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2019 VLC Media Player Alternatives for Windows Free Download

Written by Kaylee Wood | Last updated: April 30, 2020

"What is the best media player for Windows, besides VLC?" as requested by Quora users. I start writing this review with test details, to somehow explore the VLC Windows alternative question.

 

As VLC, the "swiss-army-knife" media player, is widely renowned as the best/universal media player of all, why would we still need to get a VLC alternative on Windows/macOS? The sad fact is that, VLC for Windows is not as all-round superb as generally praised, and none of the media players can be. They run into troubles just a matter of time. And Media player alternatives would always be in need as long as one of them crashes with another proping up for instant support, as a life saver. The more back up solutions, the better. And that's why i myself have at least three media players installed on each single Windows computer.

 

What am I going to do here today is to test out the playback ability of frequently used four players - GOMplayer, Potplayer, VLC and KMplayer in regard of four typical videos, be it a iPhone X recorded slow-mo video, a 360-deg video, a 4K video as well as an 8K 8-bit video.

Yet Another VLC Alternative for Windows Free Download

VLC Alternative Windows

5KPlayer is carved as a free UHD streaming media player with modern elegancy, a simplified prettier version of VLC for Widnows 10 to help people handle almost all video & audio files, even the incomplete and broken ones. It is powered by aced decoding engine and is backed by hardware decoding for smoother FUHD playback. The addtional two tagline features - AirPlay/DLNA streaming and YouTube downloading also let 5KPlayer wing its way to more abundant media contents shared online or saved elsewhere.

VLC Media Player Windows Alternatives Test Contents:
1. Test Preparations and Specifications
2. VLC Alternatives for Windows 8K Video Playback Test
3. VLC Alternatives for Windows 4K HDR Playback Test
4. VLC Alternatives for Windows SlowMo Playback Test
5. VLC Alternatives for Windows 360-deg Playback Test
5. Another VLC Alternatives for Windows - 5KPlayer

Part 1: VLC Alternatives for Windows Test Preparations

Specification of My Test Computer:

System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit;
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) II X 4 620 2.60GHz;
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 3850
HD: WDC WD10EZEX-22MFCA0 (1TB/7200 rpm)
RAM: 4GB Kingston DDR3 1333MHz
Monitor: Samsung SAM08DF S27B370 (27.2 inches)

VLC and VLC Alternatives for Windows

VLC Alternatives for Windows Test

Specification of the Test Video Samples:

VLC Alternatives for Windows Test VLC Alternatives for Windows Sample Table

With above test details given, let's throw videos at those "overbloated" media players and see if they are truly worthy of the praises.

Part 2: VLC Alternatives for Windows 8K Video Playback Test

VLC 3.0.4 Vetinari for Windows - 8K video playback quality and CPU usage [#4]

Note that video output was set "Automatic", and it auto choosed Direct3D9.

VLC 8K Video Playback Test

KMplayer 2018.10.7.14 for Windows - 8K video playback quality and CPU usage [#1]

VLC 8K Video Playback Test

PotPlayer 1.7.14804 for Windows - 8K video playback quality and CPU usage [#2]

VLC 8K Video Playback Test

GOMplayer 2.3.34.5295 for Windows - 8K video playback quality and CPU usage [#3]

VLC 8K Video Playback Test

Verdict:
Clearly seen from the above 8K video playback quality of each tested media player, VLC 3.0.4 was apparently rather an 8K disaster! My computer was like screaming in ultrasonic wave during the "color powder" playback, while the CPU usage suddenly surged to 95! Yet, could not see a thing!

Generally, KMplayer, PotPlayer and GOMplayer are the winner and the runner-ups in this round, delivering smoother and crystal clear images at relatively low CPU consumptions in comparison with VLC on Windows.

KMPlayer playback control bar freezes and you cannot pause/resume the video. While potplayer dishes better control - pause/resume/fullscreen/ etc, yet choppy sound.

Part 3: VLC Alternatives for Windows 4K HDR Playback Test

VLC 3.0.4 Vetinari for Windows - 4K HDR video playback quality and CPU usage [#4]

VLC media player was going choppy at first, but given time, it gradually fell in the tune with the video and started to read it, but still in a poorly manner at an alarming high CPU usage of 90.

