A good PC video player must meet certain minimum requirements. On the one hand, it must be able to reproduce all kinds of formats, and on the other hand, it must have a good set of functionalities. What are the best for smooth and smooth video viewing from a Windows computer?
Basics: What is a video codec?
Before going into flour, it would be advisable to talk a little about the codecs. When we watch a video we use what are commonly known as codecs. The word codec comes from the union of the Anglo-Saxon terms “coder” and “decoder”. Basically, it is a program that is in charge of encoding (compressing) and decoding (reproducing from a compressed medium) an audio and video multimedia file.
There are different codecs for each type of data. Thus, video codecs are responsible for processing sequential images and audio codecs do the same with sounds. In this way, when we want to play a video with sound, we make use of both types of codecs.
One of the most important factors in a codec is its simplicity and speed in data processing. If a codec is too heavy, or our device is not powerful enough, the playback will be burdened and we will have cuts or crashes.
Top 10 video players for Windows 10/8/7 in 2020
To decode audio / video files we usually use media players, media players, or as everyone usually knows them: video players. These are 10 of the most outstanding that we can currently find in Windows.
VLC Media Player
If we talk about the best video players for PC we should definitely mention VLC. If you are thinking of using a player other than the one that comes standard in Windows, it should probably be this one.
It practically reproduces what you throw at it, it is free, open-source and it also has countless features:
- Available on virtually all operating systems.
- Read subtitles.
- Constant updates and a large community of users.
- Play 360-degree and 8K videos.
- Allows you to play content online and online.
- You can also read in DVD format.
- It has extensions to offer more functionalities.
PotPlayer is one of the few players that is still compatible with Windows XP. It also supports Windows 7/8/10, one of its best assets being the fact that it does not consume too many resources.
- Allows hardware acceleration for a better experience.
- Various 3D-oriented functionalities.
- It supports a large number of codecs (and if it doesn’t download them automatically).
- Customizable (support for skins).
- Minimalist design.
- Allows you to download subtitles for video files.
5K Player is more than just a video player. In addition to playing local files, it allows you to play streaming video and listen to the radio. It is free, yes, but with some announcements of products belonging to the same company that we will meet along the way.
- Lets you download YouTube videos.
- DLNA / AirPlay support
- 4K / 5K video playback.
- HEVC / H.264 decoding.
GOM Media Player
Gretech Media Player is one of the best free video players for Windows. It supports the most common audio and video formats (MP4, FLV, AVI, MOV). Anyway, if we have a file that it doesn’t recognize, we can always use its integrated codec finder to get out of the jam.
- Speed control, A-B repetitions, screenshots …
- Skins customizable appearance.
- You can connect to the OpenSubtitles.org database to get subtitles.
- Compatible with older computers running Windows XP.
This excellent video player for Windows is only available through the Microsoft Store. It is a UWP application, which means that it is also compatible with tablets and supports gesture control. It is free, although it contains ads (something we can avoid by making an in-app purchase).
- It supports a large number of formats, including 360-degree video files.
- Sound and video effects.
- Online streaming.
- It can be used as a multimedia server.
The quintessential multimedia center. Not only does it play any type of video locally, but it also has a large number of add-ons or add-ons to expand its possibilities to infinity and beyond. Initially it was called XBMC (Xbox Media Center) and it was included in the first Xbox. A classic, open source and free.
- We can synchronize it with Netflix, YouTube and many other online streaming services.
- Supports subtitle download.
- Lets watch TV online.
- Compatible with a multitude of formats.
Media Player Classic
It looks like the old video player that came standard on Windows, the Windows Media Player (although it is a completely different program). Its clear and simple interface aims to offer a light and efficient experience. Simple and at the same time, one of the best free players that we can find in 2019 for Windows 7/8/10.
- It has a portable version that does not require installation.
- Customizable using skins and toolbars.
- 100% free and ad-free.
The biggest virtue of Universal Media Player is that it is really light. Perfect for old equipment or that do not have many resources.
- Free open source video player.
- Supports a wide variety of codecs and formats.
- It allows to play media from external sources such as YouTube and the like.
Many people think that this video player only serves to play a very specific format. The truth is that it supports a wide variety of video formats. DivX Player is specially designed to play HEVC videos as well as high definition videos.
- Multimedia server for devices with DLNA support.
- Lets you create playlists.
- Multitude of options for audio playback.
KM Player is a Chinese video player developed by PandoraTV that has been on the market for years. It started without a lot of specs, but today it has a nice package of tools and features. It is one of the best rated players by Windows users. Plus, it’s free and 100% ad-free.
- Supports high resolution videos in QHD and UHD.
- You don’t need overly powerful equipment.
- Supports 3D videos.
What can I do if my player doesn’t play a video?
Once we have our player installed on the computer, we may find that it is not capable of playing a certain video. The causes can be varied, and we must bear in mind that it is not always the fault of the software that we have just installed:
Incompatible codec: In some cases the player cannot play a video because it does not support the file format used, or because the codec used to compress the video is not compatible. To solve the problem we can install a codec pack for Windows 10, such as the K-Lite Codec Pack (one of the most complete) or convert the video file to a different format.
Frozen: If the video is paused inadvertently, the image is frozen. This occurs when there has been a cut during downloading or copying the video and it is incomplete. The solution is to re-download the video.
Black screen: If the image disappears and we see it all white or all black, it is usually an indication that the file is corrupted. To fix it we can use a repair program like Yodot Repair, or pull online repair utilities like ESTA.
Distorted sound: In this case we would also be faced with a damaged file and the solution would also be to repair the video.