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Media Players

People often come up to me, and say "Matt, I'm sick to death of Windows Media Player, iTunes and I want to use something completely different." Well, maybe not, but I've been thinking this a lot recently. Windows Media Player is both sluggish and pointless a lot of the time. So I've taken it upon myself to try and find a replacement which won't make me curl up into the fetal position and cry when it stops working. Bearing in mind, this list will include a selection of online music players as well as software and freeware.

The first one I found on my travels is another venture from Microsoft, the Zune player. This player offers a nifty and snazzy design, and looks ultra-modern, other than being basic. The problem is that with this player, everything slows down to a pre-Windows 1995 machine. I've seen 1990 Amstrad's running quicker than Windows 7 with Zune running. Especially when you have something like Google Chrome, or MSN, or anything else running at the same time. A serious no then.

The next player I managed to stumble across is called, and bear with me on this one, Foobar 2000. Yeah, that's what I thought too, but to be honest, I quite like it. It's so basic it makes even the most simplistic caveman tools look futuristic. You can just choose the theme of the player, and then all you have to do is add the My Music folder and you're on your way. Other than that, the player never crashes, never lags and is incredibly fast when changing songs. Other than that, it is a bit too basic and takes forever to load.

Next up is the ever basic VLC player, which we used at college to watch videos on, as Windows Media Player never had the codec to watch videos. Other than being an extremely versatile player, it is also simplistic to use like Foobar 2000, and will play any file, be it OGG, VORBIS, WMA, MP3 or FLAC. Again, the player is a bit too basic, and sometimes will close unexpectedly, but other than that, it is an extremely versatile and useful player, and comes as a portable version as well.

When it comes to internet players, we look for ones that are easy to use, easy to find, full of music and free. When it comes to this then, Last FM should be on top of the game. With every song under the sun, you'd expect this player to come at the top of internet music player list. Although bandwidth intensive, it is incredibly good to use, with the added features of suggesting songs you may like to hear, as well as your entire library. But, like I said earlier, it is bandwidth intensive, and when you're trying to listen on it whilst playing the Xbox, it does tend to lag everything out a little bit.

Instead, why not try something like We7. We7 can be linked to Last FM, and will also include your library, except now you can make playlists and share music to Facebook, unlike Last FM. The only problem with We7 now however is the adverts you get in between songs, which can grate a little bit when you're trying to create a mosh pit in your room. One minute you've got Slipknot, the next minute you're listening to an advert about toothpaste.

Finally, the last internet music player is Spotify. Even though it is technically software, it has to connect to the internet to play music. The decent thing about this player is that it is lightweight, and easy to use. Again, it has adverts during the time between songs, but due to some unknown media mogul-ish stylings at head office, you can now only listen to 200 songs a month. I listen to that in a day. You can only listen to 200 songs with the free version of the player. With the Unlimited version of the player, you can listen to unlimited songs, but you still get the adverts. This costs £4.99 a month to use this. If you want to go whole hog and have unlimited songs, no adverts, unlimited playlists and exclusive songs on the player, you can go for the Spotify Premium package, setting you back £9.99 a month. Not really worth it to be perfectly honest.

Long story short, I'm going to stick with Windows Media Player.
Media Players Media Players Reviewed by Matt Large on Sunday, September 18, 2011 Rating: 5

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