We Know: All About Media Players

What is a media player?

A media player is a type of software for computers that can play audio and video files by decompressing embedded information within a file. Users of these programs can then watch video clips or listen to music from the Internet or create their own files from an external device, such as a video recorder or digital camera.

What are some of the most commonly used media players?

  • Quicktime: Produced by Apple Computers, the Quicktime media player plays many file extension including .mpeg, .qt, .mov, .aiff, and .avi. This player is available for both Windows and Macintosh computers but is most commonly associated with Macintosh.

  • Windows Media Player: As it's name suggests, this media player is made by Microsoft and comes with the Windows operating system. It is also available for download for Mac formats as well. This player supports files with extensions .asf, .asx, .wma, .wmv, .avi, .au, .wav and .mpg.

  • Real Player: This media player is great for streaming media files from the Internet, or playing them as they download rather than waiting for the entire file to download. File sizes are typically smaller, but lack some of the quality of file formats for the Quicktime and Windows Media Player. File extensions native to the Realplayer include .rm and .ram.

  • Winamp: Made by NullSoft, this media player has a fairly easy-to-use interface and as hinted in its name, is solely available for systems operating Windows. It can play many different types of audio files including .mp3, .mp2, .wav and .midi.

Which media player is right for me?

If you're looking to get a media player for your computer, you should first look for one that matches your operating system. Mac users will find Quicktime to be the best choice for their systems. Windows users will probably have the most luck with Windows Media Player.

Where can I find a media player?

Media players are easily accessible on the Internet. They offer free downloads of the players but there are also "pro" versions of the programs that allow you to record and create your own music or video files. These updates typically cost around $20-$30, but are not necessary if all you wish to do is play media files.

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