Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.
With the development of consumer electronics tends to become more and more pronounced versatility. A typical example is smartphones that often for its intended purpose (phone calls), many are almost and do not use. However, for leisure home autonomous specialized media players remain the most convenient form factor. Today we will consider a selection of media players that received the highest marks from experts based on the realities of 2019 of the year.
- What do we mean by a media player
- Media player as a device
- Media player as a program
- Rating of the best media players
- The best low-cost media players
- Tanix TX3 Mini
- iconBIT XDS304K
- Google Chromecast 2018
- The best multifunctional media players
- Apple TV 4K 32 / 64GB
- NVIDIA SHIELD
- Dune HD Pro 4K
- Xiaomi Mi Box International Version
- MINIX NEO U9-H
- Best Windows Media Player Apps
What do we mean by a media player
First, let’s clarify the question with definitions – what generally follows understand the term “media player” in our time. And there are two definitions of completely different things.
Media player as a device
Modern media players are a much broader concept in functional plan in comparison with devices of previous generations. VHS, CD, DVD, BluRay – players with such abbreviations in nomenclature clearly gave an idea of their leading function. Now the number of popular technologies and common formats the media is so large that it’s just right to deal with the definitions first, before analyzing specific models.
So, a modern media player can be any size, weight, form factor; unlike past generations, where even to some extent, the media dictated the minimum dimensions information. Functionality can also be very different – from simple player of audio tracks and videos to the integrated device with integrated SmartTV, wireless and a range of additional functions. Actually, set-top boxes for digital reception DVB-T2 signals also fall into the category of media players, partly thanks to these extra features.
Media player as a program
Finally, the concept of “media player”, which implies electronic device, there is a homonym meaning an application for playing media content in the environment of a particular operating system. Specially for those of our readers who are interested in this particular question, we as part of this review, we will also consider a small selection of the most worthy and popular media players for Windows in 2019.
Rating of the best media players
|Nomination||a place||Name of product||price|
|The best low-cost media players||1||Tanix TX3 Mini||1 900 rub.|
|2||iconBIT XDS304K||2 449 rub.|
|3||Google Chromecast 2018||2 750 rub.|
|The best multifunctional media players||1||Apple TV 4K 32 / 64GB||12 000 rub.|
|2||NVIDIA SHIELD||13 990 rub.|
|3||Dune HD Pro 4K||16 529 rub.|
|4||Xiaomi Mi Box International Version||4 990 rub.|
|5||MINIX NEO U9-H||8 790 rub.|
|Best Windows Media Player Apps||1||Kmplayer||–|
The best low-cost media players
At the beginning of the review, we traditionally consider a selection of the most inexpensive, but workable and good in key characteristics media players. Trademarks other than Google Chromecast are few they will tell the average user, but here it’s not too much fundamentally.
Tanix TX3 Mini
The player of the Chinese brand Tanix will open our review. it a fairly simple set-top box that demonstrates unexpectedly decent characteristics and earned a strictly positive reverse communication from users.
Externally, this media player is a compact TV box dimensions 105x15x105mm and weight 151g. Plastic case, black colors, mainly matte surface texture. Design minimalistic, and thus almost universal for any interior and context. It is powered by 220V through an external Power Supply. Cooling is passive.
There are no controls on the case, only interfaces connectivity. All control is carried out with a remote control, included in delivery. Modes themselves and other information displayed on a primitive but ample LCD screen.
The developers of this model built the software part based on the OS Android 7.1. A predefined set of standard applications – YouTube, Chrome browser, media playback software, TV Center and other. Applications are displayed on the main screen as Android tiles familiar to Android users. Must have in mind that to use some applications will need classic mouse.
