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Free Video Players for PC – Everything You Need to Know

by Tom Volotta on February 16, 2012

Free Video Players for PC“You can’t get something for nothing” have long been words to heed when engaging in any endeavor. So the notion of free video players for PC naturally raises the question, are you indeed getting something for nothing? In this case, the answer is actually, “Yes.”


With video becoming increasingly important in delivering entertainment, news, commercial, enterprise and social content, it’s hardly a surprise that there is an array of video players available from a growing number of vendors, which deliver high quality video and audio over the Internet.

Aside from the two major operating system providers, Microsoft and Apple, each offering its own built-in video player (Windows Media Player and QuickTime, respectively), there are also dozens upon dozens of free video players available. A few of the more well known include; AllPlayer, DivX, GOM Media Player, KMPlayer, MPlayer, RealPlayer, UMPlayer, VLC Media Player, and Xtreme Media Player. BTW: QuickTime for Windows is available as a free video player download from Apple, and Flip4Mac is also available for free to play WMV files on a Mac through QuickTime.


Most importantly, you of course want high quality images and sound. Input quality, sophistication of the decoder, ability to scale and other variables all come into play here for more advanced users. The basic user interface should be intuitive and easy to use and maybe even customizable. There are other special features such as skins, playlists, libraries, auto-resolution change, social connections and additional goodies that come in some free video players for PC.

Looking for a video player for your PC? Consider RealPlayer: It’s free, plays just about any video format, and even converts file formats all for free.

Unless you have a specific need, you’ll want the flexibility of a player that will handle many formats, and codecs. Some of those include the usual suspects of FLV, AVI, MP4, WMV and MKV. Being able to convert codecs is also significant. This is essential when you want to transfer video to mobile devices, most of which are looking for H.264 or H.263. If your favorite player doesn’t have all the formats and codecs you require, you can download special codec packs to round out those capabilities, but be careful of the source.


If you are not happy with the built-in player that came with your OS, you’ll find plenty of alternatives on the Internet. Several sites review and rate video players and there are many software directories like, Brothersoft and more that offer reviews and download information. Sometimes these sites mix free and premium software, so check closely (there may be a “free” search filter) to be sure. You may need to do some research of your own to find out what free video player is right for you.


  • Carefully read the product description. Intermingled with free video players are converters, morphing and other effects software, codec packs, players that only handle one or two formats, and even pre-release versions.
  • Look for the best all-around quality and reliable players
  • Make sure it’s right for your OS. Properly fitted Intel Macs have the most choices. Some of the advanced players are Windows only. As an example, RealNetworks has a free video player for Windows and Mac, with extra cost pricing for its Windows RealPlayer Plus offering, but no advanced Mac version. DivX does offer separate Free and Pro versions for both Windows and Mac, with the Pro editions also at additional cost.
  • Select multiple players to compare
  • Go to the vendor’s web site for the free video players download. You’ll get the latest version and avoid picking up a virus.

There’s no lack of choices for free video players for PCs. The top brands and a few hidden gems can deliver high quality and considerable flexibility. Choosing the best video player that best fits your needs is a worthwhile experience in comparing the various feature sets and how well they play your favorite videos.

If you have any questions about video players for PCs, just leave a comment below. I’m always happy to answer questions.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vadim March 13, 2012 at 10:45 am

Player sucks for the lot of bugs and shit it contains. Just buseace it knows more codecs doesn’t make it better. h264 and mkv are just some formats that were invented to promote without them this player would be nothing!

2 Tom Volotta March 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I’m sorry you have not had a good experience with RealPlayer. The article did mention several other well know and reputable media players, which you are certainly welcome to use. If you’re having problems using RealPlayer, customer support would be happy to help resolve the difficulties.

As for bugs. ALL software has bugs. That’s one reason developers are constantly releasing updates. To both make improvements and to fix things. I can break any of these products by trying to make it do things it’s not designed for, or clicking certain buttons in certain sequences.

Regarding file formats and codecs, NO player would be anything without them. Many of these formats have been developed by organizations that have nothing to do with the companies that create the player, converter, downloader, etc., software, but the formats and codecs become popular and effective standards which must be incorporated into those products to best serve users.

3 hotmail smtp March 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Thank you for telling us.

4 Tom Volotta March 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm

hotmail smtp,

Sure. Happy to.

