MobileInfocenter
Developer: The Price:
  • $30
  • $20 with a competitive discount
The Pros:
  • Video looks good
  • NR70 video is fantastic
  • Sound quality is very good
  • Player is free

The Cons:
  • Not true High-Res
  • Producer is expensive

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*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



Kinoma Player and Kinoma Producer Review
By Davy Fields
6/19/2002


Kinoma Player arrived on the scene about a week ago, fulfilling a desire expressed by many Cliť owners all across the Internet, people wanting high-resolution video for their devices, and some even fantasizing about full screen videos on the new NR70ís. In this review, Iíll be covering Kinoma Player and Producer, with a special emphasis on creating and playing 320 by 480 videos.

Kinoma Producer
Kinoma Producer isnít dramatically different from any of the other applications that do video on the palm. The converter allows you to set many various settings concerning audio and video, but where it differs is when you start to go into the higher resolutions.

Kinoma Producer ships with many different device presets, idealized settings for many different machines. It should be noted that Kinoma Player and Producer can do smaller, regular-res video clips, and since the Player itself is free, this is quite a nice prospect for video on all Palm handhelds.

Most of the videos you produce will be in "Cinepak Mobile" form, which appears to be a mode that can be viewed in every Palm OS device. It is based on the patented Cinepak video algorithm that helped launch the digital video era in the 1990's. More on Cinepak Mobileís quality later.

The Producer can make movies up to 320 by 480, but thereís a caveat. Appleís QuickTime 5 Pro is required to flip the movies 90 degrees so the movie fits on the NR70 series' screen. The lack of an internal converter on the handheld, or at least one in Kinoma Producer, is bothersome (as QuickTime 5 costs $30 by itself), but the company promised to fix it in the future.

Kinoma Producer can encode movies up to thirty frames a second, but as they say in Detroit, your mileage may vary. Much of the time setting it at 15 frames for a high-res movie is pushing the limit.

The audio can also be set in many different ways, from uncompressed, to disabling it, to my personal favorite "Cliť Audio". This encodes the movieís sound in a rate up to 66 kbps Stereo, and it sounds fantastic in headphones, but very quiet out of the NR70V's speaker. Interestingly enough, you can encode audio without a video picture, so if youíre every looking for a different way to store MP3ís, this is it. In fact, Kinoma Producer has convert from QuickTime, MPEG-1, AVI, MP3, WAVE, AIFF, Macromedia Flash, animated GIF, PNG, and JPEG.

You can select the background for the movie, although this is silly if you fill up the screen. I either left it as white or black, although you can select an image.

The conversion goes quickly enough, but the file size is definitely not a petite thing. A James Bond Trailer that Iíve used as my test subject takes up 5.1 MB, for a high-end 320x480 movie that is 1:00.9 seconds of length. At that rate, itís about twelve seconds a megabyte, which means a standard 22-minute converted show would take up about 110 MB on a memory card. Ouch.

Kinoma Producer is $20 as a competitive upgrade if you provide the code for another video program, or $30 otherwise. They offer Mac OS X, OS 9, and, of course, your Windows flavor of the application.

Kinoma Player
Kinoma Player is as plain as they come, but since itís free, itís hard to complain. In the file manager, you can view the size of the movies, the length, and some basic other information.

It can run videos directly off a VFS memory card, and it does it well, supporting either the Palm/Launcher or Palm/Programs/Kinoma directories. My Bond movie is moving about 80 kilobytes per second off the stick, but it handles admirably on the NR70V.

We know that it sounds great, and that the movies tend to be large, now on to the most important part of any video player, how does it look? In my own opinion, it looks pretty nice.

To call this a high-resolution player is by name alone, because as you can see in the screenshots, it is clearly not as high-res as, say, an image in a photo viewer. Iím going to refer to it as sort of a "medium-res", itís blocky, but it looks much better in motion. This is similar to the way a single frame of a VCR recording doesn't look all that great but the video in motion looks fine.

Scattered throughout this review are some freeze-frame images. I had a problem converting these images from my Cliť using the Macintosh program, but the developers of Screenshot 1.7 were nice enough to convert them for this review. In general, these look better in motion. If you want to see what Iím referring to, visit Kinomaís website and check out their samples.