The Tanix TX3 Mini features in terms of media playback we we give in detail, since this is one of the most important indicators in The context of this type of device. So, the media player supports such file formats: video and related – MKV, AVI, WMV, ISO, VOB, MOV, MP4, DAT, MPG, FLV, RM, RMVB with codecs MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, XviD, DivX, H.264, WMV9, AVCHD, VC1, HEVC (H.265), VP9; audio – MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg, PCM, FLAC, APE; Images – JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, TIFF. All of the above can be played in 4K UHD ultra-high resolution except video playback in the YouTube app, where the maximum is 720p.
This model also provides a very decent set interfaces and communication modules. There are outputs: stereo audio and optical, composite, HDMI version 2.0, Ethernet network with RJ45 socket (speed up to 100Mbps), two USB 2.0 TypeA ports, wireless modules Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth , card slots microSD and microSDHC memory. There is an internet radio.
The hardware in this case is based on the Amlogic S905W and in In such an environment, the processor shows decent performance. Graphics – Mali-T450. Memory options: from 2GB of RAM and from 16GB – built-in. This memory configuration is the most affordable on the market.
- compact and lightweight;
- convenient and intuitive Russian-language interface;
- fast work;
- 4K UHD resolution support;
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth;
- wired network connection.
- there are cases of suspension – are solved by installing an elementary active cooling.
The second in the review we propose to consider a media player Korean-made brand of iconBIT. This model practically does not differ from the previous one in price and minimum in functionality.
The external design of the device is much similar to the previous one model – the same form factor of the “box” of gray plastic, only a little bigger with dimensions 119x28x119mm. External power supply, passive cooling. The controls are assembled remotely remote control, and on the perimeter of the box body are located only interfaces and a mechanical power button.
The remote control itself is much more functional here than in the above case. It means impressively flexible settings. and universal in itself. It can be used simultaneously for control both boxing and TV.
The media player supports playback in high resolution 4K, as well as 3D format. Support for media formats and codecs is equally wide like Tanix with minimal differences. Hereinafter all the most popular content and file formats are supported, and experts recommend the support of rarer ones be interested separately in points of sale and in real reviews users.
The player runs on Android 7. Its feature, which the manufacturer strongly emphasizes that this is mode support play content non-stop 24/7/365 without pauses and return to the menu. This procedure is often applied in commercial sphere – in trading floors, at exhibitions and other events that use screens for presentation.
The memory configuration of this model is two times more modest than that of the previous one – 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal flash memory. The interfaces are the same, only the USB 2.0 TypeA ports are not two, but four. There is a Wi-Fi 802.11n module and a wired network interface. Bluetoothnot provided. There are slots for SD, SDHC and MultiMedia Card.
- support for 4K UHD;
- wired and wireless network connections;
- multi-function remote with flexible settings;
- endurance and ability to work without interruption long time.
- relatively few built-in and RAM.
Google Chromecast 2018
The third and final media player in the mini budget selection models turns out to be a well-known product of Google Corporation. By price Chromecast 2018 is comparable to the two previous models, by functionality is cut in places, but others determine its popularity important qualities.
The 2018 model is the third generation of Google Chromecast. Until such a solution keeps stable high demand and positive feedback from users. Main wording – device turns any TV, monitor or projector into a powerful SmartTV receiver. Moreover, its dimensions are minimal, the weight is negligible, and overall, Chromecast 2018 resembles a keychain.
The device is capable of playing video in resolutions up to 1080p and up to 30 frames per second. If you lower the resolution to 720p frame rate can reach 60fps. To some users 4K is not enough, but there is no such support, and this is not a drawback. To watch 4K video, you should look at the Chromecast Ultra model. Supported video formats – MKV, AVI, WMV, MOV, decoding H.264 and VC1; audio – MP3, AAC, WAV; raster graphics (photo) – JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, TIFF.
To connect your Chromecast to a playback device HDMI is used. There is also wireless speed dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi module. There is also a microUSB port with charging support.
All interaction and device management is carried out through any wearable gadget with proprietary software installed. Android users can even stream any activity on a smartphone or tablet. Perhaps the same function will appear in future versions and for users of Apple gadgets but in version 2018 there is no such possibility yet.
