Best Free Video Players to Play Any Media Format in Windows 11/10

Today’s high-tech world offers virtually limitless possibilities for creating and watching attention-grabbing videos on personal computers. There will always be a need for suitable media to consume content as long as there is content to be produced.

However, let us be clear, the joy of watching excellent video content is incomplete without a reliable video player. For the most part, Windows’ default video player does not meet our expectations, which leads us to seek alternatives. Alternatives to Windows Media Player are available and almost all of them provide features that Media Player does not. Aside from that, the number of codecs and formats are virtually unlimited, so your video player should be able to play your desired video. It can also be frustrating to be assigned the wrong player.

Therefore, you should select a video player that is most appropriate for your needs. The following are some of the most popular video players compatible with the latest Windows versions:

VideoLAN VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is regarded as the best video player for Windows 10 by many. A further indication of this is that Windows users are familiar with its orange cone icon. VLC’s popularity dates back to the days of Windows XP and it remains one of the most popular video players for Windows 11. The VLC media player is open-source, powerful, feature-rich, and therefore covers most of the needs of a Windows user.

There are a number of extensions for VLC to download. Besides playing video files, it also plays discs, live streaming, webcams, and other devices. Moreover, VLC has skinning capabilities, video/audio filters, and subtitle synchronization capabilities.

Download VLC Player

Why is it a better alternative than Windows Media Player?

The main advantage of the VLC Player over Windows Media Player is that VLC is codec independent. VLC supports almost all file formats without the need to download additional codecs. So, if you need to run individual file formats, just go for VLC.

Plus; if you want to play videos from DVD or Bluray, Windows Media Player won’t even do it. You need VLC instead.

Who should use this media player?

VLC is evergreen and multi-purpose – hence it suits pretty much everyone. From movie watchers to professional video editing experts, anyone can make the most of VLC.

Which video formats does it support?

It can play most of the video codecs without any additional codec pack requirement – MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3, MKV, WebM, WMV, H.264, etc.

From which angle it is a better player than others in the list

VLC outdoes its competition by not only providing more features, but also offering some unique features, which hardly any video player does. It can act as a streaming server in multicast and unicast mode. It features TV capture cards and a variety of network streaming protocols.

With VLC Media Player, you can also search for album covers. You can play videos before they are completely downloaded. Additionally, you can also play ZIP files without having to unpack them individually. If you can barely hear anything in a video, you can amplify its volume up to 200%.

And last but not least, VLC can be extended almost infinitely with downloadable plugins.

Is it safe to use?

VLC is completely safe and doesn’t use any spyware or track its users.

Is it resource heavy?

If you’re running on a slow computer, you don’t need to worry about resource consumption as VLC contains a small install size file, and can also run on a Raspberry Pi – meaning that a below average speed computer can easily run it.

GOM Player

GOM Player
GOM Player

GOM Player has been available since 2003 and has been downloaded over 300 million times by Windows users. With GOM Player, you have access to over 200,000+ subtitle files… and the number continues to grow daily. When it comes to subtitles, GOM is by far the best video player for Windows 10.

GOM Labs, the Korean company responsible for its development, has created a variety of video player applications that integrate with GOM player. Users of GOM Player are able to run this video player with enhanced capabilities, such as the ability to record screens, edit videos, convert formats, and much more.

Download GOM Player

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

Just like VLC, GOM Player is open-source and beats WMP on the basis of built-in codec availability.

Who should use this media player?

If you’re a movie lover who watches movies along with subtitles, GOM Player is for you. Moreover, GOM Cam Pro (paid version) features Webcam/Lecture Recording, allowing teachers to create online courses for Students. For advanced features that enable 360 degree VR viewing, we highly recommend that you try GOM Player.

Which video formats does it support

GOM Player supports AVI, TS, MPG, FLV, MKV, etc. It also supports playlist formats like .PLS and .ASX.

From which angles it is a better player than others in the list

There’s so much to admire about GOM. Firstly, it supports screencasting so that you can connect your PC to the projector and play the video on the large screen. Plus, GOM automatically searches and syncs subtitles for the movie being played.

Speaking of subtitles, GOM Player users can access the largest subtitle database in the World. You can download the subtitles automatically by simply clicking the Play button.

GOM contains a codec finder that helps to make a search for the desired codec, whenever GOM does not have a specific codec. It also allows you to play damaged files or a file being downloaded.

GOM can seamlessly play and stream 360 degree. For more advanced users, GOM Player allows custom configuration, enhancing the video view experience.

Is it safe to use?

Yes, GOM Player is safe to download, install, and use.

