Giving the fact that most of us are listening to music or watching videos on a daily basis, I thought that it might be useful to write a short guide presenting you 10 essential media players from which you can choose the one that is suitable. Starting in a randomly order:
One of the oldest media players on the market supported by a huge community. You can choose to use its free version which is suitable for listening to music and to online radio and gives you unlimited access to custom playlists. For the payed version you will get access to a video player module and a comprehensive list of audio and graphical plug-ins.
Mostly known for its online market and exclusive sync feature with iPod players, iTunes is nothing else but a huge music library. It can scan your computer for audio files and arrange them in order based on defined filters. It will automatically download for free covers for any music album and additional information from the iTunes marketplace.
Windows Media Player
Any Windows user knows this media player. It exists since the dawn of computers and along with Winamp makes the oldest couple in the media players market. It’s free and integrated in any Windows operating system and has video and audio functions. In terms of video playback, the player comes with native wma support. Any other codecs need to be installed in order to run specific video files. The audio section is much better represented with lots of options to organize your music collection. Version 12 (available only in Windows 7) can also be used as Media Center for third party consoles such as XBOX 360 and PS3.
VLC for Windows | VLC for MAC
The one that you need. It’s free and ready to play any video format including MKV, XVID, DIVX, DVD, Blu-Ray, etc. VLC is an open source project that earned its popularity because of its own engine that requires no additional codecs to be installed. Any type of video or audio file can be played with no problems. The only drawback is that from version to version, VLC becomes bigger and bigger.
One of the most popular free video players. BSPlayer has been focused from the beginning on delivering the best video experience for the user requiring very low CPU and RAM usage while running. It also features a wide variety of display modes (all types of aspect ratios and uncommon resolutions) and subtitle options which enable the users to watch video files in many of the world’s languages.
Quicktime is included by default in any Mac operating system and delivered for free for other operating systems. In general you will find it in bundle with iTunes. While iTunes is strictly for music, Quicktime is strictly for videos. It suffers from the same lack of options like Windows Media Player when coming to special video formats or subtitles support, but delivers an incredible image quality when playing high definition videos.
Developed by Arthur Majtczak, AllPlayer is probably the most popular program for watching movies on the Polish market. With full subtitles support it plays all known media formats, and furthermore has an implemented LiveUpdate function to update the latest codecs if there is a problem with opening a movie file. The program also searches for matching subtitles in all languages automatically.
Unlike most players, ALLPlayer is not merely an overlay for MediaPlayer, and it uses DirectX, which makes it possible to play any movie. The program is also integrated with a speech synthesizer application, allowing you to watch movies with subtitles with a reader (dubbing).
GOM Player ranks among the most popular media players in Asia. It’s a video/audio player with additional multimedia functions. GOM uses low CPU utilization while giving you the best possible image and subtitle quality. It can also play incomplete files (with missing indexes) without buffering. Similar to VLC, GOM can play any media files due to its built-in codecs library. In addition, Codec Finder service helps codec installation; this service will tell you exactly which codec you should install and where you can download the codec. This service is powerful, easy to use, and highly interactive. With it’s help, you can watch any media files of various formats.
Very popular in its former days on the US market, RealPlayer is more of a social multimedia player suited for online services and mobile devices. You can download videos from tens of thousands of websites with the click of a button and easily transfer them to your phone or mobile device. RealPlayer comes also with social network support. You can pick a downloaded video from your library and click on the icon for the social network you want to share it on (or the envelope icon if you just want to e-mail it). Voila! Your desired video from your local collection is uploaded.
Media Player Classic
If you want to return to the pure simplicity, then you need to take a look at Media Player Classic. It’s really the easiest way to play video on your PC. Started as a free project by Gabest, Media Player Classic is an enhanced version of Windows Media Player 6.4. This program can play DVDs with the help of external decoders like WinDVD and it can also play RealMedia files, if RealPlayer One is installed. It requires additional codecs installation for specific video files.