Act 1 Icon Act 1 Video Player

The best Android video player available!

Act 1 Video Player FAQ

Video Playback

Features / Tech

Billing and Download

Please note that we have almost no control over billing and download issues because they are controlled by the Android Market.

Video Playback

NEW: After my Android 2.2 (Froyo) update, my videos don't play any more. How to fix it?

We've received some feedback lately from people who are having trouble with Android 2.2 (Froyo) updates on their phones. Mostly the feedback is from Droid users who have had their OTA (over-the-air) updates during August 2010, and a few from Evo 4G users from the same time.

Some people are talking about the problem at Android Forums and Motorola Support but with no explanation or resolution yet.

There could be one of two problems. It could be a bad Froyo update or it could be that the update dropped support for some kinds of mp4 video. The problem is NOT related to an update of the Act 1 app itself.

While the Droid we use for testing is working OK with Android 2.2, there are a small minority of people who report that their videos either 1) don't show up in the list all all, 2) don't play at all, or 3) play choppy. At least one person has had to take their Droid back to Verizon to get it replaced after a bad update!

These are regrettable problems since we can't do anything about it. Some people find some relief by following these general steps in order of escalation to attempt to resolve the problem:

  1. Reboot.
  2. If you moved Act 1 to the sdcard, undo that and leave it on internal storage.
  3. Uninstall/reinstall Act 1 (you never have to pay twice for a market download).
  4. Move all the videos off the sdcard, then back on again (see below).

If you are trying to move all the videos on and off the sdcard follow this procedure:

  1. Mount the sdcard on your computer
  2. Move all the videos onto your computer (be sure to make sure they are deleted off the sdcard)
  3. Unmount the sdcard and let Android finish scanning it
  4. Remount the sdcard
  5. Copy all the videos back on
  6. Unmount the sdcard
  7. Try to play them again.

It may also be the case that the Android update actually dropped support for the types of mp4 videos that you are trying to play. :-( Please remember that Act 1 can only play the types of videos that are supported by your version of Android. Videos created with your phone's Camcorder app should always work. If you have a video that doesn't work any more, you may have to convert it, and you should read the relevant FAQ question and page about converting videos.

Can't you make it play AVI, MOV, MKV, WMV, or whatever my favorite video format is?

Short answer: Android devices currently only have built-in support various types of video files. Consult your phone's technical specifications to find out what it supports. You must encode your videos to a format it supports in order to get it to play. All Android phones should play h264/mp4 baseline profile and 3gp videos, which is the same as what the iPod and iPhone support. See the my encoding howto for some tips on converting videos.

Some people report that only the video or audio will play. This is because of the same reason. Either the audio or video stream is encoded in such a way that your phone doesn't understand it. Converting your video should also solve the problem.

Some newer phones, such as the Droid, can play WMV just fine whereas some older phones, like my G1 cannot. I've heard that some phones can play AVI. I'm sure even newer phones coming out will have better support for more video types in the future, and Act 1 will be able to play them because it just taps into the codecs that are built into your phone.

Today, the only video formats you will be able to play on an Android phone are the ones that the manufacturer of the phone has built into it. If you want your phone to play all you various video file formats, you'll probably just have to wait for a phone to be released that has the support for them.

This means that for the G1, the only video formats you can play are 3GPP and MP4 with futher restrictions on the encoding of the video and audio data. It just so happens that these are the same restrictions imposed by the iPod. For a technical breakdown of what your G1 can actually play, go to Fortunately, there is desktop software that will help you convert your existing videos to something that will play on the G1. I talk about that later in this page.

I see a strange error on the screen when I try to play a video. What's that?

If you're trying to play a video you purchased from iTunes, it won't work because Apple copy protects all of their paid content. Sucks to buy from Apple.

Or it may be that Android's multimedia core is having problems. A reboot of your phone will fix that.

Or it may be that Android just doesn't understand the format of the video. If it works on your desktop computer, you'll probably need to encode it in a format that your device understands.

