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Best Free Media Player

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In a Hurry?
  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
 
Question Whats Happening Here?

Help us! - Make this review better by providing us your sample files
Index Of Media Players - Reviewed in the article
To Be Reviewed - Media Players yet to undergo more phases of testing
Introduction to Media Players
Discussion - Reviews on our choices of BF Media Players
Tested & Not Recommended - Media players that were tested and falls short of quality and preference
Tips and Warnings - User suggested tips when trying out media players and various other warnings. Please Read
Related Products and Links - Find more similar articles that may interest you
Quick Selection Guide - Contains pro's, con's and rating for each product
Recent updates - Contains latest major updates in the article
Have Your Say - Post your comments, feedback and product suggestions. Also don't forget to rate this article yes and choose your favourite media player cheeky
Currently ReviewingMPlayer WW  winkenlightened

 
  Help Us!
Please help us to make this review better, by uploading sample files of these types on your system or do provide url's of sample files of any of these file types. Upload & share your files/links to http://bestfreemediaplayer.4shared.com . Note that all the sample files should be below 150MB (<100MB is prefered). 
3GP,3G2,ASF,WMA,WMV,AVI,DIVX,EVO,F4V,FLV,MKV,MK3D,MKA,MKS,MCF,MP4,MPEG,PS, TS,M2TS,MXF,OGG,MOV,QT,RMVB,VOB,IFO,WebM
 
Book  Index of Media Players
 NewPotPlayer | KMPlayer | VLC Media Player |NewSMPlayer |NewJetAudio Basic |NewSPlayer |NewUMPlayer | Kantaris Media Player | GOM Player | Media Player Classic Home Cinema | Splash Lite | Toolwiz Player
 
To Be Reviewed

RealPlayer | Light Alloy | QQPlayerMPlayer WW | VSO Media Player | DivX Plus Player | DA Player | Zoom Player Free | FreeSmith Video Player | ALShow | ALLPlayer | AK-Player

Re-ReviewGOM | MPC-HC

 
Introduction

Finding an all-in-one media player used to be impossible. In the past you needed to use several separate programs to play MP3 files, streaming media from Real, Mpeg files, Quicktime movies, CDs and DVD discs, but with the advent of Microsoft's Windows Media Player (WMP), all of these media types could be played in one player. Over a period of time, however, WMP for XP and Vista has become bloated and isn't compatible with all of the available file formats. WinAmp, which began as an mp3 player, now plays almost everything, although it uses a lot of system resources and may contain adware if you aren't careful on the installation. iTunes has become more prevalent on many PCs due to the almost universal reach of the iPod, but it also uses a lot of resources and is processor intensive.

So I've done some major research to find alternative media players capable of playing all of these media formats, including digital music, video, CD, and DVD, while still being light on resources. I was impressed with what I found. Not only do these programs replace WMP, iTunes and WinAmp, but they also exceeded their functionality.

The products that I've reviewed here are capable of playing multiple types of media files, including various digital audio and video formats, CDs, and DVDs. They are also easy to install and use and are light on system resources.

Note: Some of these programs may require additional codecs for expanded functionality. For more information about codecs, including what they do, legal issues and download links, see this article Understanding Codecs.

Also, this is my piece of advice for the readers of Gizmo's reviews, especially the inexperienced computer users, if you really trust Gizmo's choices and advices, please read the reviews before you try out something, so that you don't run into trouble. I try to provide practically every information, I can get from each software, and pass it on to the readers.

 
Discussion  Discussion

PotPlayer

PotPlayer-ToyStory3It's official! KMPlayer has been dethroned. PotPlayer is now our new king of media players.:-) PotPlayer is an intuitive and a powerful Multimedia player published by Daum written by the same author as The KMPlayer.  It’s feature packed, easy to use and provides awesome video and audio quality. Some may call it KMPlayerRedux with more stability and versatility. It feels similar to that of the KMPlayer having the same roots, but it is in active development, releasing around 2 updated versions every week.

Originally a Korean media player, the English version has redesigned the menus and have been almost fully translated. It comes in 2 flavours x86 and x64. PotPlayer truly stands out for supporting a wide variety of formats and having extensive configuration settings. It includes a long list of built-in audio and video codecs that enable you to play almost any media format you can dream about.

PotPlayer has a simple and sleek interface though not mind-blowing and has high quality playback. The player is light on system resources and has a very fast startup. Seeking through the video at any rate produced no blurriness. It includes ffdshow and some other stuff to connect to a Korean-only video/chat network. It is embedded with all the new decoders and filters. PotPlayer supports GPU acceleration and post-processing. It comes with hardware assisted decoders and when it comes to HD video playback, it uses the video card installed on the system to decode the video stream, hence this reduces CPU utilization, making the playback smooth no matter what the quality and size of the file are.

A key feature of PotPlayer is that it supports seamless media playback where upto 1000 files can be loaded and played back to back. Advanced users can knock themselves out by using their own filters and decoders, tweaking advanced video processing settings and more.  Other features include support for all modern video and audio formats, WebCam/Analog/Digital TV devices support, built in DXVA video codecs, capture a screenshot or even record the file currently being played, powerful A-B repeat, automatic playback of similar files in a folder, live broadcasting, support for madVR /HR/EVR (latest video renderers) and Reclock, auto-resume on the last 200 played files, shutdown the computer when done, has fully configurable XML skin files and also a D3D exclusive mode. This comprehensive media player also supports TV channels, extensive list of subtitle file types, fonts, color, position and encoding types. The Player is easily customizable by color themes, logos and includes a large number of skins.

