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Zoomy player

Upgrade your PC media experience with this top-class player.

Zoom Player Max from Inmatrix is an excellent example of PC/media convergence. It combines the full functionality and ease of use of a DVD player with the ability to play most file types, and it has enough extras to serve as your default media player as well as command central for a complete home theater and entertainment network.

Zoom Player's installer offers a Web link for additional interface skins, a side benefit of a large and active users' forum. In fact, the program's easily reaccessed Install Center offers many more choices than other wizards, such as file associations and extra features and codecs. The default skin has a contemporary look with an automatically resizing, wide-screen-compatible display and familiar control buttons, including selectable Equalizer and Playlist views. A toggling icon bar atop the display sets Zoom Player apart from the crowd by enabling one-click access to new skins, a station manager for Web radio and TV, color controls, Media Library and Chapter Editors, and Basic Options. But Zoom Player offers options that are anything but basic, as we learned when setting up DVD playback. You can choose from a wide range of video and audio decoders and renderers, though the Advanced Mode offers a recommended Smart Playback setting that does it all automatically.

Videophiles can choose from numerous DVDGraph profiles for manual selection, too. Since we were essentially comparing Zoom Player to Windows Media Player, we selected native Microsoft codecs for initial playback, though we tried other settings, all of which functioned perfectly. Zoom Player's display easily handled the epic scale of a Cinemascope DVD, and its controls are compatible with PC media remotes, which makes it an ideal choice for a media server.

Windows Media Player hasn't always run well in Windows 7, and we're among the users who have tried third-party media players as replacements. Zoom Player Max impressed us with its ease of use, wide compatibility, and staggering range of features, options, and extras, and we recommend it to all users.

Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Zoom Player Professional 6. The trial version is limited to 90 days.

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