Whether you require a video player for entertainment or official use, choosing the right fit is important. However, with a plethora of options available online, making the right choice can be quite overwhelming.
The key points to consider when deciding on a video player are its features and ease of use. Additionally, a media player should also be minimal, intuitive, and lightweight.
The suitable choice may differ for every individual owing to their preferences and requirements. So, we have compiled a list of some of the best free video players for Windows.
Read through the article to find your exact fit.
A word on Windows Media Player
Microsoft PCs come installed with Windows Media Player if you are using a version prior to Windows 10. If you are on Windows 10 or Windows 12, Movies & TV is the default video player. However, you can set WMP to your default media player by changing the settings.
WMP can play a number of sound and video file formats. Note that video formats other than AVI and MPEG-4 are supported only if the related video codecs are installed.
Additionally, WMP permits users to rip audio CDs and copy music to other discs and sort out their music collections. However, it does not play DVDs due to copyright restrictions. It also lets users purchase or rent music from a number of online music stores.
Movies & TV is a media library application that likes taking an online store and mashing it with a video player. Since it’s integrated with the Microsoft Store, you’ll have the opportunity of buying and renting movies and TV shows and then immediately porting them to its integrated video player.
If you’re offline, simply download the movie or TV show and take it with you. You don’t need an internet connection to use Windows Movies and TV.
The Movies & TV app that comes with Windows 10 is a capable, if somewhat dull, video player. It’s not particularly pretty. It has decent, but not wide-ranging, support for different video formats. And it doesn’t support many advanced features.
It’s worth checking out to see if suits your needs before downloading something else. That said, keep reading for our favorite, free third-party video players.
Top free video players
At TheSweetBits, we have chosen a number of free video players for Windows. When looking for the best free video players, we have downloaded and tested them, and we narrowed down our choices based on some of the criteria. These include:
- Ability to support a wide range of video file formats.
- Free download without adware and junkware.
- Lightweight and easy to install and use.
- Fast and seamless video experience.
- Advanced features such as supporting 1080p and 4k videos.
Based on these features, here are the best top free video players for Windows.
The most versatile choice: VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is an immensely popular video player and rightly so. It is an open-source media player that is available for all popular platforms. It is simple, lightweight and easy to use. It is fast and free of spyware or ads.
Created by the VideoLAN project, VLC is a powerful application that supports a number of audio and video compression methods, and file formats. It does not need to download additional codecs for the purpose.
VLC backs everything from 8K formats to 360 degree videos, HDR, audio and video filters. It also offers subtitle support, subtitle downloads and audio sync. It can play local files, DVDs, Blu-Rays, online videos, and videos from compressed files. It has a playlist function that allows multiple files to play sequentially. It also supports network streaming.
You can customize its interface with the VLC Skin Editor. It offers advanced controls for fine-tuning the look and sound of videos. You can add extra features to the media player with the broad variety of downloadable plugins available. These plugins also allow integration with other apps and streaming services.
Furthermore, VLC is compatible with MPEG and DivX streaming, and can play videos while they are downloading. You can also increase the volume of a file up to 200% after the download is finished and search for album covers.
However, this otherwise awesome software has a few downsides. Its default interface is not as chic as that of its competitors, and tagging in VLC is not as effortless as in some other applications. It can run into trouble when dealing with larger files. Also, VLC does not offer its top execution on older or slower hardware.
In spite of some of the minor flaws, VLC has been one of the fan favorites owing to the bunch of features it comes with. Although it is an old software, it keeps receiving updates and new features. Hence, it has managed its spot among the best free video players while its user base continues to expand.
Free download VLC media player from official website
An attractive alternative: PotPlayer
PotPlayer is another top choice among the lot of free media players. It has been developed by Kakao, a South Korean internet company. It has an elegant interface and offers a wide range of features. It does not require powerful hardware.
PotPlayer supports all modern file formats as well as 3D viewing. It can handle large files like Blu-Ray with ease. In case you try running a file that is not compatible, it will download the required codec for you. You can manage your video and audio playback via the variety of video controls it provides. It also supports online streaming.
It automatically detects all the files in the directory and makes a provisional playlist, allowing for a smooth binge-watching experience. You can pause by double-clicking and seek via arrow keys. You have the option to download subtitles for video files.
Pot Player is a user-friendly software which can be customized as per your needs. You can change the interface of the app and even control the look of the videos. You also get a screen recording tool with this media player.
You can toggle with multiple settings using minimal pop-up menus and buttons. Moreover, you can select sound cards, bookmark your favorite clips and preview them. You will also find filters for brightness, contrast, hue, noise reduction, etc. and a number of built-in keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys.
There are a few minor negatives associated with PotPlayer. It is not open source. For new users, getting familiar with the huge number of features and variety of settings may be a little confusing. Also, some file formats do not play back as clearly as they do on other apps, and some high bit-rate videos might show some delay.
All in all, you will not be disappointed with the performance of PotPlayer. If you are willing to experiment, you can give it a shot.
Free download Pot Player from official website
For DLNA and AirPlay support: 5K Player
5K Player is another top-rated video player for Windows. It is minimal and easy to use. Its well-designed and sleek interface enables smooth navigation of the app.
It can play a variety of video and audio formats without any plug-ins. It can also play DVDs and local media files. It also allows a lot of playback control to modify the look and sound of your media.
5K Player offers the support for 4K/5K/1080p Ultra HD video playback without taking up a major chunk of your resources. Additionally, it has built-in DLNA and AirPlay support. So, you can use this app to wirelessly stream songs and videos to compatible devices.
