Looking for a free media player? If you’ve been searching the web for more than five minutes, your head is probably spinning. With so many options on the market, it’s hard to know which will be right for you. Some are great all-purpose players and others have specific strengths. Some extremely feature oriented and others are light and fast. Well, we’ve narrowed the vast selection down to three of our favorites. Here’s the skinny on each of them.
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If you are looking for a video player that doesn’t slow your computer, like I am, then you really have to ditch the big names like Winamp, Windows Media Player or Quicktime. But if you also want all the options, features and latest technologies you find in your usual, bloated, media player, then you only have 1 choice: KM Player.
KMPlayer, or simply KMP, will answer all of your needs. It’s lightweight, barely taking any resources on your computer. It comes with all the codecs you will need, so you don’t have to go download them all manually. You just have to install it and watch your favorite video!
Details: The user interface is nice, clean and intuitive, every option is easy to find with a right click. KMPlayer handles both audio and video formats, with the largest range on the market from VCD to Ogg Theora and comes with multi-language support out of the box for more than a dozen languages.
The options and features are where KMP really shines. Video playback is particularly impressive thanks to the range of processing tools available that allow you to sharpen, change picture properties, apply filters, load and find subtitles on the Internet and make video captures from within the program. There are even a built-in audio equalizer and 3D playback capabilities. It’s nice that there’s so much packed under the hood, but it can be overwhelming if you’re not completely comfortable with advanced video terminology.
Special Features: Highly customizable, Light on resources, Supports many audio and video formats.
Drawbacks: Can be a bit overwhelming if you want to play with all of the options. It has an annoying advertisements sidebar. I wrote a post on it, how to disable kmplayer sidebar permanently.
Bottom line: If you are looking for a complete video player, with lots of playback options and filters, your best bet is to download KMPlayer.
Available for OS: Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, Apple etc.
Gom Media Player
One of my most favorite media player ever. It will slow down your pc or laptop. You can play any type of media formats, video formats, subtitle formats, playlist formats, built-in codecs.
Details: It’s completely free for everyone around the world. It supports comprehensive file formats like AVI, MP4, MKV, FLV, WMV, MOV, and more! It has strong subtitle functionality. They have a large number of subtitles library. It can play 360 degrees VR video. You can search and play functions for 360 YouTube videos.
Special Features: It has a lot of advanced features like A-B repeat, screen capture, Media Player capture, playback speed control, and video effects. You can customize its preferences. You can also control functions of GOM Player with GOM Remote.
Drawbacks: It has also annoying ads popup like kmplayer. But I wrote a post about how to disable gom player ads and popups.
Available for OS: Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, Apple etc.
VLC Media Player
This player is an amazing all-purpose media player. It has a lot of features and can play almost any type of media file. VLC is a great choice for anyone who watches a lot of videos and wants to do some minor editing. If that doesn’t describe you, you may be happier with a simple, light media player.
When you’re looking for an open-source freeware media player with the ability to play more file types than most of the competition, you might be looking to download VLC. Unlike most freeware options, VLC Media Player is frequently updated and is constantly updating its feature list with improvements submitted by its enormous user-base, that also happens to include many programmers (isn’t that convenient?). If you used VLC Media Player in the past, don’t think you know what it’s all about these days. This is one media player that is constantly evolving. So, go ahead and give it another try.
Installation: VLC is super-easy to install and installation takes almost no time at all. After installation, you can opt to make this your default media player for certain file types, but you don’t have to. Honestly, most people who use this open-source program swear by it, but when you’re just trying it out, you may want to just dip your toes in the water. You can always go back and change your settings later.
Convenience and Support: Regardless of the skin you’re using, there’s no bulky interface that’s going to get in your way or irritate you. You can minimize controls whenever you want and easily bring them back later. And unlike most freeware, VLC Media Player offers surprisingly-efficient and quick support.
Special Effects: You’ll get all the basic audio, video and synchronization effects that you would expect from a well-reputed media player such as this. That means, you won’t miss out on an audio spacializer tool, solid graphics equalizer with various presets, interactive zoom and special effects. Want to blur part of a clip? No problem. You can even add waves and mirror effects.
Drawbacks: As with all silver linings, there are always clouds. Some are big and dark and others are small and light. The clouds that cover VLC’s silver linings are the small and light kind. The interface isn’t the most attractive out there, but you can customize it yourself you have the desire. Simply click the skinned player option from the Start Menu. And although its interface is plain, it is extremely efficient.
Bottom line: This player is an amazing all-purpose media player. It has a lot of features and can play almost any type of media file. VLC is a great choice for anyone who watches a lot of videos and wants to do some minor editing. If that doesn’t describe you, you may be happier with a simple, light media player.
Available for OS: Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, Apple
MPC is perfect for those who are used to Windows Media Player or want a light and fast-loading media player. Still, since there seem to be bugs reported rather often, it’s probably best to avoid this player if you’re a power user.
This is another freeware program that essentially serves the same purpose as VLC Media Player, and many others, which serves to illustrate how competitive this market really is. The best thing about this particular player is that it’s lightweight and quick to load. Windows Media Player users love this player because it has almost the exact same look and feels with tons of added features. MPC can also be used as a Media Player Classic Home Theater. It’s also extremely customizable, so it can likely be molded to suit your needs.
