Albeit viable for playing videos sporadically, Windows’ default media player has never been a de facto recommendation. Typical problems include playback errors caused by file formats that aren’t supported, a lack of features, and so on.
Want to know the best part? Windows has never shied away from embracing third-party alternatives, and this situation is no exception. In this article, you’ll learn about the 7 Best Media Players for Windows 10 and 11.
1. VLC Media Player: Best Media Player for Windows
The name alone evokes a two-decade-old legacy of being the most celebrated media player ever. Being the old dog that it is, VLC can famously run almost every type of video file by default, including MKV, AVI, CD, DVD, etc., even on the oldest operating systems.
VLC isn’t fresh from the oven; hence, the design is somewhat suggestive of bygone times. The crowded interface requires time to get used to, but VLC’s default settings are effortless enough for a novice. You can alter the default theme using the VLC Skin Editor.
Besides receiving regular updates, VLC packs many out-of-the-box features to please its vast community of enthusiasts. To top it all off, the app is also entirely free and open-source. VLC is supremely reliable, and that’s what makes it the undisputed king.
Platforms: Windows | macOS | Android | iOS | Linux
Download: VLC Media Player (Free)
The best way to describe PotPlayer in this article is as the underdog. Think of it as a refined and clarified version of VLC Media Player. Sounds compelling, right? Not just that, PotPlayer’s design language is streets ahead of VLC. After VLC, you could say it’s one of the best media players for Windows out there.
PotPlayer’s DXVA, CUDA, and QuickSync technologies make it easier to handle large files while using fewer system resources. Apart from standard video codecs, the app also supports Blu-ray files, 3D viewing, 4K HDR videos, and many more.
PotPlayer lets you choose which one to use if you have more than one sound card. Moreover, it also offers a suite of customizable features. Of course, PotPlayer, too, is free of charge to use.
Download: PotPlayer (Free)
Provided your computer has the necessary horsepower, KMPlayer is one of the potent and best media players for Windows. Over and above that, its avant-garde interface, nerdy features, and diverse video format support make it a fitting choice for Windows aficionados.
The app’s 64-bit version can run videos in 8K resolution at 60 frames per second and supports HEVC (h.265), h.264, VP9, Blu-ray, and DVD formats too. You can also enable hardware acceleration to lessen the load on your CPU.
In addition, the 64-bit version of KMPlayer also comes with a built-in YouTube video downloader. Not only that, but KMPlayer also includes a screen recorder that enables you to record in the format of your choice. Oh, and there are no fees whatsoever!
Platforms: Windows | Android | iOS
Download: KMPlayer (Free)
5KPlayer is an ad-supported media player that excels at wireless media streaming, meaning you can stream content wirelessly using Apple’s AirPlay or Windows’ DLNA. It guarantees wireless streaming with almost no lag and near-lossless quality.
Contrary to its name, 5KPlayer supports 8K and Blu-ray video playback. Supported audio formats include MP3, AAC, APE, and FLAC. It can stream YouTube videos natively and download videos from over 300 websites, including Vimeo and Dailymotion.
Despite being visually appealing and user-friendly, the app contains advertisements. Thankfully, the ads don’t intrude during media playback. Though 5KPlayer is slightly burdensome on the CPU compared to other media players for Windows, it’s an appreciable media player nonetheless.
Platforms: Windows | Mac
Download: 5KPlayer (Free; contains ads)
As an alternative, you can also try out AIX Video Player (Free).
Ever wonder why a TV never feels like a wall-mounted external display? The reason is its interface, which you never feel like leaving once you’re in. Kodi mimics a TV-like interface and essentially puts an entertainment hub ahead of you. Moreover, it’s open-source, making it one of the best open-source media players for Windows out there.
Kodi has distinct sections for storing your movies, music, music videos, games, photos, and TV shows, just like on a TV. However, you’ll need to access third-party content or play your own since Kodi doesn’t provide any of its own.
Nevertheless, Kodi supports numerous file formats and is pretty customizable. You can add Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu to it and other tools with the help of add-ons. Kodi is built around a 10-foot interface with remote controls that resemble a television.
Platforms: Windows | macOS | Android | iOS | tvOS | Linux | Raspberry Pi
Download: Kodi (Free)
6. ACG Player
ACG Player echoes its developer’s passion for app development. It is a lightweight, incredibly feature-rich application with a pleasant appearance. ACG Player’s secret advantage is its genius gesture implementation, which is very well done.
It doesn’t support the broadest range of video codecs, but it does support a few niche ones, like MKV, 360 videos, and others. ACG Player has an integrated audio equalizer and video effects changer to calibrate the original video, unlike other media players for Windows. It also packs a music visualizer.
You can play or pause a video by clicking the top half of the player while clicking the bottom half brings up the playback controls. Additionally, swiping up or down changes the volume, while moving it left or right rewinds or advances the video.
Download: ACG Player
If you’re hunting for a barebones media player, then MPV might just be it. The crowning point is that despite supporting most media formats, MPV doesn’t tax your system heavily as you see on some media players for Windows.
The app is vanilla and won’t startle you with unpalatable features. Although if you still want some condiments, many user scripts are available on GitHub for the same.
The playback controls are within your mouse’s reach, so you needn’t rely much on your keyboard. Besides, MPV is free, open-source, and has cross-platform support too.
Platforms: Windows | macOS | Android | Linux
Download: MPV (Free)
Enjoy Content Using These Media Players for Windows
No one media player is the king of the hill; it all depends on your needs and preferences. Some may have an alluring design, while others may have intriguing features and customizations.
Be that as it may, VLC Media Player is solemnly recommended as one of the go-to media players for Windows if you are to choose one out of the bunch. That said, once you’ve chosen your media player, you can get confused about the best browser for Windows 11. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our detailed guide.
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