After Hours

Five good alternatives to Windows Media Player

11 comments
notbraveheart
notbraveheart

I've been struggling for years trying to do this with WMP. It is confusing and frustrating. This is literally all I want to do. No video issues or anything else. Just getting audio podcasts of my religious journals onto my mp3 player. What do you suggest? Thanks!

pmshah
pmshah

On any given hardware freeware sPlayer is better than any of those listed in the article. On my dual core Atom ION MiniItx system VLC dies at even 2mbps bitrate 720p mkv playback. Drops frames or even freezes. sPlayer, which BTW is freeware, plays even 11 mbps 720p mkv files without sweat.

captsamm
captsamm

A consistantly fine product which has been able to play everything that I have ever attempted to play. Comes in both a free and 'pro' version that does a great job at ripping tracks.

Artificerman
Artificerman

Does the job never had a problem with any .MKV or other media files and you can install and run it on a USB stick in Win 7 perfectly, at least I do.

geoff.cartwright
geoff.cartwright

.MKV are relatively new and Most players struggle. Like Most developers when trying something New we as IT users end up with countless different cables, connections and software to cope with . Thank goodness for USB connections which seem to be the Norm now.

videoasis
videoasis

I would like to play blu-ray discs on my computer, but don't want to pay a cent for the software needed to do it. So does anyone have a recommendation as to any freeware that will perform the task?

osama_
osama_

I prefer Jet Audio to all for its genius features, specially the global hot keys, you can control Jet Audio while it is hidden in the tray very quickly using your predefined global hot keys. I've been using the basic version for several years ago and it is cheerful.

janitorman
janitorman

I once installed VLC and I really didn't like it. It hijacked my windows system, basically, and was hell to get rid of. I don't recommend installing it. I do, however, recommend media player classic. It has all the features you really need, whilst retaining the classic (simple) interface without all the distractions and complexity of WMP. Another plus: use the portable version, so it can't hijack your system! Available at sourceforge. Apparently there are issues (as discussed on Cnet) if you use the latest version on Windows 7, however. Use the 6x version instead, in that case, or dump Windows 7 and use something else, such as Windows 2000, or your favorite Linux distro which will come with the option to install a better media center than MS ever came up with. Microsoft screwed up its OS when it came up with XP, (it took me EIGHT years to get it to work properly, like 2000 did out of the box( failed again with Vista, which I didn't bother screwing with, and 7 is just Vista revisited, requiring too many changes to even bother with, and now they're trying to foist Win 8 on us, which is totally unusable without a lot of tweaks to get it back to working properly like Windows 2000, or Linux, which is easily configurable to work like Windows 2000 only better.

pmshah
pmshah

I am surprised that a player superior by far to VLC is missing from the list. On my specific hardware where VLC has problem playing 2 mbps bitrate mkv files without dropping frames or freezing, xPlayer plays file encodes as high as 6.5 mbps, without a problem, everything else being equal. I think you should re-visit your research and do some more digging .

jdmeaux
jdmeaux

I use Freemake Video Converter to convert files from a variety of formats to something I can use on my portables.

Greenknight_z
Greenknight_z

Media Player Classic is nice and lightweight, plays everything I need it to. It's my default media player, Stayed with Win 2k until XP SP2 came out - anybody who updated before that was making a mistake. But you left out Win ME, Microsoft's biggest blunder of all.