What is your media player of choice? If you are like most people, then it is Windows Media Player.
This program has been around for many years and was created by Microsoft. It plays a wide variety of media formats and it integrates with other Microsoft programs like OneDrive.
However, there are many other great options out there that offer advantages over Windows Media Player. Kodi, PotPlayer, MediaMonkey are some great substitutes.
However, the best Windows Media Player alternative is VLC Media Player because of its seamless performance. It works with most file formats and is also compatible with all major devices including Android.
Why explore alternatives to Windows Media Player?
As good as this Windows app is, it has certain limitations. For one, Windows Media Player hasn’t been updated since Windows 7.
Another major weakness is that it is limited to which portable device it can sync to which is a dealbreaker to multiple device owners.
Luckily, as mentioned above, we have alternatives to Windows Media Player that you can try.
Take a look.
Best Windows Media Player Alternatives
1. VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is a free and open-source cross-platform multimedia player that plays most multimedia files as well as discs, devices, and network streaming protocols.
It was written originally by François-Étienne Mérineau in France in 1996 for a French Minitel online service called Canal Plus.
The French government funded its development from 1996 to 2000 with $45,000.
The VLC media player is published under the GNU General Public License version.
It is able to stream over computer networks. And just like the Windows Media Player, VLC supports both audio and video file formats.
It can also be used as a streaming server that duplicates the stream it reads on the fly or transcodes multimedia files and streams (e.g., converting an original video’s format).
The VLC media player is available for Windows, macOS X, Unix-like systems such as Linux or BSD, BeOS, and Haiku.
The VLC media player is also available on Android smartphones and tablets running Android Honeycomb (version 13) or later can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Kodi is an award-winning free and open-source home theater/media center software and entertainment hub for digital media. It’s available on a variety of devices.
Kodi can be used to play almost all popular audio, video, Internet radio/TV shows. It has superior visualization techniques that provide endless customization to how you view your media.
It has multiple third-party add-ons that allow users to access video channels, Movies, TV Shows, and much more for free or paid content with zero advertisements.
This application can be used on almost all operating systems including Windows, Linux/Unix, and Mac OS X.
Some areas where Kodi shares similar features with The Windows Media Player are the Music playback including flac, mpc, wav, and Video Playback of which you can adjust the resolution up to 1080P Full HD.
However, Kodi has superior video codecs that allow for smooth movie playback.
Kodi is available on a variety of devices and operating systems allowing it to be used on your TV, laptop, or mobile device.
Its best features include its Picture Slideshow with transition effects and music playback, Audio Visualization & Custom Skins for a great viewing experience.
In addition to the above features Kodi also has many additional ones that make it an excellent choice as a windows media player replacement:
- Library management – sort videos by title, artist, album, and even year
- TV Show & Movie database – keep track of your favorite shows and movies
- Create a movie playlist or a custom list of videos that you can easily access later for watching again
- Add Videos from YouTube to your library
PotPlayer is another tool like the Windows Media Player that supports all major video formats.
It was developed by a South Korean Company “Kakao”.
It has a wide range of features, but it lacks the support for DVDs.
It downloads subtitles automatically and you can also edit them manually to make them more accurate or fit your needs.
It has multiple features which other media players lack.
Compared to Windows Media Player, PotPlayer is like a breath of fresh air, with its simplified interface.
The software was designed with ease of use in mind, and it has a clean interface not cluttered with useless tools or features.
Potplayer works well on WinXP/WinVista/WinVista x64 platform (native 64-bit build).
You can drag and drop files or use the file browser to open video files. It also downloads subtitles automatically for you to make it more fun while watching movies.
The software can play all popular media formats, including AVI, MPG/MPEG, WMV, MKV, and FLV, etc.
This tool provides many useful features including video color control (brightness, contrast, hue, and saturation), advanced subtitle options, multiple audio stream selections for AVI files, built-in codecs to support various formats without downloading additional codecs on the Internet.
The software also allows users to save playlists for later use or send them via e-mail.
It is a free media player with no spyware/adware included.
PotPlayer supports DXVA (hardware acceleration), network broadcasting, multi-monitor configurations, various audio/video filters, and much more.
This Windows-based multimedia player is capable of fulfilling all your needs in playing videos or audio.
It has an intuitive interface that offers quick access to the media files you need, while its powerful playback engine allows for smooth playbacks with minimal stuttering even when CPU power isn’t enough.
4. Plex Media Server
Plex Media Server is a free media server that can index and stream your digital content in various ways.