Anyone who loved using KMPlayer (but that's optional :-)), our previous best pick, would be impressed with the refined work of Young Hee. He minimized the startup time and the resource consumption, instant playback resume after seeking and added a few more features, increased the stability and versatility quotient and finally cutely naming it PotPlayer. As the development cycle of KMPlayer is becoming longer, updates only being sporadically released and if one comes out only minor fixes getting implemented, including toolbar installations, dated video renderers & codec filters, PotPlayer gets instant nod as the top pick.

 Note: With the release of PotPlayer Global version 1.6 you're free to update the media player from the interface. 

 

VLC Media Player

VLCAnother excellent player is VLC Media Player. VLC media player has a highly portable framework and works across different platforms. It is available for Windows, Macintosh, and many Linux flavours. VLC is the swiss army knife of media playback software that marvels you with compatibilities and capabilities.

The player sports an excellent menu based interface that is strictly simple and stripped down.The toolbars are fully customizable so you get to choose the buttons needed on the interface.The media player is powerful, light, fast and features fully customizable hotkeys that makes it very easy to use. VLC has the capability to repair broken content and supports many subtitle formats. Enabling the advanced controls sets buttons to record, take a snapshot, loop and frame by frame playback.

VLC has been one of the favourites for many crazy video cognoscenti and is entirely self-contained so that it remains unruffled against any esoteric video formats to make sure that no additional codecs are required for playback..This highly versatile player not only consumes media but also is a great choice for streaming/broadcasting media of any kind and plays many media types across various local and network sources. VLC media player is one of the best in DVD playback that made it first popular among many XP users especially with the bare minimum installation of their systems.

       Click here to read interactive full review of VLC 

 

The KMPlayer

When KMFifteeneverything comes down to using a media player that is feature rich and easy to use, KMPlayer definitely stands out. Also known as K-Multimedia player or KMP, it offers many advanced features, supports a wide range of codecs and formats, is extremely customizable and is available in multiple languages.

A minimalistic, user friendly and functional interface, all the options are available to you on right click in the main window which gives access to the players extensive features. The player offers quick playback and a fully skinable interface that change upon every new playing track..Its simple enough to use for an average person but don’t be deceived by its simplicity, its offers a powerhouse of configuration options and its strong user base and its active official forum helps you out whenever you run into a problem with the player.

For media playback, it includes almost all the essential decoders required built in. Additionally KMP also supports 3rd party codecs and also doesn’t install the codecs on the computer like other codecs do. Most public codec packs+players forces codecs to register on your computer, while KMP does not. This means that installing KMP will not affect your computer at all.KMPlayer used to be my top pick until recently i found PotPlayer, but nothing stops me from using this advanced media player. KMPlayer gets special mention though, feature wise outwitting every other media player in its category. (Extract'nUse)

Warning: Uncheck Grid Network box in components to install wizard to avoid Pandora TV service. Contains OpenCandy and bundled Ask Toolbar. Take caution to hit the "Decline" button after deselecting the Ask toolbar components to avoid Ask being installed. 

          Click here to read interactive full review of KMPlayer  

 

SMPlayer

SMPlayer joins the list of impressive media players that is a front-end for award winning MPlayer, and a sure winner that might change your audio and video playback experience like never before. It differentitates itself from the rest of the competition thanks to its extensive features yet maintaining its ease of use.

It has a visually pleasing interface with colorful buttons and explorer styled menu. The compact mode lets you to shred the media player from all the explorer menu and buttons. SMPlayer remembers every media file you play after you've closed the application so that it starts from where you left off. There is an online subtitle finder to find the one that matches with your video. Also it provides room for customizability to hearts extent and has shortcut keys for almost every function.

Disoriented videos can be rotated flipped, rotated, mirror imaged and the player also provides an output video driver to switch rendering quality and CPU utilization. For music buffs there is an option for stripping the voice from audio through karaoke. SMPlayer has inbuilt youtube browser and url video streaming capability for online fun. It also has the ability to navigate using traditional DVD menu's. SMPlayer was going through a rough patch in development for some time but I believe thats all over with a few updates coming in recent months.

Caution! SMPlayer is now bundled with OpenCandy. See this information page for details.

            Click here to read interactive full review of SMPlayer  

 

JetAudio Basic

As the saying goes, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" , the same applies to one's title. JetAudio Basic not only provides a good deal of music management capabilities but is also a powerful media player that can play a wide number of formats, with a heavy dose of features. There's room to expect more!
 

The media center wizard asks you, how do you want to setup JetAudio Basic on your computer, during the first time startup. Let's limit our discussion to video window only, so go ahead with that. The interface is overwhelming and not user friendly with buttons and options on mouse hover everywhere but, is very informative and shouldn't take much time to get used to it. The video quality is awesome, but the audio quality is basic but can be configured to give the best output. Subtitlte rendering is very good and can be customized to a great extent. 

There are a few visualizations available to bring your audio's to life, as well as, a good deal of skins to customize it's appearance. JetAudio Basic is more than a media player as it's loaded with features like AudioCD burning, ripping, recording, creation, converting audio and video to different formats, Internet radio and includes an Inbuilt Youtube downloader and with a timer and clock.

Note: jetVideo is an optimized version of jetAudio for playing videos
Warning: Ask toolbar bundled, free mp3 and trialpay opt-out

      Click here to read interactive full review of JetAudio Basic

 

SPlayer

SPlayer Interface

Windows media Player replacement field has become a crowded one these days and SPlayer/ShooterPlayer based on MPC-HC and ffmpeg is one of those media players that along with its open source stature has almost all the bells and whistles that you expect to find in a media player (for a techie it might not be his cup of tea) with a reasonable performance.

