Skip BS.Player's nag screen for one of the really free players out there

Play lots of file types (but with a nag screen) with this free but compromised player.

BS.Player is a free video and media player that's been around in several versions for some time. It's a capable tool with lots of options and some useful specializations, such as automatically scanning your system for missing codecs and downloading and installing them. It's got some clunkiness, though, and it displays a nag message overlay when you play videos. It's only on the screen for a few seconds (though it seems longer) but all it does is tell you that BS.Player is free for noncommercial use.

BS.Player's installer has several options, including associating supported media files, which we declined. But it also scanned our system and identified a number of necessary and recommended codecs and offered to install them, which we accepted. These are familiar freeware media codecs like Haali Media Splitter. BS.Player splits its interface into two parts: a control panel and a video window. The compact console has the usual controls and displays (title, timer, etc.) plus a right-side menu with expandable controls for configuring and playing Video, DVD, Audio, Radio, and TV. A Menu next to the Minimize button opened an extensive file of commands, options, and features, including FAQs, a wiki, a forum, and updates, but no manual or Help file. You can reskin the console, too. We previewed the available skins but found them like the main theme, a bit garish and with styling cues taken from game controllers.

BS.Player can play just about anything, though that's also true of its principle competitors, which also rival it in options (and beat it soundly in looks). But BS.Player isn't particularly intuitive, either; for instance, when our first video finished playing, we looked around for a way to close the video screen before finally resorting to the menu. An autohiding Exit button on the window or a Close File button on the console would be welcome additions. But, bottom line: a free video player that plasters its so-called freeness over your video in an onscreen message you can't defeat isn't free in our book, or worth our time -- not with so many excellent free media players a click away.

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