Sometimes you don’t want to focus on a TV show or movie; sometimes you want it playing on the side (also known as picture-in-picture mode) while you do other things. With more and more media being played on our computers, it’s easy to set up a video to play alongside you as you work. Unfortunately, if you don’t have another device or monitor, it’s hard to set up a video cleanly in picture-in-picture mode.
While there are a few solutions to this problem, Media Player Classic can have its options set so that it’s borderless, then set to always be on top so it never hides behind another window. This makes for a handy way to watch videos on the side without the need for additional screens!
Using Media Player Classic
First of all, if you don’t have it already, you’ll need Media Player Classic (also known as MPC-HC) for this to work. It’s a very robust player and totally free, so it won’t cost you anything to get started. Who knows? You may find it becomes your player of choice! If you do have a favorite player you’d prefer to use, see if you can apply the settings we describe below to your favorite media player.
Once you have Media Player Classic downloaded and installed, it’s time to set it so that it’s “always on top.” This means that the video’s window will always be visible no matter which window is currently active. This allows you to do work without the window covering up your video.
To set this option, click “View” at the top or right-click the video area. Hover over “On Top,” and then select the option you’d like.
“Default” will prevent it from appearing on top. “Always” will mean it’s always on top, so you always have access to the player no matter what. “While Playing” will make it stay on top only when playing media, and “While Playing Video” will cause it to hide when you’re only playing audio files through it.
The option you pick here depends on how you want to set up your video. “Always” will allow you to have access to the video at all times for pausing and unpausing. “While playing video” will allow you to pause and hide the video if it’s getting in the way.
Getting Rid of the Window
You can now use the player to watch videos as you work, and it won’t get buried under your active window. There’s a problem, though; it still looks quite “clunky!” With its border and controls in view, it takes up too much space on the screen. That’s alright, though; we can hide those away and only keep the video visible for a cleaner look.
To set this up, click on “View” at the top, or right-click on the video player and go to “View.” You’ll see at the top a few options that are already ticked, as well as an option to hide the menu.
To get rid of the border, click the very top option. This will cycle through four different styles, one of which has no border whatsoever. If it becomes too tedious on your clicking finger to go through the options, simply tap Ctrl + 0 to cycle through them. When you have the borderless option selected, you’ll have a player that has no border but still has a track bar and controls.
If the track bar and/or controls get on your nerves, you can disable them in the View menu. You can also do this by pressing Ctrl + 1 and Ctrl + 2.
Once done, you’ll have a box that only shows the video.
Now you can watch videos regardless of what window you’re in and without those pesky menus taking up room!
How Do I Control the Video?
Unfortunately, this does mean the video controls are now gone! If you want to pause the video, you can do so by clicking in the video window and pressing the Space bar. You can mute it by doing the same, but pressing Ctrl + M instead of the Space bar. Alternatively, if you want to do something more complicated, you can bring back the controls by right-clicking the video and selecting “View” as above or by pressing Ctrl + 1 and/or Ctrl + 2 to get the controls back.
Without a second monitor or device, it can be hard to watch videos while you do other things. By using Media Player Classic’s options, you can set up a window to be in picture-in-picture mode so it’s always visible no matter what you’re doing, allowing you to watch and work at the same time!
What things do you enjoy watching while you work? Let us know below.