Whenever we have written an article about great media players, people were quick to remind us of PotPlayer. Once we checked it out, we had to agree that it was indeed pretty awesome. So the tool silently made it to our famous list of Best Windows Software and finally the time has come for a proper review.
PotPlayer was developed by Daum and is based on the original KMPlayer, which has since been developed by another group. Much like VLC Media Player, Daum PotPlayer comes complete with codecs for most media file formats. This means it will natively play almost any audio or video file you throw at it, without the need to manually install codecs. If you now wonder whether PotPlayer is as neat and easy to use as it sounds, read on.
On a first impression, Daum PotPlayer looks like a mix of KMPlayer and Winamp. It has a modular setup, consisting of a playlist and a playback module. The latter changes depending on whether an audio or a video file is playing. Note that throughout the player, left- or right-click might trigger different actions or behaviors, also depending on your current view.
Adding Files & Managing Playlists
You can add files, an entire directory, or a URL by clicking the + sign in the bottom right of the playlist. Alternatively, you can right-click into the playlist and select Add & Edit or use the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [I]. You can also drag&drop files or directories from a Windows Explorer folder into the playlist.
Did you notice the playlist tabs above? You can create different albums, which per default are automatically saved as playlists. When you close and open PotPlayer, your previously opened tabs are re-loaded.
Unfortunately, you cannot change the order of opened albums, they are sorted alphabetically. It’s also not possible to drag & drop or easily move files from one album to another. However, when you select files and then click *New Album, the selected files will automatically be copied over to the new album (not moved).
Also, you can copy and paste files from one album to another via the Add & Edit menu shown above. To remove files, right-click them, open the Remove menu and select the desired action. Alternatively, you can use the indicated keyboard shortcuts.
The playlist supports drag&drop, both for files from another source and within the playlist. Hence it’s a surprise that drag&drop does not work between playlists. Files can be moved up and down within the playlist via the playlist menu. Little buttons next to the info window allow you to open the Playlist Settings [left-click S], sort the playlist [right-click S] or save the current playlist [left-click O].
Playing Audio Files
While playing audio files you can move around the playlist and pair it with the equalizer in various ways. Once the two are paired, dragging the playback module will move both elements like one unit, while dragging the playlist will separate them. Clicking the little icon in the top left triggers On Top Always behavior.
The playback module has some neat features for both audio and video. While playing audio files, you can use the A / B buttons to define a section of the file to be repeated. Clicking the arrows between A and B will reset the selection.
In the bottom right of the playback module are three buttons. Left-click the first button to open the Windows folder for the currently playing file, right-click it to get an extensive menu of anything the player can potentially open, including webcam, TV, or subtitles. The middle button launches or closes the control panel upon a left-click, while a right-click opens the skin menu. Finally, left-clicking the right-most button opens or closes the playlist.
The unsuspicious looking control panel lets you manage the audio equalizer, adjust video settings and take screen captures, control subtitles, play settings, video ratios and video frames.
Playing Video Files
The video frame is docked to the left of the playlist. You can close the playlist via the respective button in the bottom right of the video frame or by clicking the little arrowhead between the video and the playlist. To watch the video in fullscreen, double-click the video frame. You can return by double-clicking again or clicking [ESC].
While playing video you can hide the skin to only see the video frame by clicking the little icon in the top left. You can move the video frame around and as you hover over the top, bottom, or right-hand side, the respective menus or the playlist will show.
The video playback menu shown above is quite a handful. PCM lets you change audio channels, NV12 has all the controls for moving within the video, including frame by frame, within subtitles, or to a specific frame.
Left-clicking the [i] button turns on/off OSD, while a right-click opens a window with the file information. Left-clicking the [O] button captures the current frame and a right-click opens a screen capture menu. Also the next buttons in the row show different behaviors for left- vs. right-click. The first three control audio stream, subtitles, and video processing.
The final three are similar but different to the menus seen at the bottom of the audio playback window. Right-clicking the control panel button will open an advanced control menu bar (see screenshot below). Right-clicking the playlist button merges and separates the playlist from the video frame.
Note that while a video is playing, right-clicking the playlist albums will show another extensive menu, but only when the playlist is merged with the video frame. This is the same menu that opens when you right-click the display that indicates the file format [AVI in screenshot above].
Daum PotPlayer is a versatile and comprehensive media player, much like its big brother KMPlayer. Some of its features are not immediately intuitive, for example differing behavior of buttons upon left- or right-click. However, this also highlights the depth of the player. While the interface makes the player appear simplistic at first, the many menus hidden behind a few carefully placed buttons, reveal advanced features that leave few requests open. So taken together, PotPlayer is a media player for people who expect full control, enjoy unique interfaces, and don’t mind exploring.
What is your experience with media players? Which one is your favorite and how does PotPlayer compare?