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The Best Windows Media Player Alternatives

Last Updated on Jul. 28, 2023 – by David Morgan
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In the digital world, having a versatile and reliable media player on your system is a must. While Windows Media Player has been a default option for many Windows users, it's not always the best fit for everyone's needs. From file format compatibility to advanced features, many reasons exist to explore Windows Media Player alternatives.

This comprehensive guide dives into the ins and outs of top-rated options that can enhance your multimedia experience. Discover the capabilities of these alternatives, from playback quality to user-friendliness, and identify the perfect fit for your needs.

Snapshot of Our Top 3 Windows Media Player Alternatives

Powerdvd Logo

1. PowerDVD - Best Overall

PowerDVD stands out as a leading Windows Media Player alternative, securing the top rank on our list. Renowned for its versatile support of 4K HDR, 8K, and Blu-ray formats, it impresses with stunning audio-visual quality and broad format compatibility. Discover More in our Detailed Review >

KMPPlayer Logo

2. KMPlayer - Best for Tech-Savvy Users

KMPlayer makes its mark as a high-performing alternative to Windows Media Player, offering support for high-resolution formats like 3D, UHD, and 4K. With a wealth of built-in codecs and advanced features, it's the ideal pick for tech-savvy users. Detailed Review >

PotPlayer Logo

3. PotPlayer - Best for Customization

If you value customization, PotPlayer is your go-to Windows Media Player substitute. Available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, this player provides a variety of codecs, hardware acceleration, and 3D viewing capabilities. Its extensive customization options allow for a tailored viewing experience. Detailed Review >

How to Choose a Windows Media Player Alternative?

Choosing a Windows Media Player alternative can be a somewhat complex task, given the wide variety of options available. However, focusing on some key considerations can make the decision-making process smoother and more effective. Here's what you need to consider:

  1. Supported Formats: First and foremost, check whether the media player supports a wide range of audio and video formats. The more formats it can play, the less likely you are to run into compatibility issues.
  2. User Interface: The usability of a media player is heavily influenced by its user interface. Some media players are designed to be simple and intuitive, while others offer more complex controls for advanced users. Choose one that matches your comfort level and experience.
  3. Performance: Consider how well the media player performs, especially when playing high-definition videos or complex audio formats. You'll want a player that runs smoothly without causing your system to lag or freeze.
  4. Features: Look at the features that each media player offers. Some might provide unique capabilities such as VR or 3D support, personalized playlists, synchronization across devices, subtitle support, or audio enhancements.
  5. Customizability: Some users may prefer a media player that offers extensive customization options, allowing them to tailor the software to their preferences. This can include options for skins, toolbars, hotkeys, and more.
  6. Regular Updates and Support: Regular updates are crucial for keeping the media player current and compatible with the latest file formats and technologies. Plus, good customer support can be invaluable if you run into problems.
  7. Cost: While many media players are free, some premium options offer additional features or enhancements for a price. Determine whether these extra features are worth the cost to you.

Remember that the best media player for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. You may need to try out a few different options before settling on the one that's right for you.

Best Windows Media Player Alternatives

1. PowerDVD - Best Overall

PowerDVD Interface
Pros
  • Wide Format Support: PowerDVD supports a wide array of formats, including Blu-ray (with BD-Live), HDR 10, 4K, 8K, VR, 360-degree video, spatial audio, and all popular audio, video, and image formats.
  • Excellent Media Management: Users can effortlessly organize their media using customizable thumbnails and poster walls, made even easier by the user-friendly and completely revamped media management hub. AI-powered photo management also offers a cutting-edge way to sort and categorize pictures.
  • Cloud Storage: PowerDVD provides 100GB of storage in the CyberLink Cloud, enabling users to upload, download, stream, and manage their media files effortlessly.
Cons
  • Exclusivity to Windows: Although Apple enthusiasts can use their iPhones as a virtual remote and cast media using Apple TV®, PowerDVD requires a PC for downloading and operation, as it's not available on Mac.

