Windows Media Player and the open source VLC player are the most widely used multimedia players. However, they lack some functionalities which can be acquired in other free media players. In this post I will provide you with 10 best alternative media players which can be used as free alternatives to Windows Media Player and VLC. The below mentioned players come with rich features like YouTube and SopCast integration, wide range of codec support and much more.
When it comes to VLC alternatives, KMPlayer is arguably the best player. It has a sleek and stylish design as well as support for a wide range of codecs. Like VLC it can play damaged files and comes with built in skins to change it’s look. Other features are as follows:
- HTTP Streaming (AVI etc including none-streaming media)
- Directshow playback (MKV, AVI, etc)
- Real Engine + Directshow (needs Real Player or Alternative)
- QuickTime Engine + Directshow (needs QuickTime player or Alternative)
- Mplayer Engine Support
- Winamp Input Plugin(decoder) Support
- Compressed Audio Album Support(zip, RAR)
- DVD playback
- DTS Wave and AC3 files
- WDM device support like TV or Camera
- CD Image File (BIN/ISO/IMG/NRG) ; NRG needs mplayer.dll
- Shoutcast (Including NSV)
- AAC, OGG parser/decoder
- Built-in Codec/Filters
· Winamp Input Plugins, Winamp DSP Plugins (Can Stack), Winamp Visual Plugins (Can Stack), Winamp General Plugins , Media Library etc Support), KMP Video Plugins by SDK (Can Stack) and DScaler Filter Support (Can Stack).
Media Player Classic
Another media player which comes packed with codecs is Media Player Classic. It is an enhanced version of Windows Media Player 6.4. It allows you to play DVDs with the help of external decoders like WinDVD and it can also play Real media files, provided Real Player one is installed. The best part of this software is the ability to modify the filters when playing videos.
The MPlayer is a cross-platform ,media player for Windows, Mac and Linux based operating system, which provides native support for more than 192 Video and 85 Audio codecs. For maximum performance, the installer includes optimized builds for different CPU types. Moreover, the Full-Package includes the Binary Codec Package, while the Light-Package does not. It is an open source media player like Media Player Classic with improved version of MPUI front-end.
UMPlayer is a VLC alternative with supported for a large array of codecs and YouTube integration. This cross platform media player can fulfill all your media playback needs with over 270 built-in Audio and Video codecs. The supported codecs include commonly used codecs such as: AAC, AC3, ASF, AVI, DIVX, FLV, H.263, Matroska, MOV, MP3, MP4, MPEG, OGG, QT, RealMedia, VOB, Vorbis, WAV, WMA, WMV, XVID as well as audio support for CDs, DVDs, (S) VCDs. With UMPlayer You can also get TV / Radio cards, SHOUTcast Radio streams. Like VLC, this open source player can even play incomplete or damaged media files. It contains built-in YouTube and SHOUTcast search integration which allows searching and streaming SHOUTcast and YouTube streams from within UMPlayer. To learn more about UMPlayer, see my post here.
Gom Player is a multimedia player that can play most of the differently encoded video formats that include AVI, MPEG, DivX, XviD, WMV, ASF or DAT with its own built-in codec system. GOM Player is capable of playing incomplete and/or damaged AVI files by skipping the damaged frames. It can also play locked or partially downloaded media files. It’s other features include drag-and-drop support, HTTP streaming, editable skins, subtitling, overlay mixer, key remapping, enhanced filter rendering, real-time index rebuilding for AVI files and Unicode support.
SMPlayer is a complete front-end for MPlayer. It has basic features like playing videos, DVDs, and VCDs to more advanced features like support for MPlayer filters and more. One of the most interesting features of SMPlayer is that it remembers the settings of all files which you play. It is available for Windows and Linux operating systems.
Zoom Player is a customizable Media Player for Windows. With Zoom Player, you can instantly Convert any PC into a Home Media Center or Home Theater PC (HTPC) with no requirement for specialized hardware or operating system (Zoom Player runs on every version of Windows). Utilizing Zoom Player’s customizable and flexible design, you can easily create a safe viewing environment for the entire family, while at the same time, you can also tweak it and use power features.
- Install Center
Zoom Player’s Install Center scans your system for missing or outdated components and presents you with a list of digitally signed and verified recommended updates and patches to install. Using Zoom Player’s Install Center technology, you can rest assure your system is up to date with the most recent components without compromising security. Zoom Player Install Center, removing the burden of searching and installing updates.
- Smart Play Technology
- Smooth playback of DivX HD video (720p and 1080p)
- Plays all DivX video files and most other common media formats including QuickTime and Windows Media Video
- New playback performance improvements, especially for HD videos
- Enjoy 5.1 channel, room-rattling MP3 surround sound and manipulate and improve the quality of the audio in your videos with DFX Audio EnhancerÂ
- Watch DivX videos with .srt subtitles
- Create video playlists
- Pause and progressively play video downloads
- Burn videos to disc from within DivX Player for playback on millions of DivX Certified devices
- Activate and manage DivX Certified devices from within the DivX Player
DIVX Player is a cross-platform player for Windows and Mac, which play almost any format in high quality audio and video. Some of it’s main features include:
Great playback from DivX, AVI, MKV, MP4 and MOV videos
Whether it’s a DivX, AVI, MKV, MP4 or MOV file, DivX Plus Player is built to give you the best video playback performance and media management on your PC. And with the addition of DivX To Go, DivX Plus Player is the easiest way to transfer your videos to a DivX Certified device.
DivX To Go: Easily transfer videos
DivX Plus Player now includes DivX To Go, a new feature that lets you automatically format videos to play on any DivX Certified device. Now you can easily transfer your movies, TV shows or home videos to your DVD player, gaming console or more by easily burning a disc or saving to a USB drive. DivX To Go:
– Automatically prepares your videos to play beyond your computer
– Ensures your videos are formatted properly to play on DivX devices
– Saves your preferences for easy transferring
Manage your video library
DivX Plus Player also serves as a full-featured video library manager. Now you can create video playlists (by genre, date, etc.) as well as manage your downloads, as well as purchased movies.
Kantaris Media Player
Kantaris Media Player is a free and open source media player which plays almost all multimedia formats without the need for installing any separate codecs. Connects to an online subtitle database, finds subtitles that are a perfect fit to the played media. Plays RAR-archives without first extracting the media. Beautiful music visualizations.
XMBC Media Player
XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and the original Xbox. XBMC can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats.