Best & free media players for windows & linux computers

Best & free media players for windows & linux computers

A great media player will help you enjoy the music, movies, and TV shows. These players will allow streaming, downloading, or playing media from a hard drives. Also, it supports huge variety of audio and video formats, without the need to download additional codecs. They also let you convert files to a format that you can play on a console or mobile device (like MP3 or MP4), striking the best balance between quality and file size.

You can organize your media library, tagging songs and movies, add album art, and edit metadata manually with these players. Plugins are a great advantage too, adding extra features and offering integration with online streaming services. The very best media players are listed here:

1. VLC Media Player – An excellent media player with a highly portable framework and works across different platforms.

Pros: Available on multiple platforms, media converter and streaming capabilities, excellent playback quality and stability, plays Internet radio and TV, great choice for DVD playback, GPU and DSP decoding, support for extensions.
Cons: Large download size, Uninstalling can be problematic as it integrates into WMP components, seeking real media files causes short time glitches, many options can be confusing to non-technical types.

Features: VLC has been one of the favorites for many crazy video experts and is entirely self-contained so that it remains undisturbed against any video formats so that no additional codecs are required for playback. It lets you create bookmarks and basic playlists to store your local media files, podcast subscriptions and Internet radio stations. The media player is powerful, light, fast and features fully customizable hotkeys that makes it very easy to use.

CPU usage of the player has gone down and it now uses GPU decoding for HD media playback (1080p) to ease the CPU from processing jobs. The default interface that looks simple enough can be fancied by skinning though for some skins it looks a little buggy. VLC has the capability to repair broken content and supports many subtitle formats. Enabling the advanced controls sets buttons to record, take a snapshot, loop and frame by frame playback. You can add effects to the video and audio, spatialize and equalize the audio to simulate different room sizes ( such as Amphitheater), zoom, rotate, crop, color, sharpen, set the brightness, hue and contrast of the video. The player features can be enhanced by various plugins and extensions.

Download: Android | iOS | Linux | Mac OS | Windows

2. – A powerful media player provides awesome video and audio quality, supports all modern formats and seamless media playback.

Pros: Very fast updates and fixes, supports almost all media formats, 1000 files seamless playback, supports GPU acceleration, built-in codecs, extensive configuration options, light on system resources and fast startup, auto resume for 200 files,configurable xml skin files.

Cons: No help files, default ‘automatic’ video renderer not the best.

Features: PotPlayer has a simple and sleek interface though not mind-blowing and has high quality playback. The player is light on system resources and has a very fast startup. Seeking through the video at any rate produced no blurriness. It includes ffdshow and some other stuff to connect to a Korean-only video/chat network. It is embedded with all the new decoders and filters. PotPlayer supports GPU acceleration and post-processing. It comes with hardware assisted decoders and when it comes to HD video playback, it uses the video card installed on the system to decode the video stream, hence this reduces CPU utilization, making the playback smooth no matter what the quality and size of the file are.

Download: Windows

3. – Plays flv and other media files with internal codecs and its ability to play some broken media files.

Pros: No extra codec packs are needed, capable of playing broken avi files.

Cons: Bundled with OpenCandy Advertising Program. May not play DVD discs on some systems.
GOM Player is a good alternative to other media players and will also play most media files, including flv files with its own internal codecs. If, however, you come across a file it cannot play, it will direct you to the appropriate open-source codec to install. Also, it can play some broken media files.

Download: Android | iOS | Windows

4. Media Player Classic Home Cinema – An incredibly small program packs a vast set of features and requires no installation on your PC.

Pros: Very fast and lightest, no installation required, extremely easy to use, 64 versions available.
Cons: No support for syncing music, no picture quality controls.
It packs a lot of features, including codecs for viewing DVD discs, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG 4 and x.264 movie files, MP3 and Ogg files. It can also use the QuickTime and the RealPlayer architectures (if installed on the computer) to play their native files.

To further extend its functionality while avoiding the installation of RealPlayer, WinAmp and Quicktime, you will have to download some codec packs. (We recommend ffdshow, Real Alternative, QuickTime Alternative and packages). They will make sure there will be almost nothing you won’t be able to play.

MPC-HC is the only product reviewed here that requires no installation on your PC. This means that it can be run from your USB flash drive as well as your hard drive. (Note: there is some dispute over the legality of Real Alternative and QuickTime Alternative codec packs. ffdshow is open source, completely legal, and should cover almost all of your needs.)

MPC-HC has many additional functions above and beyond the original MPC including: The option to remove Tearing, better support for Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10 (including a release for 64 bit platforms), support for E/aVR (Enhanced Video Renderer) and playback and recording of television if a supported TV tuner is installed.

Download: Windows

5. MediaMonkey – A capable media player with advanced file management and streaming

Pros: All-in-one music manager, excellent for organizing complex music collections, user friendly navigation.

Cons: Heavy on system resources, simplistic mini-player.

MediaMonkey can organize music and edit tags in your audio library with a potent and insightful interface. It will rip and burn cd’s. Its audio converter can convert MP3s, OGG, FLAC and WMA files into other formats. It will download and show album art. For those who want to play DJ for your church group or social organization, there is a Party Mode which lock down your media files while still allowing requests. Last of all, but most important some, is MediaMonkey’s ability to synchronize with iPods and other MP3 players.

Download: Windows

Microsoft Films & TV – The service formerly known as Xbox Video

Microsoft Films & TV, previously known as Xbox Video, is Microsoft’s answer to other video-on-demand services like Google Play and Amazon Video. Having existed in one form or another since 2006, the online video store has changed significantly in response to evolving technology and the popularity of other streaming services, abandoning its Xbox exclusivity to bring its extensive catalog of movies and TV shows to a wide array of home and mobile devices.

Like most video-on-demand services, Microsoft Films & TV supports both the buying and renting of its video content. Once paid for, videos can be downloaded or streamed over the Internet to supported devices. Purchased titles can be watched whenever you like, as many times as you like, while rentals must be watched within 14 days of payment, and once you hit play, you’ll only have 24 hours to watch before your rental licence expires.

Microsoft Films & TV features plenty of blockbuster movies hot off their showings on the silver screen. Many competing services won’t get these movies for another year or more.

Download: Windows App


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