Though Windows Media Player is a popular choice for media playback, more and more people find out that there are a lot of limitations and disadvantages of Windows Media Player and they would like to find an alternative to it. If you are one of the group, you can refer to this article for more information about Windows Media Player alternatives.

Part 1: Introduction of Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player is a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft. A lot of Microsoft users would love to use it as the first media player choice for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers.

In addition to being a media player, Windows Media Player has also been equipped with the capability of ripping music from and copying music to compact discs, burning recordable discs in Audio CD format or as data discs with playlists such as an MP3 CD, synchronizing content with a digital audio player (MP3 player) or other mobile devices, and enabling users to purchase or rent music from a number of online music stores.

Windows Media Player 12 is the most recent version of Windows Media Player. It was released on July 22, 2009 along with Windows 7 and has not been made available for previous versions of Windows nor has it been updated since for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Unlike Windows 8, Windows RT does not run Windows Media Player.

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Part 2: Features and Limitations of Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player supports playback of audio, video and pictures, along with features including fast forward, reverse, file markers (if present) and variable playback speed. It supports local playback, streaming playback with multicast streams and progressive downloads. Items in a playlist can be skipped over temporarily during the playback time and users don’t have to remove them from the playlist. Full keyboard-based operation is possible in the player.

It also supports full media management via the integrated media library which offers cataloging and searching of media and viewing media metadata. Media can be arranged according to album, artist, genre, date et al. What’s more, it has and Quick Access Panel (later replaced with an Explorer-style navigation pane) to browse and navigate the entire library through a menu and introduced ratings and Auto Ratings which automatically assigns ratings based on the number of times a song is played. Since WMP 9 Series, the player features dynamically updated Auto Playlists based on criteria. Auto Playlists are updated every time users open them.

Windows Media Player is a common household player. This is somehow because of how well it performs. But a more important truth is that a lot of people choose it just because it was sold with the Microsoft operating system. Apart from its main features, there are also some limitations of it should be mentioned. First, Windows Media Player cannot stream the video properly over the slow DSL connections. Next, it can’t sync media data to users’ portable devices. It won’t sync to an iPod or even Microsoft’s own Zune, which is a bugging issue for many users who focus on the convenient user experience. Third, Windows Media Player has small album cover art and has no volume normalizing. MP3 format offers 18 levels of quality. Windows Media Player offers exactly four levels. On top of that, it is limited to Windows and MP3 formats. Combine all these limitations with the growing needs of modernized people, alternative players are necessary.

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Part 3: Alternatives to Windows Media Player

In this part, we will introduce some media player alternatives to Windows Media Player according to its limitations. The introduced players can offer more features that Windows Media Player can’t offer.

1. Leawo Blu-ray Player

Leawo Blu-ray Player is one of the best all-inclusive media player software tools to playback quality-lossless movies on Windows and Mac. As a totally free Blu-ray and DVD player program, it is able to play back Blu-ray/DVD disc, folder, ISO file, common videos and up to 4K videos smoothly and deliver extraordinary audio effect. As professional Blu-ray media player software, it could play back all Blu-ray discs in the market, Blu-ray folders and Blu-ray ISO files. For better user experience, it provides detailed navigation and full playback control and allows people to adjust subtitles, audio tracks and videos during playback, customize background picture and switch program skins, support multi-languages and multiple screen displays, etc. With Leawo Blu-ray Player, HD movie enjoyment on Windows would be greatly improved.

2. VLC Player

VLC is a free and open-source software, a portable and cross-platform media player and streaming media server written by the VideoLAN project. It is available for desktop operating systems and mobile platforms, such as Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone, Android, Tizen, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. It is also available on App stores such as Apple’s App Store, Google Play store and Microsoft Windows Store. VLC media player supports many audio and video compression methods and file formats, including DVD-Video, video CD and streaming protocols. It is able to stream media over computer networks and to transcode multimedia files.

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3. Winamp

Winamp is a free media player for Windows, Android, and macOS developed by Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev in 1997. As a professional audio and video player, Winamp supports a lot of multimedia formats which can meet nearly all of your requirements, of course including AAC format. This media player can’t only be used as a perfect media player but also manage multimedia content in a single library so as to provide you the best experience. It supports plug-ins and skins, and features music visualization, playlist and a media library, supported by a large online community. With more than 55 formats are supported by Winamp and about 15 language support, it is on top among many players.

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Part 4: Guide on How to Use Leawo Blu-ray Player

If you would like to enjoy media playback for free and with ease, you can download Leawo Blu-ray Player on your computer. In this part, you can check the steps on how to play media files on Leawo Blu-ray Player.

Step 1: Install Leawo Blu-ray Player on your computer. After it is done, open the Leawo Blu-ray Player and put the media files into this program. Just click the green "Open File" option on the home interface and browse the files. You can also directly drag the files to the interface of the program.

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Step 2: There is also an optional function for you to adjust subtitles through the tool. The operation is quite simple. You can right-click on the main window then choose the "Subtitles" button to enter the subtitles setting panel. Here you are able to change settings like Enable (Disable) subtitles, Subtitle offset, Subtitle selecting, Browse for subtitle.


Step 3: You can also change video settings. Move your mouse to the top-left corner and choose the second icon, which stands for the "Videos" icon to enter the video setting page. The multiple options provide users to deinterlace video, choose video scaling method, crop black bars, select video mode, define brightness and contrast, etc.


Step 4: Audio setting is also available in Leawo Blu-ray Player. Move the mouse to the title area and choose the third option when the four icons pop up. This icon means the audio settings, so you can have an overview of audio parameters after clicking on it. That contains the Volume, Volume amplification, Audio offset, Audio stream, Audio output, Audio output device and Set as default for all videos.


Part 5: Conclusion

Compare all these famous media players, Leawo Blu-ray Player stands out with its all-inclusive features and user-friendly settings. It has an easy-to-use interface and was dubbed as home theatre for its HD experience. With Leawo Blu-ray Player, you don’t have to do much additional work such as downloading and installing codecs. You can enjoy this free media player with cinema-like watching experience at home.