Now, what do I think about the video quality? I think itís fantastic! Many people had set their expectations too high upon hearing of the player: A Palm, even the new Cliť, runs at tiny fractions of your computerís speed. That MPEG file will not look the same as it does on your computer; fortunately, it still looks fine on the Palm.

You can play gMovies with Kinoma player, since Kinoma Player is an extension of it, and in comparing the same clip on both, the Kinoma Player is a noticeable improvement. If you are wondering how this happened, a while back Generic Media decided to stop working on gMovie. Kinoma has licensed it and will keep developing it.

Conclusion
Now, the question is, is it worth it? If you have an NR70, itís an unequivocal yes. Converting movie trailers, music videos, and even favorite episodes of the Simpsons is a blast. Set it down on a table, flip the screen and leave it open a crack for balance, and plug it into a set of speakers and youíve got yourself a fun little way to look at movies.

However, as the screen size shrinks, the usefulness does as well. 320 by 240 movies for a normal high res device definitely start to lose ground on their low-res competitors in video quality, compared to, say, a gMovie.

That being said, itís still easily the best movie player if youíve got a Cliť, and due to the fact that Kinoma Player is free, itís the best movie player out there, right now anyway. Someday with OS 5 devices weíll get true high-res players, but until that day comes this is the best thing available.

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So is there a movie repository somewhere?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 11:20:55 AM #
Sony USED to have a Gmovie gallery of videos, etc when the N710 first came out... it was hard enough to find at the time, but after much searching I'm pretty sure it's gone. Yahoo! groups has a kinoma group with a few uploaded files, but only very few, and most aren't encoded with CLIE sound... bums. Video looks good though.

Is there anywhere else we can find some viewing goodies (besides Kinoma's website)?

RE: So is there a movie repository somewhere?
wm5051 @ 6/19/2002 12:24:19 PM #
Watch PocketPCFilms.com. Bad name, I know, but they did announce that they were planning on supporting gmovie files in the near future. You can see the release here - http://www.genericmedia.com/news/pr24.html

Compatibility

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 11:21:57 AM #
Actually, I have a few gMovie files that play fine in gMovie (using either 1.x or 2.x) but has small problems when played using Kinoma player. (Fatal exception, reset.)

Anyway, now I use both.

How big?

terrysalmi @ 6/19/2002 11:25:20 AM #
How big is an average say, 2 minute file with sound? And can you run it off the memory stick?

RE: How big?
Ed @ 6/19/2002 11:31:15 AM #
It is only 99K but you can store the app and run it off a memory card if you want to.

It is difficult to say how big a file is because you have a lot of options for encoding movies. Not only can you pick your display size, you also have different options for the audio. The best answer I can give you is a 30 second hi-res video with decent audio is roughly 1.4 MB.

---
News Editor

RE: How big?
Kaitou @ 6/19/2002 11:35:37 AM #
RTA
"A James Bond Trailer that Iíve used as my test subject takes up 5.1 MB, for a high-end 320x480 movie that is 1:00.9 seconds of length. At that rate, itís about twelve seconds a megabyte, which means a standard 22-minute converted show would take up about 110 MB on a memory card."

"It can run videos directly off a VFS memory card, and it does it well, supporting either the Palm/Launcher or Palm/Programs/Kinoma directories."

RE: How big? cache?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 12:03:37 PM #
does it use cache on the ROM or RAM or whatever thats not in the memorty stick?
RE: How big?
Altema @ 6/19/2002 10:43:28 PM #
"does it use cache on the ROM or RAM or whatever thats not in the memorty stick?"

I'm not a programmer (aside from goofing around in basic and cobol), but it appears to buffer the video stream in RAM. Does a better job of it than most. In TealMovie, there is a slight difference in frame rate when you play from the card, in FireViewer there is a big difference with little or no buffering.

My only complaint so far is that the sound is optimized for better speakers than the ones in a typical Palm, and as a result the low frequencies are overdriven and distorted even with the volume low. TealMovie does an excellent job with the sound, making even singing and speech understandable on that little peizo that Palm uses. There is no option for low frequency filtering in Kinoma. So now I am in the quandry of being able to play clear smooth video directly from the card for hours on end, and I can't understand what they are saying!!

