All the software here has the essential functionality for playing your audio, video, and image files. Still, you might need additional tools like high definition, a media library, customization tools, integration of a streaming video downloader…
In short, start by determining what will be most useful to you and then choose from our selection of must-have current media players.
VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player has earned to be recognized as one of the best videos and audio players that we can have on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. With 17 years of history behind it, it is one of the complete alternatives available on the market (if not the most), which puts infinite useful functions at your fingertips for both basic and advanced users.
VLC is a free, open-source, and free multimedia player and framework developed by VideoLAN. It was born as an academic project in 1996, initially created by students from the École Centrale Paris, and nowadays, programmers from all over the world participate.
Many claims that VLC is the best player for a multitude of reasons. Among its qualities, it is cross-platform and supports UHD and 4K quality resolutions. Besides, it is a DVD and BluRay player, and it also works as an audio and video converter.
Another of the features of the new version is that the iOS app has been optimized for iPhone X, so it is highly recommended that you install it if you have the Apple flagship. Also, it has added HDR support, supports 360º video and 3D audio, activates hardware decoding by default to obtain 4K and 8K playback, and supports scanning for local network drives and NAS, among other exciting news.
KMPlayer is a multimedia player with essential functions such as playing most audio and video formats, adjusting the quality of the image and sound, or even supporting subtitles. It also supports 3D, 4K, and ultra HD videos, and also offers a video and audio capture tool.
The 64X version of KMPlayer for 64-bit Windows also has a YouTube streaming video downloader. A copy and paste of the URL allow us to recover audio or video files.
KMPlayer users particularly appreciate the ergonomic and customizable interface.
The software is therefore available for the 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows, but also macOS, Android, iOS, and in a VR (virtual reality) version for Android. This latest version allows viewing of VR videos in 360°.
In addition, this causes users to seek to have their favorite player installed on the computer to view or listen to all this type of content. Today we can find a good number of free media players. However, each of them may have certain restrictions when it comes to playing certain content.
PotPlayer, a powerful and complete multimedia player, for this reason, we are going to show you a quite powerful and complete tool in this regard. We are not referring to PotPlayer, a multimedia player capable of playing any type of file regardless of its size or quality, and which also performs it with high fluidity. In addition, PotPlayer is capable of playing many files and remembering the exact point where we have been playing in each one of them in order to resume playing from that same point.
It is capable of reproducing hundreds of different audio formats regardless of the codecs that we have installed.
Plex Media Server
More than a simple media player, Plex is a media center that not only allows you to play your audio and video files but also to enjoy videos and audio files available for streaming on the Internet (podcast, web series, films…), thanks to its rich content library accessible on all your television media (thanks to Google’s Chromecast), tablet, PC, smartphone, etc.
The software also scans your library and retrieves all information related to media files, such as album covers, posters, recaps, and video trailers. Besides being able to sort and play your audio and video files, Plex also supports your images.
The software interface is particularly neat and your free online account, register from the first installation on your computer, allows you to benefit from all the free services of Plex on your various media on your web browser, without requiring the installation of ‘dedicated applications.
Plex offers a paid subscription to get additional features like getting lyrics to songs you’re listening to or geotagging your photos, but they’re not required to take advantage of the app’s essential tools.
Kodi Media Player
Between Plex and Kodi, it’s sometimes difficult to choose if you’re looking for a good Media Center. Indeed, the functionalities of this 2 software are almost similar and offer excellent quality.
Kodi’s interface is as stylish and comfortable to learn as Plex, but Kodi has the advantage of being open source and, therefore, free of any modifications and completely free. Kodi supports the playback of most audio, video, and image formats, files present on your machine, and thanks to the YouTube extension, you can access streaming video content directly on your media player. Otherwise, you can play audio and video files available on other online servers like VStream.
On the other hand, unlike Plex and its online account, you can’t have your media library on your smartphone with Kodi. But the many extensions and add-ons in the community can add functionality, depending on your use of the Media Center.
GOM Player does not present itself as a Media Center like Kodi or Plex, but it does have some cool features as a media player. In particular, it supports many audio and video file formats. It has a vast subtitle library allowing you to quickly find and access subtitles for many films or series in the original version, for example. Criterion much appreciated by fans of TV series!
GOM Player is also compatible with Youtube 360 ° videos, usable for an immersive experience in virtual reality.
Like any good self-respecting multimedia player, GOM Player has configuration parameters for your video, to optimize the image quality: brightness, contrast, ratio, noise, and saturation. The interface is sober and easy to learn in English and customizable with different “skins” available.
Available for Windows and MacOS, 5KPlayer is a multimedia player that supports many formats, including high and ultra-high-definition video formats such as HD, 4K, and 5K. Compatible with Apple’s AirPlay technology, 5KPlayer can stream multimedia content to your iPhone, iPad, or even your television, provided that DLNA compatible (home network technology for sharing multimedia content on the various connected devices of the house).
5KPlayer also includes a tool for downloading audio and video files available in high definition on streaming sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Vevo, CBS, but also SoundCloud for audio content. You have to copy and paste the URL of the video to be recovered, and the application will indicate the different resolutions available.
And you no longer need a converter to retrieve the sound of a video clip, 5KPlayer can do it directly in the downloader configuration options.
Unlike GOM Player, 5KPlayer offers the services of its media library to its users, with simplified and customizable management tools for all their types of content. We also appreciate the management of playlists and subtitles, as well as its simple interface in English.
Media Player Classic Home Cinema
Available for Windows and MacOS, Media Player Classic Home Cinema is a lightweight, free, open-source, a low-resource media player. It does its job perfectly by supporting the most popular audio and video formats, as well as DVDs and Blu-rays if your hardware is compatible.
The interface is a bit “old school” but functional and still has significant customization options such as the configuration of subtitles and image quality. Rather, this software is recommended for users who need a functional media player, not packed with additional options.
RealPlayer is one of the very first alternatives to Windows Media Player in the 2000s. With the arrival of VLC, Winamp, and the latest Media Centers, its popularity has dropped significantly, but its functionality is still relevant and has even expanded. In addition to being an efficient multimedia player.
RealPlayer integrates a streaming video downloader, a file conversion module, a burner, and above all, a functional and practical media library that allows you to find your content quickly. Small significant bonus, it is compatible with Chromecast, Roku, or Xbox One to broadcast your videos on your TV screen.
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player history has grown tremendously and comes with the latest version 12 installed base on computers with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. For other versions of Windows, you will have to be content with version 11 of the software, a little less modern, but having the essential tools required from a multimedia player.
Like all the others, it is compatible with most audio and video formats and offers a media library that is easy to access and simple to use.
After having passed into the limbo of oblivion and acquired in 2014 by Radionomy, Winamp, a historic multimedia player from the 2000s, has just gone to version 5.8, and its revival does not go unnoticed. This Media player supports many formats with an extremely minimalist media library.
Despite the enthusiasm around this new version, the publisher’s site invites us to be extremely careful about the instability of the software, and we can only encourage you to do the same.
JRiver Media Center
Another multimedia Swiss army knife that allows you to manage and quickly play your audio, video, and image files, while remaining simple to use. During the trial period of this paid software, you will have the opportunity to consult the impressive database of audio files made available to you.
Available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, JRiver Media Center supports many video formats, as well as DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming site playbacks like Netflix or YouTube.