The Media Center software will help you with playing back your organized media content, but what about when you want to watch a video you just downloaded? Or if you want to watch a Blu-Ray movie? The Video Players mentioned here are specialized for particular needs not covered by your Media Center software.
Best Video Player Apps for MacOS
- VLC (VideoLAN Client)
VLC is the swiss army knife of the video. Simply put, it will play any type of media file that you throw at it. On first glance, it is a rather simple application that plays videos and does it amazingly well. But underneath the simple veneer is a robust suite of features that range from the insanely helpful to overly detailed.
You can playback DVDs, select subtitles (for files that have them), adjust the aspect ratio for incorrectly ratioed videos, crop videos that failed to remove the black bars, swap audio, increase the volume beyond the system settings (great for quiet videos), deinterlace on the fly and analyze files in real time. Whew! Most of this stuff you won’t ever need to touch, which is a good thing. But what’s even better is that should you need to, all those options are there for you. Every Media Center needs this application.
- MacGo Blu-Ray Player
This is the first legitimate Blu-Ray player on the Mac. No tricks, no games, it does what it claims to do, and that is playback Blu-Ray discs. Now having said that, it is not without it’s share of issues. When testing it out, I noticed that you cannot actually access the menus, just the main title. That is fine if you just want to watch a movie, but if you want to easily get at the other content on the disc you are out of luck. You also need to be connected to the internet the whole time that you watch the movie as it decodes the copy protection on the fly. This is by no means a deal killer since your Media Center is probably connected to the internet the whole time anyway, but it is worth pointing out. Another feature which I thought was pretty cool is that you don’t actually need to have a Blu-Ray disc player in order to watch a Blu-Ray film. Meaning, if you have a Blu-Ray disc image (with complete file structure, not just a rip of the movie) it will play that back without problems too!
Being on the bleeding edge always has it’s share of problems, but it also means that you are getting something before everyone else. The problems associated with the MacGo Blu-Ray Player are overshadowed by the fact that you can actually play back Blu-Ray on your Mac, period. And in time I’m sure this will only get better (or someone else will beat them to it).
Price: 30 Day Demo / $39.99
- DVD Player
This application comes pre-installed with your Apple Computer and is a very robust and easy to use DVD player. It’s the main purpose, as you would imagine, is to play DVDs. In addition to just playing DVD discs, it will also play VIDEO_TS folders (DVD images ripped to your computer) and also comes with a host of extra features that can improve your viewing experience. As far as playing DVDs, this is probably the best application for the job which is why no one has really bothered to reinvent the wheel. You can playback your DVDs in Plex and VLC, if necessary, but DVD Player does a fine job too.
Price: Free (Included with OSX)
Perian isn’t actually a video player in the true sense of the term. Instead, it is a system plug-in that allows Apple’s Quicktime program to play an expanded list of file formats. The reason you would install this is for situations where Quicktime must be used, for one reason or another, but Quicktime isn’t actually able to play the file. This may happen on the internet while browsing a web page or it could be that another program relies on Quicktime but can’t play that file type.
Whether you think you need this or not, it is recommended that you install it on your system to avoid headaches down the line. Plus, it’s free, so you really don’t have anything to lose!