UMPlayer: A versatile media player

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UMPlayer is the Universal Media Player, a program that can run pretty much any file format you throw at it. It is completely free and open source and aims to distinguish itself from the competition by providing tons of features in a single program instead of spreading them out thin.

Installation & Requirements

The setup for UMPlayer is fairly quick but there are some things to be wary of here. For example, the application will automatically try and set video and audio file associations. If you have another favorite media player and merely want to test UMPlayer, make sure you uncheck these options. Shortcuts for everything, including your desktop and your taskbar will be created automatically by the application. The program supports Windows XP, Vista and 7, OS X 10.5 and 10.6 as well as some Linux distributions.

Interface

Apart from the vast amount of features integrated into the application, the interface of UMPlayer shines with a wide array of skins to choose from that will definitely help people get used to it one way or the other. For example, I prefer minimalistic designs and I have found skins that cater to that. Others might like bulkier, heavier designs and they will easily find them too. There is a current selection of 7 skins but more will be added after they get approved by the developers.

Speaking of the interface and the design, UMPlayer is a bit different than most multimedia players. For example, there are quite a few scattered buttons and tools as the program offers a lot of features that have to be placed somewhere. My favorite one so far has been the utility that searches for subtitles, downloads them and puts them in the movie you are watching automatically. There are other programs that offer this of course but it is nice to see it integrated as a basic and founding feature.

Customization is also a large part of UMPlayer which is owed to the general philosophy of providing a personalized experience to every user. You will need to dig around the Preferences and other menus for a while in order to get the most optimized experience for your needs but that is to be expected. Finding new features and configuration options is a blast, like setting the program to auto-detect subtitles in a specific language or playing that YouTube video inside the application. Not to mention the fact that the player remembers media position and timing and will resume your movie at the precise moment you left it before closing the program.

Unfortunately, there are some bugs that hinder the experience but they are not frequent enough that they will deter users away from the program. Most of the bugs concern the more advanced features like YouTube playback so the majority of users might not even experience any of them. Some of the design choices will also look unappealing to some people but you cannot please everyone, as much as the developers of UMPlayer have tried to do that.

Pros

-Very decent customization options
-A nice selection of skins
-Loads of little tricks and “hidden” features
-Integrated subtitles search
-YouTube playback
-Many small but great utilities

Cons

-A few bugs here and there
-Can feel a bit clunky at times

Conclusion

If you are interested in trying out a new multimedia player, UMPlayer should definitely be your next stop. There are so many things to see and play around with in this program that you will quickly find at least a couple of things you will love about it.