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New finds in freeware and shareware

6 audio/video players to ease the sorrow of losing Winamp

wmp4

At a Glance

As always, VLC is the free media player you want on your system...but the differences in 2.1, while real and welcome, are hard to spot.

Price when rated: Free

Pros

  • More stable and versatile
  • Opens media faster

Cons

  • Same default look
  • The myriad options could be better organized
VLC 2.10 screenshot

At a Glance

This was the PC conduit for Windows Phones, and still is for Xbox. It's great-looking and plays slideshows and music at the same time.

Price when rated: Free

Pros

  • Free
  • Very good-looking
  • Simultaneous photo and music playback

Cons

  • Limited codec support
  • Orphaned product
zune6

At a Glance

Packed with tiny but useful buttons, AIMP is an player to awaken your inner audiophile.

Price when rated: Free

Pros

  • Free
  • Mimics WinAmp
  • Great playback and tag editing feature

Cons

  • Handles music files only

At a Glance

WMP shipped with recent editions of Windows, and it can play anything with the proper DirectShow codec. It's also a decent librarian.

Price when rated: Free

Pros

  • Extensible and rock-solid
  • Free
  • Great psychoacoustic effects

Cons

  • Weak playback control on some file types
  • Doesn't handle photos
wmp4

At a Glance

Apple's excellent but codec-restricted player and organizer sounds great and makes tag editing easy.

Price when rated: Free

Pros

  • Free
  • Easy interface
  • Nice tag editing

Cons

  • Limited codec support
itunes for pc

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