Recently, we tested video editors and published a list of best video editors. Then we thought of doing tests and come up with the list of best media players for Windows. Watching movies on laptop computer is one of the leisurely activities for most computer users. Although most people have their favorite media players to watch movies and play songs, but oftentimes the question of “Which is the best video player for computer that is available for free download?” comes to the fore.
We are sure most of the TechWelkin readers also download movies and watch them on their computers. To play movies or songs, we need a good media player software that provides us with some cool features and play the movie without any trouble. We agree that we all have our favorite media players and most of us just tend to use the same media player all the time. But wouldn’t it be nice to explore and see if anything better is available out there? Today we are presenting a list of some of the free and best media players for Windows based computers. Give them a try!
Once we heard a joke that VLC is so good that it can play even a bad CD! And in our opinion also, VLC Media Player is the best media player. Many of our team members have been using VLC for more than a decade and they have never found any problem with it. VLC comes with a bagful of codecs which allows it to play just about any video format.
VLC Media Player has been developed by an international group of software developers under an open-source project called VideoLAN. Earlier the software was developed to stream videos across local area network (LAN) and therefore it had two components, namely, VideoLAN Client (VLC) and VideoLAN Server (VLS). But slowly, all the features of VLS were merged into VLC and it was re-branded as VLC Media Player.
VLC is available for all major desktop operating systems (like Windows, Linux, OS X) and mobile operating systems (like Android, iPhone, iPad etc.). When you install VLC Media Player, it copies a huge number of free media codecs onto your computer. This ensures that you can play just about any type of videos without the need of downloading codecs every now and then.
VLC Media Player has been written in C and C++ languages and it uses FFmpeg libraries along with some of its own libraries.
KMPlayer is a free media player first released by YoungHuee Kang in 2002. It was later acquired by Pandora TV. VLC definitely lacks a fancy user interfaces but KMPlayer offers us a clean, modern and minimalist functional interface. KMPlayer interface is skinnable and there are a number of skins available to enhance the user experience. Skins can be set to change depending upon the type of media you’re playing.
KMPlayer comes bundled with almost all the codecs that are required to play any of the popular audio/video media formats. After downloading KMPlayer, all you need to do is to extract the file and start playing media by launching the .exe file of KMPayer.
KMPLayer is certainly a feature rich software. Just take a right click on the player and all the options will be shown to you in the popup menu. You can capture audio, video and screenshots. You can slow down or increase the speed of playback. KMPlayer can also play 3D, 2K, 4K and UHD formats. There is an inbuilt subtitle editor as well. KMPlayer can adjust its playback screen according to the screen size of your computer. KMPlayer also has a DVD player which plays DVD the same way as a DVD playing machine does.
KMPlayer supports the following media formats:
Video codecs: DivX, XviD, Theora, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VP3, VP5, VP6, H.263(+), H.264(AVC1), CYUY, ASV1/2, SVQ1/3, MSVIDC, Cinepak, MS MPEG4 V1/2/3, FFV1, VCR1, FLV1, MSRLE, QTRLE Huffyuv, Digital Video, Indeo3, MJPEG, SNOW, TSCC, Dirac, VC-1, RealVideo
Audio Codecs: AC3, DTS, LPCM, MP2, MP3, Vorbis, AAC, WMA, ALAC, AMR, QDM2, FLAC, TTA, IMA ADPCM, QCELP, EVRC, RealAudio
Subtitle formats: Unicode text subtitles, SAMI, Ruby tag, SubRipText (.srt), MicroDVD (.sub), SMIL/RealText, SSA, ASS, USF, VobSub etc.
PotPlayer has to be mentioned in the current list of best media players. Developed by Daum Communications, PotPlayer has taken the world of media players by storm. Not to mention that it can play most of the audio and video formats, PotPlayer can also play damaged AVI files (it simply skips the damaged portions and plays the rest).
During our tests, we found that PotPlayer is a high performance media player. It is pretty lightweight and plays audio/video with wonderful ease. PotPlayer also does screen-recording with a Picture-in-Picture feature. It has deinterlacing, video post-processing and noise reduction filters for better video playback experience.
PotPlayer is also skinnable and can change skin as per the type of media file being played. It can remember the position where you left watching a video the last time. PotPlayer can recognize file sequence if you name files with a specific naming convention. This helps in seamless playback of serials which have various episodes divided into different files. You can change frame ratio and size to suit your computer screen. PotPlayer also plays 3D videos and does webcam recording too.
The downside of of PotPlayer is that, at present, it is available only for Windows.
