Before downloading the latest version of the player, the 47 skins (we found on the web) and our registry tweaks for the player from the links at the bottom of this page, you should really read this article entirely, especially the last section
. This is an article we wanted to post for our readers a long time ago, but only now we discovered a great piece of software worthy of such a noble title. We know that everyone has a favorite multimedia file player, but today we are going to have a closer look at the new King of Software Multimedia Players. He (actually it’s an “it”, but we use “he” to enhance the drama-effect
) was born from the “ashes” of his “father”. The previous King of Software Multimedia Players was The K-Multimedia Player
, a piece of free software, originally developed by YoungHuee Kang. The earliest version of this player that we could find was 1.0.250 (year: 2002) – and the latest is 220.127.116.117
(as of 12th of August, 2010). During the early versions, the player had installed and worked only in the Korean language, but due to an increasing interest of the Internet users from various other countries, the player got soon an English translation and became very popular. At the moment, the player has its menu translated in over 15 languages, Romanian included. Ok, let us get to the point – how did The K-Multimedia Player become the King of Software Multimedia Players? And which player is the King now?
The K-Multimedia Player skin modes
We are the ones giving it this name, but if you pay attention to what this player has been (and still is) able to do you will understand our reasons. First of all, the whole concept of this multimedia player was to be able to play smoothly any media file you throw at it without the help of any audio or video codec packs installed on a Windows PC. Since the early versions 2.x.x.xxxx, the player became widely known since it impressed large communities of users on the Internet with its abilities. The player provides both internal and external filters with a fully controlled environment in terms of connections to other splitters, decoders, audio/video transform filters and renderers without grappling with the DirectShow merit system. Internal filters are not registered into the system's registry to prevent the operating system from confusing system filters with K-Multimedia Player's filters.
The K-Multimedia Player on HDTV
Here is the official description given on its main site:
"The KMPlayer is a versatile media player which can cover various types of container format such as VCD, DVD, AVI, MKV, Ogg Theora, OGM, 3GP, MPEG-1/2/4, WMV, RealMedia, and QuickTime among others. It handles a wide range of subtitles and allows you to capture audio, video, and screenshots in many ways.
The player provides both internal and external filters with a fully controlled environment in terms of connections to other splitters, decoders, audio/video transform filters and renderers without grappling with the DirectShow merit system. Internal filters are not registered to user's system to keep it from being messed up with system filters."
The KMPlayer includes almost all the essential decoders required for media playback. Furthermore, to get beyond the limitation of internal decoders, the external ones such as commercial H.264 decoders or Cyberlink/Intervideo audio decoders can be specified, so that KMP works optimally by the users' own customization. Even though the KMP is based upon directshow structure, it supports Winamp, Realmedia and Quicktime by the internal logic. Thus, it is possible to specify where to try to connect firstly the media in the preferences panel.
In short, the player provides a strong hybrid structure efficient for interconnecting various directshow filters, winamp input&dsp plugin, and internal filters. The most outstanding feature is that the player has the full control of filter connections to prevent a media playback from being messed.
the KMPlayer Album Art - the video file browser feature
The player can set multiple audio and video effects, slow down or increase playback speed with regular tone, select parts of a video as favorites, do an exceptionally powerful A-B repeat, remap the keys of a remote interface for a Home Theater PC, including overlay screen controls, change a skin dynamically depending on a media type playing, and many more. It is completely customizable thanks to a wide selection of skins and color schemes, and the configuration options are extremely extensive.” This clearly shows that the software developer really wished to please even the pickiest users with the entire list of features “and then some”. For a complete list of player features go to this link: http://www.kmplayer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63
On 5 March 2008, The KMPlayer's Forum administration announced that the KMPlayer had been acquired by Pandora TV (a Korean streaming video company) in August 2007. Make a note here: the player had been getting updates quite often and sometimes new features were added. From that point on, the updates were sporadically released and only minor fixes got implemented.
Recent posts on The K-Multimedia Player forum point out that the current developers will be releasing some updates soon, but in the meantime there are some issues – The K-Multimedia Player might be the greatest player in terms of list of features, but there are some stability issues – which take us to the point we wanted to put into the spotlight today. While the simple (even damaged) file playback might be smooth on any number of systems, the HD video file playback might be an issue. There is indeed a lot to take into consideration and to be mentioned here, but we would rather focus on an example. Taking into account that one user could have a quad-core CPU system and a very capable NVidia video card (NVidia seems to be the choice for the software developers when it comes to hardware acceleration) – one cannot but wonder why there are still some playback issues.
