Category Archives: Media Player Replacement

Download Miro HD Video Player – Sync Your Media To Multiple Devices And A Whole Lot More!

imageThere’s been much discussion lately, in Tech media circles, on the benefits of  getting rid of expensive Cable TV, where prices seem to be skyrocketing, and focusing instead on the multiple alternatives which the Internet now provides.

Given that your computer screen is, in reality, a high-definition display, you can easily enjoy Internet sourced videos in HD full screen. Pretty neat – especially if you have a wide screen LCD display.

Miro (last updated May 20th, 2011), is a free (open source), Internet TV platform and Video Player (and so much more), that can certainly even out your path in breaking your reliance on Cable TV – and, the costs that go with it. Miro, in fact, might well be the perfect tool to help with your transition.

Not only can Miro play virtually any video in HD, including, QuickTime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, and XVID, but on top of that this application, which sports major changes from previous editions, is effectively a media management center.  I must admit, I was more than a little surprised at how effective Miro is in this role.

For example, the application quickly, smoothly, and effectively, located my music files after prompting me to select a search path. Playback controls are typical and playlists are easily created.

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The core of the program however, is the well designed video features including built-in Torrent download capabilities.

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In the following example I downloaded a 1.4 GB movie using the Torrent client. The test torrent download  took full advantage of my Internet settings – 1.7 MB per second.

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Playback of the downloaded file was a bit of a treat really. Definitely HD; smooth; quality sound.

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Additional features include the ability to sync media to multiple devices –  including Android phones and tablets. Better yet, Miro will even convert video files to the right format to play on your phone.

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Getting the application just right to meet your specific needs, using the Settings menu is straightforward and uncomplicated.

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Fast facts:

Works with your current music library – It’s very easy to switch from iTunes to Miro– without any copying. Just point Miro to your music and video folders and those files will appear. If you don’t like Miro (impossible!), nothing’s changed.

Converts and syncs to Android – You’d have to be crazy to use a music player that doesn’t sync to your phone. Miro is simply the best music and video player for Android phones and tablets.

Download and play almost any video – Do you still use separate programs to download, play music, play videos, and sync to your phone? Miro plays almost any video or music format and downloads from YouTube, podcasts, Amazon, and bittorrent.

Convert any video – You can convert almost any video with Miro into mp4/h264, with presets for almost any device you can think of (including iPhones, iPods, iPads, Android phones, and more).

Share Your Media on your Network – When two Miro’s are on the same Wi-Fi network, they can stream and transfer music and videos to each other. It’s the easiest way to watch a video or play music upstairs if the file is downstairs.

Ultra-fast torrent downloading – Miro has some of the fastest bittorrent downloading in the world, built in. Try us head-to-head with any bittorrent application!

Open-source – don’t lock yourself in – Unlike some other media players, Miro is not trying to run your life. Not only is Miro 100% free and open-source, it’s made by a non-profit organization. You don’t need to be locked down by one corporation to have a great media experience.

Buy Music and Apps inside Miro – The Amazon MP3 store is built-in to Miro. Buy, download, and listen, seamlessly. Buy Android apps from the Amazon or Google app stores and they will sync to your device.

There are many more features in Miro that can be quickly covered in a short review. I haven’t, for example, covered the easy way to stream and share music and video on your local/home network, using Miro. Checkout the publisher’s features page.

This program continues to receive high praise from video geeks, and it’s worth considering as an addition to your entertainment applications.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, Mac, Linux. (I have not tested this application in 64 bit – but, I understand 64 bit support is available).

Download at: Miro

User Manual for Miro 4.0 available here.

A caveat: During the install process, pay particular attention so that you don’t install items you may not want (Yahoo Toolbar/homepage) .

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Filed under Connected Devices, Digital Media, downloads, Easy Computer Networking, File Sharing, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet TV, iPhone, Linux, Mac, Media Player Replacement, Media Players, Multimedia Tools, Release Candidate, Software, Ubuntu, Video Players, Video Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

Download Free GOM Media Player – 5.1 Channel Output and Advanced Playback Capabilities

image I’ve never really warmed up to Windows Media Player. It’s bloated size,and outrageous overhead requirements (in my view), have always left me feeling just a little bit put out.

