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.
GOM Media Player
This excellent, free media player (download GOM Media Player here) is particularly well suited for playing videos, because it supports a wide range of formats. It plays all the usual suspects, plus many other formats that media players often can't handle, such as DivX, .flv, XviD, and others. In addition, it sports some nifty features for video viewing, including the ability to change the brightness, contrast, and saturation. It has an audio equalizer for improving sound, too.
One particularly nice touch is that during installation the program asks you to indicate how you'll use it: for general-purpose viewing, for high-quality displays (if you own a powerful graphics card and a high-resolution monitor), or with TV output (if you plan to connect your PC to a television and use it there). Most people will choose the normal mode.
Note that the installation program will install the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer unless you instruct it not to, so during installation make sure to uncheck the box if you don't want that addition.
DivX for Windows
If you've downloaded videos from the internet, you may have come across DivX (download it here), which has become popular because it can compress video a significant amount and reduce the size of the files, yet retain high visual quality. That format has one problem, though: popular media players (such as Windows Media Player) don't support it, and as a result you may have difficulty playing DivX videos.
This free player handles DivX videos, and gives you all the controls you expect in a video player, including pause, resume, forward, back, and full-screen toggle. You can also manage your video library, and burn videos to disc. Included as well is a web DivX player for running videos inside a browser.
Note that when the program installs, it asks whether to install the Yahoo Toolbar, so be sure to uncheck the box if you don't want that add-on. A pay-for version of the software offers extra capabilities, such as enhanced audio and video and the ability to convert other video formats to DivX.
Online TV Player Basic
Wonder what's playing on TV right now in Albania? How about in Indonesia, Italy, Peru, or just about anywhere else? This great freebie (download Online TV Player Basic here) lists hundreds of TV stations - from Afghanistan to Vietnam - that broadcast online, and it lets you watch them for free. Simply run the software, browse the list of TV stations around the world, and double-click one, and it starts playing. The application tunes in radio stations around the world as well.
Keep in mind that not all of the TV stations listed as available are actually live; on occasion you may come across one that isn't broadcasting. But that's a small quibble. This is a terrific program for connecting to TV stations almost everywhere.
NEXT PAGE: Great audio apps
- Make your PC a multimedia powerhouse
- Even more free video software
- GOM Media Player and DivX for Windows
- Great audio apps
- Foxy Tunes and Zune Media Player
- Foobar2000 and WinAmp Full
- Ashampoo Burning Studio 8.0