Is it resource heavy?

GOM comes with a minimalist design and only requires a minimum of 2G RAM and hard-drive space of 200MB. It would be fair to say that GOM can easily run on low-speed computers today.

PotPlayer

PotPlayer
PotPlayer

PotPlayer was launched in January 2021 by the same team that developed KM Player. So if you’ve already used KM Player, PotPlayer’s user interface will look familiar to you. 

Despite being free, PotPlayer is proprietary software (i.e., not open source). Potplayer already includes built-in codecs, so there is no need to install them manually. In addition to Digital TV devices, PotPlayer supports Webcams, Analogs, DXVA, live broadcasts, etc.

Download PotPlayer

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

PotPlayer comes with built-in hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts. It supports OpenCodec so users can add their desired codecs by themselves. Also, there is no need to install different codecs all the time when using the player.  PotPlayer also allows its users to choose which one when you have 2 sound cards.

Who should use this media player?

PotPlayer suits users who often watch 3D videos and videos with large file size on a variety of codecs.

Which video formats does it support?

PotPlayer can play 3D Videos, 360-degree output videos, and even 8K videos and its supports technologies like CUDA, DXVA, and QuickSync for enhanced 3D viewing experience.

From which angles it is a better player than others in the list

PotPlayer supports CUDA, DXA and QuickSync, enabling its users to enjoy 3D output formats watchable with 3D glasses. While its competitors may crash when running larger files or cutting-edge video formats, PotPlayer always works reliably. PotPlayer stands out as the best video player for Windows 10 particularly for 3D viewing experience.

Is it safe to use?

PotPlayer is surefire safe and free of viruses and malware.

5KPlayer

5KPlayer
5KPlayer

When it comes to a video player that is future-proof, then look no further than 5KPlayer. As cool as it sounds, 5K Player truly lives up to its name and is ready for the future when 5K videos become a reality.

5KPlayer is not only a video player and music player, but it also supports AirPlay & DLNA for media streaming and allows you to download videos.

Download 5KPlayer

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

5KPlayer is boosted by AMD, Intel QSV, NVIDIA CUDA, and DXVA 2.0 hardware acceleration. It is a complete-package HD player for all format of Windows from 11, all the way to XP. In simpler terms, 5KPlayer keeps entertainment high and utilization of GPU/CPU low when playing high-quality videos. Overall, you can play 4K, 8K, HEVC, AV1, and HDR videos perfectly.

5KPlayer can easily give WMP a run for its money.

Who should use this media player?

5KPlayer is best for movie-watchers and video editors alike.

Which video formats does it support?

5K Player plays all kinds of videos from 8K, 4K, 1080p to a 360-degree video.

From which angles it is a better player than others in the list

Videos recorded in tilted orientation can be very frustrating to watch. To resolve this issue, 5KPlayer provides a feature that lets you quickly flip a video vertically or horizontally, rotate by 90 degrees, 180 degrees or 270 degrees.

5K supports over 300 online video audio hosting sites. This video player also provides innovative features of AirPlay and DLNA, enabling users to stream their videos wirelessly. Additionally, 5K lets you download videos from YouTube, Dailymotion, and other similar websites.

Is it safe to use?

Yes, it is very safe to download as it is free from virus, malware or spyware. It does not have annoying ads and no third-party plug-ins.

Is it resource heavy?

Despite its hi-tech capabilities, 5KPlayer is surprisingly low on resource utilization and works well on a 2 GB RAM computer.

KMPlayer

KMPlayer
KMPlayer

KMPlayer is another highly popular video player for Windows. KMPlayer was released in 2002 and is well known for its reliability and robust video playing capabilities. KMPlayer is primarily based on DirectShow, which is Microsoft’s very own multimedia framework. The player now supports 36 languages.

Download KMPlayer

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

KMPlayer can play damaged AVI files that do not work on WMP. KMPlayer can also play locked media files while downloading or sharing. KMPlayer is supported by incoming streams delivered via HTTP.

Who should use this media player?

KMPlayer is well-suited for software developers as they can utilize Microsoft’s DirectShow technology to perform various operations with media files and streams.

Which video formats does it support?

The player is supported by DirectShow playback (AVI, HDML, WMV, MKV, MOV, MP4, Ogg Theora, OGM, RMVB, MPEG1, MPEG2, and many other audio formats that are playable via most of the supported decoders).

From which angle it is a better player than others in the list

KMPlayer’s most unique feature is that it lets you capture video and audio in the format of your preference (including GIF). Simply, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+G to access the GIF creation interface. Also, you can use KMPlayer to download YouTube videos.

