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Master Your Media With These Movie- and Music-Playing Apps

From dedicated software to web browsers, we've got you covered.

Apps in this Guide

While streaming video and music has largely taken over from physical media and collections of MP3s and AVIs, offline media players still have their uses, especially when a fast Internet connection ismore

While streaming video and music has largely taken over from physical media and collections of MP3s and AVIs, offline media players still have their uses, especially when a fast Internet connection is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive. Here's the media playing software that will come to the rescue when you can't get on the wi-fis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any security issues that I need to worry about?
Media players can be used to trick you into opening a malicious file, but it's rare. VLC and Google Chrome are regularly updated to fix security holes, and good antivirus software will help filter out malware, too.
Which media player offers the best value?
Media players are usually supported by donations instead of costing money. VLC began its life as a university student project and is now maintained by a nonprofit organization.

Recommended media players

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Since you can click-and-drag a media file into a web browser window (or press Ctrl+O in a browser to open the file browsing tool), Google Chrome is perfectly serviceable in a pinch as an offline media player -- though file compatibility may not be as varied as a dedicated media player. Plus, if you have a Chromecast device on the same wi-fi network, you can also cast this media to the TV or home theater receiver that the Chromecast is plugged into.

Media Player Classic Home Cinema

Media Player Classic Home Cinema

Download

Like VLC, Media Player Classic Home Cinema is a free, open-source app. In some cases, it may play a file that VLC cannot, or play it more smoothly. People who play a lot of locally stored media usually have both apps installed, to cover as many bases as possible. Like VLC, Media Player Classic Home Cinema can't play feature-film Blu-ray discs.

VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player

VLC is one of the most popular video players around -- and for good reason: It's not just high-quality, it's also completely free. There are no ads, and you don't need to give the company an email address. You just download and install it, then play your video file. It relies on donations to fund development. However, VLC won't play feature-film Blu-ray discs by default, due to legal issues.