While Windows Media Player is a suitable software for very basic music player functions, it has several limitations. Most music player users would want a far greater degree of flexibility in music controls. For those of you who want greater control over your music files, there are many excellent free alternatives to WMP, some of which I have compiled in the list below:
1. VLC Media Player
One of the best free multimedia players on the block, VLC Media Player is highly portable and supports a majority of audio and video formats. It can also be used for media file conversions as well as streaming protocols. I would personally recommend VLCMP for its great performance, light interface and flexibility.
[Download VLC Media Player for Windows]
If you want an Open Source-customizable alternative to WMP, Songbird is the way to go. It is highly customizable with a host of plug-ins and offers the user endless hours of seamless playback. Clarity and customization come naturally to this software, which is true to its name and easily syncs with most media players and smart phones.
Now if being experimental is your kind of game, you needn’t look further than Foobar2000. It is an advanced Windows-based free audio player, which may not seem like much at first glance but can be completely customized according to your wishes right from the interface itself! However, this is an audio-only software.
Another great freeware for playing a variety of audio and video files is KMPlayer. Adding to its ability to support a large number of formats is its ability to capture screenshots of audio and video.
5. Media Player Classic
Although Media Player Classic looks like an older version of WMP, it has several additional features such as a built-in DVD player, AVI subtitle support etc. It is also light and can play various formats without needing any special codec.
[Download Media Player Classic]
6. GOM Player
GOM Player, or Gretech Online Movie Player is a Windows-based free media player. It scores over other traditional media players in that it can play most media files without having to obtain a codec and can also play broken, damaged or incomplete media files.
[Download GOM Player]
Finally, to conclude the list, there is good ol’ WinAmp. This player has been around for a long time indeed and supports most audio and video formats while also syncing to portable media players. It be customized and give excellent sund quality with the use of enhancing plug-ins. However, it runs a little slow, and I’ve seen from personal experience that it crashes when used with GoogleTalk.
Tell us what you thought of the list and do go ahead and add more free alternatives to Windows Media Player that you have used and liked! Enjoy!