Google Chromecast is able to work as part of an integrated multi-source home audio system. Many popular apps have built-in support for Chromecast, making it connecting and using is even faster, simpler and convenient.
- brand name
- portable form factor;
- compatibility with many applications;
- IPTV support;
- smartphone control and voice.
- minor subjective comments by users.
The best multifunctional media players
In a more expanded selection of the review of the best media players 2019 years, according to the version, we will consider the most popular models on the market without cost constraints. Some devices have pronounced “specialization” (games, TV), but do not exclude others use cases.
Apple TV 4K 32 / 64GB
Immediately start with the most “noticeable” boxing because of the eminent brand. Here, the Cupertinians are just as true to their ideology – minimalism and elegance in design, power and performance in the filling. I would like to add a high price, but in this collection there are models much more expensive.
Externally, AppleTV is exactly the same small box 98x35x98mm in size and 0.425kg in weight. And even a similar form with rounded edges, and almost the same black plastic. However here you still feel the “branded” attention of the developer to the details even with all the minimalism of design.
This is the fifth generation of AppleTV, and differs from the previous one almost the only circumstance is support for permission 4K. But in 2019 (the media player was released in the fall of 2017), this moment already looks like a principal in view of the active conquest of the market format UltraHD. The electronic part of the device is based on Processor Apple A10X Fusion. Installed 32GB of RAM and 64GB built-in. The power supply is built-in, passive cooling.
The media player is running tvOS. Supports MOV, MP4 video files with MPEG4, H.264, HEVC decoding (H.265), HEVC Main 10. Compatible audio formats – MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, AC3; Images – JPEG, GIF, TIFF. Connects to tv via HDMI 2.0a, and to play 4K, you need a compatible The HDMI cable is precisely the second generation.
In addition to HDMI, the device also has a wireless module on board Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Dual Band), Bluetooth, Built-in Gigabit network adapter with RJ45 output. AirPlay supported.
The functionality and compatibility of this model include support for a number of online services – iTunes, Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime Siri voice control (English only); Dolby Vision HDR10; IPTV.
Included is a branded Lightning cable. Here it is needed for the sole purpose of recharging the battery remote control. Such a solution seems redundant, but for any user of Apple technology, the presence of another, very 1 meter long original Lightning cable – tangible and a nice bonus. And here is the HDMI cable, which is simply necessary, in kit as it was not in previous generations, so it is not in current.
- illustrious brand;
- elegant design;
- powerful electronics;
- wide compatibility with formats and services;
- support for 4K UHD;
- voice control Siri.
- individual user comments.
The next model in the review is an example of a media player with a special specialization, namely – gaming. The name of the manufacturer itself NVIDIA is clearly hinting at this. But gaming is, of course, not the only device functionality. At the time of release in 2017 this model attracted much attention of specialists, and the subsequent detailed reviews led many to enthusiastic conclusions.
Externally, this player is already slightly more expressive than previous models, but still in the same restrained design with the predominance of straight lines and angular kinks. There is an element backlight. Housing made of high quality black plastic. Eats from a network 220V through the external power supply unit. Physical dimensions functional block – 159x26x98mm, weight – 0.25kg. Cooling active – one compact fan, although in many descriptions of this model, the passive cooling type is erroneously indicated on the network.
Electronics NVIDIA SHIELD built on the basis of a powerful processor NVIDIA Tegra X1 on four ARM Cortex-A57 cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 with a frequency of up to 2 GHz. Top graphics, like for the likes systems – GeForce 6 ULP (GM204). RAM DDR3 installed 3GB, and 16GB of internal eMMC read only memory. In delivery the game console is included, but there are also options without it, so, if you are not a gamer, there is a possibility not to overpay for this accessory.