Key Features

  • TrueTheater™ Enhancements: Offers audio, lighting, color, and HDR playback enhancements for an elevated viewing experience.
  • Convert Media Files: Transform any video file to MP4 for seamless sharing across your devices.
  • Cinematic Sound: Provides support for high-quality sound formats, including DTS-HD, Dolby Audio, and Hi-Res 7.1 surround sound.
  • Screen Casting: Allows you to cast movies from your PC to your TV for an immersive home theater experience.

Compatibility: Windows

Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available at $4.58/month. Lifetime licenses are available at $59.99 for Standard and $99.99 for Ultra.

Who It’s For 

Once you familiarize yourself with PowerDVD and its vast array of features, you'll find it to be a complete Windows Media Player substitute. It serves as a central hub to store, stream, and share all your favorite media and provides compatibility with a wide range of formats, including XAVC-S, AVC, MP4, MKV, HEVC, and more. Enjoy unparalleled viewing with 8K video and HDR 10 and 4K support, as well as specialized features for VR and 360° video playback.

Why We Picked It

What sets PowerDVD apart is its TrueTheater™ enhancements, which bring a genuine, rich cinematic experience to your home. Witness vivid colors, crystal clear sound, and magnified details. This Windows Media Player alternative allows you to cast video, photo, and audio directly to your TV via Apple TV®, FireTV™, Roku®, and ChromeCast™. It also supports Dolby Digital Surround, hi-res audio, and DTS and accommodates 7.1 channels.

Furthermore, PowerDVD showcases excellent online streaming capability. Enjoy uninterrupted playback of YouTube content in 360, HDR, 4K, and 8K formats. You can even watch YouTube Live and download videos for offline viewing.

Bottom Line 

PowerDVD proves to be an excellent Windows Media Player alternative, with a comprehensive set of features that checks all the boxes. It not only allows you to organize and customize your media library but also offers unique features like AI-powered facial recognition through CyberLink's exclusive FaceMe® engine, making it an ideal choice for users with extensive photo libraries. There's no question that PowerDVD has all the necessary features to be a top-tier media player.


2. KMPlayer - Best for Tech-Savvy Users

KMPPlayer Interface
Pros
  • Exceptional Format Support: Capable of handling various formats, including 8K, 60FPS videos, DVD, Blu-rays, and even incomplete or corrupt media files.
  • In-depth Playback Control: Features such as resizing, post-processing effects, codec configuration, and real-time video capture ensure superior control.
Cons
  • Intrusive Ads: Although Apple enthusiasts can use their iPhones as a virtual remote and cast media using Apple TV®, PowerDVD requires a PC for downloading and operation, as it's not available on Mac.
  • Slower Performance: May exhibit slower performance or lag when handling large files.

Key Features

  • YouTube Video Streaming
  • Video Playback Enhancements
  • GIF Capture Function

Compatibility: Windows

Price: Free

Who It’s For 

KMPlayer, brimming with advanced features, is an excellent fit for tech-savvy users seeking high-definition playback of a diverse range of content. It offers multiple subtitle functions, advanced image processing, and noise reduction but can have a learning curve for beginners.

Why We Picked It

With diverse format support, advanced screen settings, and the ability to be used on multiple devices, KMPlayer offers impressive functionality.

Bottom Line 

KMPlayer is an excellent choice for users desiring precise media playback settings. However, its slower speed and prevalent ads can be downsides.


3. PotPlayer - Best for Customization

PotPlayer Interface
Pros
  • Extensive Customization: Offers advanced setup options, allowing users to tailor their viewing experience.
  • Broad Format Support: With OpenCodec, it supports up to 1,000 different media files, including broken or incomplete files.
Cons
  • No Blu-ray Support: Lacks support for Blu-ray discs.
  • Not Beginner-Friendly: The numerous configuration options on the initial setup can be overwhelming for beginners.

Key Features

  • Support for Various Subtitle Formats
  • Bookmark Function
  • Multiple Output Formats

Compatibility: Windows

Price: Free

Who It’s For 

PotPlayer, supporting a wide range of file formats and customization options, is perfect for users wanting a personalized media player.

Why We Picked It

With 3D viewing support and an OpenCodec feature, PotPlayer stands out for its ability to optimize the viewing experience.