True high-res.

ne0 @ 6/19/2002 11:23:16 AM #
Well, about med-res - high-res thing: this is high-resolution player, as long as it puts video hardware of CLIE in high-res mode. The blocky look is caused by codec used to decompress data into picture - as long as 66 MHz cpu processing speed is limited, we have to sacrifice some quality. By the way: I think file size matters :), and very high quality video would take to much space on Memory Stick, so it is not only matter of limited speed of SuperVZ and codec. But as you said, this is best player available for CLIE for now - even PPC owners jaws drop when they see Spider Man trailer in 320 x 480 mode... :)

--
Ne0
RE: True high-res.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 5:36:38 PM #
I agree the full screen does look amazingly good, but the video quality is really weak compared to PocketTV. XScale will definitley make video on the NR series the equal (or better) than PPC, now we need larger MS to handle the files!

excellent review

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 11:59:42 AM #
thanks!
RE: excellent review
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 12:10:31 PM #
i agree, great review!

Any good for Clies other than NR70?

bookrats @ 6/19/2002 12:15:56 PM #
Will the Player play "hi-res" clips on the Clie T615C? (Specifically, will they play them well?)

Thanks in advance...

----

Jeff Meyer

RE: Any good for Clies other than NR70?
tipds @ 6/19/2002 2:24:04 PM #
Yup. Got the 760 & it's fantastic. You can even watch videos encoded in the larger format. I have had really good luck with the plaer, after I hashed out some other problems. (Not related to the player/producer themselves.)

Tip DS

RE: Any good for Clies other than NR70?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/12/2002 8:09:53 AM #
The movies worked best at 12fps, otherwise it will stop periodically to sync with the sound. If you want 30fps, you'll have to go with no sound to enjoy the movie. The quality is 5 times better than Teal and 50 times better than gmovie. The sound definitely beats Teal movie. I love it!

not impressed so far..

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 12:54:45 PM #
I bought a copy of the producer a couple of weeks ago after seeing some of the really cool full screen movies floating around out there.

So far, I wish that I had not. Most of the heavy lifting has to be done with other programs...and requires more expertise than it should. Rotating the picture AND keeping the sound at the same time apparently requires an act of god.

The program is based upon quicktime so, in essence, if QT can't do it, then neither can Kinoma. Most of the video clips that I have tried to convert have failed because of this. Forget anything in DiVX. Only 1 type of MPEG works. None of the windows formats work, etc, etc...

RE: not impressed so far..
tipds @ 6/19/2002 2:25:14 PM #
I've not had these problems. I've converted my share of Divx clips & it worked well. I wonder if you have the correct ENCODER codec installed on your system. Gimmie a holler some time & I'll check exactly which version I have. (I'm not on that computer at the moment.) As for heavy lifting... Well, I think we have to keep it in perspective. The Kinoma Producer is really a movie converter; not a video editor. For example, if you have a video format that really isn't compatible with the producer, you should get a video editor to change it's format. I like Bink & Smaker. It's a free program & it does lots of cool stuff. It also has some good up/down converters for resolution and frame rate. It has great filters.

Tip DS

File Size

TedTschopp @ 6/19/2002 1:05:32 PM #
I have a copy of the Lord of the Rings Trailer 2 min. 49.4 sec. in length.

The Playback is at 12 FPS and the video is full screen (320 x 428). File size is 9.8 mb.

The Die another Day Trailer I have is 260 x 480 59 sec. in length and 3.8mb.


RE: File Size
tipds @ 6/19/2002 2:29:51 PM #
The size of the file will be heavily dependent on the data rate selected. There are several rates available, but I use the second-to-highest rate. I've had great luck using 320x240 @ 24fps with Clie audio. It does create a file size slightly larger than the original, but it's such good quality. Oh, and FastCPU to get the LCD clock & CPU clock pumped up.

Tip DS

Setting NR on its side open slightly

Bmann @ 6/19/2002 1:05:19 PM #
Ed

I glad you mentioned setting the NR on a table and leaving it open a crack. I've been on the edge of this new Kinoma player/producer and I'm currently trying to get rotating to the Left as the standard for encoding clips. Now I have the producer and can make my own clips and rotate them anyway I want, but I think to the Left is the best way because of the headphone jack, jog wheel and the direction that the NR screen rotates. If the clips are rotated to the Left you can not only set the NR on its side with the headphone plugged in, you also have access to the jog wheel and you can tilt the screen a little bit before the screen flips so you have a better viewing angle.

