KMPlayer – The Best Media Player Ever?

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KMPlayer, also known as K-Multimedia Player or KMP, is a free media player for Windows. It natively supports a myriad of audio and video formats, meaning the regular user will never have to worry about codecs. In addition, it offers many advanced features, is extremely customizable, and is available in multiple languages. If you are looking for a versatile multimedia player for Windows, KMPlayer may be just the one.

Do not confuse this KMPlayer with KMPlayer from KDE.org, which was developed for Konqueror / Linux and first released in 2010. The original KMplayer was first released in 2002.

Despite being a powerful tool, KMPlayer has long been an insider among geeks and never gained widespread attention. This may in part be due to its Korean origin and a lack of a professional web representation and English user manual or help files. On the other hand, KMPlayer does have a very strong user base and an active forum. Yet it is notorious for its bad documentation, which is especially discouraging for novice users. However, using KMPlayer is not as challenging as it sounds and this article will shed some light.

First Impressions

KMPlayer has a functional and unpretentious interface.

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The basic player controls are located in the bottom left. To its right you can view information about the file and filters, set the audio streams (left, right or both channels), and control playback sections (from point A to point B). The elapsed time (or system time if no file is loaded) is displayed on the far right and you can also set repeat and shuffle options. The volume control is situated in the bottom right.

The Menus

A left-click on the KMPlayer logo in the top left corner opens the basic file menu.

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From there you can open the file navigator, as well as individual files, DVDs or Video CDs from your CD/DVD drive, and load subtitles or external audio.

A right-click anywhere onto the player opens the Main Control window.

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This menu grants access to KMplayer’s extensive features. Almost every item in the list is a major menu of its own. For example while the basic file menu allows to load subtitles, the subtitle item in the Main Control menu lets the user define every little subtitle characteristic, including its alignment, font size or rotation. It takes a while to grasp the full depth and potential of these sub-menus and gain an overview.

Feature Overview

The endless list of features is what KMPlayer is famous for. It really is a shame that the developers have not released a proper manual for this advanced media player as many features are not self explanatory. Below is a summary of some of the most prominent features, which should give you a taste:

  • Screen Controls: extensive control of player screen size, ratios, window transparency, and window on top features
  • Pan & Scan: control window and frame position and size
  • Playback: move between frames, jump back and forth, set repeat section, control repeat mode, re-sync audio, time shutdown
  • Subtitles: search and find subtitles online, add multiple subtitles, control position and orientation of subtitles, re-sync subtitles, modify and merge subtitles
  • Bookmarks / Chapter: bookmark positions within a file

Experienced users of KMPlayer will notice that this list only touches the surface. There are far more features and options available than mentioned above. The preferences window alone (> Main Control > Options > Preferences) hosts a myriad of settings, for example filter control, audio, video, and subtitle processing, color controls, and much more. Users can save their settings in presets and launch them as required or exchange them with other users for common projects.

If you are craving immediate access to even more features, you should launch the advanced menu to have many more options available at your fingertips, including audio and video effects, filters, capture options, and skins. To enable the advanced menu, open the > Main Control (right-click on player), go to > Options and check > Advanced Menu.

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The Superficial Verdict

The KMPlayer interface is simple enough for the average person to use it as a basic media player. This, however, would be a waste because one thing KMPlayer doesn’t do is save system resources. Playing the same video file requires about 80% more system resources than VLC Player and even a little more than Windows Media Player. But if you are eager to play with your media files and get the best out of them and if you are willing to go through trial and error, then KMPlayer is a dream come true.

If KMPlayer did not convince you, I recommend you give [NO LONGER WORKS] VLC media player a spin. Get started with these articles:

Although KMPlayer has been mentioned many times over on MakeUseOf, we haven’t written a lot about it. If you’re going to make the switch to KMPlayer or are already using it, however, you might want to know How to Bookmark Movies To Resume Where You Left Off. What other features should we highlight or where do you think documentation is lacking badly?

Do you think KMPlayer may be the best media player, or could become your favorite? If it already is, what do you love about it? If you don’t think it could replace your current favorite, why not?

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Comments (30)
  • Hamza Khezami

    I think someone should write an article about how you can manipulate and edit subtitles with KMplayer, I mean, even if you have a wrongly synchronised subtitle, you can still fix it with KMplayer. And it has many other features that you’ll never find in any other media player.

  • Hamza Khezami

    KMplayer is way better then this VLC in terms of video and audio quality. I’ve been using it since the days of its release and I found no match for it. and I HATE when I hear here that “VLC is the best…and this and that….”. KMplayer is one of the Korean wonders and has no match so far. and that’s the least I can say about it. Peace

  • Anonymous

    This really is one of the most versatile and powerful media workhorses out there. Like some other users above, I’ve settled for a player with a more minimal set of features (smPlayer, which is also based on the mPlayer engine, codecs included) when compared to KMPlayer.

    Where KMPlayer really starts to pull away from the field is when need to do things like pull in Analog/Digital TV signals, stream and save portions of video and audio clips from any input source, etc… There is so much to this application than just being a player and you only realize it when you get stuck for a solution. It really should be a a part of everyone’s tool chest.

    As one poster noted – there are so many configuration options that you can accidentally configure something and can’t get back to a desirable default. I recommend the portable version. So even if you don’t use it as your main (VLC, smPlayer and others), you’ll have it at the ready as backup when you main fails at some task.

    • Ravi Shankar

      Yea, the configurations are one key away. So hitting the R key resets most of them.

  • donald

    I ve used KMPlayer  since day 1 and although previousely satisfied with VLC I never went back. The slideshow (with artflaw) effect, while playing musuic, has always rocked.  It is the only media player (freeware at least) that does that.  I could load 30gb of music in no time and display the entire collection at once without messing up my library (like the WMplayer bitch).
    It is very sad that it doesnt run in other OS like Linux for instance.  I have recently made the jump (finally) and quit the insulting (to my intelligence and wallet) Winblows microsucks and now I am terribly sad for the loss.   I had originally thought that the KMPlayer mentionned on the Linux community was the actual one (korean KMPlayer I mean)  But I made a mistake.    I have tried through Wine app in KDE (Kubuntu 11.04.. nice btw) but though successfully installed when launched doesnt play zip.  Would be great if someone would find the way to fix the issue in KDE or GNOME.
    Meanwhile perhaps I should go back to  VLC I suppose (since all the media apps in KDE suck big time unfortunately) which works on Linux.
    BTW, I’ll never go back to W not even if they paid me.

  • DHANUSH S

    Well the original developer has sold Km Player to pandora.tv and it is rarely updated,so it is full of bugs.
    I reccomend you to check out PotPlayer which is from the same developer and is updated frequently!
    http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=148745

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.