theKompany Review Series: tkcVideo

By far the best solution viewing video on a 5xxx Zaurus is TheKompany's tkcVideo application. We tried it against Opie's media-player2 and an mplayer port and here is what we found.

tkcVideo In our tests, trying a QVGA .wmv & Divx video and a 320x184 mpeg1 file we found tkcVideo the fastest of all. Mplayer would simply refuse to play more than 1 frame per 8 seconds of our QVGA DivX "The Matrix" trailer (we got a warning on the command line saying: "your machine is too slow") and same was for Opie's Xine-based media player. On the other hand, tkcVideo would deliver about 8-10 frames per second, which is considerably faster than its competition. You might think that this is not great either, but the Zaurus 5500 does not have any kind of floating point unit, and so decoding takes more time than on similar but newer ARM devices (e.g. the newly released Tungsten E2 at 200 Mhz is much faster than the Zaurus at 206 Mhz).

TheKompany gave us a tip regarding QVGA divx videos: encode your 320x240 DivX videos at 15 fps, which is still a very watchable frame rate, and the Zaurus should be able to decode that much easier.

Regarding mpeg1 at 320x184 we found it very watchable and it was only dropping frames only here and there. Regarding the QVGA WMV video we tried, it would deliver about 5-6 fps, but without any sound.

The application can do full screen video and it can also place the video in preview mode above the video playlist (it will search on your CF and RAM for videos, but not on SDs due to a Zaurus bug). It also supports Real Video 1.0, Raw video, mjpeg, mpeg2, mp2/3. The UI is easy to figure out too, everything is done via icons, stop, play/pause, seek, move to the next/previous video, go to fullscreen and "open new video file".

We heard that a tkcVideo customer with a Zaurus 5600 was able to play similar videos full frame, however the 5600 model is 400 Mhz, not 206. We conclude that tkcVideo is definetely a great buy if you own the 5600 model and a recommended buy if you own a 5500 but you are very careful what you are trying to decode each time.

Overall: 8/10