Every Mac now ships with QuickTime X, which has been re-built for 64-bit compatibility, looks great and has a few nifty features thrown in for good measure. The only problem with QuickTime is that, well, it doesn’t exactly play a lot of formats. In fact apart from the odd .mov or .mp4 video file, it won’t play anything! At least not without some third-party from Perian.
On the flipside of that coin you’ll find VLC Media Player. It’s a powerhouse in terms of the formats that it can handle; throw anything at it from .mkv to .avi and beyond, and it will find a way to give you video playback. So what’s the problem then? For those that care about aesthetics VLC isn’t exactly up there with the best, especially compared to QT.
Enter MPlayerX, otherwise known as the happy medium in this whole Mac media playback relationship. It’s built with the latest OS X technologies, looks as good as QuickTime, and handles as many video formats as VLC! Tempted? Let’s take a closer look.
I tested MPlayerX with a rip that I made of Tangled using MakeMKV, and playback of the full HD video and lossless audio soundtrack was absolutely flawless. Technically, the application is just as good as the next, and it offers a lot of options when you’re playing back the video.
Like QuickTime X, if you choose to have your video playing in a window, rather than maximised, all of the title bars of the window and any playback controls that are present will disappear, leaving you with just the current video and nothing around it to distract from the content. This also reduces any wasted space that would otherwise be caused by title bars in the window, so any space that you give the window maximises the content.
Speaking of video preferences, there are lots of available options in MPlayerX. You can use the video tuner to alter anything from saturation to sharpness, check the media info window to see technical details of the movie currently playing or even take full control of the audio with the built in equaliser.
Not only does it look good, but MPlayerX is a really powerful piece of software that renders QuickTime X completely unnecessary on every Mac I own. It’s really customisable, plays back any video file that I have lying around and even remembers where I last was when I played a video if I’ve opened the same file before. If you’re watching a series of episodes, it will even find and play the next episode for you automatically — you don’t even have to leave the couch!
All things considered, MPlayerX is one of the best media players I’ve used on the Mac, and the best news is that it’s completely free! You can download it from the Mac App Store right now, so be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!