Top 3 Windows Media Player Alternatives


  1. I am sorry, you seriously put RealPlayer there. Even iTunes should come higher than that load of crapwear

  2. Winamp installation is mostly a virus(even with direct download from its website)! So KM player can be replaced for Winamp

  3. RealPlayer…for real?

    Another great alternative would be SMPlayer. Although just a front-end for MPlayer, I always liked this one.

  4. VLC is the correct first choice; and the description of it left-out one of its most salient benefits: It comes with its own codecs, which install in a VLC Media Player-specific place, and aren’t shared with other apps. By so doing, VLC is a sort of Swiss Army Knife of media players… the only other player that one needs on one’s machine, other than Windows Media Player itself.

    But one of the biggest reasons that anyone even needs an alternative player is because of the things that Windows Media Player won’t, natively, play. Fortunately, there’s a thoroughly butt-kicking set of free codecs — the best of all the various ones out there — which are crafted to not only become the only set of codecs which any copy of Windows needs (and so, by that I mean that if these codecs that I’m about to mention are installed, any other codec packs should be removed first), but it also integrates with Windows Media Player in such a way that, for example, such as Flash movies (which normally don’t play in Windows Media Player) will (in fact) play in Windows Media Player.

    Unlike most codec pack makes (most of whom cobble together codec packs using whatever they can find, wherever they can find (or steal) it, copyright and/or compatibility issues be damned) this guy is really conscientious, and really takes the tome to ensure maximum usability and compatibility. He truly tried (and has, by his now version 5-point-something, succeeded) creating the one and only codec pack that anyone could ever possibly need. Just Google “Shark007” (along with the word “codecs” and it’ll take you right to his site. Download the installer for the version of Windows you have; be sure to uninstall any codec packs that you already have installed; then install his. Then go into his little control center and reset everything to defaults; then go to his “Help” tab and unassociate all codecs with Windows Media player TWICE; then re-associate them once. That’s the little trick to ensuring that all the codecs work with Windows Media Player. And on his page, he explains how to right click on a given file format which you discover won’t play in Windows Media Player, and simply add it. Because of the thoroughness of his codecs, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will.

    I explain all this because I, for one, believe that one’s machine should not have too many apps on it which do essentiall the same thing; so I, for one, try to have only Windows Media Player and VLC, and that’s it. Sadly, the Real Player people, and Apple (Quick Time) have a problem with their formats being integrated into Windows Media Player — or, especially, integrating into browsers — unless you actually install the good-for-nothing Real Player and iTunes. To handle that, one simply installs two things called “Real Alternative” and “Quicktime Alternative” (usually available on the free codec sites). In either case, be sure to install the “Lite” versions because you’re not really looking for a player to be included with them (which is the case with the full versions). You just want the codecs.

    And then, beyond that, in order to handle Real-format files, you need to install something that someone else mentioned…

    Media Player Classic

    …except that because you will have installed the Shark007 codecs, you’ll want the version of Media Player Classic which the Shark007 guy has customized for use with his codecs (and which is also available on the Shark007 site).

    So, here’s what all this will have gotten you, if you do what I just wrote: Windows Media Player will play pretty much everything; and anything it won’t, you can do the right-click trick to add; and if even THAT doesn’t work, the swissarmyknife VLC will play it. The QuickTime Alternative will cause QuickTime to play in the browser; and the RealAlternative will make it so that you can play Real-format files at the very least in Media Player Classic.

    If you do all this, there will, seriously, be no other file formats which you cannot somehow play by one of these means; and most stuff, frankly, will play right in Windows Media Player… including stuff which, prior to installing the Shark007 codecs, NEVER played in Windows Media Player before.

    It’s a killer combo, I tell you; and the handsdown best way to handle things. You won’t BELIEVE how full-featured it is, and how well it works. It completely handles all codec and media file playability issues in Windows. And I stress the word “completely.” This is 35 years in IT, the experience back to the days before IBM PC and MS-DOS/PC-DOS even existed; and every version of DOS and Windows and Linux and the Mac OS ever made. Trust me on this.

    WARNING: When you install the Shark007 codecs, watch out for the installer trying to sneak the Ask Toolbar onto your machine. You can opt out, but just don’t miss it; don’t, in other words, just keep clicking “Yes” or “Next” in the installer without actually reading what you’re agreeing to.

    As to the other suggestions…

    Winamp is a joke, now (though it had a nice heyday); and both iTunes and, especially, the Real Player, should be avoided at all costs (though if one has an iPod, iPad or iPhone, iTunes is pretty much unavoidable)

    As for GOM, KM, etc.: Those are good (although GOM has started to get a little weird and I no longer recommend it; though KM is still quite good… but VLC, finally, is now better); and if it weren’t for one’s Media Player Classic needing to be (or at least preferably being) the Shark007-customized version (if one uses the Shark007 codecs), then the other poster’s suggested version (and especially the Home Cinema version) would be a really good choice.

    As for JRiver, its commercial version (there used to be a freeware version, I don’t know if there still is) is pretty much best-of-breed among media organizers (with player, conversion, ID3 editing, etc. capabilities). It cleans, for example, MediaMonkey’s clock…

    …that is, once you figure it out. With so much power comes huge complexity; and the JRiver folks could have done a better and more intuitive job of interface design. That said, if one is willing to learn it, JRiver, for all its faults, has no rival. It’s seriously as good as it gets. If there’s still a freeware version of it, then I suppose it could legitimately be mentioned in this category of tools… except that, really, in the end, its primary function is kinda’ more what MediaMonkey does, and so it’s really not a media player, per se.

    Speaking of what MediaMonkey does: There’s a little-known freeware competitor that isn’t pretty (like are either MediaMonkey or JRiver), but boy is it every functional. Feature for feature, it pretty much outpaces Media Monkey (though probably not the commercial edition of JRiver). It’s called “The Godfather,” and you just have to Google that phrase (with quotes around it) along with the word media or the phrase “media organizer” and you’ll find its web site straightaway (or after a little clicking because it’s now on a different server from when Google search results were created). Give it a try — especially you MediaMonkey (and maybe even JRiver… especially its free version, if it still exists) users — and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s a little hidden gem.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA

    DISCLAIMER: I have NOTHING to do with any of these products. I’m not their maker, promoter, or apologist. I simply figured out which are best, how to best use them, and I now tell everyone who’ll listen… just… you know… spreading the love. [grin]

  5. There are many websites which actually claims to be the best.. since i have used them so from my personal experience i was very much satisfied with these tools…

  6. There are lot of tools which can replace many, however these tools are the most and best which had been personally used by our people..

  7. i also believe that iTunes is more good, but we also know that most of the time there softwares are not freely available which is a cause to avoid it..

  8. You should have a Top 5 or even Top 10 as there are many more media players out there that would be worth reviewing ! In my opinion Gom Player is one of the best without doubt… I was using VLC Player but was never all that keen on the layout and there were some files that it would only play the audio to. I then came across Gom Player which has played every file I have ever thrown at it and the layout is well put together and fairly easy to navigate as well… it also comes with the codecs built into the player. Only a personal opinion of course put well worth a look at if your thinking of trying another media player !

  9. You may try use iDealshare VideoGo to convert the unsupported FLAC, AAC, AC3, MP4, MOV, VOB, FLV, etc to Windows Media Player supported formats.

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