More than a few users find it frustrating when their media player won't play Flash videos saved from YouTube and similar sites. After all, they only outnumber all other videos by a huge margin that grows wider every minute. It may be possible to tweak your player with codecs, but with so many free media players available, why not try one that does it for you, such as FLVPlayer4Free. As its name suggests, it's a free media player that specializes in playing FLV and related formats. But it's hardly limited to Flash video: It also plays all the most common audio and video formats and plenty of uncommon ones. With a unique look (easily customized) and tons of options available when you need them, FLVPlayer4Free covers all the bases you need a media player to cover yet offers enough of a difference to stand out in a crowded field.
FLVPlayer4Free's user interface combines a browser-like toolbar with essential controls to show a different face from the usual media player look. With its white background, the look is clean and efficient yet a bit stark, but complaints cease when you right-click the interface to access the main menu and scroll down to Skins: FLVPlayer4Free comes with more than 100 skins, with something for every taste. A pop-up tool makes it incredibly easy to preview and apply them all. The toolbar includes a Playlist Editor, Save Frame tool, and Video Converter.
We like FLVPlayer4Free. It's an attractive alternative to the popular but fiddly open source media players, yet it gives up little in features. We encountered no bugginess, though it did associate our media files despite our expectation of a setup option (it's easy enough to change) and its publisher would like to interest you in other software -- hardly unique or especially annoying. It played Flash video, saved TV programs, and copied DVDs, everything we threw at it, in fact. FLVPlayer4Free offers a nice balance between simplicity and options, especially if you're mostly interested in a top-quality YouTube player that can also handle your DVDs, MPEGs, AVIs, and other video playback needs.