Best free media players

VLC VideoLAN Media Player is a free player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, Audio CDs and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. It doesn’t need any external codec or program to work. VLC is the most efficient Media Player so far in the way it handles movie subtitles. Personally I was able to watch a movie with subtitles impossible to handle in Nero ShowTime and Winamp.

VLC Untied is a free program that lets you select one or more files or folders in Windows Explorer and load them to VLC media player instantly using a keyboard shortcut, even removing completely any files that may be already loaded and playing.

MusicBee is a most powerful and free media player, converter, organizer, and more!, for Windows, definitely a program you want to try if you are in search of a Windows media player and / or organizer.

Foobar 2000 is free and powerful, supporting unicode, ReplayGain and several audio formats. Features: Gapless playback, Advanced tagging capabilities, Support for ripping Audio CDs as well as transcoding all supported audio formats using the Converter component, Full ReplayGain support, Customizable keyboard shortcuts, Open component architecture allowing third-party developers to extend functionality of the player. Foobar2000 is stable and easy to use. All of its functions can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts, even global ones, i.e. shortcuts you can use even when you are working with other applications, and it can also be used as a source of hi-fi audio quality with the use of Asio, Kernel Streaming or Wasapi plugins.

AIMP is a quality audio player, yet absolutely free. It can play MP3 files, Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Dolby AC-3, Ogg Vorbis, Opus, Speex, Windows Media Audio, Apple Lossless, FLAC, WAV and Audio CDs. It can also play Monkey’s Audio (APE), Tom’s lossless Audio Kompressor (TAK) and True Audio; DTS audio, MP1, MP2, Musepack, OptimFROG, WavPack, MIDI, Impulse Tracker, MO3, MOD, MultiTracker Module, S3M, and Fasttracker 2 Extended Module. AIMP supports the DirectSound, ASIO and WASAPI audio interfaces, which is necessary if you are preparing a PC HI FI system, and it uses 32-bit audio processing for its 18-band equalizer and built-in sound effects (Reverb, Flanger, Chorus, Pitch, Tempo, Echo, Speed, Bass, Enhancer, Voice Remover). It has an Internet radio browser, and can play from Icecast or custom radio stations. Other features of AIMP include Multiple playlists – one per tab, CUE Sheet support, Playing media files of up to 250MB directly from RAM, Multiuser mode support, Hotkeys (configurable local and global hotkeys), Playlist and Tag editor, and more…

XMPlay resembles Winamp and supports a lot of formats. It can achieve bit to bit accuracy using Wasapi and Asio plugins. Features: 32/24-bit & multi-channel output, gapless output, crossfading, interpolation & volume/pan ramping, DSP, automatic gain control (and replaygain), 9 band equalizer, reverb, plugin support, net streaming, all supported file types (including MODs and archives) can be streamed from FTP and HTTP servers (inc. Shoutcast/Icecast/Icecast2), optionally writing a copy to disk, and more.

Winamp supports playback of Windows Media Video and Nullsoft Streaming Video. For MPEG Video, AVI and other unsupported video types, Winamp uses Microsoft’s DirectShow API for playback, allowing playback of most of the video formats supported by Windows Media Player. 5.1 Surround sound is supported where formats and decoders allow. Combined with specialized plugins such as the Kernel Streaming Plugin, Winamp can be used as a source of Hi End sound. A legendary player still functioning without problems, but unable to auto tag media files.

Mini TV desktop gadget will let you enjoy on your Desktop TV channels offering internet streams. The gadget comes with several channels predefined, but some of them may not be available for your country, others stopped their stream, which means that you will be able to watch only a few channels. If you know of currently working channels, you can add them by yourself easily, and enjoy! A timer function will stop the connection after a specified time passes.

Christian Radio desktop gadget will let you listen to Christian radio music streams. Christian Radio is small and discreet, with just a “play” button (that turns into a “stop” button as soon as you are connected and start listening).

Mini Radio desktop gadget will let you listen to your favorite radio stations, even at random, or choose between predefined ones, right from your Desktop. The gadget will let you change the volume, change skins, add and remove radio stations, backup and import radio stations.