Why does my video appear choppy or slow?

One thing to realize about mobile devices is that are very limited in computing power. They are not at all as powerful as your typical desktop computer. Because they are so limited, your videos should be limited for both the screen size and for computing resources. The software you use to create your video should help you with that. As a general rule, you probably want to keep your video's bitrate (the amount of data required to process over a period of time) under 700kb/s. Going lower makes your videos smaller and reduces the chance that something will stutter during playback and help the battery last longer.

The easiest and least expensive thing you can do to make a video that plays on Android is to use a desktop application called Handbrake (availble for Windows, Mac, and Linux). It has a conversion profile for the iPod which worked fine for me.

Another thing you can try with Act 1 is hiding the on-screen display elements using the menu options. They do incur some overhead during playback.

Another thing to consider is that Android is a full multi-tasking operating system, which means that there could be lots of programs running at the same time as your video player, and that creates contention for the resources needed to play a video. A poorly-behaved application could be chewing up your resources and making it hard to play back video.

With Android 2.2 (Froyo), why does seeking within a video seem to be off sometimes?

With the latest Android 2.2 (Froyo) update, Google seems to have sacrificed seek precision for seek speed. This is especially evident when using the trackball to seek. Seeks happen very quickly, but they may not let you land at a precise position in time. Your seek could be forced ahead or behind a few seconds. This can be a bit frustrating, but there's nothing we can do in Act 1 to help that situation. Sorry!

Features / Tech

Why does Act 1 need the "Phone state" permission?

This permission only gives the app the ability to know when the phone is ringing and if it's in the middle of a call. Act 1 uses it to pause a video playing in the background when you take a call. If it didn't do that, then the video would keep playing while you're taking a call, and that's not at all what you want!

How do I encode videos to take advantage of Verizon Droid's (and Nexus One's) big screen?

Again, the affordable answer is Handbrake, but with some customizations for the screen size. Check out this thread on Android Forums. And not just because that poster recommended Act 1. :-)

My phone has an HDMI output port. Will it work with Act 1?

No, Act 1 can't access the HDMI output port of Android devices. Manufacturers of Android devices with HDMI output (such as the Droid X and HTC Evo) are using their own applications and interfaces to access the HDMI port. This functionality is not made available to third party applications, unfortunately.

The more general problem is that Android doesn't have a concept of external display devices. That is to say, no one can write a general application that can access a monitor that is not the device's builtin screen. Some day Google may expand Android to generally support external displays, but today it's not possible.

Can I use Act 1 to watch videos on YouTube, Hulu, or other web sites?

Act 1 doesn't stream anything. All videos must be on your sdcard and encoded in a format that your phone understands.

What's the difference between the trial and paid versions?

There is no difference between trial and paid except that the trial is limited to two minutes of continuous playback time, at which point the video will pause and remind you to buy the full version. You can use the trial version to explore all the features of the full version and find out if it will meet your needs.

Billing and Download

Why does my Android Market paid download take so long to complete?

Unfortunately, individual application developers don't have any control over the way Android market handles purchase and download of applications. If your download is taking a long time, there are some things you should check:

If none of these things are the problem, you'll have to contact Google Checkout since they handle everything having to do with payment and download.

I can't download Act 1 from the Android Market because the download and installation get permanantly stuck. How can I fix it?

There is a known problem with the Android Market where it will get stuck on some downloads. This is not a problem with the application itself, but with the market app. Some people have discussed a solution on the market forums here:

I was using "Act 1 for And 1.5" before my phone's Android OS got upgraded, and now I want to use the regular Act 1. Upgrade discount, please!

Go ahead and buy the new version of the application, then email us the Google Checkout order numbers for both orders and we'll refund you the difference in price between the applications after the new purchase clears in 24 hours.

This site was designed to be easily read on devices with small displays and limited bandwidth.

If you have any questions or helpful hints about encoding and playing videos on Android platforms, please let me know. You can email me at: android at hyperaware dot com