Best Programs for watching movies and videos on your PC

Best video players
Finding a program that can be used to watch all kinds of videos on PC is very simple and you don’t even have to put your hand to your wallet, as virtually all apps designed to play videos are offered for free.Therefore, if we have problems playing the videos that we download from the Internet or that pass us from chats or emails, it is advisable to install a good program suitable for play all kinds of multimedia files, digital audio and video formats, CDs and DVDs.

Although many are satisfied with the player included with Windows (Movies and TV or still, the new Windows 11 Media Player), it is worthwhile to focus on another player for videos, since Microsoft does not have the rights to play all the formats and video containers currently on the market.

READ ALSO -> Best programs to listen to music on your PC (Windows)

1) VLC

VLC it needs no introduction and is the most famous and used open source media player in the world.
VLC

VLC media player is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and is compatible with all popular video formats. The interface is excellent, in Italian, with simple menus and fully customizable toolbars.

VLC is definitely a powerful but light in memory player, it has hotkeys that make it very easy to use. This player is also capable of viewing corrupted or ruined videos and playing partially downloaded videos from the Internet.

The advanced controls allow you to record streaming streams and can also be used as an audio and video converter, as seen in our guide on how convert video with VLC on Windows PC.

VLC media player is therefore the best player we can ever install on our computer, also because at the moment there is no more compatible reader: it really reads everything, even extensions we’ve never heard before or we’ve never met before! In addition to guaranteeing full support for all audio and video formats it allows play videos on Chromecast or can also be installed on Fire TV Stick to be used as a network player.

2) PotPlayer

Another program that we can install on PC to read any video file is PotPlayer unknown to most but with a modern and easy to manage interface.
PotPlayer

PotPlayer is an intuitive and powerful multimedia player, rich in features, easy to use with very high quality both video and audio. With PotPlayer we can enjoy watching high definition MKV movies and listening to the sound with a Dolby Surround system. Who uses a audio system connected to the PC should certainly switch to PotPlayer.

This player has full support for all major audio and video codecs, including those included in DVD, Blu-Ray and optical discs in general. PotPlayer supports GPU acceleration and post-processing comes with hardware assisted decoder and when it comes to viewing HD video, it uses the video card installed in the system to decode the stream, reducing CPU usage and making playback smoother and unaffected by quality and file size .

A key feature of PotPlayer is that it allows seamless playback of multimedia content, up to 1000 files one after the other. More experienced users can configure the numerous options and modify advanced video processing filters and settings. PotPlayer can also be used to watch TV if using a DVB USB Digital Terrestrial Receiver.

Other features include the support for all videos, watching streaming videos, taking a screenshot, recording from streaming streams automatic playback of similar files in a folder, support for madVR / HR / EVR (latest video renderer), auto-resume of the last 200 files played, automatic computer shutdown and much more.

Unfortunately it is only available in English and there is currently no version in Italian: not bad since the interface is very intuitive and can be used even without knowing a single word of English.

3) Media Player Classic Home Cinema (MPC-HC)

Media Player Classic it is certainly the lightest program to use on a PC, as it is also supplied in a portable version (without installation). This program is the enhanced version of Media Player Classic and is designed to easily play any video format.
MPC-BE

Inspired by the old Windows Media Player 6 (of which it shares only the graphic aspect) this program packs a lot of features, including codecs for viewing DVD discs, MKV videos, MP4 videos and much more. With this program we can also read old video files in QuickTime and AVI format, without having to download other compatible programs.

This player is really simple, it takes up very little memory space, it does not require installation and read any video file: it is difficult to find a more comfortable program to watch movies and videos on PC. In fact, the only flaws are the graphic aspect and the lack of the Italian language, all of which are negligible if you are looking for a really light player.

4) MPV

MPV is a simple, wonderfully minimalist video player that has only basic playback controls, a search bar, a subtitle tool, and a button to go full screen on the home screen.
MPV

This program is based on MPlayer and in fact offers an interface for open source video libraries. with MPV we will have a pure video player with minimal controls overlaid at the bottom, without further annoying menus and buttons external to the video.

In a comparison between MPV and VLC the former is definitely a worthy opponent and often also offers superior stability when watching a movie, being based on an efficient and less demanding technology from the point of view of resources.

