All of us have dozens of offline videos on PC. Some of them come from cameras, phones or other devices, others are downloaded from YouTube or other streaming sites (e.g., with Freemake). Whatever their origin is, all these videos can’t be reproduced on a PC without a video player. The default Windows Media Player is often the only playback option available on Windows computers and most users are quite happy with it. However, sometimes the software requires additional codecs to play exotic formats. So it’s advisable to have some alternative to the standard Windows player with advanced video formats support.
SEE ALSO: Video Codec: What is it?
If you already have Freemake Video Converter installed on your PC, you may look no further. The software has a built-in video player which supports 300+ video formats and provides all playback options. You can watch videos with subtitles, rotate them if necessary, fastforward playback and even enjoy full-screen mode without black bars. However, Freemake is primarily a video converter, so it lacks such options as playlists creation, online media streaming, interface customization. So if you still need a good video player with all possible add-ons, have a look at the following tools:
SEE ALSO: 5 Free Video Players for iPad
Now let’s view the top video players in detail.
1. VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is the most famous project by VideoLAN. It’s really cross-platform and totally free. VLC supports a lot of video formats including MP4, AVI, WMV, DVD and Blu-ray due to built-in codecs. With this software, you can play numerous video files, listen to audio tracks, watch streaming media and play movies with subtitles (if available). VLC also lets you speed up or slow down the playback, zoom the video and even make some correction for better watching. In addition, it provides video conversion and screen recording possibilities. Although the software is free, it gets updated on a regular basis and what is more important VLC doesn’t contain any ads. If you want to thank developers, you may send them a donation.
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android
- totally free;
- smooth playback;
- variety of supported formats;
- plays corrupted and unfinished files;
- flexible and lightweight;
- hotkey support;
- extra features.
- plain user interface.
Download VLC player for free here.
2. GOM Media Player
GOM is one more famous video player. The developers claim that the software is capable of downloading all the necessary codecs for playback in case it can’t reproduce your video. GOM supports all popular video and audio extensions and can also play broken or half-downloaded files without troubles. The software has a customizable interface that you may change up to your needs. The video player also offers screen capturing and playback speed control features. Unfortunately, GOM player is ad-supported. When you close it, you’ll get a small splash window with ads.
- supports a wide range of formats and codecs;
- searches for more codecs if necessary;
- full interface personalization;
- compact and easy-to-use.
- Windows only.
Download GOM for free here.
SEE ALSO: How to Play MKV Files on Various Devices
RealPlayer is no longer available as stand-alone software. Since May 2015, it’s distributed as a part of RealTimes which also includes RealPalyer Cloud and slideshow creation tool. The app automatically creates slideshows from your photos and videos and makes it easy to share them via cloud. Storage up to 2 GB is free, premium plans start from 4.99€/mo for storage up to 25 GB.
Using RealPlayer Cloud, you can easily reach and watch your videos on any device. RealPlayer works with Roku and Chromecast allowing you to stream videos from PC or mobile phone to a TV screen. The video player supports all almost known video formats. The features of RealPlayer also include a web browser, visualizations for audio playback, equalizer and video controls, audio recording, CD ripping, and a media converter for transferring videos to smartphones, game consoles and other devices.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile.
- stylish and easy-to-use;
- fast video sharing;
- dozens of extra features;
- skinnable interface;
- quick video access on any device.
- long export time for heavy files;
- not available separately.
Download Real player for free here.
KMPlayer is another great alternative to the standard Windows Media Player. Although it might seem a bit difficult to deal with, there are plenty of communities that’ll help you at the beginning. This player is highly customizable and offers a number of interface skins, screen capturing utility and video filters. Like GOM and VLC, KMPlayer can play corrupted, incomplete and even locked media files. The only drawback of KMPlayer is the toolbar that you may get during the installation. So, be attentive.
- highly customizable;
- supports a great deal of video and audio formats;
- plays incomplete and corrupted files;
- hotkey support;
- light on resources.
- Windows only.
Download KMPlayer for free here.
QuickTime is Apple’s multiplatform technology for handling video, sound, animation, graphics, etc. QuickTime Player primarily designed to reproduce the native QuickTime (QT, MOV, MOOV) movie format. The application is bundled with OS X and can be downloaded as a standalone installation for Windows OS. The software supports dozens of multimedia formats. All key playback features are available for free with the basic version. With the Pro version ($25.95), you’ll be able to convert your files to different formats and record and edit your work.
Platforms: Windows, Mac
- supports numerous multimedia formats;
- extremely slick to use;
- 11 plugins are available to can extend software capabilities;
- ability to merge videos.
- launching is a little slow;
- some features are available only in paid version;
- codecs are needed to be installed to play a wider variety of movie formats;
- More suitable for Macs.
Download QuickTime Player for free here.
Check the comparison of the best video players and their features in the table below:
|VLC Media Player||GOM Media Player||RealPlayer (aka RealTimes)||KMPlayer||QuickTime|
|Price||free||free||free Basic, extra fee for storage plans||free||free Basic, $29.95 PRO|
|Platforms||Windows, Linux, Mac, Unix, iOS, Android||Windows||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile||Windows||Windows, Mac|
|Supported video formats||MPEG-1/2, DivX (1/2/3), MPEG-4 ASP, DivX 4/5/6, XviD, 3ivX D4, H.261, H.263, H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC, Cinepak, Theora, VC-2, MJPEG (A/B), WMV, Quicktime, DV, On2 VP3/VP5/VP6, Indeo Video v3 (IV32), Real Video||flv,mp4, mov, mpg, ts, avi, divx, asx, wmv, m4v, dat, ifo, vob, 3gp/3gp2, rm/rmvb, mkv, ogm. Additional formats can be played with external codecs.||DVD, Video CD (*.dat), MPEG Video (*.mpg, *.mpeg, *.m2v, *.mpe etc.), AVI (*.avi, *.divx), MJPEG, Windows Media (*.wma, *.wmv etc.), QuickTime (*.mov, *.qt), Adobe Systems Flash (*.swf), Flash Video (*.flv)||AVI, WMV, MKV, MOV, MP4, Ogg Theora, OGM, RMVB, MPEG1, MPEG2, DVD, Flash and other audio formats playable via supported decoders||Animated GIF , Apple ProRes, Apple Video, AVI, Cinepak, Component Video, DV, 3GP, 3G2, H.261, H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2, H.263, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Microsoft Video 1, Motion JPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-4 Part 2, Pixlet, Planar RGB, Qtch, QuickTime Movie, QuickTime VR, Sorenson Video|
|4K & HD support||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Video conversion||yes||no||yes||no||yes (PRO version)|
|More features||desktop recording, unfinished p2p files playback, Audio CD and VCD playback||screen capture, playback speed control, video effects, codec finder||audio CD burning capabilities, DVR-style playback buffering, multimedia search, Internet radio, a jukebox-style file library, an embedded web browser||3D movie support, video filters, screen capturing, command line launch, DSP plugins support||Bass and treble controls, balance control, multi-channel audio playback, live re-size, ability to save movie favorites|
What is your favorite video player?