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The 15 best free multimedia downloads

Make your PC a multimedia powerhouse

If you find the media players and related software designed to turn your PC into a multimedia machine a little underwhelming, then check out our favourite 15 video and audio applications, all of which can handle just about any job you can throw at them. Visit PC Advisor Downloads for hundreds of great software downloads.

Turn your PC into the greatest entertainment device ever may prove difficult as bundled media players and related software for playing and managing audio and video, tend to be underwhelming at best.

However, we've put together 15 of our favourite video and audio applications, all of which can handle just about any job you can throw at them. They'll help you download YouTube videos to your PC, or convert videos to formats that you can view on handheld devices. They'll play any audio and video formats you can find. They'll make you into a DJ and allow you to create your own customised mixes, too. So if you want to get the most out of the entertainment device on your desk, read on. Even better is the fact that the vast majority of these downloads are completely free, and the others offer no-cost trials.

Video

Want to download YouTube videos to your computer, convert video files to formats that you can view on portable players, find the best videos online, or watch TV from around the world? We have software that does all that, and a lot more.

TubeMe
How many times have you watched a YouTube video and wished that you could save it to your hard drive for future viewing? With this free software (download TubeMe here), you can save YouTube videos as .flv files; afterward, you can watch the videos in any multimedia software that supports the .flv format (such as FLV Player or VLC Media Player, both discussed below). Before downloading the videos, you get a full description of them, as well.

Be aware that using this program can be a bit confusing. Make sure to click the Download path button, at the bottom of the screen, to tell the program where to download your videos. And to download the video, you'll have to copy and paste the YouTube URL into the program. After that, click the icon with a small plus sign; it looks grayed-out, as if it were nonfunctional, but it does work. Once you've added the link, you can download the video. You can also put multiple videos in a list, and download them all at once.

FLV Player
If you've downloaded YouTube videos using TubeMe or another downloader, or if you've collected other files in the .flv format, you may run into a problem: Many media players, including Windows Media Player, can't handle them. FLV Player (download it here) is a straightforward media player designed to play .flv files exclusively. To access a video, press Ctrl and O, browse to the file, and open it, or else double-click the .flv file from inside Windows Explorer. You can also drag-and-drop files into the player. The software even handles multiple .flv files: simply drag several files to the program, and the app plays each video in its own window.

You can control video playback through the usual controls, or with a variety of keyboard shortcuts. You can also toggle between full-screen mode and normal mode. Note that you may run into problems installing the software on Windows Vista. If that happens to you, right-click the installation file and choose Run as Administrator. That should solve the problem.

NEXT PAGE: Even more great free video software

  1. Make your PC a multimedia powerhouse
  2. Even more free video software
  3. GOM Media Player and DivX for Windows
  4. Great audio apps
  5. Foxy Tunes and Zune Media Player
  6. Foobar2000 and WinAmp Full
  7. Ashampoo Burning Studio 8.0

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment and digital audio news and reviews


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