An incredibly small program packs a vast set of features and requires no installation on your PC.


Our rating: 

License: Free (Open source)
Review & Alternatives: Best Free Media Player

Pros & Cons:

Very fast and lightest, no installation required, extremely easy to use, 64 bit versions available.
No support for syncing music, no picture quality controls.

Our Review:

For 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: MPC-HC, which stands for "Media Player Classic - Home Cinema".

Like its predecessor, it is an incredibly small program but has a vast feature set. Available only for Windows, MPC-HC 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-HC 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-HC has many additional functions above and beyond the original MPC including: The option to remove Tearing, better support for Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10 (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.

MPC-HC was reviewed by on based on version 1.7.5.


MPC-HC version 1.7.13 was released in July 2017. This is the final version. There are no developers left, so there is no further development.