4 Windows Media Player Alternatives for Windows 8

Chris Hoffman 02-10-2013

Windows Media Player is outdated on Windows 8. Oh sure, it’s still there Missing Media Tools in Windows 8? Easily Burn Audio and View DVDs Windows 8 makes it hard to burn audio and watch video DVDs thanks to hidden apps and missing licences. This is part of the move away from optical media – fortunately, we can share some... Read More , but it’s only available on the desktop and hasn’t seen any meaningful updates. Windows Media Player is also missing in action on Windows RT Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT edition was discreetly launched about a month and a half ago with the flagship Microsoft Surface RT tablet device. Though visually indistinguishable from Windows 8, there are some key differences as to what... Read More , even though most other desktop programs that come with Windows are included. If you have a Windows 8 tablet, you’ll want to use a Modern app from the Windows Store What Are The Best Apps To Get Started With Windows 8? Read More instead of Windows Media Player.


If you want to watch video files, be sure they’re located in the Videos library — or another library — on your Windows 8 system. Modern apps won’t be able to access them if they’re in another folder. If you’re using Windows 8.1 How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 Preview & What To Expect Anyone using Windows 8 can now upgrade to a preview version of Windows 8.1 for free. This update refines Windows 8, giving keyboard and mouse users important interface improvements and making the Modern interface more... Read More , you’ll need to re-enable libraries to do this — oddly enough, Modern apps are reliant on libraries but Microsoft made the decision to hide them in Windows 8.1.

VLC will eventually be released as a Modern app, and it will probably be the one to beat. However, it isn’t available yet.

Xbox Video

The Video app included with Windows 8, known either as Video or Xbox Video, allows you to play local video files. However, it’s more than that —  it’s also a storefront for Microsoft’s library of movies and TV shows. This can be rather obnoxious, as the app is more focused on trying to sell you videos than allowing you to play your own video files. Xbox Video isn’t particularly amazing, which his why we’re covering other alternatives here.

Still, Xbox Video is a workable way of playing local video files. It’s included by default on every Windows 8 device, and it’s certainly more convenient than using Windows Media Player on the desktop if you want to watch videos on a tablet.

Standout Features: Included by default


Problems: Focused on trying to sell you videos, few features, no support for MKV files


PressPlay Video

PressPlay Video is a free video player app that’s more capable than the included app. For example, it can play MKV and FLV video files, unlike the Xbox Video app. It also offers a side-by-side interface for browsing videos while you’re playing one — a good workaround for the Modern environment’s poor ability to use multiple apps at a time compared to typical desktop media players. There’s even subtitle support — perfect for watching TV shows and movies that have been translated from other languages.

PressPlay Video’s standout feature is its support for MKV files, which other Modern media player apps don’t offer. However, this comes at a literal price — PressPlay Video contains ads, unless you pay $4.99.


Standout Features: MKV and FLV support, subtitles, side-by-side video browsing

Problems: Contains advertisements, unless you pay $4.99


Multimedia 8

Multimedia 8 is another free media player that offers many features not included in the Xbox Videos app. You can use local subtitle files, play 3D videos, create playlists, convert video files to MP4 or WMV format, and even capture videos from within the app. This app is packed full of features that aren’t even found in PressPlay Video.


Multimedia 8 also offers the ability to play media files in the background — so if you’re listening to some sort of video lecture, you can switch to a different app and keep listening. If you were using Xbox Video, the video would automatically pause on you and refuse to keep playing unless the app was visible. On the other hand, Multimedia 8 doesn’t include support for MKV files.

Standout Features: Playlists, subtitles, 3D videos, video conversion, background video playing, video capture, no advertisements

Problems: No MKV support



Metro Media Player [No Longer Available]

As its name indicates, Metro Media Player is focused on a “clean design” that “removes all the clutter found in most modern media players.” It offers a more traditional interface with a main player interface and an Open File option that allows you to load videos. Other media players here focus on your video library when you open them, but Metro Media Player just provides a player.

This app offers a variety of features like support for SRT subtitle files, adjustable playback speed via a swipe gesture, and support for media keys and remotes. If you don’t play MKV files and like the simple design, Metro Media Player is a good option.

Standout Features: Adjustable playback speed, simple video player interface, subtitles, no advertisements

Problems: No MKV support, fewer advanced features than Multimedia 8


Which One Is For You?

If all you want to do is play the occasional video, even the Xbox Video app would work for you. If you want to play MKV files, you should use PressPlay Video. If you don’t care about MKV support and want an app without ads, try Multimedia 8 or Metro Media Player.

Whatever media player app you choose for now, you should keep your eyes out for the VLC 7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player VLC should be your media player of choice. The cross-platform tool has a bag full of secret features you can use right now. Read More modern app, which was funded through Kickstarter and is well on its way. Sharing the VLC code base means the VLC media player will be compatible with many types of media files that other apps here may not be able to play — VLC will probably be the Modern video player to beat very soon.

What Modern app are you using to play videos on Windows 8? Leave a comment and share your favorite!

Related topics: Media Player, Windows 8, Windows Media Player.

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  1. Kishor Pradhan
    March 8, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I need some help to develop a VBB script to load a excel file into our web page. say want to enroll a members. how can we do that? is thee any way you can help me develop a Macro VBB script to enroll the members form the excel sheet to the web application.
    Kishor Pradhan

  2. Warren Green
    July 19, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    VLC sucks. Please don't recommend it.

  3. A Hannan
    April 10, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I need only the best one. Please one only.

  4. Mandy
    January 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Please can you advice which would be best to allow you to burn music to a disc?

  5. Justin
    January 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Metro Media Player now supports MKV. They have released a version for Windows 8.1 called, Metro Media Player Pro. Check it out. It's awesome.

  6. Cristian
    November 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    None of these can't manage to play my multimedia content on Home Network Devices.
    Also none of which have the subtitle feature let you change the font settings, like cyrillic aplhabet letters appear just wrong.
    So sticking with my sMedio TrueLink+ until something similar, which also features subtitles, appears.

  7. Ashwin D
    October 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Waiting for VLC to come out!

  8. Adam G
    October 3, 2013 at 6:50 am

    VLC Metro? I am in!!

  9. Manuth C
    October 3, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Multimedia 8 subtitle is just so crappy.

  10. Kalvin Maia
    October 2, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I think MediaMonkey should be included on the post. Also, VLC Metro will be coming in the next months, so perhaps we'll have more complete options.

  11. Mike Keller
    October 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    I am getting a Windows 8 tablet in the new few weeks! Waiting for all the new devices October 18th! I am so excited! Thanks for the tips!