On the software side in the broad sense, here we are we see large-scale format support: 19 video file formats; more dozens of codecs; audio formats including Ogg and FLAC; formats JPEG, GIF, BMP and PNG images. Operating System – Android 7.0
This media player implements Chromecast technology, installed Google Assistant as a voice control, used game platform GeForce Now. Game features of this model include compatibility with games from Google Play, streaming with a desktop computer through the built-in NVIDIA GameStream, and also cloud streaming via GeForce NOW.
- support for 4K UHD;
- high performance and stability;
- wide support for media formats and codecs;
- significant gaming component of the functional;
- voice control;
- Gigabit Wi-Fi module;
- spectacular design.
- unsystematic user comments.
Dune HD Pro 4K
The third number in the review of the best media players in 2019 by version we offer to get acquainted with the device is quite high class, closer to the premium. This is a Dune HD stationary media player. Pro 4K. Dune HD’s main office is in Taiwan, but origin brand, presumably Russian.
It must be emphasized here that we are talking about the most affordable models from the Dune series of media players. Fact that others popular models are Dune HD Pro 4K Plus, Dune HD Max 4K is completely different devices, despite the similarity of names. They significantly differ even in appearance, but are much more expensive. TO it makes sense to take a closer look if the functionality and characteristics of Dune HD Pro 4K is not enough for you.
Externally, the media player is a small box 188x27x128mm in a black plastic case with a discreet design. Weight without packaging – 0.51kg. Passive cooling. Media player control carried out through a trained battery-powered IR remote control AAA.
The device combines the tasks of the media content player and Android Smart TV set-top boxes, and all this with significantly wider features compared to budget media players. So here Supported not only ultra-high resolution 4K with 60fps, but also 10-bit color depth, HDR technology, Different 3D video formats and much more.
From the side of “iron” developers took care of high performance by combining the Cortex A53 processor with up to 1.5 GHz, Mali-T820 graphics, 2 gigabytes of RAM. Built-in memory – 16GB flash and 4GB for storing files. Media player has a built-in interface for connecting a SATA hard drive. For the connection to the TV is HDMI 2.0a, and there is also additional HDMI input.
A module is provided for wireless connection of devices Bluetooth 4.x, for connecting to networks – wired network card with standard RJ45 jack and wireless dual-band high-speed Wi-fi module.
Everything described is an extremely concise description of the possibilities of this media player. Its full functionality is wide and varied. TO Unfortunately, this model is not without flaws that are caused by “damp” firmware and some omissions in functionality. These defects are mostly resolved, but create inconvenience. However, manufacturer actively responds to feedback and tries quickly eliminate the shortcomings. In fact, in every new batch significant improvements are being made.
- support for 4K and 3D;
- 10-bit color depth;
- introduction of innovations;
- advanced functionality in general;
- usability and flexibility of settings;
- Wide compatibility with Apple products.
- flaws in the firmware and functionality (solvable).
Xiaomi Mi Box International Version
Another media player that our experts suggested for the review is Xiaomi’s famous Mi Box, namely its international version. The model has proven itself in mass consumer and has passed the test of time. Affordable price Adds device points to the market.
Externally, the player is a compact box in size 101x20x101mm in a black plastic case with smooth lines and rounded edges in the design. Weight without packaging – 0.18kg. It works from the mains through an external power supply, passive cooling. It is controlled by a remote control with voice functions.
This model supports all the most popular formats and codecs. video and audio, including FLAC. Image Formats – JPEG, GIF, BMP and PNG. The software runs on Android 6.0. Player supports IPTV technology, compatible with iPhone in terms of audio, has a built-in internet radio. Supports installation additional software directly from the Google play market.
The player’s electronics is based on the Amlogic S905 chipset for running an ARM Cortex A53 processor with a core frequency of up to 2.0 GHz. There are 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal flash memory. The electronics here are quite decent, but questions remain optimization, since even with such hardware some users there are drawbacks in performance, especially when it comes to resource-intensive content.
