A media player was earlier a term denoted to any computer software that played multimedia files but with the advent of portable device it has even come to encompass the wide variety of android and other open source media players. The media files generally include Audio and Video files with a wide variety of extensions. Listed below are some of the most popular media players on the basis of downloads and compatibility.
Copyrighted by Ventis Media Inc, MediaMonkey or MM is a digital media player and a media library application. Through the download and additional plugins available from the website it can be run in compliance with many different videos and other media formats. It is a freeware program but the version can be upgraded to “Gold” license which lets you enhance its skins, use extension scripts and run third party plugins. It can play MP3, AAC, OGG, WMA, FLAC, MPC, APE, and WAV format. It also has automatic volume adjustments through Replay and MP3 Gain which lets you work freely and not bother about changing the volume levels. It can easily be synced with your Apple devices and the MediaMonkey library scans your hard drive on a regular basis for new media files, these can also be added manually. The current version is MediaMonkey 4.1 which was especially designed for a better media playing experience through android devices.
This is propriety multimedia framework of Apple inc., and is a pre requisite for Adobe Photoshop and many other video editing softwares. What gives it a subtle edge over other media players is the efficient handling of not just digital audio and video but panoramic views and JPEGs as well. It is compatible with all OS be it the Windows, Mac or open source like Linux or Ubuntu. It can be upgraded to QuickTime pro which enables editing clips, merging audios and video tracks. It also gives you a virtual canvas to place the clips on for advanced editing. A large number of codecs work well with QuickTime thus making it a favorite amongst those who handle different audio and video extensions. The latest version is QuickTime X or QuickTime Player v10.x which allows online sharing, screen recording, multiple export options and magic mouse options.
I dig it for the absolutely hypnotic visualizations. On a completely different note everything that starts with an ‘i’ is known to be an inextricable mixture of creativity and compatibility. iTunes puts your ‘I’ devices into complete sync with your personal collection. The most recent version available for upgrade is 11.0, it is even available for windows however the features offered are comparatively less. You can surf the in-house i-tunes store for podcasts, audiobooks, music and even rent a movie or stream the latest episode of your favorite television show. The most important features are; the intelligent playlist which keeps a record of your last played and most played media and the sound enhancement, which is much better than the rest of the media players. Crossfade is yet another interesting feature and audio normalization helps you in volume leveling.
Its stable release *5.65 was released just two weeks ago. Written by Nullsoft, Winamp is now a subsidiary of AOL. It is although proprietary but a freeware or shareware. Released in the year 1997 Winamp became popular for its MP3 file sharing services, extensible plugins, skins and graphical soung interactive visualizations. It was also the pioneer supporter of OGG Vorbis. Gapless playback, ReplayGain for volume leveling are known to have inspired many media players thereon. Upon installation it automatically scans your drive and even detects full Unicode and Unicode metadata files. It also provides its users an SDK or software development kit to create different types of plugins. With over 3000 available skins Winamp has one of the best alterations for aesthetic designs of the GUI or graphical user interface. Did you know? Winamp included hidden features which they termed as Easter eggs which are accessible via random exploration or undocumented clicks.
The Participatory culture foundation came up with Miro whose sole motive is to enable and support creative, non-corporate and independent ventures. That’s why their primary project MIRO was labeled as The Democracy Player or the DTV. Miro streams video from your RSS feeds and automatically stores and play them. Miro integrates A media player; vlc,windows or quicktime and xine or GStreamer for LINUX based Operating System along with a RSS new aggregator and and podcatcher and finally a Bit Torrent Client. Upon its release Mozilla Firefox and The Pirate Bay gave a download link for MIRO on their first pages and Pirate Bay had a message attached that read “We love Free Software”. In May 2011 it was deemed as the future of television and the softonic gave it 9 out 10 stars. Being a freeware/shareware MIRO is ever evoluting through the valuable feedbacks of those who lobby against the capitalization of Freeware.
SMplayer is yet another free software, released under the terms of GNU General Public License. Released in the year 2006 its stable version 0.8.5 was released in May this year. It is generally downloaded for its features which includes; audio and video filters and equalizer, subtitles settings and internet fetch, it also has an integrated YouTube browser, radio, T.V and multiple speed playback. It is available in over 30 languages and remembers your previous settings and time position so you don’t have to rewind the media all over again. It is compatible with both windows and Linux based operating system and is distributed with a NSIS generated setup. The installer is quite powerful and can fetch the latest MP3 codecs.
Banshee or Sonance as it was called till 2005 is an open source media player (cross platform). It uses GStreamer and works seamlessly with OFF vorbis, MP3 and FLAC. It can also import CDs and is compatible with Apple devices as well as Android and Creative’s Zen players. Alike iTunes it includes album artwork fetching, smart playlists, podcast support and Last.fm integration. Banshee was released under the MIT License which makes it a freeware/shareware. The notable features are Audioscrobbler, DAAP music sharing, Metadata searcher uses Musicbrainz to searches for missing and supplementary metadata from the library which even includes album art. The current version is 3.0 which is a developmental release.
3) Media Player classic
Available in over 25 language Media player classic is the third most downloaded media player in the virtual world. It is available in the K-Lite Codec and the Combined Community Codec Pack. It was transcended into its current freeware form under GUI it was earlier a closed-source application. One doesn’t require additional plugins for external media playback that just saves a lot of internet surfing and downloading times for codecs. The best probably is the DirectShow which uses DirectShow decoding filters. That gives a higher rate of decoding MPEG-4 ASP, H-264 and Flash video formats. The current stable version is 18.104.22.16817 and the preview version is 22.214.171.12487 which was released a month back.
GOM or Gretech Online Movie player is from South Korea. It was originally meant for GOM-TV but its ability to play broken media files and find missing codecs using its codec finder service made it one of the most popular media player outside South Korea (if you are wondering what is with the paw then the word GOM means bear in Korean). It is really good for playing media with subtitles as it offers to support over 12 subtitles formats including Unicode, srt, sub, idx as well as embedded subtitle formats like ASF and MKV. The most significant feature as mentioned is definitely the codec finder which uses GUID which in case the codec is not apt will direct you to the suitable webpage. The current version is 126.96.36.19933 and there are over 23 million users of GOM with over 6,000 recorded per week downloads by CNET.
I am yet to encounter a list which doesn’t include VLC media player in its top 10. VLC is the most popular portable open-source cross- platform freeware. It is also a streaming media player. It supports audio-video compression methods and numerous file formats including DVD, CD and streaming protocols. The very first version had remarkable lists of module which went beyond 350 crossing what every other available media player had to offer. It can stream over network and can also transcode multimedia files. Released in the year 2001 it is now available in over 53 languages, the current stable release is 2.0.8. Licensed under the GNU it has a record download of more than 1,50,000 downloads per week. In May 2012, VLC team has started working towards making it an android friendly app, a beta version is however available for download. I had to exclude some of the media players which I personally like although you are free to try them as well. They are; Amarok (watch out for the audio analyzer), audacious (for its default codec packs), rythmbox, Totem (nautilus is an absolute file manager) and xine (which is good regardless of the number of bugs). If you happen to find any other media players that you want us to feature then mention it in the comment. We’d be more than glad.