There are may Right-handers out there that would prefer the clip to be rotated to the Right so they can hold the NR at the hinge side and still use their stylus with Right hand. This a smaller factor than what I've mentioned above.

Hopefully Kinoma is watching these message boards and will include a feature to flip the clips 180 degrees so that not only could you set your NR on its side, but you could also have it open and flipped with the IR port facing you when watching smaller clips

Also, what about battery life. Has anyone tried to watch a 22-30 minute clip and how much battery is left. Someone reported playing the HiRes+ Spiderman clip from internal memory on a loop for 10 minute or so and half the battery was gone.

RE: Setting NR on its side open slightly
Altema @ 6/21/2002 1:47:06 PM #
I get about a 10% drop for 30 minutes of video, which gives you about four and a half hours of video+audio if it was fully charged and ran until the first low battery warning. BUT that is on a different device with a 160 x 160 color screen, so there is not as much work for the processor.

Additional Review Comments

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 1:53:15 PM #
I purchased this last week...and I am NOT disappointed. In fact, I'm very happy with this program. I have an older Clie...the N710C...upgraded to OS4.1.

The quality of video and sound this player puts out is by far the best right now. I've had some trouble converting certain videos, but for the most part, I can download trailers, videos, Simpsons episodes, etc. and convert and view them! Sometimes the sound comes slightly out of sync with the video by the end of the clip, but reducing the frame rate to 10 frames/sec eliminates this...and you still get pretty good quality. Kinoma is working on this problem, though...so no worries.

Realistically, you CAN view videos and small movies on your Clie with this program. For example, you can load an entire Simpsons episode on your memory stick and it will take around 30mb or less.

320 x 240 is pretty good quality for viewing videos in your palm!

RE: Additional Review Comments
EdwardGreen @ 6/19/2002 5:04:16 PM #
320x240 is full screen ion a Pocket PC. I have encoded a number of music videos in 320x240 and they look brilliant on my n770c o/c to 54mhz.

File size is not bad - okay Div-X is a long way off, but Mpeg1 films encoded from http://www.pocketmovies.net/ only grow a small amount at reasonable quality settings.

I have had random problems with sound sync, but somtimes reencoding the move at a different frame rate solves this hitch. I get the impression that Kinoma will be further improved in the future solving this problem.

Overall this is a top product and a Jaw Dropper. I have several Clie Audio 320x240 files I am willing to share - if I had somwhere to put them.

-
kHiTeDev

Share your hi-res+ (320x480) movie trailers?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 2:34:33 PM #
I've downloaded the hi-res+ spiderman trailer, and am definitely impressed.

If any of you have made kinoma hi-res+ movie trailers/music videos, could you post them here?

Thanks in advance!

RE: Share your hi-res+ (320x480) movie trailers?
Bmann @ 6/19/2002 4:28:22 PM #
ED

Is there a place here to host some trailers. I have:

Minority Report
MIB2
Matrix Reloaded
Austin Powers - Goldmember
The Sum of All Fears
Die Another Day
Windtalders
Spiderman

all in 320x480 (rotated to Left)

RE: Share your hi-res+ (320x480) movie trailers?
Ed @ 6/19/2002 5:20:13 PM #
I'd suggest you submit them to the Kinoma Yahoo group. I'm afraid PIC doesn't have the bandwidth to handle this sort of thing.

You'll get benefits, as well. I'm looking in the group's Files section right now and there are already a bunch of videos in there in various sizes.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kvu/

---
News Editor

RE: Share your hi-res+ (320x480) movie trailers?
Chu @ 6/20/2002 8:22:13 AM #
Bmann,

I'm working on getting a place for us to host hi-res+ trailers. Is there a way I can get in touch with you once I have that set up? You can email me your info at pic9809@hotmail.com.

Please explain the discount method...

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 3:48:27 PM #
Can you explain how to get the $10 discount from $30 to $20?