YouTube Viewer desktop gadget is automatically updated and configured by you to display videos you may be interested in. Among the criteria you can use are “top rated”, “top favorites”, “most viewed”, etc,, and by Category (“autos”, “comedy”, “films”, “music”, “news”, etc). It will also let you display videos according to a search term you can choose at will. Note: to close the Viewer pane just click anywhere on your desktop.

WJTL Radio desktop gadget will let you enjoy the WJTL program right from your desktop, without opening the browser or navigating to the station’s web site. According to the WJTL official statements, its goals are to Glorify God, encourage believers and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

MPlayer is a movie player supporting MPEG/VOB, AVI, Ogg/OGM, VIVO, ASF/WMA/WMV, QT/MOV/MP4, RealMedia, Matroska, NUT, NuppelVideo, FLI, YUV4MPEG, FILM, RoQ, PVA formats. You can watch VideoCD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5, WMV and H.264 movies. MPlayer supports a wide range of output drivers. It works with X11, Xv, DGA, OpenGL, SVGAlib, fbdev, AAlib, DirectFB, but you can use GGI, SDL (and this way all their drivers), VESA (on every VESA compatible card, even without X11!) and some low level card-specific drivers (for Matrox, 3Dfx and ATI), too. MPlayer has an onscreen display (OSD) for status information, antialiased shaded subtitles and visual feedback for keyboard controls. European/ISO 8859-1,2 (Hungarian, English, Czech, etc), Cyrillic and Korean fonts are supported along with 12 subtitle formats (MicroDVD, SubRip, OGM, SubViewer, Sami, VPlayer, RT, SSA, AQTitle, JACOsub, PJS and its own: MPsub). DVD subtitles (SPU streams, VOBsub and Closed Captions) are supported as well. Supported Input Formats: (S)VCD (Super Video CD), CDRwin’s .bin image file, DVD, including encrypted DVD, MPEG-1/2 (ES/PS/PES/VOB), AVI file format, ASF/WMV/WMA format, QT/MOV/MP4 format, RealAudio/RealVideo format, Ogg/OGM files, Matroska, NUT, NSV (Nullsoft Streaming Video), VIVO format, FLI format, NuppelVideo format, yuv4mpeg format, FILM (.cpk) format, RoQ format, PVA format, streaming via HTTP/FTP, RTP/RTSP, MMS/MMST, MPST, SDP, TV grabbing.

PotPlayer will let you enjoy your music and movies. It supports almost all available and surely the most common formats, from AVI, WMV, MP4, 3GP, FLV, MKV to MP3, WAV, FLAC, AAC, APE, even playlists created by other programs. Lists are easily saved and loaded. The program supports various types of 3D glasses and output formats (Side by Side, Top and Bottom, Page Flipping). More Advanced Features: Smooth video performance, Choose sound card, if you have more than one, Preview a scene in snapshots, Bookmark favorite scenes or chapters, Direct3D9 Ex Flip Mode and Overlay, Support of DVD,TV,HDTV.

DivX Plus will let you watch DivX, AVI and MKV videos in your web browser.

Juice podcast receiver allows to capture and listen to podcasts anytime, anywhere.

Enhanced Shoutcast Player is an Internet radio player, giving access to thousands of stations covering all genres over the Nullsoft ShoutCast network. ESP is very light and can be run from a Flash/USB drive.

Screamer Radio features a large database of radio stations, peak meter, record what you’re listening to, hide it in the system tray, play back on multiple soundcards, Shoutcast and Icecast MP3 Streaming, Icecast OGG Vorbis, WMA, AAC, Recording buffer – start recording in the middle and still save the entire song.

Abstract Jazz Gadget is a very nice and small free gadget you can put at your Windows sidebar to enjoy listening to jazz radio stations from around the world.

Media Cope is a free audio video player, cutter, joiner, converter, photo resizer and slideshow maker. It can play almost any audio/video file, cut, join and save it to the format of your choice. Media Cope will also let you crop/pad videos.

ThunderSoft GemPlayer is a free video player for password protected GEM files, but it can also play all common audio and video formats.