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Video Player Recommendation Guide

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I've decided to create a comprehensive list of the most popular video players as well as some codec packs that are currently available today. Each of these video players should be able to handle most if not all current codecs that are being used in videos. I will list each video player in order from best to meh, write a small description, and give you some helpful links to official websites, alternative versions, and informative guides. I will be adding more information and video players over time based on community feedback & my own findings. My purpose is to help you choose which video player & setup is best for you!

 

mpv

 

600px-Mpv-logo.svg.png

 

mpv is the premier video player of the current day. Its lightweight, portable, powerful, and is compatible with Windows, Linux, MacOS/OS X & Android operating systems. It is capable of playing almost every common video & audio codec, has great subtitle support via the libass subtitle renderer, and is excellent for power users with its advanced options. The official build does not really have a fully functional GUI, but I have provided some alternative GUI versions below for those who prefer that. I will also include some good guides & tutorials on how to use mpv and customize it to your liking. I currently use this video player and have had nothing but a great experience & no complaints so far.

 

Official Website: https://mpv.io/

 

Alternative Versions:

  • SMPlayer
    • SMPlayer uses mpv as its playback engine, but it has a bunch of custom features added that mpv does not have. Its a great alternative if you want a unique GUI experience with the playback capability of mpv.
  • mpv.net
    • mpv.net is just mpv with a GUI included to make it easier to use for those who prefer that over the command line or editing configuration files. It also adds scripting support via the .NET framework and a few other nice features that you can find listed on the GitHub page. 
  • mpv Made Easy
    • Our friendly neighborhood @Moodkiller has created a nice pre-packaged version of mpv that shares a lot of similarities, both visually and under the hood, to the popular video player MPC-HC which I will be covering in more detail later on in the guide.

 

Helpful Guides:

 

IINA

 

IINA_Logo.png

 

This video player is pretty much mpv specifically tailored to the macOS/OS X operating system. If you have an Apple laptop or computer, this video player is for you!

 

Official Website: https://iina.io/

 

MPC-HC

 

Media_Player_Classic_logo.png

 

Media Player Classic - Home Cinema, a.k.a. MPC-HC has been around for a very long time, and used to be the best video player around for Windows until the the project eventually dwindled and lost all active developers in 2017. Although the official version has not been fully updated since then, it is still a great video player when bundled with the correct codecs and video rendering software. MPC-HC is also lightweight, portable and powerful when set up correctly, which is quite similar in description to mpv. There are a few alternative versions of the video player that are still being updated to this day. I've provided all of this below as well as some useful codecs that work well with this video player.

 

If you are using Linux or MacOS/OS X as your operating system, this video player is NOT COMPATIBLE with your operating system!
 

Official Website: https://mpc-hc.org/

 

Alternative Versions:

  • MPC-BE
    • Media Player Classic - Black Edition a.k.a. MPC-BE, is a fork of MPC-HC with a nice dark theme & unique features that the original software does not have. It's constantly being updated with stable and nightly versions and is a good alternative if you want something fresh and new.
  • MPC-HC Maintenance Mode
    • MPC-HC is back! Well... kind of. The official repository on GitHub is now in maintenance mode which means that no new features will be added, but bug fixes will be included in newer builds.
  • MPC-QT
    • Media Player Classic Qute Theater, a.k.a. MPC-QT, is a hybrid creation which merges the interface and visual look of MPC-HC, and the playback engine of mpv into one. This particular player is compatible with both Linux and Windows. It's a promising idea, but unfortunately the player has not been updated since 2018, leaving some of the features unfinished. Hopefully one day, someone will pick up the torch and continue this potentially great project.
  • LAV Filters Megamix
    • This amazing package installer comes with everything you need to enhance your MPC-HC experience. It's bundled with LAV Filters, madVR, some madVR presets to choose from depending on your hardware, multiple subtitle renderers, and it even allows you to choose between a few different video players including MPC-HC. It is updated pretty frequently. I recommend this option if you want the best MPC-HC setup possible without all the hassle!

