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A Windows PC comes with its own Windows Media Player and a video playing software for our video playing needs. But, these options are good only for older and popular video file formats such as .avi or .mp4. Even when they are able to play other file formats, the amount of options and the control over the video is too limited. That’s where the need for a good 3rd party video player comes from. Here are some of the best video players for Windows.
PotPlayer comes from the same developer who created the well-known KMPlayer. After selling KMPlayer to another corporation, he started working on the successor of KMPlayer called PotPlayer. PotPlayer gives you full control over its features, it has tons of options to customize it and make it look, feel and work the way you want it to.
PotPlayer can play almost all kind of video formats. It uses its own filters and built-in codec to render audio and video, so with PotPlayer installed, you don’t need to install different codec packs to play different video file formats. There is also options to use external filters as well in it. It has all the latest technologies and advance features such as Hardware Acceleration, 3D playback, HDR support and 360 degree video playback. It has all the audio and video processing features that are expected from a good video player.
One thing at which many video players have failed but PotPlayer has shined is the playback seek feature. It has the fastest and the most accurate seek. PotPlayer also has the ability to display the Thumbnail previews of the video file that’s being played. All you have to do is move the cursor over the seek bar, and you’ll be presented with the preview of the currently played video at that point in time in the form of a thumbnail.
PotPlayer also has in-built subtitles downloading feature. You can configure it to automatically search and download subtitles online, every time you play a video. Or you can manually search and download subtitles for specific video files.
There are plenty of different and eye catchy skins available for PotPlayer. You can go to DeviatArt.com, and search and select skins for PotPlayer. PotPlayer has a very active development team. You receive continuous updates for the player time to time.
PotPlayer does not contain any ads, promotions, or any splash screens. It has a Broadcast list though, which can be disabled easily by pressing the F8 key or from right click menu.
VLC media player in yet another best video player out there. VLC has its own codecs for all kinds of audio and video files. It includes various audio and video processing features such as equalizers, video sharpen, blur, etc.
VLC is open source. The code is open to public to inspect or to fork. It’s a cross-platform software, available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
VLC is a case of most used, least explored. The difference between the number of the actual users of this software and the users who actually reach its advanced settings is surprising. Along with being a great multimedia player, VLC is also a pretty good audio and video converter. VLC also supports the online subtitle search and download feature. You can stream files and download online media from it too as well. VLC player has a lot of wonderful skins available online; it also has an in-built skin editor that you can use to create or edit pre-built skins.
VLC is a complete freeware software and it don’t have any kinds of ads.
SMPlayer is a front-end for the MPlayer engine. It’s a cross-platform player – available for Windows and Linux Operating Systems.
Like the other two options above, SMPlayer also has all the features that make it an amazing video player. It can play all types of audio and video files, it has various audio and video processing filters and equalizers are available to make your media look and sound better. The subtitle search and download feature is also present in this player.
SMPlayer comes with a lot of skins. It has skins and icons made specifically to match with various operating systems and their design languages such as Linux, Windows XP, Vista and the Modern UI themed Windows 8 and Windows 10.
SMPlayer is also free and open source media player.
Media Player Classic Black Edition is actually based on/is a fork of the original Media Player Classic and the Media Player Classic – Home Cinema project. It comes with all the important features. You can play all kinds of audio and video files in this player.
This player does not contain an audio equalizer by default but this can be fixed easily by using the ffdshow audio filter. Using ffdshow video and audio filters let you use many advance audio, video and subtitle features.
MPC-BE is a free software and comes without any annoyances or promotions.
LightAlloy yet another best video player having the simple main window interface. It also has inbuilt codecs to play all kinds of video files. It has many filters and equalizers to improve your audio and video experience. LightAlloy also has the thumbnail preview feature known as Live Preview. Other features include IPTV support, feature which lets you watch online videos within the player and Internet Radio that lets you play and record online radio stations.
It also has some of the best looking video player skins. LightAlloy is also a freeware media player software.
Media Players That Deserved To Be Mentioned
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KMPlayer was way ahead of VLC player in many features. It had much faster and quite accurate seek. The seek was very smooth, not at all sluggish like other players. It also was miles ahead of VLC in the subtitles display quality. It wasn’t heavy on system resources, had many customization options, user-friendly keyboard shortcuts, audio and video filters and equalizers, and many other features.
GOM Player became popular because of its ability play all kinds of media file formats. And for those that it could not play, it would find and download the necessary codecs from the internet. It had all kinds of audio, video, subtitle filters and post-processing and many other advanced options. The keyboard shortcuts were also very user-friendly.
Both of these software have been on my PC for more than a decade in some shape, way or form.
DownFall of KM and GOM Media Player:
The downfall of KMPlayer was instant. Maybe, because it was more popular than GOM Player. After the sale of KMPlayer to another company, the new builds came with many third-party installers, all kinds of ads, promotions and annoyances. Most of its users started rating it down on various websites.
On the other hand, the downfall of GOM Player was gradual. At first, there were only promotions for other products that the company was making. Then started ads in various sections of the player. Finally, with the release of the Pro version called GOM Player Plus, it became quite clear that the free version of this player is just a tool for delivering ads.