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Friday, March 26, 2010

What's your favorite media player?

 

Greetings.

As today I am too lazy to include screens or write about TV shows, I'm just gonna summarize this week's releases that I watched:

Two.and.a.Half.Men.S07E18.720p.HDTV.X264-DIMENSION
The.Big.Bang.Theory.S03E18.720p.HDTV.x264-CTU
Lost.S06E09.720p.HDTV.X264-DIMENSION
South.Park.S14E02.720p.HDTV.X264-DIMENSION
FlashForward.S01E12.REAL.720p.HDTV.x264-CTU

Ok, let's continue to this posts' topic:

What media player do you prefer? I myself use two, BSPlayer and Media Player Classic. It's debatable which one's better, and it shouldn't be fair to put one against the other, since one is Free, and one is Commercial. But, since nothing in life is fair, let's see the PROS and CONS I have about both players (there are more than those I will mention, but I am only mentioning the ones I have problems with or like).

BSPlayer (Shareware):

Pros:
- A lot of features that can make it a good media player, but that's the only thing I like.
Cons:
- It can get a bit hoggy for lower-end PC's, and that's bad. You don't want people to whine about your software not running on lower-end PC's just because it's bloated (aka. you're not Norton Antivirus).
- Settings sometimes don't get saved, and you will sometimes constantly switch subtitle sizes for different movie formats - that's a renderer problem I think, and if I select one size for the subtitles of an 720p release, then switch to a regular Xvid release, the subtitles will clog all my screen. See, the renderer sets the size of the subtitles taking into consideration the resolution of the movie. So at font size 36, a subtitle looking good on a 720p release, will look HUGE, ENORMOUS on a regular Xvid release.
- The Windows Vista/7 renderer is crap. - It's true. On Windows XP systems, the overlay renderer was rendering the movies flawlessly, and you could watch an Xvid release without having to see pixels and pixels of video info on higher resolutions. The default (and only available) renderer on Windows Vista/7 fails at rendering Xvid lower-res movies the way it should, so a movie MIGHT become unwatchable if you're a HD freak like me - for example. Yeah, I like eye-candy. Sue me.

Moving on to Media Player Classic (also known as MPC, and it's freeware)

Pros:
- It's free! - Yea, that's a MAJOR pro. Developers update it in their own spare time, and since Microsoft went and elevated and bloated their Media Player so much, some guys just took the Windows 98 style media player and action-packed it full of nifty features and fixes, so it can even play rich HD content without a problem.
- Lots of internal decoding filters (audio/video codecs). - You name it! From AVI to DTS, from Matroska to Flac, from FLV to RealMedia, the video sources supported by MPC is astonishing. And that's not all! The internal codecs supported by MPC is a big one, also. It has AAC, AC3, DTS, LPCM, Vorbis, FLAC, RealAudio, to name a few audio codecs incorporated, and DivX, Xvid, FLV, VP5/6, WMV 1/2/3, VC1, RealVideo, H264/AVC, and H263 to name some video codecs included.
- Lots of Shaders that can be selected when a movie is playing. - Yeah, these are video effects to enhance the picture that is displayed. Ranging from sharpen, emboss, deinterlace, grayscale, letterbox, emboss, invert, denoise - you name it - MPC has lots, and supports external filters. Also, the processing is done in realtime, and has little effect on the decoding of the movie.

Cons:
- Some setting changes require a restart. - Don't really need to explain myself here.
- Sometimes the image is too dark. - As opposed to BSplayer which brightens the image a little bit, MPC tends to go to normalize it, and display it "as is", resulting in no black portions on both the top and bottom of your monitor for a wide screen movie, since, MPC's black is *THE* black - but not everyone may like how movies really look or the normal contrast that is applied.
- Many of the settings require a more advanced knowledge. - Yes, some settings will require you to "know your shit" if you wanna attempt to change them without breaking the damn thing. But once you get the hang of it, it's really easy to set up and use MPC.

... And the winner *IS* ...

Media Player Classic / MPC

There are two versions of this piece of software going around.

Media Player Classic - Original, developed by Gabest - No longer being developed.
Media Player Classic Home Cinema - It's the up-to-date player, that I recommend.

With it's action packed arsenal of nifty features and support, MPC gets my pie every time. It still outperforms BSplayer even if it hasn't been updated for some time. Everything you may want from a Media Player used to play movies with is in MPC. BSplayer is too bloated to be efficient. MPC is right on the spot.

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it! (And yes, I've tried both, and I use MPC since I first tried it and saw what it's capable of.)

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