Whether you’re revisiting your old movies collection or watching your highschool reunion videos, a decent video player is always a good idea. Even though the Mac has QuickLook preview and QuickTime Player, it doesn’t quite offer the intuitiveness and advanced features that other video players offer. That’s why I have narrowed down the list after researching dozens of video players and here are the best video players for Mac.
Before We Begin
QuickTime Player is a native macOS video player that works well if you want to watch a few short clips. It plays just a few of the popular video formats like MOV, MP4, etc but simply refuses to play sophisticated formats such as MKVs. Not to mention, the user interface is simply not designed for the keyboard and you need to use the mouse for every little control. Let’s look at some of the better video players for Mac.
1. VLC: Most Popular Video Player
The traffic cone-shaped video player has been around for almost two decades now and it has a legacy only a few can match. The VLC media player is a cross-platform multimedia player that can play most things you throw at it, including CDs and DVDs. It has support for multiple codecs such as MKV, H.264, WebM, WMV, mp3, etc.
As VLC is modular, you can install custom skins and change the look and feel of the player itself. With the help of extensions, you get additional functionalities like bookmarks, intro skipper, subtitle downloader, etc that can supercharge your viewing experience. VLC is completely free for macOS.
2. IINA: Modern Video Player for Mac
VLC is robust but doesn’t look all that modern and that’s why IINA exists. It is inspired by the macOS design language and incorporates modern features such as support for TouchBar, Force-Touch Trackpad, PIP, etc. It also has a dark mode that blends with the system-theme and offers a sleek interface.
Along with most file formats, you can even stream online content from various websites. Finally, you get YouTube dl support that allows you to stream YouTube playlists directly in the video player. IINA is completely free for macOS.
Get IINA for macOS (Free)
3. Beamer: Video Player for AirPlay on TVs
I usually consume content on the MacBook but there are often times when a large screen TV is required. Transferring your videos and films to the TV can be challenging though. Beamer has this functionality built-in the video player. You can cast your videos playing on the Mac to your AirPlay-enabled TV or Google Cast-enabled TV in just one click.
Beamer can play most file formats you can throw at it, even less popular ones such as DivX, ASF, FLV, VOB, WeBM, etc. Beamer is a completely free video player for macOS.
Get Beamer for macOS (free)
4. Hermit Crab: Video Player with Organizer
If you have a huge collection of videos and films, you need a Mac video player that can help you organize your catalog. Hermit Crab has a built-in system for organizing video files into folders that you can rate, tag, and take notes on. You can mark the videos as not watched and like to find them again later. It supports file formats such as mp4, MOV, WebM, MTS, m4v, 3gp, mpg, ts, Mkv, Avi, asf, WMV, and so on.
The folders can be password protected with an AES-256 key cipher which means your video files would be free from prying eyes. The popular Mac video player also has a Chrome and Safari extension that allows you to save online videos to Hermit Crab.
Get Hermit Crab for macOS (free)
5. Movist: Video Player for Apple Silicon Macs
Even though Rosetta 2 handles x86 like butter, if you want a video player that’s ready to harness the M1’s prowess, the Movist is the way to go. The video players often kick the fans when trying to decode a 4K film and that’s where Movist takes a lead and reduces CPU usage while keeping the performance smooth. This would especially come in handy when you want to have back to back sessions of Lord of the Rings.
Movist has some amazing features that you would love to have. The letterboxed subtitles would put the subtitles below the video frame so that your film isn’t blocked by the text. The player also has listening subtitles, when activated would read them out loud. Movist is available for $7.99 with all the features unlocked but you can try a free version to see if it would fit your bill of needs.
Get Movist for macOS (free, $7.99)
6. Switch: Video Player for Professionals
Next, we have a video player that is designed for professionals who work with video and want a software that can help them inspect and adjust properties of the video. The video properties include audio channels, speaker labels, aspect ratio, bitrate, metadata, etc.
Switch also has audio meters to check audio levels, rearrange audio tracks, add additional files, and make changes to the video, and export it directly from the video player. Switch is a paid tool that starts at $15 and goes up to $549 but you can get a free demo if you’re interested.
Get Switch for macOS (free demo, $15)
7. Elemedia Player: The All-in-One Video Player
Elemedia Player is a feature-packed video player for Mac that offers tools and features you would actually use. Along with AirPlay and Google Cast, it also supports DLNA which would allow you to play media over any DLNA certified device. If you watch a lot of online streams such as YouTube, Dailymotion, and Vimeo then Elemedia can fetch the videos for you and play everything seamlessly, without ads.
You can customize subtitle text in settings to focus more on the film rather than the text. Elemedia Player even has advanced features such as capturing screenshots, loop sections, clipping audio delays, and video deinterlacing to name a few. Elemedia Player is completely free for Mac.
Get Elemedia Player for macOS (free)
Which is Your Favorite Video Player for Mac
These were a few of the best video player apps for mac that you can use right now. The list above has a lot of variety and each video player is suitable for specific needs. For example, VLC is the most trusted open-sourced player and you can get it, eyes closed. Hermit Crab lets you organize and encrypt your catalog, and Elemedia is the one with the most features. So which one do you like the most or if you have a better option then send me a Tweet and let me know.
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