Years ago, (in 2003), I replaced Windows Media Player with a much smaller application – GOM Media Player. Back then, virtually no one had heard of this small (6 MB), free application.

I must admit, I was not very successful, initially, in converting my friends to my view of GOM Media Player. Over the years though, GOM Media Player’s support for a diverse range of file formats, it’s built in Codecs, and its advanced playback capabilities, have made it one of the most downloaded of all Windows Media Player replacements. In fact, it’s the number one downloaded media player on CNET (download.com), with nearly 20 Million downloads to date.

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This small application is surprisingly strong and can play most encoded video formats including AVI, DAT, FLV, MPEG, DivX, XviD, and more, with its own built-in Codec system.

For the impatient types among us, GOM Media Player can even play video files that are still in the process of being downloaded. As well, files that have been broken during the downloading process can still be played.

The right click menu is extremely comprehensive (yet very easy to understand), allowing an amazing degree of custom control over virtually every aspect of the application. I do mean – an amazing degree of control!

A built-in Screen Capture utility allows you to take screenshots of your video directly from GOM Media Player. Using the Burst Capture feature, you can take up to 999 shots continuous screenshots. I love this feature! (I just had to mention this).

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Fast facts:

DVD-quality videos with 5.1 channel audio output.

Supports most Codecs (AVI, DAT, MPEG, DivX, FLI using an embedded Codec system

Plays incomplete or damaged AVI file by skipping the damaged frames

Plays Locked Media Files while downloading or sharing

Supports HTTP Streaming ASF/OGG/MP3/AAC/MPEG PS/MPEG TS

Subtitle, Overlay Mixer features, Keys Remapping, Super speed/High Mode

Play Audio CD

Play Video CD/SVCD/XCD

Enhanced Filter Rendering

Drag-and-drop support

Editable skins

Real-time index rebuilding for AVI files

Unicode support

Advanced Features:

Customizable settings on the control panel

Adjust image brightness, hue, and saturation

Sharpen and add noise to your video

Audio equalizer

Fast forward/rewind using left/right keys

Repeat a section of your video using A-B Repeat feature

System Requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 (no indication that x64 is supported).

Download at: Download.com

This is my personal choice of media player; the application that I use primarily for playback of downloaded videos, and I have yet to be disappointed with its performance. I highly recommend this excellent free application.

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, Media Player Replacement, Media Players, Software, Video, Video Players, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Watch Videos and Internet TV in HD Full Screen with Miro HD Video Player

There’s been lots of talk in the Blogosphere lately, on getting rid of expensive Cable TV, where prices seem to be skyrocketing, and focusing instead on the multiple alternatives which the Internet now provides.

From a personal perspective, I’m a long way from getting rid of Cable TV. But that’s more an issue surrounding the medieval government broadcast regulations consumers are forced to deal with here in Canada, which allow Geo-blocking technologies that prevent Canadians from accessing television programming on U.S. websites, than any commitment I have to the boob tube, which I rarely watch.

I suspect in many other countries, consumers would be taking to the streets demanding access to the increasing number of broadcast options available online. The Canadian government needs to get its head around a concept called, “freedom of choice”. OK, I’ll stop ranting now!

For those of you who don’t face this restriction, Miro (last updated December 05, 2009), is a free (open source), internet TV platform and video player that can play virtually any video including, QuickTime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, and XVID. After iTunes, Miro is the second most popular video RSS player in the world.

The real strength of this application lies in the ability you now have, with Miro installed, to subscribe to any video RSS feed, pod cast, or Video Site/Blog such as YouTube, Google Video, and Yahoo Video, through channels.

When a channel is created in Miro, the program checks for updates periodically and will retrieve content for you through a HTTP download, or the included BitTorrent client.

You could, for example, subscribe to Comodo’s Internet video series, Really Simple Security, published on a dedicated YouTube channel, and with Miro’s automatic update function always be in the loop for new content.

