10 Best Video Players for Windows 10
Thanks to the explosion of video on the web, downloading and watching videos is one of the most popular activities on a PC. But while watching movies and TV shows on your computer is easy, you need to have your favorite video player that can handle virtually anything you throw at it, can load your files quickly and easily, and come with interfaces that get out of the way of the video you are watching.
Luckily, all the interest in video and multimedia playback on PCs, has led to the development of several excellent video players, and some fine new ones that keep surfacing. All of them offer support for the popular formats, offer a streamlined UI, and a few even come with some unique features of their own.
Plays upto 5K
Media Center for
Tons of Skins
Plays Damaged Files
Custom setting for
Play YouTube Videos
Let’s take a look at the best video players for Windows 10.
1. VLC Media Player
Any discussion about media players starts with VLC media player.
Developed by VideoLAN, this cross-platform program took the web by storm a long time ago as one of the first media players that could play just about anything. But beneath its fast and flexible user interface, VLC packs in a whole range of features that give advanced users the control they wanted on their movies and videos.
You get support for playback via discs (DVD and VCD), as well as streaming protocols. It can open up a wide variety of file formats, from FLV to MKV files that are encoded with the new H.265 video compression standard. VLC is also able to stream media over computer networks. There is also the ability to record video feeds, from a webcam for example, and playing it back.
And thanks to its array of free decoding and encoding libraries that are built-in, it handles pretty much all the popular formats without the need to find and setup proprietary plugins. Speaking of which, optional third-party plugins are aplenty, extending its feature set and providing new skins and themes that can be used to customize the player.
That said, VLC Media Player is not perfect — no video player is. If anything, it has stagnated a bit on the user interface front, and few new features are added to it. Not to mention what many would consider the bloat that is already there. But if you can look beyond that, and the occasional niggles like not handling chapters and subtitles right for certain files, VLC is just about the best choice there is.
The newest kid on the block with the coolest name in town! 5KPlayer arrived on the scene in January 2015, bringing with it advanced media playback (for media up to 5K resolution, at that), video downloading and streaming media server capabilities. You can use it as a DVD player on Windows 10, or have it function like a free music video downloader that can grab audio and video files from more than 300 websites. You can use it as a radio player, or use it to wirelessly stream online music. File format conversion comes standard, too.
It’s about as well rounded a package as you can get these days.
But perhaps the best thing about 5KPlayer is its sleek and slim user interface. The dark UI is clean enough to make navigating all the various functions a breeze, and thoughtful enough that anyone can pick and play, unlike some of the other video players mentioned here with their cumbersome interfaces. You will not be disappointed with its feature set, particularly if you own an Apple device. It supports the company’s AirPlay technology, and can act both as a sender and a receiver. In simpler terms, it can mirror the screen of an iPhone or iPad on a Windows or macOS powered computer, while also transmit video and music on a PC to an Apple TV or any other AirPlay compatible device.
Another magical, if slightly confusing, creation from a Korean company. PotPlayer was developed to compete against some of the biggest media players available for Windows, including the likes of VLC media player, KMPlayer and Media Player Classic. And to that end, it succeeds — putting up a valiant fight on the features front.
The highlight being 3D output, and some delightfully amazing 3D playback features that few, if any, media player offers. And then there are options like screen snapshot, scene bookmarking, as well as the liberty to choose soundcards that make it a good choice for advanced users. But that does not mean you need a powerful PC to run this player — it’s completely at ease even on limited hardware, and utilizes hardware acceleration to keep up with all types of media and container formats.
You can play damaged or incomplete video files with PotPlayer, and it can also handle screen recoding with a picture-in-picture feature. Seamless playback of multiple files in a collection is also included, as PotPlayer can recognize file sequences if the files are named in a specific way. Like all good players, it can also remember the position where you left watching a video the last time.
Where it bottles it all up is in the confusing navigation of its options menu. A large number of settings, features and controls are available, which should have been organized better. Filters and abilities like noise reduction, brightness, contrast, hue and deinterlacing are all available, but it is clear that the UI needs a complete rethink. As things stand, you will have to wade through a ton of checkboxes to access these and other options, and that is the biggest weakness most people will find in PotPlayer.
Other than that, this lightweight and feature rich player with broad format support, tons of customization, and some unique features of its own, is right up there at the top.