Yahoo group for Kinoma users

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 5:11:22 PM #
There is a fairly new Yahoo group where you can get some clips.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kvu/

You will need a Yahoo ID to join.

RE: Yahoo group for Kinoma users
Altema @ 6/21/2002 9:39:57 PM #
"You will need a Yahoo ID to join."

That rules it out for me. I joined the Yahoo M505 group when I had one of those, and got spammed with investment schemes. When I joined the Yahoo Clie group I got spammed with pornography. All this after two years of having a spam free address. I hate to think what's next.

Returning my Clie

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 8:04:14 PM #
I'm sorry, I was misled by many people thinking the Clie could play video as well as the Pocket PC. This review is also not accurate.
RE: Returning my Clie
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 10:01:31 PM #
Many?

How many people is many?

RE: Returning my Clie
Altema @ 6/21/2002 9:45:46 PM #
What model of PPC are you referring to, and what is the problem you experienced with video on the Clie? I have an M515 with half the processor speed and less than half the screen of some Clie models, yet the quality far surpasses that of the PPC's I have seen video on (Jordana, Casio). Better clarity and smoother frame rates (Final Fantasy trailer is killer for showing off frame rates). The other friends of mine with PPC will not even load video clips after seeing video on the M515. I would be curious as how much better than 24fps, 16 bit color, 320 x 480 resolution, and full stereo sound you could get.

Battery Life

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/19/2002 10:57:26 PM #
All things being equal, my Pocket PC can play full screen video longer without the same battery drain as my Clie. For the time being, for my portable movie collection I am still going to use my Pocket PC.

This is a great first step for Palm users. Nice work Kinoma.

RE: Battery Life
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/20/2002 3:52:16 PM #
Actually, Palms have done video for years. It's the PocketPC that is catching up.

my dear DIV-X ?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/20/2002 10:27:12 AM #
anyone know if the producer does divx?

i know that tealmovie does (SLOWWWLY), but gmovie (which uses quicktime) does not.

any takers?

anyone know of a DVD-to-Palm solution?

Can't say enough

joetunon @ 6/21/2002 7:54:13 AM #
Let's keep perspective. Have you tried PhotoSuite Mobile, TealMovie, and gMovie? Kinoma blows all of these out of the water. Here's why: PhotoSuite looks best because there's no compression. But that means enormous file size. We're talking roughly a MB per second. And that's with no sound. The reviewer here was complaining about file size! Cinepak compression makes the filesizes totally acceptable, considering the content. TealMovie looks okay, but it's not true 16-bit color, and it shows in its excessive color banding. Kinoma is true 16-bit, and the color banding is minimal. As for gMovie, the resolution is so poor, and the performance off the stick is so slow, that it's a joke. Now look at Kinoma in perspective. Hi-res, 16-bit color, and the performance off of the stick is flawless, even running full 30 fps clips (not fullscreen, of course) that are several minutes long, with absolutely no lag, no dropouts, and at full speed. What other player does this? None.

As for the PPC's, no way. I've seen plenty of clips on a PPC. While your mileage may certainly vary, I've yet to see any lag, dropouts, or freezes in Kinoma on a Clie than in Media Player on a high end Compaq PPC at comparable frame rates. And consider that Strongarms are over 200 MHz, whereas Dragonballs run at 33 and 66. Imagine what Kinoma will do on a StrongArm!

For the longest time I thought I would have to go (back) to the PPC platform if I was ever going to enjoy long, full color, high framerate video clips. Not any more. Even though the review was favorable, I just wanted to add my 2 cents. This thing takes video on the PDA to a whole new level.

RE: Can't say enough
Altema @ 6/21/2002 2:02:07 PM #
Ditto here. The MobilePhoto player also had NO encoding options and the frame rate was poor when playing from the card. Fireviewer is fine but no audio. TealMovie is very good, but the lack of 16bit color and not being able to FF or rewind is a problem for me. Audio in TealMovie though is optimized better for Palms without real speakers. Still waiting for someone to come up with a headphone jack modification for the M5xx series, have checkbook ready...

Kinoma Player

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/3/2002 11:57:28 AM #
After installing Kinoma on my Sony Clie NR70V, I was having problems with the "find" botton. (Fatal error).
I had to deleted it and it is working again.
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