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vlcplayer.gif Television sets and CD players are rapidly becoming a thing of the past for me. I spend most of my waking day in front of the computer and so I have adopted the practice of having DVD’s and CD’s playing in the top right hand corner of the screen while I work. Whether it’s a DVD rental from the shop, BBC streaming news broadcasts or the new iTunes download, media players have become an essential part of my internet life.

Here’s a brief selection of the media players I have encountered over the past few years.

1. Windows Media Player

It’s not often that I recommend a Microsoft product but out of all the media players that I have tried over the years, I always end up coming back to Windows Media Player. It always works and is easy to use. It’s been a while since Microsoft released any updates to Version 11 but so far no complaints from me. Media Player is often pre-installed with new computers but if you don’t have it on your PC for any reason, you can easily download again from the above link.

2. Zoom Player

I used Zoom Player for quite a while before finally going back to Windows Media Player. Zoom Player played all the video files I gave it but I gave up on it in the end because it always disabled the “keep Zoom Player on top” option. So everytime I started Zoom, I would have to choose the “on top” option again from the menu. It got slightly annoying after a while. But this is still an excellent media player nonetheless.

3. [NO LONGER WORKS] VLC Media Player

What’s interesting about VLC is that it is [NO LONGER WORKS] open-source and you can also have a portable version 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) Read More for your USB stick. It’s also one of the few popular players that lets you play downloaded Youtube videos.

4. Miro Player

It used to be called Democracy Player. Now it’s Miro. This is also open-source and you can also download YouTube videos (apparently. I never tried). You can read more about it at previously posted Top 5 Internet TV Players Top 5 Internet TV Players + TV freebies Top 5 Internet TV Players + TV freebies Read More .

5. DIVX Player

I have never used DIVX player, although I know a few people that swear by it (and laugh at me being impressed with Windows Media Player). You need the DIVX codec to play most video files and I have subsequently developed a dislike for DIVX because when you download the much needed codec, the DIVX player also gets installed onto your computer. I don’t know about you but software that barges its way onto your PC uninvited earns my eternal dislike.

6. Winamp


For a player that mainly markets itself as a music player, it also plays video files remarkably well with amazing picture quality and sound. This is also my favourite music player as it has a really great skin which allows you to keep the player in a narrow bar at the top of your computer screen. Winamp is constantly updated with new versions.

7. iTunes

How could we possibly end this post without mentioning Mr Steve Jobs and his iTunes application? iTunes is a close second favourite to Winamp when it comes to playing my music and since iTunes also plays regular MP3’s and CD’s, I figured it was worth a mention. I prefer Winamp because it comes across as lightweight and smooth while iTunes comes across as rather clunky. But iTunes has a nice burning facility if you want to backup your CD’s. However, if you’re only using it because of an iPod than have a look at our list of free iPod managers 50 Free Tools to Make Your iPod Better and ... 50 Free Tools to Make Your iPod Better and ... Read More .

  1. Wen
    December 4, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Has anyone heard of or tried this media player? I really like it but I haven't gotten it all figured out yet so there's a couple of quirky things it does that irritate me but other than that it's excellent.

    J. River Media Jukebox

  2. Greener
    October 2, 2008 at 2:17 am

    There are several things you might want to know before picking a video player, i have used a lot of .mkv videos therefore there is only a handful of programs that will actually play them effectively and not completely blow through your ram. VLC is great but it can occasionally get choppy and drop frames which is bad when you watching movies in hd. The best free media player that I have found is called Media Player Classic, I do a lot of stuff with movies on my computer and I have not found one type of video codec that it cannot play. And about dropping frames i think it dropped 2 frames within a 12000 frame movie, which is excellent. and it uses a very small amount of ram which makes it the best on my list. But unless you are like me and watching hd movies i would advise VLC player, the user interface is easier and it will play almost any file.

    By the way when you see media player classic dont think of windows media player, they are not the same programs.

    so again those are VLC media player and Media Player Classic

  3. vwalien
    February 18, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I agree, I was a HUGE VLC fan for so long, and then someone recommended k-media player to resolve my issues with jittery video playback on my asus eee pc. As soon as I tried k-media player (kmp), I uninstalled vlc on all my systems, and only use k-media player.

    It is awesome.

  4. alper
    October 21, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    You should really give "k-media player" (kmp) a try. Don't confuse with kmplayer, based on mplayer. It is totally different. I was using BSPlayer and vlc together and at the end of the first week I started to use kmp, I uninstalled both. The latest version:

  5. Sherri
    October 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

    VLC covers all my needs, without the headaches.

  6. Mark O'Neill
    October 17, 2007 at 9:04 am

    When compiling this list, I was all ready to extol the virtues of CrystalPlayer, until I checked their webpage and discovered that they no longer offer the free version! The free version has been scrapped in favour of a $30 pro version - no thanks! :-)

    What company in their right mind would scrap a perfectly good free version of their software? Especially these days when free and open-source players are all over the net.

  7. M0we
    October 17, 2007 at 3:12 am

    I use either MediaPlayer Classic or VLC for video, and either Quintessential Media Player (QMP) or winamp (v5.5 rocks!) for music.

    Also Windows media player is not free (as VLC or QMP are), so it is not an option for the open-source\freeware ardent.

  8. ²is
    October 16, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    KMplayer - based on MPlayer - it's La Creme De La Creme - highly configurable - fun to use

  9. Rob
    October 16, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    How about MPlayer for windows? MPlayer has been an open source staple for a long time, and now there are some decent UIs for it, it's excellent on Windows. I get my build from

    There's also MediaPlayer Classic, which plays just about anything

    • Aibek
      October 16, 2007 at 8:06 pm

      "... MediaPlayer Classic, which plays just about anything" Totally agree. It's especially handy for playing all those (...) video downloads. ;-)

  10. Joshua Jabin
    October 16, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    On Windows, I usually use either MediaMonkey or Winamp for music, and GOM Player for video. All of these programs offer some great features without hogging system resources.

    What are your choices for Linux media players? I use Banshee and MPlayer, but I also like Amarok.

  11. R3dd0g
    October 16, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Don't forget AVS DVD Player by AVS Media. I simply use it for all (and I do mean all) of my video files. Although you can set it to be the default player for audio files as well.

  12. Scott
    October 16, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I swear by BSPlayer. They used to include it in the Kazza codec packs, There is a free version on but with ads, if you google you can still find the last free version without ads though 1.39 is the one I use

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