Given that your computer screen is, in reality, a high-definition display, you can watch these videos in HD full screen. Pretty neat – especially if you have a wide screen LCD display.

To make it easier for you to find content for viewing, the included channel guide service is comprised of more than 1,800+ channels which are searchable by category, keyword, popularity, or language.

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Fast facts:

Built-in Channel Guide – explore hundreds of free Internet television channels.

Bit torrent download

Manageable Hard Drive folders

Resume playback

Channel surfing

Organizing video feeds by topic

Video sharing and hosting

Creating videos

This program continues to receive high praise from video geeks, and it’s worth adding to your entertainment applications.

Note: There is a learning curve associated with using Miro, but the developers video tutorial, takes the hassle out of it.

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System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows NT, Windows XP (I’m not aware of any x64 support) – Mac, Linux.

Download at: Miro

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, High Definition Video Players, Interconnectivity, Internet TV, Media Player Replacement, Multimedia Tools, Software, Video, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Media Monkey – Media Control to the Max

Guest writer Glenn Taggart is a true music lover, and he has some definite ideas on the best free media player out there. Glenn gives you his views on his favorite music media player – Media Monkey.

In the world of web based music media players, there are many to choose from.  I know many of you are quite content with the pre-packaged media players that come with the Microsoft operating system.

However, if you want to listen to other file types such as OGG or FLAC, or, say you want to sync your iPod, iPhone, or other Mp3 players, Microsoft can be a real bummer.

Enter my favorite music media player – Media Monkey.

Media Monkey will play all music files and will also sync with your iPod. Other great features of Media Monkey include the ability to retag your music collection in case you have music that is tagged improperly. Media Monkey will also rip CDs, and will convert your audio files between the various music formats.

The user interface is intuitive and is easy to set up. Whether you want to have your music collection in file format or playlist format, Media Monkey has you covered.

Did I mention system resource use? As a former XP user on an older machine, CPU and RAM resources were thin. Media Monkey solves this equation and operates on very low system resources.

Of all the music players out there, and I have tried them all, only Media Monkey has all of the bells and whistles and ease of use for the casual and power user.

Media Monkey is compatible with XP, Vista, and Win7


Fast facts:

Organize music and edit tags in your audio library with a powerful, intuitive interface.

Automatically lookup and tag Album Art and other metadata.

Manage 50,000+ files in your music collection without bogging down.

Manage all genres of audio: Rock, Classical, Audiobooks, Comedy, Podcasts, etc.

Play MP3s and other audio formats, and never again worry about varying volume.

Record CDs and convert MP3s, M4A, OGG, FLAC and WMA files etc. into other formats.

Create playlists and let Auto-DJ & Party Mode take care of your party.

Sync iPhones, iPods, & MP3 players, converting & leveling tracks on-the-fly.

Plus much more…

If you have been thinking about downloading a FREE 3rd party music player, give Media Monkey a try!

System requirements: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista/7

Download at: Download.com

Guest Writer: This is a guest post by Glenn Taggart of The Crazy World of G, who brings a background as a high level super user, to the Blogging world.

Drop by Glenn’s freeware page.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Audio Applications, Audio Software, Digital Media, downloads, Freeware, Media Player Replacement, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

What’s Hot in the Download World? – Checkout the Top 20

image There must be a gazillion sites on the Internet that offer application downloads, of one type or another – OK, that’s a slight exaggeration.

My favorite download site though, by a substantial margin, is CNET’s Download.com – although it is not the only download site I use.

I trust the programs I download from this site to be free from adware, spyware, and the multitude of other malware that floats freely on the Internet. Because of CNET’s adherence to a strict policy of offering untainted downloads, regular readers of Tech Thoughts are aware, that when I review an application, if the program is available for download at Download.com, I direct interested readers there.

If you have ever wondered what applications make it to the top of CNET’s vast repository of software, then take a look at the top 20 downloads for the week ending May 10, 2009.