Previously going by the name of XBMC, or Xbox Media Center, Kodi is the rebranding of this popular and highly advanced media playback and management solution. More than just a media center, Kodi is also a very capable and highly configurable video player that you can use on your desktop or laptop. While it has been designed to work on large screens, connected with a HTPC, but the fact that it can play almost everything under the sun makes it a good choice for use on a standard PC too.
It works great with any file format, encoding, container, codec and subtitle you run through it, and the fact that Kodi is highly configurable only sweetens the deal. A large repository of add-ons allows you to add your required functionality with ease.
Kodi can also fetch and display useful and relevant information about the media file it is playing by fetching metadata from the Internet, including details like album cover, artists, movie name, genre, year, TV show episodes, ratings, reviews, and posters. And it will show it all to you as you browse and select what to watch. The app also handles music and video streaming effortlessly. And though it has its roots in media management, the playback functionality here is beautiful too.
A very popular media player with a significant user base, KMPlayer has been on the market since 2002, offering users advance video playback functionality in a completely streamlined user interface. The full name of this program is K-Multimedia Player, but it is also more commonly known as The KMPlayer or even KMP by some. Though initially launched as freeware, a Korean company now maintains the software, and has baked in ads into the newer versions.
If you can live with that, the latest versions of KMPlayer bring with them a wide array of features in a fairly lightweight package — ranging from advanced playlists to media filtering and video capture. You can capture audio, video and screenshots right form within the program, and slow down or speed up the playback of your media. A subtitle editor is built in as well, and comes in rather handy. Tons of skins are available that can change the look of the program, though the default style that is included is perfectly fine and tastefully designed.
The internal codecs included with KMPlayer are some of the best in the business, and help it play all manner of 3D, Full HD, and UHD formats, with 4K playback being a very smooth experience. The program runs absolutely smoothly on low configuration computers, and contains settings to optimize playback on PCs that do not have the luxury of powerful processors. Well worth a try for those on older CPUs, though if you are ticked off by ads, and can live without some of the newer additions, you can take versions older than version 3 for a spin.
6. Media Player Classic
Media Player Classic is a throwback to the old Windows Media Player version 6.4 that made available for Windows 98. But it only draws inspiration from its 1999 counterpart in look and feel — most features and options that are available in modern media plyers are part of MPC. It may mimic the style of that classic Windows component, but its advanced feature set, and superb third-party plugin support only add to its reputation and a familiar but fast option to play all types of media.
Although it has been more than a decade since the original developer worked on it, a vibrant community maintains the project, continues to add new features and update the libraries. Two active forks exist, namely Media Player Classic – Home Cinema (MPC-HC) and the Black Edition (MPC-BE), both offering a simpler yet power multimedia playback solution that is lightweight and easy to use. Of the two, the Black Edition offers a more stylized interface that according to the developer also performs faster and contains some extra features.
MPC users are passionate, and live by the features it provides like advanced color management, a variety of pixel shares, support for multiple monitors, enhanced playback and recording, the playlist manager and the ability to set files as favorites, along with the clear, simple and responsive user interface. Give either of the two versions a try, and see which one you like. The Home Cinema version is mostly preferred by advanced users, while beginners and those that seek an undemanding solution should be right at home with the Black Edition.
PMPlayer, short for Picomixer Media Player is another new entry on this list. It’s stylish user interface belies its funky name, and the company boasts the fact that this program is offered completely free, with no spyware, ads or user tracking. PMPlayer works perfectly fine on all kinds of Windows 10 PCs and tablets. And along with the essential media playback functionality, comes with advanced options like video recording, motion detection and support for network streaming.
It’s versatile enough to play content from a range of sources, including files and discs on the local system to network sources like livestreams, as well a video capture devices like webcams and IP cameras. The motion detection bit comes in really handy for security purposes, while options for screen capture and media publishing are very useful for network streaming and content creators. Options are even built in for direct video calls and video conferencing.
On the playback side of things, you have excellent subtitles and subtitle translation support, while configurable audio and video settings and additional image processing filters are sure to delight more advanced users. It may not have found mainstream success yet, but there are few better media players available on the market right now then PMPlayer. Highly recommended!
8. DivX Player
Ah, DivX. The fallen giant. There was a time when the DivX codec was sheer sensation. Finding its way to everything from PCs to PlayStations. The company even put up a video sharing website called Stage6 to popularize its codec, and it was, for a while, much more advanced solution than YouTube, offering impressive quality videos for users in the DivX format to watch and download. A reported million dollar a month in bandwidth costs led to the shutdown of the website, while the codec itself was surpassed by more popular choices like H.264.
