While I love Quicktime and the good old Quicktime Player (especially for watching H.264 High-Definition footage, there are times when I want to see video that’s not supported by Quicktime (or that Quicktime chokes on), such as flash video. This is when I turn to alternate video players.
I used to always turn to VLC for watching AVI, WMA, and many other truly obscure video formats. VLC will also play VCDs and DVDs. It’s open source, free, and works well. It’s also a very compact, fast, and stable application. Check it out by clicking here.
Recently I’ve been using the excellent, open-source, and 100% free (though donations are accepted) Democracy player. I’ve found Democracy player to be one of the essential tools in my multimedia toolbox. While the Mac version of Democracy player is based on Quicktime 7, which is built into the operating system, it also uses Quicktime plugins that allow it to play even more video types.
The Mac version can play MPEG, MP4, MOV, H264, Flash, Xvid, AVI, OGG, and more. Note that you can download an extension from Flip4Mac that plays Windows Media files via Quicktime – this same extension will seamlessly play WMA and WMV files in the Democracy player window. Download Flip4Mac by clicking here.
Democracy bills itself as “the free and open source internet TV platform. It allows you to subscribe to any video RSS feed, podcast, or video blog search, download, and save YouTube videos, Google Video, Yahoo Video, and other sites. The Democracy player allows you to view true high definition and fullscreen video (which Quicktime already does quite well, too.) The Democracy player also allows you to get internet TV shows, and you can explore over 1,000 free channels with the built-in Channel Guide. It’s kind of like a Tivo for internet video.
You can also have the Democracy player browse your hard drive and index your videos, making it easy to see them in the Democracy player window. If find this to be very handy.
The Democracy player is only the beginning of what Democracy can do. It’s also a platform for creating and broadcasting internet video. It’s one of the best open source programs I’ve used. And all of it works great with the Mac. Learn more and download this simple yet powerful software here: