Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Media Player Classic

This post was originally written in 2004; I’d now recommend using MPC-HC, an improved fork of Media Player Classic.

Does this program look familiar to you? It may well do, because it’s rewrite of Windows Media Player 6, except it’s open source and released under the GNU GPL, and doesn’t have the annoyances of MS’s original. The interface is similar but a little more up-to-date and XP friendly, and comes with some more advanced features.

But probably the best thing about this player is the range of formats it supports. It’ll play just about anything you throw at it, whether it’s an MP3, an Ogg, a WMA, even a QuickTime file. And with Real Alternative (which Media Player Classic is bundled with), you can add RealMedia files to that list, negating the need for RealOne Player, which has to be enough reason to download it in itself.

You can also (probably) ditch QuickTime while you’re at it, since MPC doesn’t take an age to load, doesn’t annoy you with an ‘Upgrade to QuickTime Pro’ popup and lets you view movies in full screen. Unless you have iTunes installed in which case you’ll need to keep it.

Media Player Classic is available on its own from SourceForge but I’d recommend also installing Real Alternative and then deleting RealOne Player, since you won’t want to use it anymore. Anil found Real Alternative about the same time as me, and came to similar conclusions, so you needn’t just take my word for it.


  1. Oh, I’m going to have to check this out. Thanks.

  2. Real Alternative

    Neil Turner points to Real Alternative, an open source media player that looks similar to Windows Media Player but without all the MS hassles. It also can play Quicktime and Real Media formats, which means no more annoying Real Media Player. Count me i…

  3. Thanks for the info. I followed the links about the MPC and I have one question for you. Were you able to use the latest version of MPC AND Real Alternative AND Quicktime Alternative all within a SINGLE media player? Looking at the “final builds site” the “Alternatives” seem to be separate applications and use an earlier version of MPC. Just wondering before I download as I only have a 56K connection.
    BTW, the preview and post buttons swap places between the comments page and the preview page – just thought I would tell you nicely about this inconsistency. Look forward to your answer about MPC.

  4. John: Basically yes. Try going to and for the latest * Alternative versions – I believe BetaNews is more up-to-date than the other site. They should have the same versions and they both use MPC, which is installed to the same location (so you don’t end up with two copies of it).
    And thanks for the heads-up about the buttons, I’ll look into that.

  5. speaking of choices in media formats . . .

    Neil’s World – Media Player Classic Does this program look familiar to you? It may well do, because it’s a…

  6. It’s what I’ve been using for the past 6 months or so. I like it because it’s small and starts up in a flash. Not too many bells and whistles which I don’t use. Quicktime Alternative and Real Alternative are crucial too, as is a codec pack like the K-Lite codec pack.

  7. Windows Media Player Classic

    Neil’s World – Media Player Classic This is pretty cool, what looks like a rewrite of the good old “before…

  8. I’ve been using it for a while now and all in all it is great but there are some quirks to it- i have come across a few problems with certain real media streams, particularly media which is a combined streaming video and audio.
    also for somereason it doesn’t like certain streaming windows media files as well.
    so at the moment it is definitely my favourite player by a way, but isn’t necessarily the “all encompassing” media player (free of spyware/adware) that i’ve been looking for but i’m sure it just requires a bit of ironing out.

  9. Media Player Classic

    An open source version of Windows Media Player 6 that comes bundled with Real Alternative. Thanks, Neil!

  10. I really can’t recomend this too highly – I’ve been using this for over a year now. It really does work well, and NO spyware.
    One thing though uninstall RealPlayer first as it seems to conflict otherwise.
    Oh yeah and grab the codec pack as well…

  11. Nice Media Player for Windows,

    Nice Media Player for Windows, looks like Windows Media Player 6 (before it got funky), but is open-source….

  12. I was having major problems with playing back some DVD backups that I had from using DVD Xpress. I travel alot and back my DVDs up so that I can take the copies with me on the road and not have to worry about losing them or damaging originals.
    With many of the DVD copies though I kept having problems were media player or WinDVD would freeze up after 10 minutes or other various times all throughout the playback of the movies. No matter what I tried I couldnt get it to play straight through…yet an original disc played just fine. I had a copy of Musa: The Warrior and the subtitles wouldnt work correctly…on top of the freezing up of the program every few minutes.
    I proceeded to go and try to find the english subtitles seperate from the movie and see about playing them while watching the movie, but I needed a player that would play subtitles. I did some searching and came across Media Player Classic.
    I downloaded it and while searching for the english subtitles to the movie I decided to go ahead and see what the player was like. It ran great…no freezing of the movie and the subtitles worked correctly…I didnt have to go download any subtitles…even though the player also gives you an option to load subtitles from files.
    The Media Player Classic program is great and saved me a lot of time and aggrevation. I highly recommend it to everyone to talk to now.

  13. I’m now using the latest version of Media Player Classic together with the recommended downloads of Real Alternative and QT Alternative
    and latest ffdshow 20021113 codecs. I decided not to use the older MPC bundled with the alternatives :P. It works!
    I seem to have this recurring problem with MPC though; when I forward the playback of .avi/divX files by dragging the triangular marker, occasionally the sound disappears. Easily fixed by shutting down MPC and starting it again, but its _really_ annoying. I didn’t have this problem with the old Windows Media Player 6.4.
    I’ve been troubleshooting this, with no luck so far. I’m really hoping to figure out this problem, since MPC rocks in all other respects ~ it simply rocks!!! Does anyone here have the same problem or any suggestions?

  14. Could anyone with QT alternative tell me if the following streaming radio station works with it
    I hate the QT player, it messes up my screen really bad, so right now I have to play that radio station using Internet Explorer, but I would like to punt IE as well. Maybe with QT alternative?

  15. Media player classic is good !
    It would also be great if DFX ( would work on it !
    Keep up the good work.

  16. MPC is THE player for video files on windows. I love it for it