5 Street Fighter online May 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

6 Tom Volotta May 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

Actually, the gist of the piece was about software players, not the brands of hardware players for your music.

I’m not getting into the middle of this one!

I’m an iPod user to begin with.

To each his or her own.

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8 Tom Volotta May 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Thanks. Come back for more.

Plenty of other interesting topics on the blog too.


9 holy cow June 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I’m really loving the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

10 Tom Volotta June 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Thank you.

I know the designers, developers and staff worked very hard to make this blog both attractive and very efficient in its operation. No compatibility issues I’m aware of.

As for your blog, no, I don’t have any solutions. You’ll need to consult a Webmaster. Maybe contact Microsoft Explorer support.


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12 Tom Volotta June 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

Well, thanks for that. Keep coming back. There are other topics and writers with a point of view on the blog too.


13 Hiedi Groene July 30, 2012 at 1:31 am

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14 Tom Volotta July 31, 2012 at 9:44 pm



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16 Tom Volotta August 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm

That’s great. Keep coming back. There’s always something new.


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18 Tom Volotta August 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

Good to hear that. Check out the many other posts on the site covering a broad range of subjects. Tell your friends.


19 Fan page September 12, 2012 at 8:36 am

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20 Tom Volotta September 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

You’re right.

21 Immobilienwissen September 19, 2012 at 7:48 am

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22 Tom Volotta September 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Thanks for the feedback.

Just curious, when you say, “…you simply can do with a few % to force the message…” is it your meaning that the content should contain MORE technical information – or the opposite – where there should be LESS detail in the technology descriptions and the how-to steps to accomplish a task?

And, Yes, I do read minds. But only part-time. Too much competition here in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially up here in Marin County. ;)


23 Kalo Kohan September 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

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24 Tom Volotta September 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm

If you’re asking you can be notified whenever a new post is published…I think the answer is “No.” You ARE advised when an author responds to a specific comment you make. But a global “send me an email whenever a new article is published” is probably still a “No.” That could get pretty annoying for people interested in topic A, and getting notified topic Z was just posted. I’m sure filters could be built to block or opt out of specific topics you had no interest in keeping up with, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the Web Master to conjure up that bit of code. You’re asking for something that operates more like a Listserv. They have their place, but I don’t think it’s here.


25 Dpugie December 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

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26 Tom Volotta December 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

Great! Thanks for spreading the word.


27 Sharen Huges February 21, 2013 at 1:10 am

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28 Tom Volotta February 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

Thanks, Sharen.
You are more than welcome to read and comment on any and all of the many different topics posted on the blog.


29 Candy Crush Secrets September 25, 2013 at 4:22 am

Thanks for your video players for PC tom.! but i was encountered several times fake video players, because when i’m watching a movie on my pc it seems advertisement if i were online otherwise there is no ads. But Real player is fair enough for me. :D

30 Georgia January 14, 2015 at 9:41 pm

Tom, I’ve had Real Player on my computer since I purchased the computer many years ago and It only downloads in .flv and always has. It has always been the greatest thing ever for me to download music videos. My Real Player includes Real Downloader and Real Player Converter. Now all at once it only downloads in .mp4 that are unplayable by my Real Player, Windows Media Player. The only music videos I can listen to is the ones that I already have downloaded on my computer. I can’t download any new ones. Do you have any idea what I can do to be able to down load more music videos in .flv format? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

31 Brinton Felixraja January 16, 2015 at 7:37 am

Some sites have introduced a new streaming standard and this is the reason why the downloads are .mp4 file formats. You can download the .mp4 file and it should play in the latest version of RealPlayer.

In order to troubleshoot this issue effectively, I will need you to provide the following information:

> Does the Download This Video button appears?
> What happens when you download a video?
> Do you receive any error message?
> Does the downloaded clip have a thumbnail view image on it?
> What is your Operating System (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1)?
> What version of RealPlayer is installed?

To find the version:

a. Open the RealPlayer software.
b. From the RealPlayer menu in the upper left, choose “Help” option.
c. Choose “About RealPlayer” inside the “Help” menu. A window opens.
d. Provide the information listed beside “Version” near the top of the “About RealPlayer” window. These numbers indicate the version of RealPlayer currently installed on the computer (i.e. “RealPlayer″ or “RealPlayer″).

> What web browser do you use (Google Chrome/Firefox/ Internet Explorer)?

The more specific you are, the better I will be able to assist you.

If you have any additional questions, please send an email to

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