VLC 4K Video Playback Test

KMplayer 2018.10.7.14 for Windows - 4K HDR video playback quality and CPU usage [#2]

Windows VLC Alternative 4K Playback

PotPlayer 1.7.14804 for Windows - 4K HDR video playback quality and CPU usage [#1]

Windows VLC Alternative 4K Playback

GOMplayer 2.3.34.5295 for Windows - 4K HDR video playback quality and CPU usage [#3]

Windows VLC Alternative 4K Playback

Verdict:
GOMplayer secretely jumps frames and is slow at starting, but even so, it is still more capable of processing 4K HDR video than VLC in terms of video output quality. PotPlayer delivers constant and relatively smooth visuals as it is with KMplayer, only that PotPlayer takes a higher CPU usage of about 86% while KMPlayer's control bar stays unmoved. The best 4K HDR video player goes to both KMPlayer and Potplayer in this round.

Part 4: VLC Alternatives for Windows SlowMo Playback Test

VLC 3.0.4 Vetinari for Windows - Slowmo video playback quality and CPU usage [#4]

The CPU usage of VLC as well as of all the other players are alarmingly high throughout this tests, and the visuals varies and are not as good as expected. VLC in particular stuck at the first frame and you could only see the playback bar moving without changing to the corresponding frames.

VLC Slowmotion Video Playback Test

KMplayer 2018.10.7.14 for Windows - Slowmo video playback quality and CPU usage [#1]

KMPlayer was doing good in slow-motion video playback. It reads the video as if it was played on iPhone.

Windows VLC Alternative Slowmotion Playback

PotPlayer 1.7.14804 for Windows - Slowmo video playback quality and CPU usage [#2]

VLC media player was going choppy at first, but given time, it gradually fell in the tune with the video and started to read it, but still in a poorly manner at an alarming high CPU usage of 90.

Windows VLC Alternative Slowmotion Playback

GOMplayer 2.3.34.5295 for Windows - Slowmo video playback quality and CPU usage [#3]

Windows VLC Alternative Slowmotion Playback

Verdict:
From above comparison, KMPlayer is the most stable media player for iPhone recorded slow motion videos no matter in HEVC or AVC H264. It successfully reads iOS recorded slow-mo video with speed marks as contained in the video data. However, Gomplayer jumps frames rapidly; VLC freezes at the first frame, unable to read; Potplayer only reads slow motion video in HEVC codec and plays AVC H264 slow-mo video at normal speed.

Part 5: VLC Alternatives for Windows 360-deg Playback Test

VLC 3.0.4 Vetinari for Windows - 360-deg video playback quality and CPU usage [#4]

VLC media player only supports raw 360-deg videos. It cannot enforce 360 visual to any video as other players do and can only deliver nomo mode for none raw 360-deg videos. VLC 360 not working issue happens frequently.

Windows VLC Alternative 360 Video Playback

KMplayer 2018.10.7.14 for Windows - 360-deg video playback quality and CPU usage [#1]

There are three 360 degree video modes to choose in KMPlayer: original size, normal mode VR and little planet mode VR. The only drawback of this player for 360 video playback is its relatively slow interactive response and poor video quality.

Windows VLC Alternative 360 Video Playback

PotPlayer 1.7.14804 for Windows - 360-deg video playback quality and CPU usage [#2]

There are even more 360-deg video modes in PotPlayer, as we can see from the given screenshot. It even supports 2 google cardboad modes, proving it a very delicately crafted video player.

Windows VLC Alternative 360 Video Playback

GOMplayer 2.3.34.5295 for Windows - 360-deg video playback quality and CPU usage [#3]

Windows VLC Alternative 360 Video Playback

Verdict:
GOMplayer delivers flexible and quick 360-deg video interactive response between mouse clicks and the view angle, it also provides a tank of 360-deg videos from online for direct playback with relatively better visuals. GOM is like a 360-deg themed video player, while Potplayer and KMplayer only offers the ability to read those files in serveral modes. VLC is the poorest player to handle 360-deg videos.

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