Best Media Player?


Edwin

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... I think I only have one Blu-ray disc! :p
 

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cereberus

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I love it when people ask what is the best app for videos (or any other item e.g. sound)

Best has a different meaning depending on context e.g. cheapest, lightest on resources, widest range of screen resolutions, Blu-Ray capability, ability to get metadata etc. etc. etc.

There is no "one size fits all" solution.

In the end, a simple web search will give many comparisons of the main contenders - then it is up to individual to try whatever "catches their eye" and try it.

Without context, you just get a random list of individuals favourites, but whether that help OP is debatable without context why it is their favourite.

For example, I like VLC as it is robust, plays all main codecs, is relatively well maintained, and has cross platform support.

Is it the best? Across all features, probably not.
Does it meet my needs - undoubtedly yes (or else I would use something else).

To me, it is kind of like asking what is the best app is like asking who is the best rock band?

Like VLC, I would answer Queen.

Best guitarist - probably not
Best Lead singer - probably not
Best Drummer - probably not

Put them together as a package though, and I can say for sure Queen were the "best" band I ever saw live - exciting, entertaining etc.

My point is "best" is very much personal opinion.

PS - my personal opinion is the best ever rock band was Pink Floyd. They are the only band where I had their (imo) best album "Dark Side of the Moon" in vinyl (several times), cassette, 8 track cartridge (seriously), cd, dvd and of course Mp3 etc.
 

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jvickers

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... I think I only have one Blu-ray disc! :p
We have all the Lord of the Rings (extended versions) on 4K- Ultra HD. Had to get a player and TV to play them, but it's worth it! I have a lot of regular Blu-ray discs.
 

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JMedlock83

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I've used VLC for many years. Lately, though, it takes several seconds for it to completely open and I have no idea why. It's not anything that will make me switch, it's just annoying.
 

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Edwin

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I just realized sumpthin...
... this is a Windows forum and there's barely any support for Windows Apps!
It's mostly 3rd party software that's promoted here!
Pretty fecking sad, isn't it!!! 🤷‍♂️
 

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jimbo45

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I just realized sumpthin...
... this is a Windows forum and there's barely any support for Windows Apps!
It's mostly 3rd party software that's promoted here!
Pretty fecking sad, isn't it!!! 🤷‍♂️
Hi there
The problem is that most 3rd party apps are far better than "native windows ones" even if the Windows ones exist at all.

Office / browsers, security, virtualisation, networking all have their own sections so I think your comment isn't a mega issue.

In any case I think most would prefer to have an efficiently performing reliable safe and easy to use OS and then chose themselves what to run on it.

Taking the example of most mobile phones these days -- a big user complaint is they all seem to come pre-loaded with a lot of "Non removable Bloatware" unless you go through hoops and rings to jail break them -- and then you find Banks etc won't let their apps run on jail broken phones.

And in any case it's good to know about apps that one hasn't heard of which do (or don't !!) run on Windows -- plenty of good tips etc. 3rd party apps also result in more competition and more choice for the users.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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larc919

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As I recall, If the Blu-ray disk are encoded VLC needs a hack to play them.
VLC and other free players such as PotPlayer can play unencoded Blu-rays, but can't decode the commercial disks. MakeMKV can rip a commercial HD Blu-ray disk and convert it to another format. There may be some sort of workaround for a free player to overcome commercial disk encoding, but I don't know of any.
 

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Winuser

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MakeMKV can rip a commercial HD Blu-ray disk and convert it to another format
Wouldn't the sound be affected if the disk is protected with Cinavia?
 

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hdmi

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  • For music, foobar2000 with WASAPI (and some additional addons, which are optional unless you need more audio formats supported)
  • For movies, K-Lite Codec Pack (Full) with MPC-HC and madVR
All the rest is basically just bloat, albeit it can be argued that the GUI and media library functions of things like Kodi or JRiver Media Center (JRMC) have their own merits, but in pure terms of the playback itself there is still nevertheless zero be gained from these.

