As old as it is, iTunes isn't the oldest free media player around. Since it was married to the iPod, though, there's been no denying that it's the industry standard for multipurpose jukebox software and that the program has become practically synonymous with media playback. Available for Windows and Mac, iTunes handles music and video equally well in a clean layout.

The bundling with the iPod and iPhone have made it the powerhouse that it is: neither device will function unless you connect it to iTunes first. The connections to the iTunes Store and App Store are indispensable, although fans of the Amazon store will have to look elsewhere. The Mac version is virtually flawless, except for that lack of customization. The Windows version works almost as well, but is infamous not only for being stiff compared with jukeboxes originally designed for Windows, but also for being bloated and occasionally sluggish.

Among the top-shelf features are smart playlists, CD burning, label printing, the capability to rip files in multiple formats, network sharing, Album and Cover Flow view options for flipping through your CDs and movies in style, ringtone editing, parental controls, integrated podcasts, and a smart-shuffle option.