Bottom Line 

While PotPlayer offers a high degree of customization, the lack of Blu-ray support and a potentially confusing setup process are notable drawbacks.


4. Kodi - Best for Organizing Your Media Collection

Kodi Interface
Pros
  • User-Centric Interface: Offers a choice of skins for customization.
  • Vast Add-On Selection: Provides over 980 add-ons, enhancing functionality.
Cons
  • Complex for Beginners: Requires significant setup and customization, which may overwhelm beginners.
  • Limited Built-In Features: Some essential features, like screencast ability or metadata, are unavailable without add-ons.

Key Features

  • Extensive Remote Support
  • Organizational Features
  • Live TV Record and Playback

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Price: Free

Who It’s For 

Kodi is ideal for those with a vast media library and the desire to manage all their content in one place.

Why We Picked It

Kodi's primary strength lies in its customizable add-ons, transforming it into a personalized media hub.

Bottom Line 

Kodi is an excellent choice for organizing media content, but its complexity and the need for add-ons may be off-putting for some.


5. GOM Player – Best for Subtitle Lovers

GOM Player Interface
Pros
  • Wide Format Support: Supports a wide range of video, audio, and subtitle formats, along with 360-degree VR and 4K playback.
  • Comprehensive Playback Control: Features include playback speed, time jumps, brightness, and saturation control.
Cons
  • Potential Stability Issues: May occasionally cause your computer to freeze or hang.
  • Adware/Bundleware: The free version includes ads and may bundle additional programs upon installation.

Key Features

  • Screen Capture
  • Customizable Interface
  • Advanced Subtitle/Language Adjustments

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Price: Free

*Premium version available for $5

Who It’s For 

If subtitles are a crucial part of your viewing experience, GOM Player is worth considering. It supports a wide range of subtitle formats and features a native subtitle library.

Why We Picked It

GOM Player supports all major file formats, comes with built-in codecs, and allows real-time viewing of downloading files, making it a robust alternative to VLC.

Bottom Line 

GOM Player is an excellent choice for users desiring advanced subtitle settings. However, it might exhibit stability issues, and the free version includes ads.

Download the Best Windows Media Player Alternative for Free

Only PowerDVD's media player software combines advanced features with a user-friendly interface, customizable content, and all the viewing capabilities you could want. Tag and organize your photo library, stream your favorite TV shows, or kick back on the couch for an afternoon of must-see YouTube videos.

Are you ready to see your favorite videos like never before? Download PowerDVD for Windows and kick off your next movie night in high-definition style!


Windows Media Player Alternatives FAQ

1. What is Windows Media Player?

Windows Media Player (WMP) is a digital media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for viewing images and playing audio and video on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. In addition to being a media player, it also includes the ability to rip music from and copy music to compact discs, burn recordable discs in Audio CD format or as data discs with playlists such as an MP3 CD, synchronize content with a digital audio player (MP3 player) or other mobile devices.

2. What is a media player?

A media player is a software application or a hardware device used for playing multimedia content. This includes audio files (such as MP3s, WAVs, or FLAC files), video files (such as MP4s, AVIs, or MKVs), and sometimes images.

3. What has replaced Windows Media Player?

With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced new default applications for playing multimedia content. Windows Media Player is still included in the system, but it's not the default choice for playing music and video. Instead, Microsoft promotes these two new apps:

  1. Groove Music: This app has replaced Windows Media Player as the default music player in Windows 10. Groove Music can play MP3s and other digital audio files, and it's also designed to work with OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service. This means you can upload your music collection to OneDrive and then access it from Groove Music on any of your devices.
  2. Movies & TV (also known as Films & TV in some regions): This is the default video player in Windows 10, replacing the video playing functions of Windows Media Player. Movies & TV can play video files on your computer and also provides access to a library of movies, and TV shows that you can rent or buy.

Despite these new apps, Windows Media Player remains available for those who prefer it. Many users also opt for third-party media players, such as PowerDVD, which offer more features or support more file formats. These can be a good choice if you have specific needs that the default Windows apps or Windows Media Player doesn't meet.

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