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- “Media player is a term typically used to describe computer software for playing back multimedia files. Most software media players support an array of media formats, including both audio and video files.” (Wikipedia, retrieved 16:53, 20 March 2007 (MET))
There are basically two kinds:
- Video players
- Audio players
- Audio/Video players (most computer-based software can do both).
Pre-loaded software with your OS
Most Operating systems come with their favorite mediaplayer, but most players run on several OSs and are added by the users.
- Microsoft Windows; Windows Media Player.
- Mac OS X: Quicktime Player for playing Quicktime movies and iTunes for playing a variety of media formats.
- Linux: VLC, MPlayer, xine, and Totem.
Library / file management
- Most players include a library management system, to help organizing media files according to various categories.
Protocol and format support
- Most players offer support for the most popular transmission protocols (e.g. simple HTTP or video streaming and audio/video formats (multimedia container formats and codecs), but very few are really complete. See Wikipedia's very complete comparison of media players.