 

Codecs:

  • LAV Filters
    • LAV Filters includes all the main codecs needed to play the most common and popular video and audio formats. It is one of the best and most popular codec packs for MPC-HC and is always being updated.
  • madVR
    • This is the ultimate video renderer for MPC-HC. It applies numerous techniques and algorithms to enhance the playback of your videos and improve the overall quality of the image. It is scalable based on your hardware configuration, and can be tweaked in many different ways depending on your preferences. You can read more about it on their website.
  • AssFilterMod
    • I know the name is kind of silly, but this is a subtitle renderer based on the very well made & stable libass interface used in mpv. I know it hasn't been updated in a few years, but it should still work perfectly fine on today's most demanding fansubs. I recommend this over any alternatives for MPC-HC.
  • xySubFilter
    • Before libass became widespread, VSFilter was the go-to solution for subtitle rendering. Although it was good for what it did, it had a lot of bugs, stability & performance issues when it came to displaying subtitles, especially things such as KFX or advanced typesetting seen in anime fansubs. xySubFilter was created to resolve those issues and run more efficiently. It definitely is a big improvement over VSFilter by a long shot, but it still suffers from rendering issues from time to time. Give it a try if you want, but keep that in mind before you do.

 

 

VLC Media Player

 

800px-VLC_Icon.svg.png

 

VLC Media Player is hands down the most popular video player on Earth. It is compatible with every operating system that is used on a mainstream level, is easy to set up and use, and can play almost anything. Sounds like the best choice based on that description, right? WRONG. This video player may sound great on paper, but it suffers from many issues, including extremely darkened colors when playing 4:4:4 predictive chroma formatted videos, color distortion, excessive font cache loading times, and more. This video player is for people who really don't care about how their video looks, they just want something that works without them having to fiddle with anything.

 

Official Website: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

 

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sfaxt

Nice guide thanks!

for beginners ,mpv MK is preconfigured and probably the best hassle free option.

its worthwhile to say that both mpc and madvr (kinda) are portable and as such easy to preconfigure, so not hard to use either.

and you can set up once, keep it backed up, and never bother with it again.

for madvr, one just needs to just use install.bat, and then replace the initial settings.bin with another configured file.

i dont remember for sure, but i think that if you put settings.bin first and then install madvr it resets to defaults, so you got to replace it after installation

Edited by sfaxt
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LastReaction
2 minutes ago, sfaxt said:

Nice guide thanks!

for beginners ,mpv MK is preconfigured and probably the best hassle free option.

its worthwhile to say that both mpc and madvr (kinda) are portable and as such easy to preconfigure, so not hard to use either.

and you can set up once, keep it backed up, and never bother with it again.

for madvr, one just needs to just use install.bat, and then replace the initial settings.bin with another configured file.

i dont remember for surem but i think that if you put settings.bin and then install madvr it resets to defaults.

Thanks for your input! You're right, MPC-HC is also portable. I will add that to my description.

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Avion

Thanks for the tips, LastReaction. I've never heard of LAV Filters Megamix. I will check it out. I use MPC-HC and sometimes SMPlayer as a backup video player.  

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LastReaction
22 hours ago, Avion said:

Thanks for the tips, LastReaction. I've never heard of LAV Filters Megamix. I will check it out. I use MPC-HC and sometimes SMPlayer as a backup video player.  

If you need any assistance setting it up, let me know. :)

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Phokat

Which should be the best to play something heavy like 2160p HEVC H.265 BluRay(Remux). I tried a few but either the video stuttered (VLC) or the dynamic color range got fucked up(dull colors)(mpv versions)? Is the problem with the player or some tweaks in setting would do it?

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Spoony
6 hours ago, Phokat said:

Which should be the best to play something heavy like 2160p HEVC H.265 BluRay(Remux). I tried a few but either the video stuttered (VLC) or the dynamic color range got fucked up(dull colors)(mpv versions)? Is the problem with the player or some tweaks in setting would do it?

If you're getting dull colors then obviously your screen is not HDR ready, or perhaps you're not using a proper HDMI 2.0b cord and need to update.

 

I have one screen that isn't HDR and my mpv actually converts the colors to SDR during playback so that everything looks good when playing HDR video.

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TheDevilsHyper

Something for android too...

Mpv for android has too outdated ui

Any better suggestions?

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