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5 Best VLC Media Player Alternatives

Last Updated on May. 27, 2022 – by David Morgan
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5 Best VLC Media Player Alternatives

VLC Media Player has always been popular, but it seems that the video player exhibits more problems as time goes on. A quick search of user reviews proves that newer updates of VLC are fraught with bugs, glitches, crashes, and more. Luckily, you’ve got choices, as there are many free and open-source video players on the web, like Media Player Classic, GOM Player, PowerDVD, etc. But, which one is the best VLC Media Player alternative?

This review will discuss five of the best free VLC alternatives you can use to play movies, videos, music, and more. We’ll talk about key features, supported formats, and pros and cons. Then check out the quick comparison chart to help you find your top choice. We’re also going to give you step-by-step instructions on using our top choice, PowerDVD. Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions.


Top 3 VLC Media Player Alternatives Snapshot

PowerDVD Logo

1. PowerDVD – Best Overall

PowerDVD is the premier choice for a VLC Media Player alternative, and it earns the top spot on our list. This versatile 4K HDR, 8K, and Blu-ray player supports a wide range of video formats and produces immersive audio and visual experiences that will blow you away. Detailed Review >

KMPlayer Logo

2. KMPlayer – Best for Advanced Users

KMPlayer is a popular media player that supports high-definition formats, like 3D, UHD, and 4K, and it offers built-in codecs. Its numerous advanced features and playback functions make it suitable for experienced users. Detailed Review >

PotPlayer Logo

3. PotPlayer – Best for Customizing

PotPlayer is a popular VLC alternative with various codecs and is available in both a 32-bit and 64-bit version. It offers hardware acceleration and 3D viewing and has plenty of customization options for precise control. Detailed Review >

What Is a Media Player?

A media player, or multimedia player, is software that plays files in video and audio formats. First, you download the media player to your computer, laptop, smartphone, or mobile device; then, you can play audio and video files, stream videos, and more. Most support a wide range of media files. For example, you could watch Blu-ray discs or DVDs or view videos you filmed on your smartphone.

In addition to playback features, most media players allow users to download streaming content from the web, organize multimedia files such as videos, images, and music, sync subtitles, burn CDs, play 3D content, etc. You’re probably already familiar with the default Mac media player, QuickTime Player. On Windows, it would be Windows Media Player.

Please note that you can’t use media players to do advanced video and audio editing. Instead, you’ll have to download video editing software, such as PowerDirector, to edit your files.

5 Best Media Player Alternatives

1. PowerDVD – Best Overall

PowerDVD Interface

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 10 / 10

Once you experience all the features and functions of the award-winning PowerDVD, you'll realize it's the last media player you'll ever need. You can store, stream, and share all your favorite media right from one central hub, then view it from any device using the companion mobile app, PowerPlayer. In addition, PowerDVD offers crystal clear 8K video and support for HDR 10 and 4K. It also supports many file formats, including XAVC-S, AVC, MP4, MKV, and HEVC. It also supports spatial audio, VR video playback, and 360° video.

PowerDVD's TrueTheater™ enhancements (including audio, lighting, color, and HDR) provide an authentic and rich cinematic experience right in your home. Colors are more vivid, the sound is clear and well balanced, and every detail becomes magnified. Do you prefer streaming on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, etc.? PowerDVD lets you cast video, photo, and audio right to your TV. It also features Dolby Digital Surround, hi-res audio, and DTS and supports 7.1 channels.

If you're searching for the best VLC alternative, PowerDVD checks all the boxes. This top-notch media player lets you organize and customize your entire media library, including personalized thumbnails. In addition, people with extensive photo libraries will appreciate the AI-powered facial recognition feature, which automatically tags and organizes pictures via CyberLink's exclusive FaceMe® engine. There's no doubt that PowerDVD has everything it takes to be the top VLC alternative.

Reasons to Recommend

  1. Supports all major file formats
  2. Easily organize and view large media libraries
  3. TrueTheater™ video and audio enhancements
  4. Stream, share, store, view, and cast your favorite content

Download PowerDVD right now for free by clicking the button below.


2. KMPlayer – Best for Advanced Users

KMPlayer Interface

Image from KMPlayer.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 7 / 10

Next, we have our best VLC alternative for advanced users, KMPlayer. It supports 8K, 4K, and UHD for high-definition playback of all your favorite content. Some of the best features of KMPlayer include super playback speed mode, noise reduction, advanced image processing functions, and a good range of subtitle functions.

