SPlayer is a free, open source media player that is lightweight, well designed, and quite powerful. It promises to play every conceivable media format (including DVD’s and streaming media), and to optimize your audio and video quality to best utilize your hardware specifications. It is light on power consumption, making it ideal for laptop/travel use, and offers a handful of innovative features such as on-demand automatic downloads of subtitles.
Wow! Where did this one come from? To start let me just state that there is an undeniable wealth of fantastic free media players available, such as The KMPlayer, which I am very fond of, VLC, GOM Player, BSPlayer, to name a few. Which is why it is quite an achievement when a newcomer can lump all of the others together and somehow differentiate itself. Splayer does exactly that
by means of its sheer “economy”; i.e. by being lightweight, having a small footprint, being truly portable and light on power consumption, and by its sparse yet sleek interface. It does this while simultaneously being innovative and offering a breadth of features. Here are more notes on this program:
- Lightweight: low footprint, low startup and playback memory footprints, low energy consumption (perfect for laptop travel use).
- Design: a lot of attention to detail when it comes to interface design and look and feel. Splayer seems sparse and simple; on-screen controls appear only when you hover over the program dialog. They succeed in presenting a clean, minimalist interface even when the program has a lot of features on offer.
- Optimizes picture and sound quality: reduces screen noise, features algorithms that are enhance image and sound quality, optimized for multi-core SSE2 SSE3 MMX GPU etc
- Portable version available: unzip and run; includes all internal codecs that can play any media file in any environment. Look for the word “portable” on the program page to find the download link to the portable version. [Update 7/17/2010] Caution: some users have reported associations being hijacked and registry entries being added by the portable version – see comments section
- Streaming: streams any format; allows users to supply URL for media on the internet.
- Audio and video capture: to disk from device, supported.
- Other features: “subtitle matching” automatically downloads and displays subtitles, bookmark favorite media, pin as topmost window, tweak transparency, capture screenshots, automatically remove black bar (if any) for widescreen video, etc.
- One thing I noticed switching from KMplayer on Windows 7 was that video file icons added after the switch no longer automatically displayed a preview screenshot as their icon. A minor issue but I hope it will be addressed.
The verdict: a very nice player that is also open source. With its combination of (a) being extremely light on resources, (b) having a very nice and sleek interface, and (c) playing every conceivable media format this program has won itself a permanent stay on my machine. It has also just become the default media player that I would recommend to people if asked. You will like it.
Version Tested: 3.3 (build 1021)
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 5.75 megs).