You might want to read the licence agreement a second time as the player includes OpenCandy in their installer. It has a minimal and stylistic interface and the controls only become visible only when you hover the mouse over the video screen near the bottom or top. It comes along with binary codecs, no worries about media file playback and has a smart subtitle matching feature. You don't have to search for the previous playback position of the file you were viewing before you went on for a break because auto-resume does this job for you.

It has two modes for display and playback, Quality and Performance, so that you can watch video's without breaking down even on your low profile system. There's a special eye care mode if you are watching videos for a long time. You should definitely give it a spin, for its great playback quality, ability to handle multiple playback formats and some neat and deep creative optimization features. (Get Portable Version)

           Click here to read interactive full review of SPlayer

 

UMPlayer

UMPlayer Interface

UMPlayer is a cross platform multimedia player that is in fact a short addition to players using MPlayer as the core.This open source player is universal, meaning that, with over 270 codecs inbuilt, it'll play a heathy number of digital formats and you don't have to worry about installing extra codecs.

The GUI is based on SM Player and has an esthetically pleasing, simple and intuitive user interface. It integrates the ultra popular video sharing website Youtube and Shoutcast internet radio service with a search form in the main interface to search and play your preferred video and the top internet radio stations of that day.Another interesting feature is that you don't have to worry about searching for the subtitles for the you're playng, the program fetches it for you from OpenSubtitles.org in your preferred language. It also reads damaged media files and scratched CD/DVD.

There's plenty of media players out there and if you are a regular user of Youtube and Shoutcast and lazy enough to search for your desired subtitle, UMPlayer could be the next reason to ditch your favourite media player. Other than quite a few bugs i have found(read cons) and being in early developmentm, UMPlayer is a nifty media player with a great future.

     Click here to read interactive full review of UMPlayer

 

Kantaris Media Player

Kantaris Interface When an open source media player offers you the video playback based on one of the most popular media players around, VLC and along with Bass audio library support with a touch of extravagance and a super slick interface more so like the modern skins of a music player you get the all new Kantaris Media Player.

The first thing you’ll notice in Kantaris is its recherché interface. At the top there are 2 tabs, one for Playback and the other Plugin Manager which gives you access to recommended plugins. Kantaris has a unique feature which detects the character encoding of subtitles by analyzing the text. Activating the full screen mode gives a movie theatre like experience while playing videos. Kantaris connects to an online subtitle database to find subtitles that are a perfect fit to the played media.

Kantaris plays most file formats without additional codecs and will also play RAR archives without first extracting the media as well as multisection DVD’s and audio CD’s and stream online videos. Apple movie trailers and a local Video library both giving you cool 3D effect along with Last.fm are also incorporated. Lastly, if you like visualizations, Kantaris has some of the best I've seen. If you're an average computer user who prefer to just enjoy the videos and their songs without going much into the configurations then Kantaris could be your next choice for an intuitive all-in-one polished media player.(Get Lite Version)

            Click here to read full interactive review of Kantaris

 

Media Player Classic Home Cinema

Media Player Classic Home CinemaFor a long time, I have been a fan of Media Player Classic due to its ease of use, simple installation, and powerful features. Unfortunately, development on this particular project has stopped, but there is a great replacement: Media Player Classic Home Cinema.

Like its predecessor, it is an incredibly small program but has a vast feature set. Available only for Windows (NT - 7), MPC Home Cinema looks like the old Windows Media Player v6.4, but that's where the similarity ends. Under the hood, this program packs a lot of features, including codecs for viewing DVD discs, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG 4 and x.264 movie files, MP3 and Ogg files. It can also use the QuickTime and the RealPlayer architectures (if installed on the computer) to play their native files. To further extend its functionality while avoiding the installation of RealPlayer, WinAmp and Quicktime, you will have to download some codec packs. (We recommend ffdshow, Real Alternative, QuickTime Alternative and WinAmp Alternative packages). They will make sure there will be almost nothing you won't be able to play. MPC Home Cinema is the only product reviewed here that requires no installation on your PC. This means that it can be run from your USB flash drive as well as your hard drive. (Note: there is some dispute over the legality of Real Alternative and QuickTime Alternative codec packs. ffdshow is open source, completely legal, and should cover almost all of your needs.)

MPC Home Cinema has many additional functions above and beyond the original MPC including: The option to remove Tearing, better support for Windows Vista and 7 (including a release for 64 bit platforms), support for E/aVR (Enhanced Video Renderer) and playback and recording of television if a supported TV tuner is installed.

 

 GOM Player

GOM PlayerAnother good alternative is GOM Player. Available only for Windows (98Se through Vista), it also will play most media files, including flv files with its own internal codecs. If, however, you come across a file it cannot play, it will direct you to the appropriate open-source codec to install.

The program is a little quirky, though. I tried to play a DVD disc on two different PCs using GOM... On one it would not play it at all (and this was a machine I've been able to play DVD discs on before), while on the other PC it played it fine. One very noteworthy feature of the GOM player is its ability to play broken media files.

According to subscriber Ash, "GOM Player's claim that it can play broken avi files is very true. We have a file sharing network on campus which uses DC++. Usually avi files which are being downloaded stop partway due to too much traffic. GOM Player was able to play every one of those files on my system up to the point where they stopped downloading.

Caution! GOM Player is now bundled with OpenCandy. See this information page for more details.

