Media Player Classic – Home Cinema, more widely known as MPC-HC, is an excellent open-source media player capable of playing back all popular video and audio codecs, as well as any CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc, and even DVB TV stations. From the toolbars to the way the program deals with subtitles, formats, discs, and playback modes, everything is fully customizable to fit the preferences of all users.
This lightweight player can be easily installed on any PC regardless of the version of Windows it is running on. It works perfectly with both 32- and 64-bit processors and operating systems, and it will take up very few of your system’s resources. It can load and play back nearly any standalone video file, from SD video to HD formats, such as MKV or M2TS. Likewise, you can also play all kinds of audio files using MPC-HC, from full CDs to entire folders of audio files in any of the most popular formats, both lossy and lossless.
As a user, all I ask from a software player is that it plays back all kinds of discs, folders, and supported files without glitches or hiccups, and without requiring to install dozens of external codecs or plug-ins. MPC-HC does that without complaining or displaying cryptic error messages that keep you wondering. I still haven’t found a software media player capable of displaying the disc menu when playing back a BD folder, and MPC-HC is no exception – this seems to be the eternal pending subject that no software player has been capable of tackling. However, DVDs are played back seamlessly, menu and all, just as if you were using a desktop DVD player. Besides, any chapters present on a MKV file or on a DVD or Blu-ray folder are neatly displayed on the corresponding toolbar for you to navigate through the movie easily. Subtitles and audio tracks can be easily selected, and the program’s interface can be set to adapt to the frame size and aspect ratio of the movie or turned to full-screen mode with ease. Audio files will display the CD cover if present in the tags, as well as some useful information about the author, title, or the playback bit rate.
MPC-HC offers excels not only in playback quality and reliability, but also in navigability. If we add to this a set of useful extra features that include the possibility of taking screenshots of any frame or the option to save a copy of the playing file on a different location, we end up with a high-quality software player with all the bells and whistles of the most sophisticated commercial ones and all the advantages of open-source developments, price included.