A front-end for award winning MPlayer with extensive features and ease of use.
|License||Free (Open source)|
|Great playback quality, light and portable, remember playback position, online subtitle search and YouTube browser, Karaoke effects, highly customizable and support nearly every format.|
|DVD menus seem experimental, no icon library for supported file formats, no playback controls from Windows’ taskbar.|
SMPlayer, a front-end for award winning MPLayer, joins the list of best free media player. It differentiates itself from the competition, thanks to its extensive features by maintaining its ease of use. Not only does this open source media player encompass major audio and video codecs, it is also highly portable, light, stable, and available in a number of languages.
Clean and neatly organized, the interface is pleasing and intuitive with different styles and customizable colorful buttons. There is an explorer styled menu at the top providing access to almost all the options and a compact mode that shreds the player from all buttons for minimalistic loving users.
A toolbar with icons is available at the top for the most commonly used functions that include selecting audio and subtitle tracks, and below the video display area it has the standard navigation menu. There are useful tooltips not just in the main interface, but even in the preferences menu. It would have been good if the player supported a skinnable GUI.
Probably the best feature of SMPlayer is it remembers every tweak done for each individual video file you play; like playback position, customized subtitles, contrast, volume etc. This is a great time saver!
The subtitles are fully customizable and includes the font, position, color etc and can be synched with the audio. Another useful feature is an inbuilt subtitle search engine that searches database for matching subtitles for the video in different languages.
Don’t even think of installing additional codecs – SMPlayer, which is based on MPlayer, has all that it takes to play almost any video file. A simple mouse scroll forward or backward could easily seek through the video. Playback speed can be set for 2x, 4x or slow motion. Advanced A-B repeat is also supported.
The Video Equalizer as usual helps you to adjust the brightness, control, hue, saturation, and gamma of the video image. Videos can be zoomed in and out using E or W, a pretty nice feature. You can also select the output video driver to switch rendering quality and CPU utilization. There is also a rich filter collection to enhance your video quality and de-interlace, post-processing, de-noise etc. Same goes for audio too. Rotating, flipping, mirror image options are useful for disoriented videos.
The Audio Equalizer was a bit unpredictable at times. Switching of audio tracks can be done right from the menu.
Karaoke like voice removal is another useful feature. Volume normalization and audio-video delay timer lets you solve synchronization errors. You may also select the channels and the tracks you prefer.
Streaming and DVD playback
URL video playback lets you stream media online and the player has an inbuilt YouTube browser to view the most popular, viewed and favourite videos. SMPlayer can also read audio CDs, DVDs, VCDs, ISO images and it allows you to browse the DVD by title, chapter and angle. The player also added the ability to navigate using traditional DVD menus, but it seems to be quite experimental and didn’t work very well for me. I’m not too sure of Blu-Ray or encrypted DVD playback.
There’s a load of options within the Preference menu to customize the player to your hearts content. Building and saving playlists with personal music and movies were easy with options for repeat, shuffle, etc. It supports plenty of shortcuts, including the mouse wheel. SMPlayer can also feast on DirectX video acceleration on Windows. The media player is highly configurable and allows you to make it look the way you want it to.
SMPlayer had a rough patch in development for quite some time, but it seems like that’s over and a series of updates made the player more active during recent months. The hardest choice to make is when you are given a varied offer with every item as the best, yet SMPlayer is a sure winner that might change your audio and video playback experience like never before.