What is the best video player for Windows? I have tried several video player applications in the quest to find the best one, and although I haven’t tried them all, there is 1 in particular that I feel stand above the rest. In addition, there is 1 honorable mention that I keep around as it can do things no other app can. Read more to find out my top pick for the best video player for Windows.
Winner: Daum PotPlayer
I used to use The KMPlayer, a Korean media player (with English translations of course) as my default player for most files. It has since been sold off to another company and development has stagnated. Luckily, I found out that the original author started development on another player called Daum PotPlayer.
PotPlayer has quickly grown to become my favorite video player for Windows. I even consider it one of the “killer apps” that prevent me from switching to OS X. It has built-in codec support for playing just about any media files you will use, and has many customization options. The best part is that you don’t need to really customize much to get a good experience with it, but the choices are there for power users.
My favorite feature is the ability to open all video files in a folder when opening just one, so it is easy to advance through them all using Page Up/Down. It’s also easy to zoom in and out and skip forward or backward using the arrow keys. Plus, the application loads very fast. There are far too many features to talk about them all here, so I’ll just advise you to grab it for yourself and have a try.
While the player is originally in Korean, it has been translated and English versions are updated frequently. Some useful links are:
- PotPlayer Download Page – Be sure to get the full version first. If you see a download labeled “Update” with a newer version number, you can grab that as well, but you need to install a full version first in order to apply the update.
- Changelog in English – Describes updates and what is new in each version.
- Configure PotPlayer for GPU Acceleration – An in-depth guide on how to configure PotPlayer to use GPU acceleration for optimal picture quality. This is optional.
Honorable Mention: VLC (VideoLAN Client)
VideoLan Client (more well-known as VLC) is special mainly because it has the best file support of any video player. Even if the file is damaged or partially missing, chances are that VLC can play back the portion that exists, even when other applications fail. Indeed, I have seen a few video files that were so corrupt that even PotPlayer (and every other player I tried) did not show any video at all, only audio. However, VLC alone was able to render the video as if the file had no issue.
The main issue with VLC is that the interface, while customizable and powerful, is not easy to use and doesn’t look very good. For these reasons, I keep VLC around as backup to play any files that might have difficulties in PotPlayer.