Three Third-Party Alternative Media Players For Windows 10
Windows 10 has been here for a few months, and with it came a few minor disappointments, such as no default inclusion of Windows Media Center. Users will now have to go out and find their own media centers to download and install.
Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul confirmed earlier this year that the decision to nix Media Center was because of the decreased usage. It has gotten to a point where it’s not even worth continuing to support it in future versions of Windows 10. But that’s not a big problem. After all, there are many media player or media center options available for free, and we’re going to highlight our top three favorites:
VLC is free and open-source media player that will play most DVDs, video files, and other streaming protocols. It’s not one of the most visually stellar media players out there, but it’s certainly one of the most used. The most powerful aspect of VLC is the ability to install different skins and extensions to the media player.
For instance, if you’re not a fan of the default design, you can head over to the VLC website to check out the arsenal of designs built for it. As I mentioned, you can also download extensions, which are community submitted features that you can add to VLC. You can check out all of the different options here.
For a free media player, VLC is powerful, and it’s not just available for Windows, but all platforms, including mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS. Interestingly, it can also function as a media center, as there are a variety of different ways to stream TV shows from it.
Plex is another fan-favorite, and it’s easily one of the most organized options available. You have one interface to organize all of your media, whether that be TV shows, movies, music, and so on. Plex will automatically “enrich” this media with album art, descriptions, summaries, and more. You can also have all of this media available anywhere you go, as Plex is available on all platforms, including Android and iOS.
While Plex doesn’t have the community of developers making skins and extensions for it, it does have a very devoted team that has produced an insanely quality product. There are even ways to turn Plex into your own media server so that friends and family can access it like they might access Netflix. The possibilities are endless for this media center!
MediaPortal 2 is another free and open-source fan-favorite. It’s similar to VLC in that you can download all types of skins and plugins to enhance the overall experience of the media player. Development and support for it is ongoing, meaning MediaPortal 2 is constantly being crafted into the best multi media center it can be.
It’s actually fairly new–it has only been in development for four years, meaning there are not nearly as many skins and plugins for it as there is for the original MediaPortal, which is still supported and being developed. Both options are great media player or media center replacements for Windows 10. Either one can be downloaded below.
Below we talk you through a short video tutorial on how to install the VLC Media Player in Windows 10:
There are, of course, plenty of other media players available than just these three, but these options are certainly some of the top contenders in the market. And they’re all a free download. Plex does have a media subscription called Plex Pass, but it isn’t required for using Plex. It just adds a bunch of extra handy features that you don’t necessarily need for just watching local media.
What are your favorite media player alternatives and which have you tried? Let us know in the comments below or by starting a new discussion in our community forum.