Enjoying movies is no longer limited to sitting in your front room in front of a VCR or DVD player. Nowadays, most new mobile phones have the capacity for handling video, meaning that you can watch your favourite Simpsons episodes or the latest Bond film on the bus. With phone manufacturers getting even more generous with storage space, mobile video is now very much a reality.
But how to playback those movies? One of the most downloaded media players to date is the Nokia Multimedia Player, though it’s likely the program’s popularity owes more to the strength of the Finnish firm’s brand rather than a reflection of the quality of the software. The player is basic to say the least (there’s not even a fast-forward function) and the interface is pretty ugly. The application can handle the playback of MMS messages though and it supports a wide range of file formats. Or at least that what the developer claims – many of those ‘supported’ didn’t work with the player during out tests.
A more accomplished alternative for playing video on your Symbian phone is SmartMovie. The playback functions are much more advanced than those of its Nokia rival. Opening and running video is a much smoother process with SmartMovie, and it contains a wealth of tools for converting and scaling video so that it matches your phone’s specifications perfectly. Unfortunately, the program does have problems with certain formats, such as .mov, and you need to faff about with third-party codecs.
If your phone runs the Windows Mobile OS then get hold of the rather wonderful TCPMP, a free DivX player with a whole bunch of cool features. The program’s main screen is reminiscent of the multimedia programs that you’d find on your desktop computer, with options to change aspect ratio, zoom and volume as well as more advanced controls such as video speed (10% – 200%), video driver, audio preamp and more. Of course, all of these solutions are only as good at handling video as your current handset, so if you’re looking for a portable video player make sure you choose carefully when buying a new phone.