Installation: The process is rather easy, but it isn’t exactly fast. There are about 6 screens to go through before you’re done. On the plus side, this light player loads extremely fast once it’s installed.
Details: Media Player Classic has built-in codecs for MPEG-2 video, LPCM, AC2, MP2 and DTS audio. An advanced MPEG splitter supports VCD and SVCD playback.
Drawbacks: Many users, especially those who aren’t used to Windows Media Player, find the interface a bit awkward. Most users find it odd that sound is muted by default, so every time you open the player, you have to turn on the sound (if you want to hear anything). Most media players work in the exact opposite way. And unless you really want to control the sound before something plays (every single time) this will probably be fairly irritating. Turning on the sound only takes a few seconds, but that extra step adds up when you have to do it every time you open this player. Another thing that could possibly get on your last nerve is the fact that when you hit the stop button, regardless of which point in the video you were at, you will be brought back to the very beginning. It really calls out the difference between “pause” and “stop,” but that’s probably not a good thing since most players these days use them interchangeably. Bottom line is that if you’re done viewing the video for good, or if you want to restart, go ahead and press stop. If you just want to go grab a cup of coffee and continue watching then press pause.
Bottom line: WPC is perfect for those who are used to Windows Media Player or want a light and fast-loading media player. Still, since there seem to be bugs reported rather often, it’s probably best to avoid this player if you’re a power user.
Available for OS: Windows
Details: It is also a popular media player. It is available on Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, Apple. It provides maximum performance with the minumum resource using DXVA, CUDA, QuickSync. Supports 3D movies with various 3D glasses on your 3DTV or PC.
Drawbacks: Customization facilities are not good. All are perfect to play any video format.
Available for OS: Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, Apple etc.
If all you want to do is watch FLV files, this program is really all you need. Flash video players don’t get much simpler than FLVPlayer, so if you’re really just looking for something that will play flash videos and nothing else, the FLVPlayer may just be for you. On the other hand, if you like bells and whistles, this might not be the player for you. As almost any Windows user will attest, Macromedia does not provide anything that allows you to easily preview FLV files. If that’s what you need, and you need it for free, this is your player.
FLVPlayer has five buttons –and that’s it—but that’s enough if you’re just viewing flash. And, on the plus side, it’s super-easy to figure out. You’ll probably never need to submit a support ticket or look for help files. All you really need to do is choose the file you’d like to view from a dialog (as you would do to open just about any file) or drag it and drop it into the player.
Details: The volume button is nice because it sits out of the way, but some people find that they don’t have as much control as they do with other players. No one is complaining about the video position slider, though. That control can be set to the hundredth of a second.
Drawbacks: If you’re looking for a more robust media player that can open all kinds of media files, the simplicity of FLVPlayer could be seen as a drawback. But for those who want something simple, it’s obviously a plus. Another potential drawback is the fact that you can’t enlarge videos to fit the full screen.
Bottom line: If all you want to do is watch FLV files, this program is really all you need.
Available for OS: Windows 10 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
How to Choose The Best Media Players?
If you take a quick look through CNET.com for a media player, it won’t be long before you’re scratching your head. Why? There are just a ridiculous amount of free media players available. That’s a good thing, right? Well, it is, but it can almost seem like a full-time job to weed through them all to find the best media players for your specific needs.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you start looking (it’ll make the process SO much easier).
What type of files will I want to view?
Maybe you’re a diehard MP4 fan, but you want to keep your options open. That’s perfectly fine. Just know that you’re likely to sacrifice some speed and disk space for those open options. If you’re good with this, one of the best all-purpose media players on the market right now is the VLC Media Player. Rethinking that decision? Consider getting a media player that suits your needs right now (whatever those needs may be). You can always upgrade to something more robust later on.
Is speed more important than bells and whistles?
If so, there are some media players out there that can handle many different file types but don’t take up a lot of space. Search for a media player along with the term “light” or “lite.”
Are you a power user?
If you’re an amateur videographer, you’re going to be putting this player to the test, so consistency is extremely important. However, if you just want to watch the occasional video of the grandkids, any basic media player will probably be okay. In this case, a lot of users opt for the Media Player Classic. It’s a lot like the standard Windows Media Player, so Windows users feel comfortable with its interface. We have seen some reports of it being buggy, though, so if you’re using a media player very often, this one may not be the best fit for you.
Do you just need a flash player?
We all know that Macromedia doesn’t provide a solution for previewing FLV files with ease, so those who want to work with flash videos aren’t left with many options. But if you ask FLVPlayer users, they’re likely to tell you that this is the best media player for the FLV format around. And the best part is that it’s free. Doesn’t get much better than that, now does it?
By now, you should be ready to hit the interwebs to find your solution. Just don’t let yourself get distracted by great reviews. Reviews are extremely important, but a five-star review on a flash player doesn’t mean much when you only watch MPEG-4s. On the other hand, if you find a player that seems to meet your needs, but it has only two reviews, it might be best to steer clear. When someone finds what they think is the best media player around or the worst, they’re likely to hit the Internet and write a review, which sparks more downloads and more reviews (if it’s any good). If not, well… you might only find two reviews.