KMPlayer offers an impressive selection of format support, including OGG, RTS, MPEG1, MPEG2, WMA7, VCD, AVI, OGM, WMA8, and AAC. Users also appreciate the many advanced screen settings, including reversal, zoom, section repeat, speed control, etc. In addition, you can use and watch this media player on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, so you can take it with you on a long road trip, to the gym, or even while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office. 

With various codec support and high-definition media services, KMPlayer is a popular VLC alternative, especially for advanced users who want precise settings for their media playback. However, that doesn’t mean the software is without its faults. One of the most significant drawbacks of KMPlayer is the numerous ads and links for third-party content. Plus, it is slower than VLC and PowerDVD.

Pros
  • Diverse format support
  • Works on low-configuration PCs
  • Has advanced settings for precise playback control
Cons
  • Large number of ads and third-party links
  • Performance can be slow or laggy

3. PotPlayer – Best for Customizing

PotPlayer Interface

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 7 / 10

Another VLC alternative on our list is PotPlayer, which you can download for free on Windows with a 64-bit or 32-bit platform. It’s a solid choice for a highly customizable media player and offers many advanced settings. PotPlayer also supports a wide range of video and audio file formats, even incomplete AVI files or broken files, but the most common include AMV, MPEG, MTS, ASF, DPG, MP3, MOD, WAV, FLAC, OGG, and AAC. It’s also a DivX player, which is a valuable feature.

PotPlayer supports 3D viewing, which you can use with a PC or 3DTV. In addition, you won’t have to spend all your time installing various codecs since PotPlayer supports OpenCodec, allowing you to add any codec necessary to optimize your viewing experience. Another great feature of PotPlayer is its ability to play up to 1,000 different media files.

PotPlayer is a popular media player, especially as an alternative to VLC. However, it’s not perfect. Its customization options are great, but setup and installation can be confusing due to numerous advanced settings. In addition, this player does not support Blu-ray videos, which is a significant drawback.

Pros
  • Excellent customization features and advanced settings
  • Supports a wide range of file formats
  • Plays up to 1,000 different media files
Cons
  • Does not support Blu-ray video

4. GOM Player – Best for Subtitles

GOM Player Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 6 / 10

Are you searching for a media player that supports a wide range of subtitles? If so, you might want to consider GOM Player. The popular VLC alternative supports major subtitle formats, including SMI, UTF, RT, SRT, SSA, SVT, PSB, MKS, and too many more to list. It also has a native subtitle library, which automatically searches for and then syncs the subtitles for the movie you’re watching.

The player also supports all major file formats, including AVI, MP4, OGM, WMV, MOV, OGG, AVI, FLV, MPEG, GIF, MPG, and more. It comes with built-in codecs right out of the box, but you can also use additional codecs for unsupported file formats. You’ll also appreciate GOM Player’s ability to play damaged files, watch files as you download them, and play 360° VR videos, all of which are essential features.

GOM Player is a solid choice for a VLC Media Player alternative, especially for users who want advanced subtitle settings and format support. The website claims you can “play all videos,” and indeed, it supports a wide range of file formats. Unfortunately, Mac users will find limited features. For example, it only supports 360° VR videos on Windows. In addition, many users report that using GOM Player often caused their computers to “hang” and stop responding to input like the mouse or keyboard.

Pros
  • Huge subtitle library and extensive format support
  • Comes with built-in codecs
  • Windows version supports 360° VR video playback
Cons
  • Limited features for Mac users
  • May cause your computer to freeze or hang

5. 5KPlayer – Best for Screencast

5KPlayer Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 5 / 10

If you’re a cinephile, you probably want to watch your movies on the big screen instead of your computer or smartphone, also known as screencasting. 5KPlayer is a decent choice for screencasting, offering an embedded video converter and the option to screen record. It’s also a free (MKV) UHD video, DLNA, and music player for streaming and downloading online media. Plus, it supports Apple AirPlay tech, allowing you to mirror record and stream your favorite videos on a larger screen.

5KPlayer allows you to view DVD, IPTV, 4K, 1080p, and 360° video—plus, it supports video playback up to 8K thanks to its hardware acceleration capabilities. It also supports music files like AAC, APE, FLAC, ALAC, OGG, WMA, MP3, and more. You can also use this media player to download videos from over 300 online streaming platforms, like YouTube or Vimeo. 5KPlayer also has an option for satellite radio playback, a unique feature that’s often hard to find in other media players.