Through it all, the company has kept its DivX codec going. But it’s the DivX Player that generates the most interest these days. It’s part of a suite of software for Windows that also includes the video converter, browser plugins and the codec itself.
The standalone DivX Player comes with everything you need to play media in a variety of formats, including HEVC and Ultra HD 4K content. Though some formats like DTS audio required paying for additional plugins. It is optimized both for movies and TV shows, as well as video clips that you find on the web. DLNA functionality allows you to stream videos, music and photos to any compatible device, including Chromecast. The DivX Media Server is easy to use, and plays nicely with Xbox and PlayStation consoles, and other mobile devices.
In terms of the user interface, you are looking at a stylish, dark, black UI, with just the right amount of options so as not to confuse less experienced users. Support for chapters, subtitles, changing of video sizes, aspect ratios, and loop playback makes finding your way around a video easy. While multiple audio tracks, effortless playlist management, and support for the most popular audio formats round up the advanced audio features of the DivX Player. The player also keeps track of what you watch, allowing for the resumption of videos and playlists from where you left off. A unique Trick Play feature is also included that allows you to quickly jump to your favorite scene in a movie.
There is nothing much that DivX Player does better than the other names in this list, but the software is neatly designed and provides the perfect balance of features and usability without overwhelming. An excellent choice as a secondary video player for Windows 10 users, novices in particular.
9. GOM Player
This may not look like one, but GOM Player (short for Gretech Online Movie Player) is a fairy powerful solution for playing all forms of media. It can play everything from songs to movies, even damaged or incomplete files that have not yet been completely downloaded. It also picks up video files from various mobile phones and digital cameras, ensuring that you can playback even the more obscure file formats.
All the major functions that you would associate with video are here — from DVD and network playback to output to TVs, monitors and projectors. You can fast rewind by frame, bookmark, repeat a selection, capture images for use as wallpapers, and even record sounds in WAV or OGG formats. In fact, GOM Player comes with some expansive audio tuning capabilities, including the use of DSP modules from Winamp, volume normalization, as well as adjustments of EQ and dynamic range.
Subtitles and playlists support is up to the standard, and the program can even shutdown the computer after play. Its these little features that set it apart from what is a sea of similar video players available on Windows 10, and the no nonsense UI means that you will be up and running in no time if you want to give GOM Player a try. Worth a mention that GOM Player does show ads when you close the window, so that’s something to keep in mind.
SMPlayer made its debut in 2006, and since then has grown into a very capable multiplatform media player that can play most media files, thanks to its impressive array of built-in codecs. There are some proprietary codecs that SMPlayer cannot play, but those are few and far between.
One of the best things about SMPlayer is its intelligence. It remembers the custom settings for every file that you play on it. For example, if you are watching a movie with a low sound volume, and you increase it, then SMPlayer will remember that and always play that movie at the sound level that you chose earlier. Several skins are available, and the program can even play videos directly from YouTube.
Other than that, it offers all the standard options you would expect from a modern media player, including restarting a video from where you left it off, filters and equalizers, playlists, as well as multiple options for playback speed. The UI may be nothing fancy, as SMPlayer is basically a frontend for the command line MPlayer media player. But those of you who seek a no thrills solution for playing back your media library, SMPlayer does a good enough job.
The development and creation of a video player is a time consuming and resource intensive project, hence you will find fewer choices than audio playback software. But there are a bunch of big names that also deserve recognition here, like RealPlayer, UMPlayer, and, of course, Windows Media Player.
Another big name that has fallen from grace, RealPlayer was all the rage back in the late 90s, all thanks to its streaming capabilities. It still is an amazing video player, available as a freemium option, and offering 65 GB of online storage, and moving sharing to big screen HDTVs and the like.
Also known as the Universal Media Player, UMPlayer is equipped with internal codecs that can easily play the various formats you ask it to, including MP4, XVID, VOB and MKV. The user interface is more on the functional side of things, and TV, radio, online streaming and YouTube support comes out the box.
Windows Media Player
The default handlers of the various media files in Windows 10 may now by those modern apps, but Windows Media Player lives on as a stable and reliable option on the desktop. Although Microsoft rarely updates it, this program can still handle many of the popular audio and video formats you throw at it.