The way to go for ripping Audio CD to FLAC is Exact Audio Copy (EAC) or dbPoweramp with AccurateRip. The way to go for ripping Blu-ray disc content is RedFox AnyDVD HD, after which you can remux the content with MakeMKV─without losing audio quality and that the built-in LAV Audio Decoder of MPC-HC also lets you choose whether you want DTS, DTS-HD, DTS-HD MA, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, etc. to either be decoded as LPCM for playback on a normal audio playback device or be sent to your Audio/Video Receiver (AVR) equipment via bitstreaming over HDMI.

On a side note, you can get better sound quality for audiophile music listening by choosing a different player software, but not every person may be able to hear it, and, there are other factors that may prevent you from hearing differences. These factors also include human subjectiveness, or bias, which helps to explain why some people will insist on using Double Blind Tests (DBTs) for making audio comparisons, BUT... the rapid switching that most people who use the ABX Comparator plugin like to do is a recipe for adding the kind of human bias that's actually more severe (IMO, and IME) than the kind that naturally occurs when you listen solely for musical satisfaction over a longer period. And, if you use ABX testing on longer duration test samples, you lose the main benefit of ABX testing, which is that switching back to a previously heard sample generally works better if the samples are kept short so as to more clearly remember what it was that was heard prior to the switch. Audio perception occurs on multiple different time scales.

When you enter a concert hall, it may take up to 15 minutes or maybe even longer before you are listening fully into the acoustic space, as the human brain externalizes sounds as objects and builds a map. This mechanism, this specific part of how it is that we listen is a natural process that is slower, more gradual than the timeframe associated with rapid switching so the switching breaks it, skewing the test results toward "hearing no difference". Another pitfall with DBTs comes from the fact (which is easy to demonstrate) that when we perform tests, we experience human stress factors that impede our ability to discern differences, no matter how hard we try to relax. When we compare sounds, we listen specifically for differences so we automatically (including subconsciously) focus on specific properties of the sound. This alone introduces bias, as we focus on properties of the sound, preventing ourself from keeping our focus of attention on the actual music itself, the latter type of listening being the one that truly counts. Last but not least, I can show you an experiment that lets you hear stuff that doesn't exist because I erased it from the test sample, the only reason why you'll still hear it each time is because you remember having heard it before so now your brain fills in the gap, and keeps filling in the gap regardless of whether you want the gap to be filled in. I.e., memory also plays a very important role, so switching back and forth between samples is yet another surefire way of skewing test results toward "hearing no difference".

Finally, I find that investing in a superior-designed external USB DAC that not only is marketed as such, but also delivers exactly what it promises yields better sound than trying to brush up the inadequacies of the hardware device with players like Audirvana, Roon, etc. because any and all differences in bitperfect type of music player software fade below human-auditory threshold the moment when you plug in a DAC that's got the interference all perfectly ruled out with proper isolation transformers, thick metal shielding everywhere and elsewhere also including between the asynchronous (XMOS) USB input interface module and the main board on the inside of the DAC unit, dual toroidal power transformers to create an ultra-low noise interior environment, complete with separate rails (mine has 11 of 'em, to be precise) in the power supply for everything, and whatnot. Just like any other computer, my laptop's internal hardware components still generate a lot of electromagnetic interference (EMI), and, USB cables act like antennae so noise patterns can still propagate onto the more sensitive, analog intestines of an external USB DAC. Electric noise also rides the data lines in the USB connection, BTW, so it's not just about the cleanliness of the power signal that also matters.

It's just that, in my audio setup, none of these noise patterns are capable to rise above threshold, as the design implementation of my DAC keeps that from ever happening. To test, I can plug it directly into my Emotiva XPA-2 Gen1 power amp with no preamp and no volume control. Next, I can put my ear close to the ceramic (aluminum oxide) dome tweeter of one of my two Canton Vento 890.2 DC floorstanding speakers that are linear to 37.5kHz. There is no noise. Just silence. (Even, if I hold my smartphone─in silent mode─close to the USB cable of the DAC whilst receiving a call or text from a 2nd phone, WiFi enabled or not, and that is with just a bog standard USB 2.0 printer cable plus a normal cheap Belkin USB 2.0 male-to-female extension cable.) The bottom line is, the choice of player software still has an effect on the electric noise coming from the laptop's own hardware, but it is inaudible because the DAC is effectively immune (which not all DACs are).
 