It comes in both paid versions (Plex Pass) which offer more features like cloud sync, photo streaming, etc.
Plex also has apps for all major platforms including Android TV boxes, iPhone/iPad, Samsung Smart TVs & Blu-ray players, LG Smart TVs, and more.
It takes care of your large media collections, automatically converts your media on the fly, and streams it to all of your devices (smart TVs included).
Plex Media Server supports videos in almost any format you can imagine.
This includes DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and a number of digital video formats including MKV, MPV, MOV, AVI, etc. It also allows the streaming of media files from your computer to compatible devices.
Plex Media Server is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc.
It can also run on a Raspberry Pi which makes it suitable even if you have no dedicated HTPC or PC running 24/365 in the background.
What makes Plex Media different from Windows Media Player?
Well, there are many reasons, but the most important one is that it is free and Open Source software which means it can be customized to your needs.
You will not need any license or registration for using this player on your computer.
The video player comes in a user-friendly interface with customizable themes is one of its most important characteristics.
Also, it has a long list of options that can be used to control almost every aspect related to video playback including subtitles synchronization or file location on your device’s hard drive.
Plex Media Player is compatible with almost all video formats and you can even use it as a player for audio files if that’s what you’re looking for.
It also comes in two different versions: Free and Paid.
The main difference between them is that the paid one allows users to play videos from cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.
WMPoweruser is one of the best Windows Media Player alternatives.
WMPoweruser is a free and cross-platform application that provides users with multiple video formats support and loads of extra features include:
- Simple media browser
- Easy-to-use interface
- Built-in podcast directory
- Remote control for WMPoweruser via Wi-Fi
The difference between WMPoweruser and Windows Media Player is that the former allows you to play, download, or search for online music and video files easily while browsing through a media library.
WMpoweruser also includes a built-in media library and it supports music, photos, and videos.
It also has a simple audio converter and downloader for online videos.
However, WMPoweruser supports Windows only (XP and later versions). This makes it less popular than other free multimedia players like VLC and KMPlayer.
Despite that, WMPoweruser is still an awesome media player to manage and play songs, videos, or podcasts.
5KPlayer is a powerful media player that can play both audio and video files.
It also supports downloading online videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, etc., however, it does not support subtitles at the moment.
The program has an intuitive interface with all necessary functions displayed in nice-looking menus for easy access.
It comes with a built-in video editor, which allows you to cut and join videos or merge several clips into one file.
The program supports all popular formats of audio and video files. You can even set up your own configurations for each format if necessary (e.g., adjust the bitrate).
Like with Windows Media Player, there are also options available to optimize the video or audio output.
The program also offers an equalizer, which you can use to adjust your soundtracks according to what type of device is being used for playback (e.g., headphones).
With this feature enabled, you get a better listening experience regardless of whether you are using speakers or earphones.
There are also other useful tools that come with the program, such as a video thumbnail generator and cover art finder.
The program also allows you to remove parts of your videos (e.g., commercials) or apply special effects (e.g., watermarks).
Audio files can be split into several fragments so they are easier to handle in the future.
The program comes with a large number of free skins that you can use to change the visual appearance of your player interface.
It also includes an equalizer, which lets you adjust soundtracks according to what type of device is being used for playback (e.g., headphones). With this feature enabled, you get a better listening experience.
The program also allows you to add subtitles and annotations, which can be useful if the video was downloaded from a foreign website or in case your hearing is impaired.
In addition, it supports various audio formats (e.g., MPC, OGG) as well as most popular media containers (e.g., AVI).
MediaMonkey is considered to be one of the best music players for Windows OS.
It has a very high sound quality and with an impressive library management system, it can help you organize your entire media collection with ease.
The software allows you to edit ID tags such as artist name or album info which makes finding tracks fast and easy. With its built-in tools, you can also fix incorrect metadata and album art with ease.
Another great feature of this app is the possibility to create playlists. You can use smart or manual playlists, depending on your needs and preferences.
You can add tracks from anywhere in your library such as local libraries (it supports multiple ones), internet radios, and even from your friends’ libraries.
The app contains a built-in equalizer with several presets to suit any music genre you may want to play.
One area MediaMonkey is clear of Windows Media Player is its ability to sync with a wide range of devices.
It can work with Windows, iOS, and Android smartphones as well as several types of MP-players.
It is also possible to use MediaMonkey for watching videos or listening to music on your home theater system via DLNA servers.
If you just want an app that can play your music and videos with ease, MediaMonkey is the perfect choice.
