The default Android apps have matured in recent years, and the video app is no different. However, each manufacturer has its own idea of how a video app should act and what formats it should play. That’s what makes third-party apps so attractive, as they offer vastly more features, formats and functions. Let’s take a look at some of the best video players for Android you should download today.
Standing on its own, Plex is a good video app for natively playing your TV or movie library. Where it really stands out is the inclusion (and purchase) of Plex’s server software so that you can sync your entire video library from your desktop. Essentially, with this software, you don’t worry about how much available storage is on your smartphone or tablet compared to your library streams.
Pricing starts at $4.99 monthly for the basic streaming features and goes up from there but includes a media control dashboard, user controls and wireless library syncing so that you can view content offline. Unlike other apps that focus mainly on being a centralized place for watching videos, Plex wants to be a one-stop shop for server support that you can stream to your TV, smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, etc.
2. MX Player
It comes as no surprise that MX Player (free, Pro version is $5.49 with no ads) makes any list of the best video player apps for Android. Its balance between features and ease of use makes it a standout choice for any Android user. The list of file formats is extensive, and with hardware acceleration built in, it can render video quickly, so that your video experience is uninterrupted.
If the file format won’t play for any reason, look for a codec app on the Play Store that can help out. Of course, it’s hard to talk about MX Player without mentioning its gestures, as nearly every function of the app can be controlled through pinching, swiping and zooming. Last but not least is the child lock feature to ensure your kid can’t back out of a video and start making accidental calls to your boss.
3. Archos Video Player
A well-established name in the video space, Archos (free or $4.99 paid for no ads) is a popular default video player alternative for good reason. While it hasn’t been updated in quite some time, the app works well with simple controls and a still-modern interface. The list of available formats is as deep as you would hope for, and if you want subtitles, you can download them directly from the Internet.
Want to play a video from a computer, NAS, home server or even USB storage? You can with Archos. Android TV users, in particular, will enjoy a “leanback” interface designed specifically for the TV experience, all while hardware acceleration ensures that the video is playing back without any skips or bumps. Archos can even go online and retrieve show and movie descriptions from IMDB and other online sources.
4. Video Player All Format
Formerly known as “XPlayer,” Video Player All Format is something of a hidden gem. Adding support for various video codecs, the player adds Chromecast support, privacy folder, hardware acceleration and so much more. One specific highlight of the app is that it automatically identifies all video files on your device and microSD card and can import them into the app with the press of a few buttons.
Beyond that, multitask away with the floating video player on your home screen or go split-screen if your device is enabled. Additionally, videos can play in the background regardless of whether they are HD, full HD or 4K video. Add in easy controls for volume, brightness and play progress with single button presses, and the app is as navigation friendly as it is feature rich.
No list of the best video player apps would be complete without a mention of VLC for Android. One of the most established names in the video player space, VLC is capable of playing nearly any video or audio file. On top of its already wide feature set, you can also stream directly over a network which makes VLC one of the most complete video player experiences. VLC also adds a great home screen that controls audio, headsets, cover art and your complete audio library.
If you are someone who needs obscure file formats, VLC should likely be your first download. With a clean design that has stood the test of time, VLC is free to download with in-app purchases up to $11.99 for various “pro” items. One final push for VLC is that unlike some of the other apps on this list, VLC has all of its available codecs built in, so there are no additional downloads required.
Offering a bounty of features, KMPlayer is a solid option for Android users looking for VIP themes, Torrent playback and MP3 conversion. All of your settings are readily accessible, enabling you to activate subtitles, invert video, repeat a section and zoom in. On top of these features, KMPlayer adds support for Chromecast, and with the VIP purchase, Torrent downloads will begin playback while being downloaded.
If you want to continue with VIP support, you can add GIF creation to the list of features you never knew you needed as well as different themes. Even without VIP purchase (up to $19.99), you still have access to cloud playback through Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and Yandex.
iPhone users will likely be familiar with the PlayerXtreme name, and it is available for Android, too. Supporting over 40 codecs, you would be hard pressed to find a video format it cannot handle. That bodes well for anyone who wants to just upload and play without the need to convert files. Other nice-to-haves are present as well with subtitles/closed captioning and 4K playback for any devices that support clarity and streaming from a PC or NAS.
Best of all, there is no storage limit, and you can add as many videos as you want, as long as you do not fill up the memory on your device. Should you want to watch something in a different language, there is support for that as well. PlayerXtreme also has a bunch of different aspect ratios built in to best fit your phone screen. The app is free to download and can be used on almost any Android device.
An ad-supported player that is free to download (Pro option is available), BSPlayer is full of features. Everything from hardware-accelerated playback to support for a large number of video codecs is available immediately upon download. Other niceties like subtitle support, playback for compressed file formats and even a pop-up window are just a few of the functions you can expect with this app.
A child lock ensures your children can’t exit the app when they are watching an episode of their favorite TV show. Should you ever need additional support for plugins, there are downloads available to help fill any codec gap. Add in more than 10 million downloads on the Play Store and recently updated software, and it’s easy to see why BSPlayer has been a favorite video player for years.
9. FX Player
Balancing features and quality, FX Player is a solid choice for Android users if you are okay with a few in-app purchases to unlock the entire feature set. Videos are capable of playing back in 4K, 8K and 1080p, whether they are natively downloaded to the phone or playing back from a variety of supported cloud services. Chromecast support ensures you can play back on a large screen, play your video in the background or utilize picture in picture.
If you are watching a video and want to extract a certain portion or musical section, you can quickly convert and extract as an MP3. The interface itself is very basic and easy to use, so beginners can jump right in. Subtitles are downloaded online and can be used not only on the device but also if you are casting through Chromecast to your TV.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to make any in-app purchases before watching videos?
If an app has in-app purchases, it’s to unlock more premium features like Torrent downloads, network streaming, etc. and not to watch videos. Some apps might require an initial cost, which would be required before viewing, but most video apps are free to download.
2. My phone doesn’t support 4K or 8K, so why should I worry about having that?
Few, if any, smartphones are capable of natively handling 4K, never mind 8K, so it’s more about finding the best possible quality rather than watching in this specific format. A 4K video is bound to look better on any screen over 1080p, even if your phone cannot handle this format natively. Don’t worry and just enjoy your movie or show!
3. What makes these apps better than my default video app?
Realistically, the default video app on your phone is somewhat limited as far as features. On Android in particular, most smartphones and tablets will support numerous codecs, so that’s one positive. However, it’s when you start diving into MP3 extraction, subtitle downloads, 4K/8K quality, Torrent downloads, network streaming and more that you see the large gap between the native player and the third-party options listed here.
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