The Best Free Media Player For Performance And QualitySome media players are bloated monsters, packed with unnecessary features. You've seen the results: open an HD video and they'll keep you waiting while your hard drive thrashes, your RAM is gobbled up and your CPU utilisation reaches new highs.
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You don't have to put up with this, though. Other media players launch in a flash, and then make minimal demands on your system resources, allowing smooth HD video playback even on the most under-powered of PC hardware.
There's a problem, of course. You need to figure out which players fall into each category. And that's not easy, because everyone claims their own products are fast, efficient and great performers, whether they are or not.
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The answer was obvious, then. We had to benchmark the players ourselves. So we took 15 of the top contenders from around the web, measured the time it took them to load and begin playing (largely) HD videos in five common formats (MP4-based AVI, H.264 MOV, MPEG-2, MP4, and OGG), and monitored their average CPU utilisation and RAM requirements.
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