You can pick out the parts of videos as Favorites, make them repeat, remap the keys for remote interface, etc. You can also edit video subtitles on the fly. Furthermore, you can use the PC version of KMPlayer to activate it on your mobile device. You can stream any compatible video files on PC to mobile devices.

Is it safe to use?

KMPlayer is a highly stable application, which is also free of viruses and malware.

Is it resource heavy?

KMPlayer handles high-quality video formats with low CPU memory sharing and offers optimized playback without burdening your RAM.

Miro

Miro
Miro

Miro is a free and open-source video player for Windows, Linux, and various other platforms. Miro is well-known for its ease of use and download automation features. Furthermore, the player features an interactive media file converter, which can transform any format of your desired media file into an MP4 and play it flawlessly.

Additionally, Miro users can share media over their WiFi networks, as well as purchase videos and music from the Amazon Appstore or PlayStore.

getmiro.com/download

Why is it a better alternative than Windows Media Player?

Miro is open-source and has much larger community support than WMP. Miro also outnumbers WMP when it comes to supported video files. Miro can run QuickTime, Windows Media Video (WMV), MPEG, Audio Video Interleave (AVI), XVID as a video player. This player also supports RSS BitTorrent, so when a new video is available, the program notifies and lets you download it immediately.

Who should use this media player?

Miro is a perfect video player for both students and professionals. Its Wi-Fi sharing feature offers a quick and convenient file exchange feature, so users in a classroom or office can swiftly share and play their desired files. RSS-based download automation enables users to receive timely videos immediately once the videos are uploaded to a channel. Due to this feature, users no longer have to manually look for and download videos from their online classes, trainings, or meetings.

Which video formats does it support?

Miro can play MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, H. \264, DivX, Windows Media, Flash Video, and more.

From which angle it is a better player than others in the list

Miro can automatically download and play videos from RSS-based channels. Amazon and Google app stores are built-in to Miro, providing one-stop shopping to users. You can buy, download, and play your desired media, effortlessly. Miro users who are connected on the same Wi-Fi network can stream and exchange videos with each other. Miro also offers one of the fastest bittorrent download speeds in the world.

Is it safe to use?

Yes, Miro is safe and virus-free.

Is it resource heavy?

Not at all, Miro’s system requirements merely need 128 MB RAM to run. 

SMPlayer

SMPlayer
SMPlayer

SMPlayer is an open-source video player based on the award-winning MPlayer. The player is robust, skinnable, and allows you to browse and play YouTube videos directly within the player.

For Windows users, SMPlayer is also available in a portable version that does not require installation.

Download SMPlayer

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

SMPlayer comes with built-in codecs that can play virtually all video and audio formats. SMPlayer extends its support in over 30 languages. This player can also play videos via ChromeCast.

Who should use this media player?

SMPlayer is suitable for users who fancy long form of videos, such as movies, shows, and documentaries, etc.

Which video formats does it support?

SMPlayer supports the most known formats and codecs: avi, mp4, mkv, mpeg, mov, divx, h.264 and more. You can play almost all of them, thanks to its built-in codecs. You don’t need to search and download third party codecs.

From which angles it is a better player than others in the list

One of the most applauded features of SMPlayer is that if you’re watching a video and you have to close the video at some point, the video will resume from the same point when you open it anytime later. As you stream content from PC to TV, you do not even need working Wi-Fi connection as SMPlayer can also stream video to your TV using Chromecast.

SMPlayer also features an impressive graphic equalizer that balances out the sound, with presets for different types of music. SMPlayer also accompanies a video equalizer that lets you tweak the look of a video with filters.

Is it safe to use?

SMPlayer has fixed issues that occurred in past and is completely safe to use.

Is it resource heavy?

SMPlayer is lightweight and stable; it will not overload your PC at all.

AllPlayer

AllPlayer
AllPlayer

AllPlayer is a complete video player solution that has been downloaded more than 20 million times. In addition to supporting virtually every codec available, AllPlayer can also download subtitles in additional languages, such as French, Italian, Japanese, and Russian.

AllPlayer quality features ensure a seamless and worthwhile movie watching experience.

Download AllPlayer

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

Similar to most of our entries, AllPlayer beats WMP when it comes to codec availability. If radio is your thing, you can listen to internet radio for free using the AllPlayer. This player contains additional plugins which enrich your gaming experience and swiftly convert your favorite videos.

Who should use this media player?

If you’re fond of watching movies and playing video games, AllPlayer is for you.

Which video formats does it support?