5KPlayer is a decent VLC Media Player alternative, especially for users who want screencasting capabilities, but it’s not infallible. While we appreciate the extensive selection of format support, it’s vital to note some of this software’s drawbacks. For example, the interface features numerous advertisements, and you may find that the player causes a lag or delay in CPU performance. In addition, many users report that it’s challenging to uninstall and overrides other video players on your device as the default.

Pros
  • Supports Apple AirPlay and satellite radio
  • Excellent choice for screencasting
  • Supports video playback up to 8K with hardware acceleration
Cons
  • Contains numerous advertisements
  • Difficult to uninstall

Best VLC Media Player Alternatives Comparison Chart

Software PowerDVD KMPlayer PotPlayer GOM Player 5KPlayer
OS Windows Windows, Mac Windows Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Beginner-friendly Yes No Yes No No
Formats Supported Ultra HD 4K, 8K, Blu-Ray, DVD, 3D, 360° video, MP3, MP4, MOV, AAC, JPEG, WAV, FLAC, OGG, MPEG, XAVC-S, AVC, MKV, HEVC, and many more 3K, 4K UHD, OGG, RTS, MPEG1, MPEG2, WMA7, VCD, AVI, OGM, WMA8, AAC, etc. DivX, AMV, MPEG, MTS, ASF, DPG, MP3, MOD, WAV, FLAC, OGG, AAC, etc. AVI, MP4, OGM, WMV, MOV, OGG, AVI, FLV, MPEG, GIF, MPG, etc. DVD, IPTV, 4K, 1080p, 360°, AAC, APE, FLAC, ALAC, OGG, WMA, MP3, etc.
Screencasting Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Blu-ray Playback Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Free Download
Free Download
Secure Download
Download Download Download Download

PowerDVD vs

OS

Windows

-

Beginner-friendly

Yes

-

Formats Supported

Ultra HD 4K, 8K, Blu-Ray, DVD, 3D, 360° video, MP3, MP4, MOV, AAC, JPEG, WAV, FLAC, OGG, MPEG, XAVC-S, AVC, MKV, HEVC, and many more

-

Screencasting

Yes

-

Blu-ray Playback

Yes

-


How To Use a Media Player

Are you ready for PowerDVD to bring the cinematic experience right into your living room? It’s easy. Just follow along using these simple steps:

  1. Download and Install PowerDVD on your computer.
  2. Open PowerDVD and select PC Mode.
  3. On the left-hand menu, you’ll see the Media Library. Click on the Plus Sign located to the right of the Media Library menu to bring up Settings
  4. PowerDVD Interface - Add Media
  5. Under Settings, you can import media files from your Downloads or Videos folder. 
  6. PowerDVD Interface - Media Library
  7. Click on OK.
  8. To add Music or Photos, select those options under Media Library and click on Add Now to import your files. It’s that simple!

Download the Best VLC Media Player Alternative for Free

If you had asked us ten or fifteen years ago, we would have said that VLC Media Player lead the pack in terms of free media player software. However, as technology has advanced, it’s no longer the only decent media player on the web. You have many options, but not all have advanced features and functions. Some have adware, some don’t support Blu-ray, and others aren’t beginner-friendly.

To make your quest for a VLC alternative easier, we reviewed five of the most popular choices for a free media player. PowerDVD is the best choice for a VLC Media Player alternative out of the five we reviewed. It supports an extensive range of audio and video formats, offers screencasting and Blu-ray support, and will play 3D and 360° videos. Plus, its TrueTheater™ enhancements and Dolby support create a fantastic home cinema experience. It’s user-friendly yet has enough advanced features and settings to satisfy even the biggest cinephiles. 

Download PowerDVD now by clicking the button below and bring the theater right into your living room!

VLC Media Player Alternatives FAQs

1. Is VLC Still the Best?

No, that distinction belongs to PowerDVD. It offers an extensive range of features, functions, and support, making it our top VLC Media Player alternative. With 8K resolution, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and the ability to stream, share, and easily organize all your media, PowerDVD is a must-have for every home theater.

2. What Features Should I Look for in a VLC Media Player Alternative?

The top features you should look for are

  1. Extensive audio and video format support
  2. Ultra-HD resolution
  3. Simple user interface and navigation
  4. Screencasting capabilities
  5. Support for 3D and 360° video
  6. Easy organization of large media libraries
  7. Minimal device resource consumption
  8. Extensive subtitle format support

If you’re looking for a VLC Media Player Alternative that checks all of these boxes and more, we recommend PowerDVD.

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