Please help us by rating this article

 
 Tested & Not Recommended
 Splash Lite: The Bad: Capture frame, Playback resume and Basic video controls & audio controls only available in the PRO version. Splash Lite just feels like an advertising for its commercial version. No support for URL playback. Doesnt play many files properly
The Good: HD videos playback quality is good, certain broken files plays well. 
 
Toolwiz Player: The Bad: Nearly everything. No seeking, no right click context menu, a waste of time!
The Good: Plays certain files!
 
Tips and Warnings
  • DO NOT DOWNLOAD media players from links other than the download links given in the Quick Selection Guide below. Many websites are offering fake versions of the player.
  • USE CODEC PACKS AT YOUR OWN RISK (especially Mega Codec packs). They are capable of producing software incompatibilies,system crashes and sometimes doesn't let your new media player to play your files properly. In case you want to use one, I recommend using lightweight ones (CCCPWindows essentials). Read Why Codec Packs Are Bad , Codec Packs Are Evil , Microsoft Caution .
  • NOTE ON VIDEO RENDERERS: This option is useful especially for PotPlayer and KMPlayer. They include a number of renderers and switching between these renderers may give you better image quality.
  • Personally i find that EVR and VMR9 renderless works great for most systems especially for Vista/Win7 (Microsoft.Net 3 framework should be pre-installed in XP to use them).
  • For older systems Overlay Mixer might give better performance and clarity.You need to have Haali Media Splitter installed to use Haali Video Renderer. It doesn't work for old video cards though.
  • MadVR (Madshi) is a newly released renderer and to use this renderer you should install MadVR filters first and have a fairly powerful GPU.
  • Stay updated: Get beta and stable updates of your favourite media player through e-mail using Altert me! tool at Videohelp.
 
Related Products and Links
 
Quick Selection Guide

PotPlayer
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very fast updates and fixes, supports almost all media formats, 1000 files Seamless playback, supports GPU acceleration, built in codecs, extensive configuration options, light on system resources and fast startup, autoresume for 200 files,configurable xml skin files.
Professional web representation in Korean, No help files, Inbuilt update installs Korean version, Default 'automatic' video renderer not the best.
http://potplayer.daum.net/
1.6.46971
17 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Win XP - 8.1

Making PotPlayer Portable: Store the PotPlayer settings to a .ini file after extracting the installer using 7-zip. Right click on the interface->Preferences->General->Enable the option 'Store settings to .ini file'.

Changelog: Read PotPlayer release notes
Official forum: cafe.daum.net/pot-tool
Contact: ahahlive[at]hanmail[dot]net

KMPlayer
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Play damaged AVI files, locked media files and compressed audio albums,Live URL broadcasting support,User friendly interface,Good picture quality and playback,Extensive configuration options,Apply user defined external filters apart from built-in,Plays almost all media files,Strong user base and active forum,Multi-language support
Lacks a professional web representation, Slower than some media players like VLC, Contains Opencandy, Ask toolbar, Pandora TV Service
3.8
31 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Windows XP - 7

NB: KMPlayer from the developer includes OpenCandy
Downgrade to : KMP 3.0.1442R2 (No OpenCandy) or unzip latest release.

Portable version available: Check how to make PotPlayer portable above and read last step as 'Store settings to KMPCfg.ini'

Documentation (Offline & Online): Pantuflo's KMPlayer Manual
Forum: www.kmplayer.com/forums/index.php
Changelog: Read KMPlayer release notes

VLC Media Player
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Available on multiple platforms, media converter and streaming capabilities, excellent playback quality and stability, plays Internet radio and TV, great choice for DVD playback, GPU and DSP decoding, support for extensions.
Large download size, Uninstalling can be problematic as it integrates into WMP components, seeking real media files causes short time glitches, many options can be confusing to non-technical types.
http://www.videolan.org/
2.1.3
25 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Windows 98 - 7 , OS X, Mac, Various Linux distros
SMPlayer
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Great playback quality, Pleasant and colorful interface, Remembers playback position and customizations on close, Online subtitle search and Youtube browser, Light, portable and stable, Karaoke effects, Highly customizable, Shortcuts for nearly every function, Supports nearly every format.
Installer is bundled with OpenCandy. DVD menu's seems experimental, No icon library for supported file formats, No Win7 playback controls.
http://smplayer.sourceforge.net/
0.8.0
15.73MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Win 95 - Win 7, Linux
Media Player Classic Home Cinema
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very fast and lightest, no installation required, extremely easy to use, 64 bit versions available.
No support for syncing music, no picture quality controls.
http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/
1.7.5
10 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP - 7

Portable version available: Click zip link from download page.
Changelog: Read MPC-HC release notes

Additional software to enhance Media Player Classic can be found here:
1. ffdshow: http://www.free-codecs.com/download/FFDShow.htm
2. Real Alternative: http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Real_Alternative.htm
3. QuickTime Alternative: http://www.free-codecs.com/download/QuickTime_Alternative.htm
4. WinAmp Alternative: http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/Winamp-Alternative-Download-23376....

