Or rather - why Playr? Why did I spend months writing a video player app when we have apps like VLC, MPlayerX and so on? Well, the motivation for this endeavor is hidden from the eye - and lies under the hood of the Playr app, something I call the LibAVFoundation framework. It's a framework I wrote using the open source ffmpeg libraries. It doesn't need QuickTime or AVFoundation to open and playback files. It can open hundreds of different obscure file formats to your service. It doesn't force you to install plugins or anything to open your old windows media files or your or avi files or your mkv files or your mpeg2 files - the list goes on.
At this years WWDC when Apple announced that they would ditch QuickTime in favor for their modern iOS media framework called AVFoundation, no one was surprised, at least I wasn’t. QuickTime is an old beast that has been around since the early nineties. It has done a good job for over thirty years but now it doesn't play well with 64-bit and multiple core processors and other modern technologies. That's the reason why Apple had to write AVFoundation when they introduced the iPhone back in 2007. They really couldn't put QuickTime into a device like that. AVFoundation is a very modern and efficient framework, but it lacks a lot of the features that was built in to QuickTime over the years. It doesn't have a plugin architecture for example. Third party developers can't add support for additional file formats. It's essentially closed. It handles MPEG-4 video and AAC audio only. Period.
That leaves us developers with a thirty year old framework no longer supported by Apple and a hyper modern media framework with no possibilities for expansions or plugins. Hmmm. That's bad. I guess Apple will never add a plugin architecture for AVFoundation, they think MPEG-4 is the only video format in the world worth supporting. Unfortunately the world doesn't seem to agree.
So that's the reason why I spent all those months writing the video playback framework I call LibAVFoundation now living inside the Playr app. It can handle all your video files without hesitation. It can fill the hole that Apple dug by no longer supporting QuickTime and giving us a feature poor but super efficient framework like AVFoundation. The name resembles Apples framework, but with a “Lib” in front to mark the LibAV heritage from ffmpeg.
I hope you will download Playr and give it a spin. It will of course contain bugs and have some problems, but it's a good start for a solid media platform outside the Apple perimeter. Hope you'll enjoy it.
Jörgen / Bitfield AB