To connect the player itself and additional devices are interfaces HDMI version 2.0, standard audio output, USB 2.0 TypeA, Bluetooth wireless modules and dual-band Wi-Fi. Built in Support DLNA, AirPlay and Miracast. Wired network interface no, if necessary, you can join the wired network through adapter plugged into a USB port.
Experts recommend updating immediately after purchasing the gadget firmware up to Android 8.0. So almost everything will be solved problems with lags and other performance issues.
- 4K support;
- remote control with voice functions;
- combination of price, features and quality;
- reliability and stability;
- dual band Wi-Fi.
- disadvantages of optimization – are solved by updating the firmware.
MINIX NEO U9-H
Finishes the selection of the best multifunctional media players in 2019, according to the online magazine, another compact media player mid-priced MINIX brand – owned MINIX Technology Limited (Hong Kong). The brand is already pretty It has long been known for high-quality mini-PCs and Android boxes.
The form factor of this model is similar to almost all of the above devices – compact plastic case, restrained design, rounded corners. A clearly noticeable feature is the presence of an external antennas for amplifying a wireless signal. Box installation can only be desktop, wall mount not provided for.
No controls on the case – everything is only through remote control, and this is one of the weaknesses of the player. Full-time the remote control is clearly flawed both in terms of convenience and in terms of its direct responsibilities – the sensitivity of the IR sensor is weak. The situation is solved by the possibility of HDMI CEC – control, with which media player modes can be switched with the remote control from the TV subject to sufficient compatibility.
The media capabilities of MINIX NEO U9-H are largely defined characteristics of its predecessor – the legendary media player MINIX Neo U1. This model pleases with the support of many media formats and codecs, including ultra-high resolution 4K; IPTV; 3D video (Side-By-Side and Top-and-Bottom only); Torrent Stream Controller, HD VideoBox and more. The device supports some relatively rare for such device class functions like the coordinated operation of webcams in video conferencing.
Wide functionality requires not the weakest hardware, and this MINIX NEO U9-H has everything in order. Electronics is not the best, but completely sufficient for the task: ARM processor Cortex-A53 on 8 cores with a frequency of up to 1.5 GHz; graphics – ARM Mali-T820MP3; 2GB RAM DDR3; 16GB of internal eMMC memory; support for external memory cards.
The interaction of the media player and other devices is carried out through a set of interfaces: three USB 2.0 ports, one microUSB port, HDMI 2.0a output, previous generation HDMI, S / PDIF optics; wired connection – a gigabit network card with a standard connector, wireless – Bluetooth 4.1 and 2-band Wi-Fi with support for external 2×2 MIMO antennas.
- 4K support;
- 3D video support;
- stability and reliability;
- the ability to use one remote control for the TV and media player.
- defects of the remote control (solved by adaptation TV remote control).
Best Windows Media Player Apps
In the final part of the review, we will pay attention to those readers magazines who are interested in the current topic, but in relation to media player applications used to play media content on devices. Despite the seemingly narrow specialization, such applications have a lot of nuances related to compatibility, support for formats and functionality in general.
Let’s start with the super popular team development media player Korean programmers Pandora TV, which for over 10 years Remains relevant and is regularly updated. KMPlayer appeared as one of the many alternatives at that time limited media player built into Windows. Trouble standard the player consisted of weak support for formats and especially codecs, which, due to the lack of intelligible standardization, have actively proliferated, making confusion.
The main advantage of KMPlayer at the time of the release of full version was the availability of the most complete package of all kinds codecs for preset. In this way, the unpleasant problem when video in one format or another on one computer opened, but on the other – no, just because of the use “exotic” codecs when converting and compressing video.
The range of features of KMPlayer as it is at the end 2019, exhaustive. Media player can work with different sound tracks, control playback modes, play streaming and streaming video, transform “picture”, recognize (within reasonable limits) damaged and incomplete media files.