JetVideo
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports all major file formats, customizable interface, good subtitle rendering and video quality, floating bar mode, various extra tools packed inside, music management capabilities, auto-resume all files, internet broadcasting.
Big download, Interface not very user friendly, Registered encoders, decoders and filters on system, Need to tweak for hearing AC3/AAC sound(due to licencing restrictions; method given in full review), Offers 3rd party applications during installation (which you can choose to ignore)
http://www.jetaudio.com/
8.1
25 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows (all versions)

NB: Do not download from homesite->CNET installer - see our information page
Forum: http://forums.jetaudio.com/forum.php
Changelog: http://www.jetaudio.com/download/jetaudio_rn.html

SPlayer
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Smooth and excellent playback, many options to enhance display, H/W acceleration support, includes audio and video equalizer, low on system resources, played almost everything, best for non-techies.
Open Candy installation, didn’t get sound out of a video in rare situations, too simple, confusing and clunky interface, non-ethical marketing: compares various media players on their homepage, some Chinese left in main interface & only Chinese documentation available.
3.7.2437
7.9 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
WinXP/2003/Vista/7

NB: SPlayer from the developer includes OpenCandy.
SPlayer Portable: http://codecpack.co/download/SPlayer.html (No OpenCandy)

Changelog: Read SPlayer release notes

Kantaris
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Awesome interface, Colourful visualization effects, Plays video files inside RAR archives, Online subtitle matching, Organise video library in 3D, watch and play latest movies and songs from Apple movie trailers and Last.fm.
Not as configurable as some other players for those requiring advanced features, Shorcut keys incomplete. Bundled with OpenCandy, see here for more information.
http://www.kantaris.org/
0.7.9
17 MB
Open source freeware
Windows 2K/XP/Vista/7

NB: The above download includes OpenCandy
Lite Version: http://codecpack.co/download/Kantaris_Media_Player.html (No OpenCandy bundled)

Kantaris Plugins: http://kantaris.org/pluginspage/
Changelog: Read Kantaris release notes

GOM Player
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
No extra codec packs are needed, capable of playing broken avi files
Bundled with OpenCandy (see information link in review text). May not play DVD discs on some systems
http://www.gomlab.com/eng/
2.2
13 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98SE - 7

Changelog: Read GOM Player release notes

UMPlayer
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Sleek Interface, light on resources,Plays any kind of media file, Automatic subtitle download from opensubtitles.org, Built-in support for YouTube and Shoutcast,Record files and reads damaged files,Plays online TV and Radio.
Problems with HD media playback (.h264 mkv files), quite a few bugs: setting equalizer and certain menu's pauses video for a moment, files with asian characters doesn't play , associates media files aggresively,Time incorrect sometimes,Help file needs improvement.
http://www.umplayer.com/download/
0.98 (Windows), 0.95 (Linux & Mac OS X)
13.1 MB
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP to 7, Linux, Mac OSX

 
Recent Updates
27Jul'12- SMPlayer review added
07Mar'12- Splash Lite review added
20Jan'12- JetAudio Basic review added
07Sep'11- PotPlayer warning added, Tips & Warnings updated
04Sep'11- Kantaris Review updated, VLC portable added
11 Aug'11- SPlayer Review added
30 Jul'11- UMPlayer Review added, QSG updated, VLC documentation added
27 Jul'11- VLC Review updated
15 Jul'11- PotPlayer review added: New Top Pick, KMPlayer Help added
10 Jul'11- KMPlayer review update
 
Have Your Say

Thank you for reading the article. blush You think, it could be improved or your favourite media player is not present in the article? surprise Please do post your feedback and suggestions in the comments section below. Also don't forget to rate this article yes

Now its your turn to choose what your favourite media player is and what others think about various media players. Drop into our forum and choose your favourite in the poll. angelAbout

 
Editor
This software category is maintained by volunteer editor George.J. Am a software engineer just graduated and working in Software Development and Testing unit. Reviewing and writing articles on softwares are one of my passions. Registered site visitors can contact me Here.
 
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Comments

by George.J on 19. May 2012 - 8:35  (93697)

It's version VLC 2.0.1 that supports Blu-Ray.

The reason why there's so many questions appearing about playback of Blu-Ray discs is that it's a new DVD format and came only a few years back. The first movie titles to be sold in Blu-Ray was in 2006, it's popularity grew gradually and only during the last 2 or 3 years, there was a flourish of movies being distributed in Blu-Ray discs. So it's natural that people wouldn't expect their media player to play such a new format.

According to my knowledge any media player that supports Internal DXVA video codecs (H.264/AVC, VC-1, MPEG2) will be able to play Blu-Ray videos.
http://www.codecguide.com/faq_dxva.htm
http://pantuflo.freehostia.com/WebHelp/How_to_use_DxVA_with_HD_videos.htm

by Anupam on 5. May 2012 - 5:04  (93055)

From the makers of JetAudio.

JetVideo : http://www.jetaudio.com/products/jetvideo/

by George.J on 5. May 2012 - 7:21  (93060)

Thanks for the find. :-) This will minimize the bloat inside JetAudio.

by Anupam on 5. May 2012 - 8:14  (93063)

Well, latest version of JetAudio released recently, still remains bulky at 37 MB. So, don't know if they plan to reduce the bulk in it. Lets see what happens.

by CyberAlex1986 on 19. April 2012 - 11:57  (92286)

All good players, most get the job done, but i will have to stick with my personal choice of the best free media player out there: Zoom Player 8 Free

http://inmatrix.com/files/zoomplayer_download.shtml

Very powerful, customizable media center, supports enormous amount of video, audio, image formats.

I am loving it, one player to rule them all Zoom Player 8.1.6 Free

by Hypothetical on 8. May 2012 - 14:58  (93227)

Nice player overall but not different enough from WMP to give it a reason to be on my system. So it didn't get to exist outside the sandbox. Not to mention:
1. It comes bundled with OpenCandy
2. It downloads MS and Industry Blacklists to your computer that may or may not effect what you can play. Consider the implications...

