I recently purchased a shiny new MacBook Pro and while it’s pretty awesome, I didn’t realize how much time it would take for me to re-adjust to a new operating system. Being fairly new to the whole Mac experience, I’ve been browsing the MUO archives for as many tips, tricks, and interesting tidbits I can find that will help me better learn the new OS. From researching free apps I should download to finding a good screen capture tool, I’ve found some great resources. I can finally edit photos again and, yes, even play games.
One of the things I was curious about however, was which universal video player to install. QuickTime is pretty cool, sure, but I quickly found out its limits after a short time using it. Where can I find a good, lightweight video player that’s capable of playing every type of file?
Regardless of what operating system you’re using, VLC Media Player is one of, if not the, best video players out there. VLC is an open source cross-platform multimedia player that plays pretty much every type of video file, making it truly “universal”.
You can also use it to play DVDs, CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. No codec packs are needed and it’s completely free. Anyone who is familiar with VLC should not be surprised to see it on this list.
DivX Player for Mac is also a nice alternative for you to play videos, especially if you’re looking to play something in HD. Naturally, DivX Player allows you to play all native DivX videos (.mkv), but it does also support other popular video file types, including QuickTime files. The player also includes a desktop dimmer, window fade, and free full screen playback options.
NicePlayer is a relatively unknown application but it’s a pretty impressive video player for Mac. Jeffry dedicated a post on MUO to NicePlayer back in June 2010. It’s an open source app that was designed for playing movies and it features full screen or border-less floating windows, on the fly playlist creation, and more.
Elmedia Player is a Flash and media player for Mac OS X that supports playback of FLV, SWF, XAP (Silverlight), RM and RV (Real), AVI, MOV, MP4, and many other formats. It features a built-in web browser, so you can browse through websites and watch movies without leaving the application as well.
You may be surprised to learn that this even exists, but it’s a viable solution if you’re just looking for a little bit of Windows love. With Windows Media Components for QuickTime, you can play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) directly in QuickTime Player and view Windows Media content on the Internet using a web browser. It gives you added support for numerous audio and video codecs, as well as different file formats (like .avi).
With the programs on this list, you should be able to watch any type of file you happen to come across. If you are a Mac wiz and you know of any other great video players, please feel free to mention them in the comments.