At last, BS.Player is free--again

There's a Democrat heading to the White House and the BS.Player is a rising star among lightweight media playback jukeboxes. What year is this again?

There's a Democrat heading to the White House and the BS.Player is a rising star. What year is this again?

The BS.Player dashboard does a nice job of keeping the app\'s original aesthetic of a polished, slightly-futuristic look. (Credit: CNET Networks)

OK, so the BS.Player doesn't stretch as far back as the Clinton administration. It was introduced to the public in 2001, and more importantly, around 18 months after developer WebTeh bundled adware with the program back in early 2007, they've finally removed it. Once again, the BS.Player is a viable freeware video playback choice. Except now it's got much more going for it than mere video playback.

The new jukebox feature supports video and audio playback and organization, so if you're sick of the bigger jukebox apps like iTunes, BS.Player makes a good stripped down playback engine that can still handle podcasts and other minor track differences. The redecoed interface does a nice job of keeping the app's original aesthetic of a polished, slightly-futuristic look.

The installation process checks your system for missing codecs and installs them if it can hunt them down. Be aware that the installation process still opts you in to a toolbar and search engine redirect, if you dislike that kind of behavior.

The BS.Player's new media library interface owes much to iTunes. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Users can add files via a folder or drive scan, or drag-and-drop them for instant playback. The player does a nice job of handling a variety of formats, including Real, Quicktime, AVI, WMV, FLV, and MPEG-formatted videos, and OGG, MP3, AAC, WAV, and most audio formats. Web audio streams can be plugged into the player, although YouTube and other Flash video streams I checked out didn't work.

The interface loads as a refurbished skin of the original dashboard, and you can even reskin it back to its original look. Track name, length, and time elapsed are front and center, and clicking on various features like the elapsed time cycles through display options. Note that the Menu tab is hidden until you mouse over it. Player controls live at the bottom, and a tab of gray options on the right expands to reveal further options for Video, DVD, Audio, Radio, and TV playback. Three circles marked ML, PL, and EQ toggle the detached Media Library, Playlist, and Equalizer panes.

Also note that the new Media Library window owes much to iTunes. There's not much you can do about that, since the included skins only change the look of the dash. BS.Player also lacks updated ancillary media functions like seeking out album art, but you can configure ID3 tags natively. Frankly, I'd rather have the ID3 tags.

There is a pro version as well. The differences between that and the freemium model include support for DVDs and capture/tuner cards, advanced equalizer features, expanded subtitle options, and tech support. The Pro-lite version goes for $9.95, while the full Pro version costs $29.95.

If you're feeling nostalgic for a stable media player with a familiar name but updated look and features, you can be bullish on the BS.Player.