KMplayer is an all-purpose media player which is capable of playing almost any video file.
It supports a wide range of audio and video codecs, subtitles, skins, etc., making it the most customizable Windows Media Player alternative available in this list.
KMPlayer’s user interface looks outdated when compared to Windows Media Player in our collection but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.
On the contrary, this is a very efficient and useful piece of software that can compete with any other video player on the market today in terms of features and performance.
KMPlayer supports keyboard shortcuts to offer you some additional control over your videos or audio files while playing them so you don’t have to use your mouse all the time.
Major features include:
- Playback of any file format imaginable
- Playback in high quality and with many visual effects, support for subtitles (embedded .srt files, external .srt files, and CEA-608 closed captions)
- Support for skins (including Winamp Classic skin) and customizable keyboard shortcuts
- Support for video playback on Android devices via third-party software
- And more
9. GOM Player
GOM Player is a free media player for Windows that can play all your movies, music, and videos.
It supports almost every format out there. The app features an attractive interface with extensive options to customize it according to your needs.
GOM Player also has advanced video/audio configuration settings that let you adjust different visual & audio parameters like brightness, contrast, hue, and volume to get the best out of your movies.
GOM Player also allows you to capture videos from DVDs as well as record audio from CDs with its built-in CD/DVD burner.
You can even use GOM Player’s excellent playlist features (like ‘smart playlists’) that let you organize and manage your video library in a very effective way.
It is similar to Windows Media Player in many ways but offers a lot more in terms of customization and configuration options.
It is fast, lightweight, and has very good video/audio quality with support for most popular audio & video formats available out there (like AVI, MPC, DAT, etc.).
10. DivX Player
DivX Player was developed by a company called DivX, Inc. The software is available for Windows and Mac OS X operating systems as well as Linux distros such as Ubuntu.
It can be used to play video files that are encoded with the MPEG-x codecs including AVI, MKV, MPE/MPG (Mpeg-PES), MPE/TS, MPG (Mpeg-PS), and MOV.
It also supports playback of more standard video formats such as WMV, ASF, or MPEG-I SP through the use of available codecs for these file types.
DivX Player offers a nice feature set including support for subtitles (.SRT files), aspect-ratio adjustments, customizable shortcuts, and more.
It has a built-in video player for playing audio files in formats such as MPC, FLAC, or APE while still being able to play videos at the same time.
The software is free of charge but it does have some limitations on its functionalities that paid upgrades can remove.
This includes full support for hardware acceleration, which will allow you to play high-definition videos without having your computer freeze or crash.
If you own a portable device like an Apple iPhone, DivX Player can also help you transfer files between it and your personal computer (PC).
The software is available in 25 languages including English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian. It has been downloaded more than 50 million times by users all over the world.
MPV is a free and open-source cross-platform media player. It supports almost every video format you can name (yes, even VCDs). For audio files, it supports OGG, MP.
It shares some similar features with the Windows Media Player, including the skinnable interface.
It can be run in GUI mode or as a background service, allowing it to keep playing even when you close down your computer for example.
It also supports subtitles and is available on Windows, OSX, and Linux.
Some of the best features of MPV include:
- It does not need any external codecs to run.
- Very lightweight and uses very little of your system resources.
- It can be used as a background service on Windows, Linux, or OSX operating systems.
- It can play virtually any video format, including AVI, MP.
- Supports subtitles and is available on Windows, Linux, and OSX operating systems.
- It can run as a background service or in GUI mode.
- It supports various media formats such as VCDs, DVDs, etc. through the use of external codecs.
- It can run on almost any operating system including Windows, Linux, and OSX.
- Supports subtitles natively but also has the option to download third-party ones if it does not support your language or you want more variety in terms of languages, etc.
12. Parma Video Player
Parma Video Player is a similar tool to Windows Media Player for Mac users, based on the famed VLC player.
Parma supports nearly every media file type you can think of and features several customization options so that it will suit your own personal taste. It’s also free in the App Store.
Some of the best features of the Parma Video Player include:
- Supports nearly every media file type you can think of
- Playlists and play queue for added convenience
- Several video filters, such as contrast and brightness
Parma Video Player is a great choice if you’re looking to download an alternative to Windows Media Player that will support the majority of your files and have a nice look and feel.
There you have it. The 12 Best Windows Media Players in the market at the moment.
These were just some of the best media players out there that you can use to replace Windows Media Player.
The list has something for everyone, so hopefully, one of these will appeal to you and be your next video or music player.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.