In the past, good media players were scarce, but that is not the case today. I can name half a dozen free players that are outstanding in many different ways. VLC, PotPlayer, and Media Player Classic Home Cinema are three that I personally use for various types of files, and I’ve been satisfied with their performance for most uses. So why consider one of the three players I’ve looked at today? What features make any one of them stand out?
The answer is playback of encrypted media, and menu support. Those are the areas where most free players fall short, especially for Blu-ray. And as we’ve seen in this report, only one of these players does well enough in both these categories.
The free player from DVDFab does not work with encrypted media. The free version is merely a method of getting people acquainted with the player, and will not suffice for anyone who wants to play commercial discs. Of course, it has some other good qualities, including a vastly improved playback of video, and the free version does work with decrypted files. But if you are looking for a program that can do it all, the free player from Fab falls very short indeed. If you are interested in investing money in a player, then perhaps the DVDFab player deserves some consideration, but at that point, you have to also consider PowerDVD.
The VSO program is woefully inadequate in its current state. Relatively poor video rendering, no capability to play encrypted media by itself, no menu support—it has basically failed at every test I consider important except price.
And so we come to the real winner in this comparison, the Leawo Media Player. It is not without faults, as it does not yet have support for H265, and Blu-ray menus remain something of a mystery with it, but in most other respects it is a good choice for someone looking for free playback of both commercial discs and unencrypted files.