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Play it all with Kantaris

Play your media files with this free, open source media player

Kantaris is a free, open-source media player built upon the same playback engine as Videolan's VLC Media Player, but with more convenience for the average user and a sleek, stylish skin. Its layout is similar to Windows Media Player, too, but with many of the little improvements and updates that open source freeware offers. With its top-quality video codecs and the well-regarded BASS audio codecs, it's designed to be an all-in-one media player that doesn't sacrifice playback performance for convenience. Kantaris can also retrieve media information online, and it has hotkeys, full-screen view, and most of the user-friendly features that many other players offer.

With its black and gray tones and sleek highlights, Kantaris offers a more contemporary look than the basic VLC player or Windows Media Player, at least to our eyes. The yellow highlights make an attractive contrast. The right-side playlist toggles open and closed. Prominent Playback and Plugin Manager buttons let us quickly access the most frequently used features. Kantaris offers many options and settings, though fewer than VLC. But, like VLC, Kantaris is an open source project, and developers can download its C## source code from the program's Web site. As for its performance and playback quality, we have no complaints about Kantaris, which will accurately reproduce your digital media files using the latest codecs, updated automatically. Kantaris easily handled whatever we threw at it. Of course, any real differences will be determined by the quality of your video or sound card or the source material.

We're big fans of VLC's free, open-source media player, but there's no doubt that it's a bit fiddly for some users, or that it's a bit plain compared to the sleek skins offered by the competition. You can reskin VLC in virtually any style, of course, but that's getting into the sort of tweaking and customizing that Kantaris aims to spare you: If you like that sort of thing, you're probably already using VLC. Kantaris lets you take advantage of the high quality offered by VLC and BASS as well as the convenience of Windows Media Player in a stylish, up-to-date wrapper.

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