Thanks for the suggestion, but politely, no thankyou :)

by salamnder (not verified) on 17. April 2012 - 13:48  (92206)

New version of Media Player Classic-Home Cinema 1.6.1.4235 came out April 1st. Vast changelist from the version reviewed above. Only just downloaded it so haven't tried all changes yet but it looks as though it's getting better and better.
http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/

by Pretty Boy (not verified) on 18. April 2012 - 10:06  (92237)

Thanks for the update.

I heard a lot of good things about this player but that it also needs to be set up in a specific way to be able to produce best possible display quality. I, for example, don't know how to increase brightness through MPC's internal sliders (moving them doesn't do anything).

Does anyone know where to find a detailed, comprehensive setup guide for MPC-HC?

by George.J on 9. May 2012 - 10:14  (93254)

Try to switch between different renderers and see if you are able to move the sliders. Try VMR9, EVR Custom Preset and Overlay Mixer. It depends on your system or video card. If it doesn't work, you could use ffdshow as external filter and set the video renderer to any of the above.

by salamnder (not verified) on 18. April 2012 - 14:20  (92250)

Good questions. Go to support on MPC-HC’s homepage and you’ll find an active forum. Many of the discussions (and advice) are way too technical for me but you can always try asking a question yourself.
The “Color Controls” used to work for me (with EVR or WMV Renderless) but now don’t seem to. I have recently changed my computer and I don’t have a graphics card for the new one – it came with the latest Microsoft internal graphics. I don’t do any gaming and these are more than adequate for viewing dvds, videos, films etc., but my guess is that MPC-HC needs a graphics card to enable colour management. Having said that, I find MPC-HC often gives a better picture (sharper and clearer) than my other favourite – PotPlayer.
There is no official documentation but some 5/6 years ago, a Russian, YDQ, helpfully translated a Russian Guide into English. This was for the original MPC and is obviously way out of date now. However, I found it very helpful when I first started using the player and you might find it worthwhile to give it a read. The easiets way to find it is to go to Free-Codecs.com, search for media playe classic and look under Related Downloads.

by Pretty Boy (not verified) on 18. April 2012 - 21:20  (92264)

Hello!

I checked MPC-HC's home page and found a tutorial guide through their Support part of the site (link to the tutorial is located at the bottom of the support page).

I'll start from there. Thanks for tips. Cheers.

[Moderator's note : Link to non-english site removed.]

by My Number One Site on 13. April 2012 - 12:31  (92004)

Update: Please excuse me GeorgeJ, I didn't see this "Pandora TV Service installs even if disabled, contains opencandy and ask toolbar" mentioned in your cons for KMP. So if you know all this about this piece of garbage, why do you still choose to rate it so high. Down grading the integrity of this site, just a little, don't you think?

*** Warning About KMPlayer***
I have been using this site for years (can you tell by my user name?) and this is my first comment. I would say that I watch, or listen to, just an average amount of media. Nothing major. Now, that being said, when I do enjoy something of this nature, I always relied on KMPlayer. It always played everything flawlessly, and was so resource friendly. Well, the other day I did a reformat on my PC, it needed it, so I was installing all my apps that I like. For a lot of the downloads, including KMP, I went to www.filehippo.com. Another one of my favorite sites. When I saw a new version of KMP, I thought 'sweet'. When I saw the size of the file, compared to the old versions, I got suspicious. Well, I was rite, this thing was ridiculous. It was harder on resources than the old versions, but the worst part of all was, when you install it, it will do it's thing and at the end it will ask you "would you like to install the KMPlayer and Ask toolbars?" Then there are boxes you have to uncheck, like always, but you better pay attention because when you go down to click what is usually the "next" button is actually an "I Accept" button. Oh, and it installed "pandora service" which might be good but I didn't ask for it or see any mention of it during the install. Once I got all the junk cleaned off my system, I went back and installed it in a sandbox to see what the deal was. The uncheck boxes were just to stop it from setting your homepage to ask. You must click the "decline" button, which is cleverly placed where the cancel button usually is, to stop it from installing the toolbars, but you still end up with pandora and who knows what else. Anyway, this was just a friendly warning from a fellow freeware enthusiast. Oh, and by the way, I did end up installing an old version of KMP. It's version 2.9.4.1435, available at www.filehippo.com and it's clean, if anyone cares. I am also surprised the hippo allows that junk on there site. I guess I'll try some of the new players shown here. By the way, the download link for KMP here is broken. That's a good thing. Have A Nice Day. :)

by George.J on 13. April 2012 - 12:46  (92009)

Thank you notifying me about the broken link, I"ve now corrected it. I've to say that, the latest version doesn't install Pandora TV Service if you choose to deselect the Grid Network during "Components to install" of KMPlayer installation, as mentioned in my review. This is a welcome change compared to it's previous version, but still it's quite hard to deduce that "Grid Network" is actually Pandora TV service for an average user and he'll end up installing that component anyway.

I fully understand that software authors need to have a source of revenue from their products, so they end up with some sort of advertising in their installers as in the form of OpenCandy, Ask toolbar and the like. But even though, some of them weren't getting enough revenue from this ploy, because people nowadays have almost understood how to escape those dodgy software installations, so certain developers tweak the installers more to make it hard for the user to know, if he had made a mistake. Well, we just have to accept this fact as the world keeps changing, but still its great to see that quality products are still free, these developers just try to gain an advantage, so that "we" the users could still enjoy their creations as free.

