So today is the first in what will be an ongoing series focusing on great apps, featuring interviews with the developers so you can get the inside running on their thoughts about developing for Android, and also a heads-up as to their future plans for developing their app, and any new projects they might have over the horizon!
I’m going to start today with the fantastic DicePlayer, a third party video player with lots of advances over even the best stock video players. Readers who have seen some of my other videos will have seen this app in action a few times by now, and will know how much it can do for your treasured new Android handset – for something like the HTC Sensation the improvement it brings over stock is near-miraculous, and even for the Galaxy SII it brings loads of enhancements over the already stupendous stock player.
So keep reading after the break to find out what this great developer has to say about Android app development, and of course some exclusive details on their upcoming projects.
Before leaping into the interview, I’ll just take a moment to provide a little context, because I realise that watching video on a mobile device is an aspect of use that is only now starting to gain some traction – particularly with the increasing number of handsets and tablets now coming with HDMI outputs onboard.
For starters, the video below is a little introduction to DicePlayers capabilities, and I would also suggest reading the accompanying article here to get a bit more understanding.
…and here is another video, this time showing how useful it can be to have a very capable video player on your HDMI-out capable mobile:
Now that we’ve squared away a bit of background reading to give this all a little context, on with the interview:
First question – the third party video player was already quite a congested market for Android prior to your introducing Diceplayer, what did you set out to offer that people couldn’t already get?
I think that Diceplayer is more competitive than other players. We have already had hardware acceleration tech, and have been developing a DRM Media Player for Android. Diceplayer is not a whole new product, but a consumer version of our DRM (digital rights management) media player for video on demand service providers.
I notice that there have been plenty of software updates in the last few weeks, for people buying apps that level of support is really important. I wonder if you could let us know your plans for future updates are in terms of adding functions? For example, improved software decoding for things like VP6/VP6 Alpha?
We’ve offered VP6 decoder using ffmpeg. If you want to activate the function, turn on “additional extension” option in settings menu. But, as of right now we still have a lot of things to do to improve software decoding.
In terms of future updates, we have immediate plans to update Diceplayer as below
1. Further software decoder optimizations
2. Smoother playback
3. Audio effect support
As a developer, what are your thoughts on the Android Market, and has it been a good experience so far writing apps for Android?
Android Market is not so good as Apple’s iTunes App Store. The only thing Android Market is better than iTunes app store is that there are no regulations. But for that reason, Android Market filled with bunch of wastes. It’s so easy to crack apps, and to install cracked apps. We had to spend a lot of time protecting our product, frankly, it is frustrating for me. So I think it is required more strict DRM policy and license manager at VM level.
I note that you went for a paid app model, rather than an ad-supported model. Certain prominent developers have said they think it’s the only way to monetize Android apps, you disagree?
I agree ad-support model is almost best way to monetize android apps. But ad-support model need plenty of install base – I think it needs over 1,000,000 downloads. A media player app has no space to view ads – if ads float over the video screen, it is too annoying. Although we do not earn much money, we feel a sense of duty to support our customer’s voice. If we used an ad-support model, we might easily drop or stop support.
I know the owners of Tegra-based Android Tablets aren’t finding video playback great right now (unless they transcode their movies). Are you planning to support more devices going forward?
We are now developing Diceplayer for Honeycomb. Here’s a demo video of its current alpha state:
As a Honeycomb tablet owner I can say that DicePlayer and the video playback capability it brings will be a very welcome addition to my tablets app suite. Besides your plans to rescue tablet owners from their video playback woes, do you have any other projects running at the moment, or thoughts about different apps that you might release in the future?
1. DRM Media Player for Android & iOS : Hardware accelerated video player for DRM’ed Contents, and our player can play Apple’s http live streaming contents, which means this content can be shared not only to iOS devices, but also Androids. Only Netfilix and Diceplayer can use hardware decoding properly at this time, but our device coverage is much larger than Netflix. Hulu+ Android app does also use hardware decoding for the MP4 file format, but their contents are not protected properly. You can easily dump original contents, which makes it less attractive to some content providers. HBO Go Android app uses software decoding, which means high battery usage and low quality. We have the best solution for an Android DRM media player.
2. DRM Media server for Android/iOS : Media streaming server for smartphones. We plan to launch an application service provider for the cloud.
3. RealTime Transcoder for Diceplayer : Yes, this is an AirVideo-like server, similar to a PC app using SandyBridge’s QuickSync Video.
4. HTTP Live Streaming : Currently Diceplayer has a beta stage HLS client. We’ll upgrade the HLS client to a fully functional HLS client from our DRM media player.
Wow, that is a pretty substantial raft of improvement’s you’re bringing to Android video playback, I think that’s pretty exciting news and look forward to seeing how things develop from here on out. Thanks for your time!