iTunes: Unlimited entertainement at your fingertips

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iTunes is a media player offered as a freeware by Apple, available not only for Mac, iPhone and iPad but also for Windows OS. iTunes has become one of the most utilized media players in the few past years and for good reasons. iTunes offers tons of features, quick access to iTunes Store – the world renowned online music store-, the possibility to rent and watch TV Shows, a great playlist and much more. Add into the mix that iTunes is a good music management software and we’re starting the get a bigger picture.

iTunes Main + Playlist

Installation & Requirements

Installing iTunes is a painless process mainly due to the fact that you don’t have to worry about any adware. The installation is clean and self-explanatory, making up for the fact that it takes a bit longer than it should.

After the installation process is complete you will most likely be prompted to update to the latest version available which is obviously a good thing, but the downside is that after the update is completed it’s possible you will  have to reboot your system.

As for system requirements, iTunes supports Windows XP/Vista/Win 7, Mac OSX, iPod and iPad.

Interface

The iTunes interface is basically one of the most functional user interfaces found on a media player. Its design hasn’t suffered many changes since previous versions and some people might say that the iTunes interface has become a bit boring and that its charm has worn off, but that’s hardly a downside for a new user and you will be amazed on how functional and easy to use it can be.

Another great feature is that when you run iTunes for the first time you are presented with a list of tutorial videos that explain pretty much everything you need to know about the product you are about to use. Why read a manual when you can watch a video?!

There are four ways of viewing your playlist and you can easily search through the library by song, artist and album name. To make things even more accessible iTunes gathers information about the music files found in your library and automatically organizes your playlists accordingly.

The iTunes store is easily accessed via the built-in browser that places the entire iTunes store library at your fingertips. Speaking of which, there is also a Home Sharing function that will enable the user to easily share music files between all the computers and devices in your home, and you can actually set your iTunes to automatically share the files every time you make a new purchase from the iTunes store.

Pros

– Clean user-friendly and intuitive user interface
– Quick access to iTunes store via the built-in browser
– The ability to stream your library on the web
– Automated playlist organizer
– Allows you  to rent TV shows
– Great support
– Built-in tutorial videos
– Freeware
– Compatible with multiple platforms

Cons

– Renting TV shows can be too expensive
– Little customization options, with only a few skins available
– Unlike other similar media players, the iTunes built-in browser doesn’t offer too much functionality beyond searching the iTunes store

iTunes Alternatives

iTunes comprises a vast collection of features and a great user interface but if for some reason this is not the media player you are looking for, there are other alternatives that you might want to look into.

One of these alternatives is Songbird, a media player similar to iTunes but with a few differences here and there. For one, Songbird is not compatible with the iPhone or iPad but instead it supports the Android platform. Also, the Songbird user interface is more customizable via tons of skins, it has an enthusiastic developer community at its side and it offers a better browser than iTunes. However, iTunes still has a few key features that Songbird is missing, like the great automated playlist organizer.

Another alternative is foobar2000, a media player available only for the Windows platform. It doesn’t offer video playback, podcasting or anything too fancy, but instead it focuses more on the music playback aspect and it does a pretty good job. The user interface is a bit harder to familiarize with but at the same time it’s more customizable with the help of skins.

Conclusion

iTunes is without a doubt one of the best media players available at this point. It integrates perfectly with your iPhone and/or iPad, it offers multiple features, quick access to the biggest online music store, reliable support and much more. It’s very hard to find reasons to complain about this player, and that’s what labels it as being one of the best.