If you watch video on the Mac (besides Internet videos), you probably use one of two media players. One camp uses QuickTime, which has the elegance and simplicity of Mac, but lacks some video formats that can only be fixed by plugins. The other camp is VLC Media Player, the open source, cross-platform player that offers many more features, media formats, and tweaks than QuickTime, but its look still doesn’t feel Mac native, and can be challenging from some people to use. What if you could have the power of VLC with the elegance of QuickTime? MPlayerX answers that call.
MPlayer is not new in the world a video players, especially to Linux users. It is powerful, open-source, has a lot of features including streaming media, Apple Remote support, the ability to remember where you left off playing a video, and much more. What makes MPlayer X from other versions of MPlayer different is its Mac-centric design; MPlayer X mimics the design of QuickTime, with a black stoplight bar and controls that fade away when the mouse stops or is off the video screen. But its style doesn’t detract from its power.
The Preferences contain a lot of features, tweaking, and options to play around with, but most of them are fairly straight forward, easy to understand, and very well organized. But not all the features are in the preference files. By going to Window in the menubar, you can adjust the audio & video, as well as find more information about the media file.
Like QuickTime and VLC, it supports file streaming links through the player, such as those offered on twit.tv. Interestingly enough, compared to Quicktime, I found the MPlayer X’s audio to be louder and better quality than QuickTime (all other settings being the same), but video quality was not. So if MPlayer X is better for audio streams, but I would leave video streams to QuickTime. So far, though, I have yet to find a media stream or format that MPlayer X can’t play.
One last interesting thing that MPlayerX has is a wide variety of gestures, from basic tapping to play & pause, to three finger controlling on the aspect ratio. Some of them seem a little odd and unnecessary, but having these choices and features is still a bonus in my book.
Both QuickTime and VLC could learn a few things from MPlayer X, in power and style respectively, and at the moment, MPlayer X is my personal Mac video player. You can download it for free from the Mac App Store.