Media player (software)

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MPlayer, an example of a cross-platform media player

A media player is a computer program for playing multimedia files. Media players display standard media control icons known from physical devices such as tape recorders and CD players. Examples of these icons are Media-playback-start.svg(play), Media-playback-pause.svg(pause), and Media-playback-stop.svg(stop).

Mainstream operating systems have at least one built-in media player. For example, Microsoft Windows comes with Windows Media Player while Mac OS X comes with QuickTime Player. Linux distributions may also come with a media players, such as SMPlayer, Amarok, Audacious, Banshee, MPlayer, Rhythmbox, Totem, VLC, and xine.

General-purpose media players can play both audio and video; special-purpose players, however, focus on providing extended playback features for one media type. Such players are known as either audio players or video players and often have a user interface tailored for the specific media type. For example:

  • Windows DVD Player is dedicated to playing DVD discs.
  • MediaMonkey can play both audio and video but many of its features like media library, lyric discovery and music visualization are geared toward consumption of audio material such as songs and audiobooks.
  • Media Player Classic can play both audio and video but many of its features such as color correction, remote operation, picture sharpening and subtitle support are only useful for video material such as films and cartoons.

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