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Dru2

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@hdmi,

A bit long winded and too scientific, but I get your point, and some I agree with. BTW, I use dBpoweramp to with accurip to rip my CD's to flac. And my DAC is as you describe, built to handle music better than the software could.

All that said, your post is more suitable for the Audio Science Review forums. They're deeply about the science of sound. And the founder of the site, amirm, has some very impressive credentials - A bit about your host.... and does a lot of reviews. I'm registered there as well but it's really not my cup of tea as I'm more about the enjoyment of music, rather than the deep science of it. That's me.

Anyway, thought I'd reference that site since you seem more about "the science of sound" :)
 

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hdmi

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@hdmi,

A bit long winded and too scientific, but I get your point, and some I agree with. BTW, I use dBpoweramp to with accurip to rip my CD's to flac. And my DAC is as you describe, built to handle music better than the software could.

All that said, your post is more suitable for the Audio Science Review forums. They're deeply about the science of sound. And the founder of the site, amirm, has some very impressive credentials - A bit about your host.... and does a lot of reviews. I'm registered there as well but it's really not my cup of tea as I'm more about the enjoyment of music, rather than the deep science of it. That's me.

Anyway, thought I'd reference that site since you seem more about "the science of sound" :)
As you probably could've guessed, I already was familiar with Amir and his forum website. This one here has got to be the funniest joke that was ever posted online about him:
:ROFLMAO:
 

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Dru2

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As you probably could've guessed, I already was familiar with Amir and his forum website. This one here has got to be the funniest joke that was ever posted online about him:
:ROFLMAO:
Sorry, but without any background, I'm not getting the joke... :unsure:

BTW, there are always going to be critics, that's life, but I respect his credentials. You don't get there without some sort of knowledge ;-)

Anyway, I just registered this week as I had a question but don't plan on being active as it's not my kind of place. As I said, I'm more about enjoying music than discussing plots and charts and the deep science of sound. It always helps to know about stuff, but still...

It's the same approach I take about my photography, I'm not into plots and charts and marks, it's about the enjoyment of the craft in working with the tools I have.

That's me.
 
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hdmi

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Sorry, but without any background, I'm not getting the joke... :unsure:

BTW, there are always going to be critics, that's life, but I respect his credentials. You don't get there without some sort of knowledge ;-)

Anyway, I just registered this week as I had a question but don't plan on being active as it's not my kind of place. As I said, I'm more about enjoying music than discussing plots and charts and the deep science of sound. It always helps to know about stuff, but still...

It's the same approach I take about my photography, I'm not into plots and charts and marks, it's about the enjoyment of the craft in working with the tools I have.

That's me.
The Son of Amir Is Dead - Wikipedia :p

I had one or two brief discussions with Amir on another forum many years ago, in some digital audio related debate. He was polite and he also made sense, but I haven't been active on any audio or video related forums for the past ~6 years. My ears aren't microphones, and my brain isn't an oscilloscope. So, I haven't discussed any plots or charts in this thread, nor have I mentioned anything that could be related to them. To the contrary, I summed up a few of the reasons why I find that listening to music playback equipment purely for the sake of enjoying music over a longer period is the best way to find out if I like listening to music playback equipment over a longer period. I gave only short and simple descriptions of what these reasons are, BTW. So, I have no idea what you mean. There's no in-depth science to be found in what I have posted in this thread, only some basic observations that I have kept as simple as possible. Not simpler.