South Korean company Gretech Corporation developed GOM Player about a decade ago. If you’re wondering what GOM stands for in its name, the word gom means bear in Korean. That should explain the bear-paw logo of the GOM Player. No surprise that it can play most of the codecs, formats and media types. However, a codec search service is GOM Player’s best feature. When you try to play a media file and GOM Player can not figure out how to play the file; it will simply launch a search for the required codec. When it finds a suitable codec it will give the user an option to download codec and play the media file! GOM Player can play incomplete or broken files without crashing. It skips the damaged parts, rebuilds the index and play on.
See Also: Find Song Title by Its Music or Tune!
GOM Player has a rich set of keyboard and mouse shortcuts which makes interaction with this player very easy. It also supports P2P streaming through an official plug-in called GOMTV Streamer. GOM Player is the most popular media player in South Korea.
Drawbacks of GOM Player
On the flip side, GOM Player is available only for Windows. So, Linux and Mac users will be disappointed. Also, GOM Player shows ads when you close the window. Probably because of this, some anti-malware software put a red flag on GOM Player. But you should not be too worried about it!
Formats supported by GOM Player
- Online streaming: ASF, MP3, AVI, Ogg
- Formats: AVI, WMV, ASF, MP3, MP4, Matroska, 3GP, Google Video, Flash Video, VOB, Ogg, OGM, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, MJPEG, H.263, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Vorbis, AMR, QCELP, EVRC, MSVIDC, RealMedia,, QuickTime
- Physical media: Audio CD, DVD, VCD, SVCD
The abbreviation MPC-HC stands for Media Player Classic – Home Cinema. It was developed by Gabest and released for the first time on 29 May 2003. MPC-HC does not have great looks of KMPlayer or PotPlayer. It is still following the user interface of the Windows Media Player 6.4. However, don’t be deceived by the lack of glamorous looks! MPC-HC offers hordes of great features that place it in the league of best media players. MPC-HC is lightning fast in playing video as it is lightweight. It hardly complains in terms of codecs and can play almost anything.
MPC-HC has different versions for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. Interface of MPC-HC has been translated in more than 30 languages.
Download MPC-HC for free! (File size is about 10MB)
Kodi was formerly known as XBMC. It is free, open-source and available for Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, Raspberry Pi and many other platforms. Kodi is a media center application that also works great as a media player. Kodi has been designed to work on large screens but it plays equally well on smaller desktop or laptop screens. Like any other modern media player, Kodi can also play any file format, encoding, codecs and subtitles. A large number of Kodi skins are available for appearance enhancements. Kodi is highly configurable and users can add required functionality by choosing from a large repository of add-ons.
Kodi can display relevant information about the media file by fetching metadata from the Internet. This information includes, album cover, movie name, year, artist list, genre, reviews, posters etc. And we are not the only ones who consider Kodi among the best media players; Kodi holds a number of awards in its bag!
SMPlayer was developed by Ricardo Villalba in 2006. It is available for Windows and Linux platforms. SMPlayer has a lot of built-in codecs and therefore it can play most of the media files. However, it would not play some of the media that require proprietary codecs.
SMPlayer is essentially a front-end for the command line media player MPlayer. It can restart your video from the point you had left. It has options like audio/video filters, playlists, equalizer, multiple options for playback speed. Interface of SMPlayer has been translated in more than 30 languages, so the chances are high that you will find it customized in your own language. This media player can also remember custom settings from every files you play on it. For example, if a movie has low volume of sound and you increase it, SMPlayer will remember this and will always play the movie at the sound level chosen earlier by you.
If you are fond of watching movies on computer, we are sure that you have heard of DivX. It is a video codec that offers us high quality video in small size files. DivX Player is a freeware that is available for Windows. It has long been in the lists of best media players. DivX can play high quality formats like UHD, HVEV, 4K etc. and, of course, it can also play a number of popular video/audio formats like AVI, DivX, MKV and MP4 etc. It supports Chapter Points and also has a unique Trick Play feature that allows you to quickly jump to your favorite scenes in the movie. If you leave a video in between and play it next time, DivX Player will give you option to play it from the beginning or from the point where you had left while it watching last time.
DivX Player is designed to give you a home theater sort of experience. It comes bundled with DivX Server which allows you to stream media from your computer to different devices that support Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).
These were our choices for the best media players for computers. We know that it is very difficult to pick one of these because all of them are feature-packed and beautiful pieces of software. We would suggest that you try out a media player from this list that you’ve never used before. We are sure that you will be thrilled to discover new features. All these are top media players that are available for Microsoft Windows. We would also like to mention MPlayerX for our readers who use Macintosh computers. MPlayerX is a great choice for Mac OS X as it is simple and yet powerful media player.
We really hope you liked our list! We would most certainly want to enhance our list based on the suggestions from your side. Would you want to say a few words about your personal favorite media player? Well, go ahead and tell us in the comments section as to why you like the media player you regularly use. In the meantime, we are off to preparing another informative article for you. Thank you for using TechWelkin!