If we are talking about a freshly installed Windows operating system on a PC with the specs above, which has been given the proper settings – and still having playback lag – it is obviously the faulty video decoding software that is causing it – the combination of video renderers and codec filters bundled with the player seems to be dated, old and no longer able to handle the latest trends in video file encoding. For example if you create a Blu-ray back-up of your favorite movie, on a video file with, let us say, H.264 1080p video and Digital Theater System (DTS) 5.1 audio, the default setup of the player will not be able to handle it – you would get laggy playback, no sound or even bad video rendering on some systems as some users reported. Obviously, since the player lets you use other media decoders (filters) than the ones that are included in its setup, you can always go and buy the CoreAVC
video decoder (around $10) or use the K-Lite (Video and Audio) Codec Pack
– which also solves the problem of the new audio formats.
But wait a minute! The KMP used to be a player that could render any media file very smoothly, without forcing the user to install various codec packs, which could mess things up and even impose a Windows reinstall in order to do a cleanup. Not long ago, the installer kit of the player (since the project got sold to Pandora TV) got a nasty “add-on” – an ASK toolbar installer – which was not even optional at first! Later versions got the option in the installer to refuse the installation of this “additional” software. So, the conclusion is that even if this used to be the best media player, it needs some “fresh blood”, which takes us to the new King of Multimedia Players of today, Daum PotPlayer.
After The K-Multimedia Player was sold to Pandora TV, the original developer, YoungHuee Kang, started working for Daum.net, a Korean video network site. Currently, Daum PotPlayer is not officially supported in English, and you will not find English versions of it on the official site. However, we discovered an English version which has been updated recently. This new player, Daum PotPlayer, is not actually intended for wide usage by other people from other countries. Not yet anyway. Its functions (like chat-messenger) are aimed at the Korean Daum.net video network
, but if you are to use it for your multimedia files on your Windows PC (or notebook) – there is no other player out there that could match its stability and versatility. As it has been officially described - it is the sum of “all features of the KMPlayer + more features & stability” – therefore a new Asian media player had been created, from the bright mind of the same developer of The K-Multimedia Player, namely YoungHuee Kang.
Daum PotPlayer playing a music video file
This “young fellow”, the Daum PotPlayer
, has 2 versions: an x86 (32 bit)
and an x64 (64bit) one
. It's freely distributed on the Internet - it is freeware
. However, the 32 bit version got more updates recently (latest version 1.5 build 23507 beta) and thus it is the version we recommend it for you, our readers. The latest version comes in English
(from an unofficial source
) and is embedded with all the new decoders and filters in order to produce a high level of digitainment
(digital entertainment – a term we came up with in order to measure the level of entertainment generated by software use), especially when it comes to HD video playback, as it comes with hardware assisted decoders – the feature used by some shareware video decoders which use the video card installed on the system to decode the video stream, which results in a reduction of the resources required to be processed by the CPU, and also distributes this task equally to the cores of a multiple core CPU. Yes, it may sound a bit techie for our average readers, but the main idea is that this hardware acceleration makes the playback very smooth, without "hiccups". The menu has been translated fully in English, but there are a few small misspellings - since this is "a work in progress", we think it's not a big issue and if possible we will get involved into this project in order to improve that aspect.
one side of the subtitle settings panel of Daum PotPlayer
What about subtitle support? Just like KMPlayer, the new Daum PotPlayer supports an extensive list of subtitle file-types, subtitle fonts and encoding types, and in the preferences menu the user will find enough options to adjust the encoding, color, and the position – this may be a matter of taste, but when a multimedia enthusiast watches a movie, with subtitles, it is recommended to see the subtitles displayed with the right font, with the right size and, if possible, below the video image – on the lower black border of the video so that the details (from the lower side of the image aspect) of the greatest action scenes would not be hidden by subtitle display. So basically, you can use various pieces of software to extract and backup your movies from DVDs and Blu-ray discs and then watch them on your computer with Daum PotPlayer.
