Tweak your media with Zoom Player Free

Geek out with this powerful but somewhat confusing tool.

There's a media player out there for just about everyone, from technophobic grandpas to people who edit various types of media for fun and profit. Zoom Player Free is definitely geared toward the more advanced users, given the depth of its features and its tendency to be a bit less-than-simple to use.

Once installed, Zoom Player Free greeted us with a long list of additional components to download. If you don't know what FFDShow, DirectVobSub, and FFMPEG Core Files are, you're likely going to be frustrated by the fact that you're being asked to make decisions about things you don't know anything about. All of the options are selected by default, and you can go ahead and download all of them or just skip this step and proceed to the media player itself.

We didn't have high expectations for Zoom Player Free after this confusing introduction, but we were pleasantly surprised by how attractive and professional-looking the interface is. It's definitely not the most intuitive thing we've seen, but after a bit of poking around we determined that we had to add media to the playlist in order to play it; we found out later that we could also drag and drop media onto the interface. If you want to get deep into Zoom Player Free's features there's a whole series of tutorial videos available on YouTube, and for good reason; Zoom Player Free is capable of all kinds of things, including video editing, ringtone creation, and multimonitor video playback.

Unfortunately, none of this is obvious from the interface itself, and users will have to put some effort into figuring out what Zoom Player Free is capable of. Although it touts itself as being easy even for beginners to use, we disagree with this assessment; Zoom Player Free is much more likely to appeal to advanced users who like to geek out with their media.

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