Another great feature of 5K Player is that it offers more streaming options. It uses the built-in download tool to import songs and videos from supported websites like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, etc. You just need to enter the URL of the website where the audio/video is hosted, and 5K Player will do the rest.
5K Player also supports online radio. Just type in the URL of the stream, and the media player will do the needful. Pre-defined shortcuts for channels like BBC Sport, NBC, etc. are also a plus.
A minor concern is that it includes ads for other products from the same firm. Although these ads do not disturb playback, they can be irritating when they pop up. Also, you might struggle while exploring the software for the first time.
Overall, 5K Player is a great choice. If you are into wireless streaming then this is the right alternative for you.
Free download 5K Player from official website
Additional free video players you should know about
Plex came into being when in 2015 Plex replaced their Plex Home Theater with its new Plex Media Player. It is a user-friendly app which offers a lot of features and free third-party channels.
It supports all file formats (both audio and video). Since it supports Chromecast, you can cast the videos to your TV screen. You can also control your player by using the Plex app on your phone or tablet.
With Plex, media management becomes effortless. It also offers parental control. You can easily organize your media collection and also control access to media.
Although Plex needs you to login to the service, the accounts are free. Just get Plex Media Server. This server runs on Dropbox, Google Drive as well as OneDrive, giving you easy access to your multimedia.
One major upside is that Plex uses cloud service to store your media. Hence, you can sync your media content across your devices and access your files from any gadget.
Furthermore, you can remotely access your PC located at your home if it has Plex running on it. You only have to login through any web browser.
Free download Plex Player from official website
Kodi, previously known as XBMC, is open source. It is much more than a video player as it gives you an excellent media center experience. Its interface is TV like.
It plays most of the video and audio formats, podcasts, and other digital media found locally or online. It gained popularity owing to its great online streaming capabilities.
Kodi has a lot of plug-ins and add-ons such as streaming plugins (audio and video) for online sources, screensavers, skins and themes, weather forecasts, web interfaces, web scrapers, and more.
You can customize Kodi’s interface to a great extent. You can explore a number of skins and themes available and install those that appeal to you. In addition, its web interface add-ons let you browse a media library remotely, so that you can manage playlists from a computer instead of television.
Also, Kodi upscale standard-definition resolution videos and output them to 720p, 1080i, and 1080p high-definition resolutions. You also have the option to record your favorite TV series with its PVR add on.
Free download Kodi from official website
First released in 2002, KMPlayer is one of the oldest video players. It was acquired by a Korean streaming company Pandora TV in 2007. Despite having a modest start, it is among the most feature packed player available today. It is available in 35 languages.
KMPlayer is simple and highly customizable. Its interface is extremely responsive. Its known for supporting most of the file formats. It works smoothly without any crashes or lags.
It has an inbuilt codec for Windows 10. To take its compatibility a notch higher, you can add external codecs. It has the ability to play UHD prints – 2k, 4k or KMP. It also provides 3D support.
The player comes with a lot of audio and video effects. You can mark the sections of videos as favorites, put them on repeat, remap the keys for remote interface, etc. You can even edit the subtitles.
The only minus point is that KMPlayer automatically sets itself as the default player for any music or video content, which feels a bit over the top and inappropriate on its part.
Free download KMPlayer from official website
DivX Player offers free HEVC playback which allows you to play UltraHD (4K) videos. It can run a wide range of video and audio formats.
It has a built-in media server for devices with DLNA that lets you stream songs, videos, and photos to any DLNA compatible device. Its smart media library allows you to organize playlists and keep a tab on your purchased as well as local media content.
Using its advanced features like Trick Play, you can hop to your favorite section in the videos easily. Moreover, you can also play different scenes as this app offers support for Chapter Points.
You can swap among different soundtracks trouble free as this player has backing for multiple audio. You can navigate between chapters using its FF/RW feature.
DivX player comes with a great deal of features for both audio as well as video playback. This allows you to handle the media content as per your preferences. Audio Enhancer is one such noteworthy feature which fine-tunes the dialogues and sounds.
Free download DivX Player from official website
MPV is another popular open-source and cross-platform media player. It was forked off from both MPlayer and mplayer2. It includes the handy features of its parent software along with additional perks.
MPV comes with a simple and mouse-based GUI, and a feature rich command line version. The interface has minimal controls at the bottom. It is slick and convenient for touchscreen devices.
This app supports almost all media codecs out of the box. It comes with a customizable video output driver which backs over 100 options for controlling playback quality, including the use of advanced upscaling filters, color management, and customizable pixel shaders. Hence, the video output quality is excellent, even when scaling.
The video playback is lightweight as MPV is less demanding resource-wise. It also supports subtitles. Additionally, it can play internet radio streams, video streams, and apply a variety of audio and video filters live.
Other applications can also use MPV directly via a library interface called libmpv. This video player can be customized by using Lua scripts. These can be used for jobs such as video cropping, adjusting refresh rate of display, providing a GUI etc.
A minor drawback of MPV is although efficient and, things like playing around with subtitles or casting by using Chromecast can be bothersome.
Free download MPV player from official website
The video player is the software that we use on a regular basis. That’s why it should be very practical, powerful and easy to use. if you choose default Windows video player, you will also need a cool video converter that will help you convert unsupported formats into the ones Windows ecosystem accepts.
Now it’s your choice, Neo! Out of all the players, you sure can pick the one that is the best video player for you personally.
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