Manage multiple media sources with Moovida Media Center

This free media player is an alternative to Windows Media Center.

You have more choices than ever in media center software. Moovida Media Center is a free media player that collects your movies, music, TV shows, and pictures in one easy-to-use interface. With built-in codecs, a media library, and automatic album art retrieval, Moovida's emphasis is on ease of use instead of being customizable and comprehensive. As such, it seeks to be a viable standalone alternative not only to Windows Media Center or Media Player but also VLC and the other popular free players.

Moovida's interface is based around gray tones, but its bright pastel highlights are a matter of taste, though not ours. We started by importing videos into the program's library. Movies in multiple files showed up individually, which is an unsatisfactory situation if you have a lot of copied DVDs with chapters. But the program automatically retrieved and displayed cover art, credits, and even a synopsis for several of our movies. We could access our videos on the left-side panel, which includes an entry for TV Episodes. Counters displayed how many files we had in each category; likewise with the Music tab, which accesses Podcasts, Radio, and other choices. However, when we clicked on some of the unplayed selections in the Music tab, they turned out to be video files extracted from a DVD, which Moovida had listed under Unknown Artist and Album. Worse, some of the movie's files had gone to the Movies library, while others ended up under Music. We rescanned our libraries, but to no avail. While we could easily toggle a full-screen view, the so-called Mini mode merely hides the navigation panel, not the toolbar or the player controls.

Like most media players, Moovida's playback quality is limited more by the media and your system's graphics and sound capabilities than by codecs. But its library feature is awkward and error-prone, and its interface needs attention. It's certainly worth a look, but so are many other free players.

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