated conversion/reformatting desktop program
Palm OS 5 handhelds or better only
NEXT -> TealMovie