What Does A Media Player Do?

Most people never give a second thought to their media player. It is usually safe to assume that when you put a CD or DVD into an optical drive, it will just play. It’s safe to assume that if you download an mp3 and double click on it, the file will play music. Oftentimes, it is taken for granted that there has to be some kind of software running that controls the playback of audio and video on your computer.

The software in charge of all these operations is your media player, something you use practically every day. Media players are an often-overlooked part of your computer, and for just that reason, people don’t think about switching their media player.

As you read this section, which will describe some of the common functions of a media player, ask yourself “Does my media player do this well?” If the answer is yes, then you probably have all your needs taken care of, but if you can’t automatically say yes, it may be time to consider switching your media player for something better suited to your needs.

Play digital audio and video files

Playing audio and video files is the one core function of a media player, that much is obvious. What sometimes isn’t taken into account is that certain players can or cannot play some file formats.

If you’ve run into a situation where you have downloaded audio or video files that your computer can’t play properly, your current media player may be letting you down. VLC has one of the largest libraries of codecs, allowing it to play virtually any audio or video file you may download.

Manage your media library

Some people are highly meticulous about the digital media on their hard drive and keep things highly organized, while others simply download and add media without worrying about the details. If you’ve ever wanted to make sure that your files are named correctly, chances are you’ve used your media player to edit that information.

While all players can arrange your files and help you label them correctly, some go above and beyond, offering music discovery and recommendation services. For instance, Songbird allows a very clean file management interface, much like iTunes, but also assists with song data like song names, album titles, missing cover art, and sometimes even lyrics.

Import music and video from CDs or DVDs

In addition to playing the discs themselves, your media player allows you to store digital versions of your music or videos. By saving your music and movies digitally, most media players let you set your “Save As” format to allow saving to mobile devices as well. This means in addition to always having your media in your computer with you, you can watch videos and listen to music without having to be connected to the internet.

All media players allow you to import music and video into a digital format. Some go above and beyond, offering control over streaming audio or video from the internet, or even download torrents quickly from the Internet. For instance, Miro has a music discovery option and the ability to download from both torrents and YouTube from within the player. It also has advanced video converting options, so making videos mobile-ready is a snap.