5 Best Free Video / Media Players for Windows 10 in 2021
Most computers come with a basic media player that only supports a limited range of file formats. It is possible to download and install plug-ins and codecs to improve compatibility, but that process can be time-consuming, and you still might not be able to play some videos.
When choosing a media player for Windows, your primary consideration should be the ability to play the widest range of video and audio files, including VOB video files, without the need for downloading plug-ins. There are quite a few high-end audio and video players to choose from so here is an in-depth look at our five best picks so you can quickly select the right one for your needs.
- What is a video / media player?
- What features should I look for in a video / media player?
- Should I pay for a video / media player?
- How much does a video / media player cost?
Top 5 Free Video / Media Players for Any Format
1. PowerDVD 21
PowerDVD 21 for Windows offers a wide range of format support with media organization tools. You can play, manage and easily share your entire library of photos, videos, music, as well as Blu-rays, DVDs and VOB files.
The software includes cloud storage, allowing you to access or share your media library from any location. Even better, you can stream videos from online platforms, like YouTube, to any device in 8K and download them to watch offline if you like.
- Major format support including 4K, 8K, H.265/HEVC playback, and Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Playback quality enhancements with TrueTheater technology
- Media casting capability with Chromecast, Amazon FireTV, Roku and Apple TV
- YouTube download feature to watch content such as tv shows and movies offline
- Share your media library with the CyberLink Cloud
- Exceptional video and audio playback quality
- Easily searchable media file library
- Copy-protected DVD & Blu-ray playback support
- 360-degree video support
- Optimal content organizing features
- Customizable interface
- Big-screen TV mode with image stabilization
- Casting feature is not available with copy-protected media
2. GOM Player
With GOM Player, you get extended video playback functionality, including support for 8K, and you can use the software to play YouTube videos on your TV or desktop. Unlike PowerDVD, GOM Player doesn’t provide extensive video playback settings. However, the interface is highly intuitive and easy to use.
Though it doesn't offer support for all file formats, you get access to a codec library you can search and use to import playlists. With the screencast feature, you can also use GOM Player to watch content on your TV or projector.
- VOB file player
- Library of embedded video and audio codecs
- Mini web feature for playing YouTube videos
- Support for various audio and subtitle formats
- A user-friendly and customizable interface that is easy to learn
- Support for screencasting
- Suitable for viewing 360-degree video
- Installer bundles additional programs
- The program needs to connect to the internet when starting up
5KPlayer is a free Windows media player for watching videos and managing your music, video, and photo collections. It allows you to import your video folders directly from your hard drive then search and select the files you want to play within the software. Unfortunately, the interface isn’t nearly as sleek as PowerDVD, and many users find it dated. The software also includes ads.
As an upside, though, 5KPlayer does have the ability to stream video directly from YouTube. It is also compatible with AirPlay from Apple, allowing you to cast videos on other devices. 5KPlayer includes support for 8K and 360-degree videos.
- Windows media player for DVDs, 4K, 8K, 1080p, and MKV
- YouTube video downloader to view offline
- Video sharing with PC, DLNA compatible devices, and Facebook
- AirPlay compatibility for video streaming to Apple TV
- Support for resolutions up to 8K
- Multimedia player and content organizer
- DLNA wireless stream capability
- Embedded video converter
- The user interface is outdated
- The software contains ads
Potplayer is a multimedia player offering extensive functionality and support for almost all media files. It is freely available as downloadable software for all Windows editions on 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
The software is fully customizable, and you can adjust the brightness, contrast, and hue of your video clips. In addition to high-quality video playback, Potplayer also produces a rich sound that you can fine-tune using the built-in graphic equalizer.
One area the player is lacking is in online streaming capability. For example, you can’t stream straight from YouTube and other online video sites the way you can with PowerDVD.
- Support for DVD and most file formats
- Built-in DXVA video codecs and EVR
- Support for digital TV devices with live broadcasting
- Customizable platform
- High-quality video and audio output
- Freely available to Windows users
- Support for 360-degree and 3D videos
- No support for online video streaming
- Ads show in the interface
KMPlayer is another option as a feature-rich media player for Windows 10. Watch up to 8K videos of a variety of video codecs, including HEVC (h.265) and h.264. You can also watch Blu-ray and DVD content here.
Create GIFs from videos by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+G to access the GIF creation interface. Also download YouTube videos with KMPlayer.
- Supports 8k video
- Play Blu-ray and DVD content
- Video to GIF creation
- Supports a range of file formats, including MKV, OGM, AAC, MP3, DVD, and more
- Modern looking UI design
- 3D movie compatibility
- Not for beginners
Get the Best Video / Media Player for Windows 10
The right media player for Windows will allow you to play audio or video files and organize your multimedia collection in a searchable library. Ideally, you want software offering support for all media files and resolutions without the need for additional codecs or plug-ins.
Other features to look for include cloud-streaming, casting to a TV or projector, offline viewing and media library sharing capabilities.
PowerDVD 21 offers all of the above and more, making it the best media player for Windows on the market in 2021.
Video / Media Player for Windows FAQ
1. What is a video / media player?
A video player, also known as media player, is a software application for playing multimedia computer files. This can be audio and video files. You can typically control playback with a media player allowing you to stop, pause, fast forward, and rewind.
2. What features should I look for in a video / media player?
The main features you should look for in a video / media player are:
- Wide universal format support
- Simple navigation
- Streaming capabilities
- Blu-ray and DVD capabilities
- Video and audio enhancements
3. Should I pay for a video / media player?
This is dependent on your needs. If you rarely watch videos you can probably get by with a free player. If you watch videos often and want to get the most out of your content paying for media player can be beneficial.
4. How much does a video / media player cost?
The cost range of a video / media player can be anywhere from free to as expensive as $200.