As for going into technical details about DAC design, I only barely even scratched the surface of that subject. If you are going to spend time listening to DACs to compare them, it helps to know a few things in advance. Like, it helps to understand why some DACs are audibly immune to any unwanted side effects caused by the computer hardware hooked up to it, and are therefore audibly immune to how this same computer hardware gets affected by different bitperfect player software differently. This immunity doesn't necessarily always make it sound more enjoyable, or "better". But it can be a very good place to start. That is, in my own personal experience, it turned out to be the best place to start, even though I wasn't sure about this until some time after I had already purchased my first DAC, the predecessor of the one that I have in my specs. The answer to the question of what's the best media player also depends on whether the person who asked is willing to take my advice, which is based primarily on my aforementioned experience with DACs─and on my having learned to work with foobar2000 with multiple addons to see how that compares to other player software. If you like fashion over function, then go for Audirvana, and, while you're at it, buy yourself a Macbook. lol
 

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Bug locker

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Hi,

What is the best media player for Windows 11, to play various media types as well as play DVDs and Blu-Rays? Anyone know if CyberLink PowerDVD is good and worth a buy?
I use Cyberlink's Power DVD 22 free edition. I like that it supports more than 2 speakers modes.
 

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hdmi

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I abandoned Cyberlink PowerDVD and Elaborate Bytes Virtual CloneDrive in favor of MPC-HC, about 12 years and a half ago. Playing optical discs directly as opposed to ripping them and playing only the ripped files causes extra wear and tear, both to the optical discs and to the optical drive unit, and, there also is no background noise during playback when no disc is spinning. In the UK, it is legal to play rips of permanently acquired discs for personal use only. PowerDVD doesn't magically add any quality to the picture or sound. To upscale DVD video content to higher resolution, madVR does a magnificent job, but on higher settings it needs more CPU power. MPC-HC is very lightweight so it doesn't steal CPU power. That's one of the reasons why MPC-HC with madVR is so nice. Even with a fast CPU it helps to reduce the power consumption so it generates less heat and so the cooling fan stays silent whilst upscaling lower resolution files during playback. Or you can save money by choosing a slower CPU and still be able to get decent upscaling. The free version of PowerDVD is only a 30-day trial with limited functionality. Even the paid version adds too much bloat, like being able to share on farcebook or titter what you are watching.
 

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Dru2

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Ok.... guess I need to read the whole thread to see what that was about, but ok.

So, I haven't discussed any plots or charts in this thread, nor have I mentioned anything that could be related to them.
My point was I'm more the enjoyment of music than the science of it.

And not everything I say is meant in literal terms or as a personal attack ;-)

Additionally, not everyone wants a science lesson, they just want something that works for them to enjoy ;-) ;-) ;-)

Relax... :)
 

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Ok.... guess I need to read the whole thread to see what that was about, but ok.


My point was I'm more the enjoyment of music than the science of it.

And not everything I say is meant in literal terms or as a personal attack ;-)

Relax... :)
I wasn't trying to defend myself, just wasn't sure if I made my point clear. Just because I don't talk much about music, doesn't also mean that I enjoy listening to audio gear more than I enjoy listening music. lol The research I did about audio engineering and computer audio topics is at the basic level, for the most part. I did spend a lot of my time trying to investigate popular claims about sound quality, though. Being able to listen and connect to recorded music that satisfies me is also about forgetting that I am listening to a playback system.

Some types of distortions stand out more. Each time when they become prominent distractions, they prevent me from forgetting the audio gear, and, as a result I start to experience fatigue from having difficulty to keep track of the music flow, especially during those longer listening sessions. I often prefer listening to full albums, no random collection of tracks. This means that floating on the music uninterruptedly until an album finishes is doubly important to me. Bright sound (tipped-up and/or ephasized highs), a harsh top end, a weak bottom end or exaggerated/booming/monotonous bottom end, an unbalanced sound signature, veiled sound, recessed transients, etc., all just suck the life out of the music for me. TBH, it's just completely boring. But that's only me.
 

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Sticking to the topic: "Best Media Player? ... That's an impossible question to answer as it really depends on what one wants from the app. Plus we all have our favorites based on "our" likes.

As I said earlier, the best is whatever suits your needs. And it doesn't have you looking elsewhere. That's me with JRiver for music.
 

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hdmi

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For music, foobar2000 with WASAPI and a few addons suits my needs and doesn't have me looking elsewhere. But that's only me, after having toyed with it for many months comparing it to various other options also including JRiver, the latter being an excellent choice for those who need to read all kinds of information about the music outside of just googling for this same information instead, which I don't need because... well, I only need to hear the music.
 

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    Intel Iris Xe
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    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
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    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
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