Windows 10 is a solid operating system, but it’s not perfect. One of its biggest limitations is its media players, which are outdated and, frankly, not terribly functional. Not only do they have problems with unusual file formats, but they typically don’t give the best results when they do work. The interface is a bit lacking as well. Luckily, there are some great downloadable media players that get around such problems.
The following players all work for Windows 10. They are free, easy to use, and bring some much-needed modernity to other outdated programs. If you’re a Windows user who wants a more effective media player, there’s nothing better than the following choices.
Few online media players are as well known as VLC. This free program is the best choice when the Movies & TV program can’t play the content you want to watch. That’s because the interface is quite easy to navigate, and the many features included inside are easy to use. VLC can also play just about any file type in existence. As long as the files aren’t encrypted or corrupted, you’ll get great results time and time again.
VLC has the ability to play whatever you want, which makes it perfect for people working with more obscure file types. You can stream large internet files or work from local sources. It also gives you the ability to convert files into different formats, which can come in handy when you want to do things like save YouTube videos for offline playback. It even gives you the ability to play music and record off your webcam as well.
If you’re looking for a free, open-source media player but don’t want to use VLC, MPV is a good choice. This product utilizes many of the features found in old MPlayer and MPlayer2 programs and then updates them with a range of new and interesting traits. It also has the ability to play just about any file you would ever need.
This minimalist program comes with very little interface. Rather than having a more traditional look, MPV hides all of the media controls during playback and they only show up if you hover over them. There’s also no way to access settings. Playing is as simple as dragging a file into the window. That can be good for some, and not so great for others. It all depends on personal preference. However, if you want a simple player, nothing beats this one.
If you want a media player that does a bit more than other standard options, Plex might be the one for you. This program acts as a media player and server combination. As such, it enables you to both host media files and stream them to other playback devices as you see fit. That provides you with a lot of versatility and gives you more options than other programs. It can also playback just about every well known media file.
Another reason to choose Plex is how sleek it looks. This polished system has a professional interface loaded with various useful features. Not only does it come with discounted Tidal music playback, it also has add-on apps to run media from sites like Youtube, and comes with ad-supported movies. Just note, if you wish to stream in ultra HD, you’re going to need a more powerful computer to handle the resolution. There is an excellent organization system as well.
Not every media player needs to have a lot of notoriety to be good. While not nearly as well known as some of the above options, AllPlayer gives you a slick interface mixed with some of the best functionality around. This program supports just about every well-known file type, and does so by streaming in stunning 4K. It also has remote-controlled apps that work with different mobile devices.
Where AllPlayer truly shines is through its subtitles. Though many Windows 10 players don’t give you this option, AllPlayer actively supports and searches for subtitles. All you have to do is play something the program recognizes and it will automatically download the matching subtitles for that movie or show. This is great for people who enjoy foreign films, as well as anyone who might be hearing impaired.
5. ACG Player
If you want a lightweight player that’s easy to use and simple to navigate, few can match up with ACG Player. This app, which is available in the Windows store, is completely free and comes with just about every essential feature you could ever want. It has background music, a music visualizer, gesture control, and supports just about every media file out there. It even supports playback from external devices and comes with multiple window mode.
Another reason this shines is the touch-based controls. When using ACG Player all you have to is tap the top half to play/pause the video. You can also tap the bottom in order to access the different controls. It doesn’t stop there. Swiping across the screen will rewind or fast forward as needed and moving up or down allows you to toggle the volume. If you don’t have a touchscreen, you can also access all of the controls via the keyboard.
One of the reasons so many people love Windows 10 is because of how easy it is to customize. The operating system is by no means bad, but it can easily be improved if you so wish. Every media player listed in the above sections improves your viewing experience. Do your research, understand how they all differ, and you’ll come away happy.
Do you use a downloaded media player for WIndows 10? Are there any options we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager here at AnySoftwareTools. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.