Now, how come we have not mentioned any word about the other media players? Any of the images below are dated 12th of August, 2010 - so the player interfaces or capabilities might change in time. It is very hard to find a piece of software that has a very nice looking interface, has advanced and flexible functions, and also does a great job in playback performance. The market is filled with shareware “attempts”, expensive players which do a very bad job at rendering video files or have no proper support for a wide variety of media files or subtitles. Case in point, we dare you to try playing with the following:
- BS Player Pro
- the worst in our opinion when it comes to the interface quality and media filters, and its name does not really help either
- PowerDVD 10
which used to be the best at DVD playback, nowadays handles Blu-ray discs as well, but not so efficient as Corel WinDVD Pro 2010;
- ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Theatre 3
– a good player for Blu-ray discs, not so much for the other types of media files, with a lack of support for various subtitle files;
- Corel WinDVD Pro 2010
– much better than PowerDVD, and TotalMedia Theatre 3, with a better skin for Windows 7/Vista environments - this is the best blu-ray player
of the moment!
- Splash Pro
– a player with a very sleek interface, impressive HD video decoding capabilities, but with poor support for many audio formats and other various video files decoding – which makes one wonder – “why is it shareware?”
- Zoom Player Home MAX 7
– it has an acceptable interface, quite nice menus, but the decoding filters are not so efficient therefore it goes into the class of the media players that need codec packs installed – it is a not very convincing offer for a shareware piece of software.
We have mentioned a few the highlights of Daum PotPlayer (like smooth HD playback with the embedded filters) - with hardware acceleration features, but what we need to add is that you can use it as a music jukebox as well (like Winamp), you can also add Winamp DSP plugins in the plugins folder and go to the Audio settings and tweak them. We think that such plugins may only be useful for music sessions, but not for HD multichannel audio tracks (when watching HD movies) – so in that case, those DSP plugins might not be a good thing. Also, PotPlayer remembers the point where the media file playback was stopped – so if you close the player and play that file again, it will start from where it was playing the last time – quite a smart feature. You can also play multiple files in a folder, if those files have serial number names, like 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, or A1, A2, A3, A4. If you made some tweaks and have set up the player in a certain way - you can back-up your settings by creating a ".reg" file as you can see the "export" button in the preferences menu in the screenshot at the bottom of the page.
About the other free media players out there that claim similar levels of ownage
when handling multimedia files:
- The Media Player Classic - Home Cinema
, which usually comes with the K-Lite Codec Pack
, is a neat tool, but not really impressive with the interface and codec filter independence;
- The VLC Media Player
seems to be quite unique – as it was the first media player to come loaded with its own decoding filters, however, the modest looking interface and the lack of proper support for subtitle options make it a rather uninspired choice for movie fans;
– this media player is a relatively good player but it does not allow too much customization, no support for East-European subtitle languages – the font size of the subtitles keeps changing during movie playback, and it seems to promote watching pirated movies on the player screenshots on the official site (not so nice!)
screenshots of SPlayer as presented on its official site
- Gom Player
– made by the Gretech Company, has a very clean menu of options but does not offer an efficient and sleek skin for the user to work with; also there is no support for East-European subtitle languages.
- Haihaisoft Universal Player
– seems to make a good impression but might mess up your system by aggressively associating all the media files with the player, during setup. Our recommendation: nice try, but try to give the user some more choice options and freedom to customize the player;
- Kantaris Media Player
– seems to be like the VLC player, with a somewhat better looking skin – but then again, it comes with VLC’s lack of additional options for subtitles.
Kantaris Media Player
In the end, we are happy to announce that we prepared a setup installer kit of Daum PotPlayer 1.5 build 23507
, with all the skins that we could find on the web (47), however, we do recommend that you stick to the default one as it is really cool and good enough. In the setup kit we included the madVR renderer folder kit – if you wish to try it as one of the most recent video renderers (you have it in the madVR folder of the installation), and a special “PotPlayer-settings-Windows7.reg” file which can be used by our readers with Windows 7 computers – to import a set of adjustments we made to the player for a better playback experience (double click on the “PotPlayer-settings-Windows7.reg” file and press "Yes"). Special note: you should not let the player update itself as the translated menus will go back to Korean - just keep watching our page for updated versions. Our setup does not contain any spyware or adware.
We would like to say again WELCOME to the new King of Multimedia Players and wish you, our readers, a great time while playing your media files with it!
Daum PotPlayer - set up the madVR renderer and try it
however for Windows 7 systems we recommend the EVR renderers