5 best free media players for PC and Mac

When Windows Media Player isn’t enough.

Whether it’s your very own home video or a digital copy of that big blockbuster hit, having a quality video player on your computer is downright essential.

What you probably already know is that your default built-in video player, while functional, pales in comparison to the many other free video players out there.

In this study, we compared five of the most popular free video players out there: 

First, let’s take a brief overall look at some of the features each player has:


K-Multimedia Player (KMPlayer) is a solid video player that functions as a decent alternative to the ever-popular VLC Media Player.

Relative newcomer MPV is the most simple and lightweight player around, and is perfect if all you really care about is having something to drop your video files in and have them play.

Meanwhile, Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (MPC-HC) and PotPlayer are the most versatile and fully-featured players of the bunch, with a high number of settings and customisations, while being fairly lightweight.

Plus, MPC-HC and PotPlayer have an edge over the other video players in that they have the intelligent playlists feature. This means that they can detect files based on certain criteria, such as file name, and create a playlist for you when you open one. This allows you to watch episode one of a TV series and seamless move on to the next episode when it’s done, for example.

Unfortunately, MPC-HC and PotPlayer are for Windows operating systems only.