As a player, therefore, it is extremely light in memory and compatible with any video format: it is no coincidence that it is the best choice for those with PCs with at least 5 or 6 years on their shoulders or with limited support for hardware acceleration.

5) SMPlayer

SMPlayer is one of those open source media players that has almost all the built-in features that a complete and performing media player should have.
SMPlayer

The program has a comprehensive interface, with controls only becoming visible when you hover your mouse over the screen near the bottom or top.

It downloads along with an included codec pack so it plays all media files and has a smart feature to find subtitles. There are two modes for viewing and playback: quality or performance, so you can watch videos without slowing down due to system strain (on older, less powerful computers).

Other video players for PC

Those seen so far are, by number of downloads and by user preferences, the best players that you can install on your PC to watch movies and videos. Those who are dissatisfied with the top five readers or would like to try alternatives, just need to choose the right one from the following list:

  • KMPlayer it offers many advanced features, supports a wide range of codecs and formats, and is highly customizable, available in multiple languages. With a minimalist, intuitive and functional user interface, all options are available on the right mouse button in the main window. The player is simple enough to use for normal people who don’t ask for much more than the ability to watch movies on their computer, but even the most experienced will find a power of configuration options to be very high. For multimedia playback, it includes almost all essential decoders and also supports third-party codecs
  • UMPlayer is a cross-platform media player (Windows, Mac and Linux) based on MPlayer. It is a universal open source program, in the sense that it includes over 270 codecs and therefore becomes number one when it comes to compatibility even with lesser known digital formats, without worrying about installing additional codecs. The graphical interface, aesthetically pleasing, is simple and intuitive. Another great feature is that you don’t need to worry about searching for subtitles because the program automatically fetches them from the Internet.
  • MPCStar, light and very powerful, with a super most modern interface among the best on this list. This Media Player plays most of the file formats without additional codecs including RAR archives without ripping them, DVD and audio CDs and online video streaming. This media player is recommended for average users who have no intention of touching advanced options and who just want a nice program with which to listen to music and watch movies on their computer.
  • GOM Player is another great alternative to VLC, available only for Windows, to play most multimedia files, including flv files with its internal codecs. A very noteworthy feature of GOM Player is its ability to play broken multimedia files and partial ones of half downloaded movies.
  • AllPlayer supports all the features of an advanced Media Player, with all built-in audio and video codecs and various playback functions. These include: support for automatically identified and found subtitles, playback of Rar files without having to extract them and of incomplete or partial files, playback of CDs and DVDs, Video Converter, Dolby Surround, SPDIF and 3D audio support, repair tools Corrupted AVI files, Playlists, Auto shutdown of PC after a movie ends.
  • Zoom Player is one of the best programs to watch videos on PC, free, with many advanced functions and options to customize the interface. It supports all video formats having integrated codecs.
  • ACG Player is the perfect lightweight Media Player, designed for Windows 10 tablets, with a simplified interface and touch-based controls. In short, ACG Player is one of the few apps from the Microsoft Store worth using, which supports most multimedia codecs, playback from files, discs, external devices.
  • Macgo Free Media Player is a modern program that supports video playback in 4K resolution with DTS 5.1 for sound. The player works with BDMV, MKV, MOV, MP4, AVI, MP3 and many other formats, it also supports subtitles in SRT format.
  • 5KPlayer can play AVI, FLV, MKV, MTS / M2TS, H.265 / 264, VP8 / 9 and WebM video files, among others. 5KPlayer also works well for viewing content from websites such as YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion and converting / saving videos. 5KPlayer also has an AirPlay function which allows you to stream multimedia content from Apple devices such as iPhone and iPad to PC.
  • Soda Player it is one of the best to watch Sopcast, Acestream and Torrent videos and play them on Chromecast as well.

Let’s try them all and keep what convinces us the most for graphic interface and support for video files that we usually use on PCs.

Conclusions

The good old Windows Media Player was a decent audio and video player, but it lacked support for tons of codecs and was notoriously slow. Fortunately, the modern multimedia players born to replace it are all very efficient, they open all videos without slowdowns or clicks (even on older PCs), they are often offered under an open source license and they do not need to install additional codecs which is very important to keep the system clean and without unnecessary additions.

On the same topic we can read our guides on software and codecs to watch movies and videos of all kinds come on how to fix unseen video and codec problems.

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