Total Video Player plays most files, and it's free

This free video player offers simplicity.

Total Video Player is a free media player that can play most of the video and audio files most people need to be able to play, as well as CDs and DVDs. It's compact and doesn't require extra codecs, though if there's a type of file you need to play and TVP doesn't play it, you're better off with one of the open source players that can play any file type. What TVP has to offer over those others is simplicity: It's easy to set up and use, though it's not stripped-down or lacking in amenities. While it's generally a good performer, we found it a bit clunky in some operations.

During the setup and installation process, we had the opportunity to associate our media files with TVP all at once or individually, which lets you use TVP for certain file types only, if you should choose to. TVP's user interface and layout are as basic as any media player's, with a menu bar and set of controls above and below the main display, respectively. We clicked the File menu to open a clip, but our mouse button had no effect. We clicked again, and the File menu appeared, though a bit slowly. But our video opened and played normally. Picture and sound quality were comparable to what we've experienced with other media players, which is to say both are limited by the quality of the source file and your PC's graphics and sound capabilities. TVP played everything we threw at it; it seems unlikely that many users will need anything more for day-to-day duties. Settings include hotkeys and subtitles, and we could change the interface language. Like most media players, TVP has a playlist that can be opened and closed. Extras include Visualizations such as Oscilloscope and EQ.

As we noted, we experienced some clunkiness with Total Video Player's controls. Most of the time, we had to click a menu item more than once to activate it. It got to be a bit annoying. There's no Help file to speak of, either. Still, Total Video Player is worth a try.

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Total Video Player 1.31.

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