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media player classicAs of 2012, there are a ton of media players available on the market, and many of them are free. With such a large selection, sometimes it can be hard to pick which software will suit you best.

For media players, I’ve tried a bunch of them but ultimately settled on Media Player Classic – Home Cinema, which will be known as MPC-HC from here on out. Pay special attention to the fact that I’m talking about the Home Cinema version–NOT the original version that was released way back in 2003.

The Home Cinema fork of Media Player Classic began in 2006 after deviating from the original codebase. At the time of this article, this new branch continues to run strong in terms of development and perpetually adapts to the ever-changing world of video codecs and file formats.

MPC-HC is both free and open source but, sadly, only available on Windows. For other operating systems, check out some of these other media players for Linux The Top 5 Video Players For Your Linux OS The Top 5 Video Players For Your Linux OS Read More or Mac The Best 5 Free Universal Video Players For Mac The Best 5 Free Universal Video Players For Mac I recently purchased a shiny new MacBook Pro.One of the things I was curious about however, was which universal video player to install. QuickTime is pretty cool, sure, but I quickly found out its limits... Read More .

Interface

If you are someone who loves clean, sleek, or minimalist designs, then you’ll love MPC-HC. In its windowed form, there is little to no clutter. Everything is neatly arranged in an intuitive manner. Nothing is extraneous.

media player classic

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Other media players may have unique skin designs that try to emulate the look of a DVD player or something along those lines. MPC-HC does not. Instead, it follows the traditional Windows layout consisting of a menu bar, a status bar, a control bar, and the main playback area.

windows media player free

In addition, when a special control or toggle is invoked (such as when you change the volume or enable subtitles), a tight overlay appears in the corner. It’s both informative and unobtrusive.

Built-In Codecs

One of the great things about MPC-HC is that it supports a number of different codecs straight out of the box. From MPEG to Xvid, from VCD to DVD, you’ll be able to watch nearly any video encoding format without having to install third-party codec packs.

Straight from the MPC-HC website itself, they say:

MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 playback. Media Player Classic is capable of VCD, SVCD and DVD playback, without the need to install any additional software or codecs.

And also:

MPC Home Cinema also has H.264 and VC-1 with DXVA support, DivX, Xvid, and Flash Video formats available. MPC can also use the QuickTime and the RealPlayer architectures. Media Player Classic supports native playback of OGM and Matroska container formats.

Supported File Formats

As a media player, MPC-HC does more than just video playback. If you ever need to listen to a single audio track or view a single image, MPC-HC has got you covered.

MPC-HC supports these video formats out of the box:

MPEG, MPG, MP2, VOB, ASX, ASF, WM, WMV, AVI, D2V, MP4, SWF, MOV, QT, FLV, MKV

MPC-HC supports these audio formats out of the box:

AC3, DTS, WAV, WMA, MP3, M3U, PLS, WAX, OGG, SND, AU, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, MIDI, CDA

MPC-HC supports these image formats out of the box:

JPEG, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP

Other Features

media player classic

But there’s more! Some other great features included in MPC-HC:

  • Option to enable anti-tearing. Tearing can be a jarring experience when you’re watching a video on your computer. MPC-HC can utilize a graphic mode that is often used for video games in order to solve tearing.
  • Remote control access for Androids. By installing the MPC – Remote Lite app on your Android device, you can interact with MPC-HC from a distance. This is great for those times when you’re watching a movie on your computer from a distance and want to pause, rewind, or skip without getting up.
  • Better support for 64-bit versions of Windows. The 64-bit version of MPC-HC will only use the 64-bit codecs installed on your machine.

Final Verdict

There are some big name giants in the realm of free media players, including VLC, Windows Media Player, KMPlayer, and others. In steps MPC-HC with its resource-efficient and minimalist design.

It may or may not fit your personal preferences, but there’s no denying that this media player is one of the best available.

  1. Mark Silos
    July 21, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Been using MPC. i like the options and features,my second player is VLC

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  5. Garey Boone
    March 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

    I add this player to Mediabrowser and use it for the external player so that it can be used with Windows Media Center. I've tried many other media players but keep coming back to this.

  6. jdrch
    March 4, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I second MPC-HC as the best multiformat video player on Windows. VLC used to hold that title, but video performance has significantly deteriorated in recent versions.

  7. Goran vBm
    March 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Slap LAVFilters on top of MPC-HC and you'll be amazed how good it is.
    Also to point out that MPC-HC has decent community on Freenode (#mpc-hc) and on doom9 (http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=123537)

  8. OmertaBeyond
    March 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    MPC-HC with LAV is all you need ;)

    http://code.google.com/p/lavfilters/

  9. Michael Blackburn
    March 3, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I've been using it for a long time - I'm slowly converting family and friends too :) As I use his codecs, I also use MPC-HCx64 built by Shark from 
    http://shark007.net/tools.html - works perfect for everything I've got.

  10. God made Love or Love made God
    March 3, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Hey thanks Joel Lee! I was using GOM player till now as my favorite player. I've used MPC as my fav in past i.e. about some years ago. Now again you realised me that. GOM player because always loads an ad on startup, it doesn't suit me. I've now set MPC as my default player :) I was amazed to realize that it can play those media files for which I downloaded codec packs to play them in GOM but MPC played them all except .amr files.

  11. Dan
    March 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I love MPC-HC. I've been using it since Gabest released the first version. It was (maybe still is?) the preferred media player in the anime fansubbing scene in the early 2000s. Other players came and went, but MPC has stood the test of time. 90% of the time it's better than VLC.

  12. Mike
    March 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Since SMPlayer started bugging on me I setup MPC-HC with madVR and I like it :-)

  13. OmertaBeyond
    March 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm

     Been using MPC-HC since early days and I simply love it. Lately i see a lot of improvements and bug fixes in it's repository. Since XhmikosR started acting like manager MPC-HC got better. Job well done!

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