In general, it is a powerful, multi-functional and flexible software. complex for playing a variety of media content. Of course, he is not without flaws, but completely objective and It is difficult to formulate serious claims against him. For example, KMPlayer is clearly cumbersome in terms of resource consumption to provide own work. Accordingly, on the weak (even if new) computers in computers even in FullHD can slow down, and 4K almost guaranteed to be poorly reproduced. But it is possible Consider the problem not a KMPlayer device. And if technical an upgrade is not planned, it makes sense to install in many ways similar, but significantly less gluttonous media player – Potplayer .
Fresh KMPlayer updates are increasingly being criticized by user side due to obsessive installation suggestions unnecessary additional applications, advertising demonstrations, etc. This can not be called a lack of a media player in functionality, but it’s worth keep in mind.
- playing streaming and “stationary” video;
- support for a record number of formats and codecs;
- flexibility of settings;
- reading under and damaged files;
- many additional features;
- convenient hot keys and combinations.
- Resource-intensive in itself – not for weak computers;
- negative feedback due to increasingly intrusive advertising.
The first time you get to know PotPlayer, there’s a lasting feeling that it is the “little brother” of the above KMPlayer. To a significant degrees this is so, since KMPlayer formed the basis for PotPlayer, but already within the walls of another studio – Kakao Corp., where in its time passed one of the authors of KMPlayer. Until 2017, a media player bore the full name Daum PotPlayer, but in recent versions the prefix Daum removed.
PotPlayer is very similar to its prototype in design and interface. The application is just as convenient to use and flexible in settings. Ordinary user won’t notice the difference in capabilities – PotPlayer in the same way can reproduce all conceivable formats and codecs, manipulate hot keys, play a stream, recognize “beaten” and under-downloaded media files, play different tracks dubbing, show subtitles (including from external files), connect DSP plugins and much more.
With all these advantages, one of the most important The advantages of this media player are improved optimization and conscious refusal of the developer to support rarely used functions for the sake of speed. Thus, even on the weak PotPlayer systems can work and play correctly High resolution video without lags. Player distribution volume with This is minimal and incomparable with the monstrous KMPlayer.
Unlike its “grandparent”, PotPlayer does not force user watch ads and does not install with marketing third-party software targets. This is one of the serious factors for the mass transition of users to PotPlayer instead KMPlayer. But the latter still remains relevant in view of the ability solve a number of specific tasks.
- fast correct operation;
- convenient and intuitive interface;
- many settings;
- all other key benefits of KMPlayer;
- good optimization and low resource consumption;
- completely free and without ads.
- can hopelessly hang on damaged files.
In conclusion, consider another project with worldwide popularity and recognition, which started in 1996 as a media player VideoLAN. Already from the name it becomes clear to many that emphasis in product creation was made to work with streaming video in all kinds of networks.
The idea of creating a media player was largely in the desire to solve the problem of watching videos online when it was not mainstream (almost 10 years remained before YouTube). Primary goal, set by developers in front of the final product, at the same time solved and a number of intermediate problems like playing correctly underloaded files, including those with “torn” resume torrent-like protocols. To date, such an ability all self-respecting media players have, but there are still chances successfully open broken video in VLC is on average higher than in any another player.
VLC was created from the calculation, including on weak systems, therefore Optimization developers paid maximum attention. Over the last 10 years, the application interface has not undergone major changes, remaining all the same minimalistic. Moreover, the program itself “overgrown” with many additions and add-ons, turning into a powerful cross-platform player with extremely flexible compatibility and the ability to implement in other software thanks to the built-in ActiveX component.
VLC supports the installation of extensions that enrich it without that decent functionality. Similarly, you can download and set themes that change the look of unrecognizable as convenient and preferred to the user.
- recognition of many formats and codecs;
- best abilities to reproduce “broken” and underloaded Files
- ease of integration into other applications;
- good optimization;
- flexibility of settings;
- ease of use;
- completely free.
- personal preferences and subjective opinions of users.
Attention! This rating is subjective, is not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.