One of the lacking areas of the Handheld PC format has been in the multimedia arena. The standard HPC, out-of-the-box, has the ability to play audio with Windows Media Player but lacks the ability to play any type of MPEG video format file.
Initially this problem was resolved with the release of Mpeg's Pocket TV. However, as versions advanced, the company felt that because the HPC was an "enterprise class device", that they should charge for their HPC version of the application while continuing to give away the Pocket PC version. This and the price point ($49.95) pushed many HPC owners to look to other sources or live without the ability to play video files.
Being one of those that looked around, I ran across Marc Dukette's PocketMVP. PocketMVP (which stands for Pocket Music and Video Player) is built upon Mayo Project's PocketDIVX but has been taken many steps forward. Marc is currently working on version .9 which should be out shortly.
PocketMVP allows users to play MPEG files directly on their HPC and can be optimized to play both from main memory and from Compact Flash cards. PocketMVP can also play audio with the video files and gives a standard array of VCR-like controls to start, stop and pause the file being played. Additionally, the player's cache size can be adjusted to make the playing of larger files smoother.
The installation of PocketMVP is simple yet complete. With the default settings it will be installed in the /Program Files directory and will prompt users as to whether to make it the default viewer for MPEG files. Once installed, users can open it up with the created icons or can double-tap on a video file already on their HPC.
Finding files to play on your HPC is made easy with the simple, single-tab Open menu in PocketMVP. Users navigate to find the file they want to play by tapping the directory the file is located in and then single-tapping the file to play it.
Once the file is found, you can configure PocketMVP to play the file upon opening or to wait until you tap the Play icon. This along with other configuration settings can be made from the File-Configuration menu. Along with being able to determine when to play the files, users can also adjust the amount of cache that is available for PocketMVP to use for playback. This setting I have found to be a key determination factor in the quality of playback. Generally the bigger the cache, the better the quality will be, especially on files with sound.
Under the File-Settings option, users can determine if sound is to be played with the video as well as if the file Slider (the indicator of where you are during the viewing of a file), a Clean Video option (cleans up the pixelization of the file) and the ability to Shuffle in a file.
Overall play quality is excellent in PocketMVP with little chop and hesitation. Even when playing from a Compact Flash card, the quality and playback speed is acceptable and in smaller files, there is no difference. I have found that the larger the file, the more hesitation and chop I find during playback. This is amplified slightly by running the file from a CF card.
PocketMVP does have room for improvement and is still a work in progress. However, considering the price (free), it is hard to beat. Marc does ask for donations to continue his free-lance work on this project, which is completely open-source in nature. Information on how to help him is available on his website.
Windows CE 2.11 and above
PocketMVP can be found at the following URL.