GOM Player offers high-quality playback in a sleek frame

Optimize this free video player for your system to enable highest-quality playback.

GOM Player is a free video and media player that offers high-quality playback, easy optimization, and a sleek interface. It's easier to use than some of the popular open-source players but nearly as flexible and less confusing (better-looking, too). With extras like screen capture, GOM Player offers quality playback without the fiddly settings of the better-known alternatives. Naturally it has all the essentials, such as full-screen view, playlists, and hot keys.

GOM Player's look is quite attractive, with orange highlights on active buttons and a control panel resembling an audio component's aluminum faceplate; you can reskin the interface, too, and select many other options from the main context menu. When you first run GOM Player, a setup wizard helps you configure the program's playback settings for your individual needs. There are three choices: Normal mode, which GOM player recommends for most users; High-Quality mode, which optimizes playback for high-quality displays but uses more system resources and is not recommended for less powerful PCs; and TV Output mode, which is great for home theater systems. We've seen plenty of ordinary video players and were more interested in what GOM Player can do, so we selected High-Quality mode. We also specified VMR9 output, which requires DirectX 9 or higher. We could also configure subtitles and enable multiple instances of GOM Player. GOM Player can play back audio in three stereo modes (2, 4, and 5.1 channels) as well as S/PDIF output. You can associate the program with a wide range of file types and extensions, too, though if you plan to try GOM Player without giving up your current media player, you may want to retain your file associations; you can always change them to GOM Player later, if you prefer.

GOM Player's playback quality didn't disappoint, nor did its controls and features. While we've long relied on open-source project players that have every bell, whistle, and option you can think of (or think up and add yourself), we'd have no problem with GOM Player in the projectionist's booth, and no problem recommending it to anyone needing an easy-to-use, high-quality video player.

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