By the way, it's still possible to extract KMPlayer, so that you don't need to face OpenCandy, Ask toolbar or the Pandora TV Service and still enjoy the product, while most other products do not allow this.

by My Number One Site on 13. April 2012 - 18:11  (92049)

Thank you for the reply GeorgeJ. I understand that people work very hard creating some of these brilliant pieces of software. I think they deserve to get paid for there hard work and talent. But trying to sneak junk onto unsuspecting people's computers just to make a buck? If you have enough talent and knowledge to create a great piece of software, then I would think you could figure out a better way to make alot more money. Anyway, I wasn't commenting for my own sake, that crap never would have gotten near my system if I wasn't in such a hurry that day. Even so, it took about 30 seconds to incinerate the trash. I just wanted to make people aware that the makers of KMP finally became "sellouts". I still think the 10 star rating is a joke.

by yooblyweebly (not verified) on 11. April 2012 - 7:25  (91894)

I've tried all the players here except PotPlayer. KMPlayer has been my fave for a long time now. But I still needed to use VLC to play a few videos that won't play in KMPlayer and visa-verse. But so far PotPlayer plays everything. I'm high on PotPlayer, thanks to all.

by Panzer on 10. April 2012 - 8:05  (91832)
by George.J on 11. April 2012 - 8:21  (91898)

Thanks for notifying me, though the interface is almost completly stripped down to the core, its not at all useful to use, even as your secondary media player. Doesn't play most of the files and be wary during installation, it's going to associate with all your media files, without even asking you.

by E.G. (not verified) on 7. April 2012 - 18:07  (91752)

One more cool thing I just noticed about PotPlayer: it integrates into the Windows 7 taskbar control interface! In other words, when I mouse over the PotPlayer icon in the taskbar, the thumbnail that pops up has working control buttons on it.

Neither GOM or VLC had this feature.

by E.G. (not verified) on 7. April 2012 - 17:38  (91748)

After my previous comment I decided to try to reskin VLC and configure it so it's my main player. This is tempting to do because it works so well in so many ways. So I found a couple of cool looking skins that improved the button layout, but I remained really annoyed by a couple of things. One major lameness with VLC is when you're in full screen mode [which is how I watch videos 99% of the time] then there are no control buttons. I have to first take VLC out of full screen mode before I can pause the video. SUPER inconvenient. My other beef is that there are no mouse click controls. Apparently there are mouse gestures, so if I hold down a button and make a movement I can pause/play the video. Most players enable you to pause/play with a single click. And since pause/play is one of the most used controls it ought to be extremely easy to access. This is enough to drive me away from using VLC. This makes it WAY less convenient than many other players. Another beef with VLC, last night I tried to find out what version I had, to see whether I should update it. I couldn't find an "about VLC" menu anywhere. I had to go into my system files, find the .exe file, right click it, and open details tab to find out the version! Then I looked for an update button and couldn't find one. SO to update I had to uninstall it, go to the VLC website and install the latest. WTF? This is what I meant in my earlier post by "clumsy interface"... In some ways VLC is awesome. It's reliably plays everything I've ever tried to play, but it's interface is too clunky for it to be my everyday player....

So I downloaded PotPlayer, and I've been playing with it for a couple of hours. So far = awesome. For some reason the menu interface is pretty much identical to GOM player's, so the learning curve pretty much nil for me. There are many cool skins to choose from that come preloaded in the player [even one that emulates GOM player]. I could immediately configure mouse buttons to perform whatever commands I wanted [middle button = pause/play]. Unlike GOM player, PotPlayer is showing the embedded subtitle tracks on the MP4 I watched, and it's not giving me any pop-up ads. In short it seems to have all the features and performance I was getting from GOM and VLC, if not more, and it looks good doing it. What more could I ask for?

by George.J on 8. April 2012 - 12:50  (91768)

I have no clue about what you are saying! Let me know what version of VLC are you running?

First, no media player shows control buttons when in full screen mode! Why do you want those control buttons to obstruct the movie that you're watching? You don't have to take VLC out of the full screen mode to pause the video. Just use the spacebar hotkey for pause/play. Also the control buttons appears at the bottom of the screen in full-screen mode, when you just move your mouse, and you're also able to control in this way. Also in the about menu at the top, you could see what version of VLC you're using. For example VLC Media Player 2.0.0 "Twoflower" (code name of version 2). Finally if you want to update VLC go to the help menu and "Check for updates". You don't have to uninstall any older version, because all the old files will be overwritten if you choose to update through the downloaded version.

by E.G. (not verified) on 8. April 2012 - 18:22  (91775)

Hmm, I don't know what to say. My experience of VLC is totally different than yours evidently.

First of all, I don't remember what version I was running, but I'm running the latest version now [as of two days ago]. Both versions behaved the same way that I described.

To clear one thing up, I don't want the controls to be visible all the time when in full screen mode. I want them to become visible if I move the cursor. That does not happen on my Windows 7 machine and it never has as far as I can remember. I have to hit "escape" or right click and select play or pause, etc. With pot player I click my middle mouse button and it's done.

[edit: while I was double-checking some of these things, I put the skin back to default, put it in full screen mode and looked for controls to appear when I moved the cursor. At first there were none. Later they appeared. When I switched back to a skin I like, it stopped working again. So it's buggy...]

I understand that there's a hotkey for play/pause, but I when I'm chillaxing and watching a movie on my laptop, I can't be bothered to reach up and touch the keyboard every time I want to play/pause. I have a very expensive wireless mouse, and I am a very mouse-oriented user.