AllPlayer runs APE, FLAC, MOV, QuickTime, RMVB, MPEG, MPG, M2TS, MKV, 3GP, MP4, FLV, AVI, MP3 and many more.

From which angles it is a better player than others in the list

AllPlayer is vastly popular for its automatic subtitle downloading feature, which detects matching subtitles and downloads them for all available languages. It provides support for full-screen playback in multi-monitor mode. This player allows you to search and watch movies within the player. Similar to YouTube, AllPlayer can automatically read subtitles by using a speech synthesizer.

Is it safe to use?

AllPlayer is a Brothersoft-certified tool free of ads, viruses, and spyware.

Is it resource heavy?

Yes, AllPlayer requires 4 GB of RAM and recommends at least 8 GB for a better experience.

Cyberlink PowerDVD (Paid)

PowerDVD
PowerDVD

The PowerDVD player is a premium multimedia player that provides an all-in-one entertainment solution. Even though it is a paid application, we could not leave it off our list, due to its impressive features. Cyberlink can automatically optimize the quality of your video and audio.

Additionally, it reduces video noise and makes low-quality videos compatible with most FullHD sources.

Download PowerDVD

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

PowerDVD can play DVD and BluRay format, where was WMP simply cannot. This player enhances the quality of your videos and even the audio. Moreover, PowerDVD provides direct NAS playback and DLNA support. PowerDVD is the best video player for Windows 10 in terms of video playing quality.

Who should use this media player

If you love watching movies on DVD, UHD, 4K or higher format, then PowerDVD should be your go-to choose.

Which video formats does it support?

PowerDVD supports the new Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and 8K video format.

From which angles it is a better player than others in the list?

PowerDVD enriches colors and makes skin tones appear more lifelike with its customized adjustments in hue and saturation on movies under 2,048 pixels x 1,152 pixels. It also eliminates the haziness effect of compression found in many online videos. All of this results in 4k quality video playing without stutter. PowerDVD also allows you to view high frame-rate videos (from 120 frames per second, up to 240 fps), and lets you play videos recorded in Apple and GoPro devices, without Apple iMovie.

You can download and play YouTube or Vimeo videos. It also features cloud storage that allows you to store videos, sync music, make playlists, and stream directly from the cloud platform.

Is it safe to use?

CyberLink PowerDVD is virus-free.

Is it resource heavy?

Watch longer using less power: PowerDVD performs admirably without wasting system resources. Better power consumption means longer battery life for your device.

Media Servers: Plex, Kodi

Kodi
Kodi

This entry puts you one step ahead of conventional video players. With a media server, you can not only play high-quality videos, but also stream hundreds of TV channels and thousands of on-demand movies. Your data can be synchronized with any device, phone, or computer and you can curate your own collection of favorite content.

Download Plex

Download Kodi

Why is it the better alternative than Windows Media Player?

You can browse and watch your favorite online videos seamlessly. This is something that goes completely out of WMP’s territory.

Who should use this media player?

If binge-watching movies and internet TV is your thing, feel free to get Plex and Kodi.

Which video formats does it support?

Plex supports H. 264, HEVC (H. 265), MJpeg, Mpeg2video, Mpeg4, VC1, AAC, AC3, DTS , EAC3, MP2, MP3, PCM, and more. Whereas Kodi can play MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.263, MPEG-4 SP and ASP, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), etc.

From which angles it is a better player than others in the list?

Kodi and Plex are open-source media powerhouses. These applications can be used as a DVR if your PC has a TV card. They are skinnable and run almost every media type file on virtually every device. You can organize and curate your content gallery and sync it to your smart TV.

Further, you can make the most of the numerous add-ons for extra services such as games, lyrics, subtitles, and streaming sites. All in all, media servers are the best video player for Windows 10 when it comes on on-demand video watching.

Is it safe to use?

Plex and Kodi are 100% secure and safe media servers.

Is it resource heavy?

Plex requires only 2 GB of RAM for installation and can run on Intel Core i3 processors. Kodi can run low-powered computers including a Rasberry Pi.

Conclusion

There are a large number of video player applications available for the Windows platform; therefore, choosing the right one for your computer can prove challenging. In order to ensure that your desired video is played properly and in the best possible quality for its intended purpose, hosting location, and intended audience, it is necessary to understand the different video file formats.

The list above includes all the best free video players for Windows. Which free media player do you prefer?

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Itechtics Staff
Itechtics staff is a team of technology experts led by Usman Khurshid. We verify everything we write so that our users can be sure to trust us in everything we write. You can reach out to us for further help and support.

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