KMPlayer has changed a bit since we reviewed version 3.2 back in May. KMPlayer has always been popular and familiar software, so the latest version might be a bit of an eye-opener -- in good ways and bad. One of the new additions, "KMP Plus," acts as a dashboard for the program. On startup, users are greeted by an interactive home screen where they can watch promoted videos and advertisements, browse video channels, or access their own library content directly.
KMP Plus is attempting to become a premium service, but this 3.4 release highlights what seems to be early progress and execution. We clicked on a game trailer ad to discover a barely watchable, stuttering video stream. A few of the service channels were OK -- especially if you're into foreign movies and K-pop music -- and there's a small list of playable Flash games within the media player. They work, but it's a bit out of place to embed a Flash game inside what's primarily supposed to be a media player. Returning to the main menu isn't the most intuitive either. The so-called "service store" is also non-existent so far.
KMP Plus aside, KMPlayer is as good of a media player as it has ever been: the interface is slick and (outside of the anomalous KMP Plus performance) the menu transitions are quite beautiful. KMPlayer has evolved into a basic media center, with large buttons to help you navigate and add your content. The font choices are sometimes inconsistent and rather hard to read, but other than those quibbling details, KMPlayer is still the same feature-packed media-playing beast we've come to know in the past. The interface also includes some useful buttons like pinning to remain on top of your other open windows, and easily accessible tweaks to adjust your videos. Adjust brightness and contrast settings, rotate moving images, and add effects like motion blur in real time.
KMPlayer is like that kid who tries to redefine himself with swag -- he's got a new look and flashy toys that may sound good on paper, but he falls a bit flat in the execution. The extra widgets and features might grab your attention for a bit, but in the end the KMP Plus service still has a long way to go -- it's essentially still in a "proof of concept" stage. However, the core media functions are top notch and the media navigation is a pleasure to use after a bit of setup time.