There is no "about menu" anywhere that I can find, after looking very carefully a number of times in both versions I've had recently. The newest version I just installed does have an option to check for updates. My earlier version didn't.

I'm not sure what "menu at the top" you're referring to. Maybe the title bar? That just says VLC Media Player.

I understand now that I could have updated over the older version, but I didn't know that at the time because I couldn't find any documentation on how to update VLC on their website other than to "check for updates" which I wasn't able to do.

SO... I don't know how to explain these discrepancies in our experience of VLC. I have had VLC on my computer as a backup for about 6 years. It's always been like this for me: clunky and difficult to use in comparison with GOM player, and my new favorite, PotPlayer....

by George.J on 9. April 2012 - 18:53  (91814)

So I thought to go a long way to clear things up for you. I have used default interface of VLC for all the examples. Firstly, this image shows that, vlc controls becomes visible on mouse movement in full screen mode. Well, it's quite true that certain skins are buggy. You could also make use of Mouse Gestures in VLC for play/pause
Full screen controls: : http://i.imgur.com/nXKPX.jpg

Did you know that in most softwares you could check the "Help" dropdown box for the "About" menu?
"About" menu in VLC: http://i.imgur.com/8fbiv.png
VLC version number inside About menu: http://i.imgur.com/YruWX.png

You could update most of the softwares by just installing it to the same directory as before.

by E.G. (not verified) on 10. April 2012 - 21:07  (91863)

Thanks for your help George.

Yes, I guess the skins were buggy. That's too bad, since the ones I tried were among the most highly rated skins on the VLC website[eDark VLC and DarkVoodoo]. I don't like the look of the default interface, so if the skins don't work right then that's a real problem for me.

I do know about the help and about menus, and that's what I was looking for. They don't show up anywhere in these two skins. Not for me anyway.

In fact, here are two more things I find totally annoying about VLC:

-everytime I open it the volume is at 100%, which usually blasts my eardrums off until I turn it down. Maybe there is a setting for this, but GOM and PotPlayer will remember your last volume setting by default.

-In dropdown menus that have multiple levels nested in each menu, it is very difficult to navigate with the mouse to the deeper levels. If the pointer leaves the exact boundaries of the exact menu item you are selecting the whole thing will either close or you will end up in the wrong menu item. In both of these cases you have to start from the top again to select your item. By contrast, GOM and PotPlayer also have nested dropdown menus, but they are much more forgiving. You can be sloppy with the pointer and still end up where you want.

All in all I appreciate VLC player, but I think PotPlayer is far superior. I've been using PotPlayer for a few days now, and I'm TOTALLY stoked about it. It does everything and MORE that VLC and GOM do, and without the ads or bugs... I feel like I've got a new Ferrari for a media player over here...

Cheers. :)

by George.J on 13. April 2012 - 14:25  (92017)

Why dont you go to Preferences->Audio->Volume and then choose "keep audio level between sessions" to remember the last volume setting (this is the default scheme used in VLC also), or choose "always reset audio start level to" and specify the volume which you want, everytime you start.

by E.G. (not verified) on 13. April 2012 - 16:55  (92038)

I thought there might be a setting for that, but I never investigated.

I know VLC is a great player. And at the same time, the honest reason I didn't investigate it is because of all the other things I've mentioned above...

GOM player wasn't as reliable as VLC when it came to playing DVDs and MOV, and showing subtitles in M4a, but I still preferred it to VLC! [I kept VLC as a back-up player]. Then GOM started showing pop-up ads so I came back to Gizmos and found PotPlayer. Now ALL these problems are solved. Potplayer seems to play everything, and the interface is clean and intuitive. It has more functionality than GOM or VLC... I've been watching video tutorials all last week, where I have to play/pause,and minimize/maximize constantly, and with PotPlayer this process is so smooth and intuitive it's become second nature. I agree with the the Gizmo's reviewer: PotPlayer completely rocks.

by E.G. (not verified) on 13. April 2012 - 17:03  (92040)

I just realized GeorgeJ, that you ARE the Gizmo's reviewer! Haha!

So I agree with you! :)

by MidnightCowboy on 7. April 2012 - 17:57  (91751)

Maybe finding PotPlayer was written in the stars.

by E.G. (not verified) on 7. April 2012 - 3:51  (91732)

After many happy years using GOM player regularly as my favorite player [with VLC as my back-up player] I think it is finally time to retire it. The latest update installed some ad window that pops up once a day, when I close the player.

I'm also tired of the bugs that GOM player has never solved. For instance, playing DVDs on my Windows 7 machine has never worked. It won't play some video file types, and when it does it sometimes won't show embedded subtitle tracks [like on MP4 files]. Also if I use the audio syncing tool the video begins to stutter. All these problems go away when I open the same files in VLC. Why don't I just use VLC all the time? Because I don't like the UI as much. I think it's ugly and clumsy compared to GOM.

But I've reached the point where it's time to break up. I guess I'll take a look at potplayer.... Keep up the good work. :)

by George.J on 20. March 2012 - 7:47  (90863)

KMPlayer updated to version 3.2. KMPlayer Logo has been changed to a new one.

by Arun_82 on 17. March 2012 - 12:10  (90747)

George,

I am using Pot Player on my windows XP machine as default video player without any hassle. But on my laptop, which runs on windows 7, it just doesn’t work. Every time I try to play a file, it tries to connect to the internet! Since I am not always connected to the net, I will cancel the connection prompt and the player closes off.
I feel strange as I am not using automatic updates. The player is set not to check for updates and yet it tries to connect.

- Arun