Here’s a look at what’s hot:

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

Avira AntiVir Personal – Free Antivirus

Advanced SystemCare Free

Avast Home Edition

Ad-Aware Anniversary Edition

Orbit Downloader

LimeWire

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

WinRAR

YouTube Downloader

Camfrog Video Chat

Download Accelerator Plus

VersionTracker Pro

FrostWire

GOM Media Player

IrfanView

Free YouTube to MP3 Converter

PhotoScape

FLV Player

Virtual DJ Software

If you don’t find anything in this list that interests you, check out CNET’s main site.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Audio Software, Digital Media, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Graphic Software, High Definition Video Players, Image Editors, Interconnectivity, Media Player Replacement, Multimedia Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

I Can’t HEAR You – Audio Codec Conflict.

You’ll want to hear this advice from guest writer Glenn Taggart.

Enjoy_the_Silence_by_WickedNox This weekend found me working on two clients laptops.  The first had a problem that happens frequently to those who want to add popular video/audio programs to their computer.

What happens is – if you already have a program that you have been using, say, Windows Media Player for instance, and you decide to then add, say, Media Player Classic along with K-lite codec pack, and then maybe later you decide, hmmm, I think I’ll add Foobar and Gom player.

You head out on the road with your kids with your laptop. The idea is the kids will be too busy watching movies to distract you while you are driving. But no. The DVD plays but you can’t hear the sound.

What just happened? In layman’s terms, you are having a serious case of codec conflict. Codec’s are the various .dll files that your audio/video programs need to decode the binary into a language that your player can understand, thus producing picture and sound.

In the case of laptop #1, it had a case of too many audio/video programs loaded and had a severe case of codec conflict.

The cure was to remove all of the 3rd party programs (which also removed the program’s codec’s) and installed an all in one program (in this case VLC media player) which had bundled with it it’s own codec’s.

When I am visiting various audio/video tech sites, it is a common occurrence to see posts requesting help because they can’t hear or see their audio/video. If you come across this post, removing programs and installing a bundled package 3rd party program may be your best bet. In my own testing, I have found that K-Lite codec pack also causes codec conflict so I don’t recommend using it.

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Free 3rd party programs that work for me:

Gom Video Player
Foobar Audio Player
VLC Video and Audio Player

Guest Writer: This is a guest post by Glenn Taggart of The Crazy World of G, who brings a background as a high level super user, to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Glenn’s site at The Crazy World of G.

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Filed under Audio Applications, Audio Software, Freeware, Media Player Replacement, Multimedia Tools, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

GOM Media Player – 5 Star Rated and Free!

Free 5.1 Channel Output. Advanced Playback Capabilities.

Tired of Windows Media Player’s weaknesses? Fed up with its 24.5 MB bloated size? Are you unhappy with its outrageous overhead requirements? Then GOM Media Player, (the unusual name stands for Gretech Online Movie Player), may well be the tool you’ve been looking for.

GOM Media Player’s support for a diverse range of file formats, it’s built in Codecs, and its advanced playback capabilities, have made it one of the most downloaded of all Windows Media Player replacements. It is the number one downloaded media player on CNET (download.com), with nearly 12,000,000 downloads to date.

gom player 2

GOM Media Player is a relatively small (4.66MB) application that can play most encoded video formats including AVI, DAT, FLV, MPEG, DivX, XviD, and more, with its own built-in Codec system.

If you’re the impatient type, GOM Media Player can even play video files that are still in the process of being downloaded. As well, files that have been broken during the downloading process can still be played.

For audio/video files that GOM Media Player can not play due to a missing Codec, (I haven’t found one yet), GOM Media Player will attempt to find one using GUID; if you are interested in seeing how GUID works then go to GUID.org. http://www.guid.org/ Once it finds a match, you will be redirected to a download site from which you can download and install the required Codec/s.

A built-in Screen Capture utility allows you to take screenshots of your video directly from GOM Media Player. Using the Burst Capture feature, you can take up to 999 shots continuous screenshots. I love this feature!

This is my personal choice of media player, and I have yet to be disappointed with its performance. I highly recommend this really excellent free application.

Quick facts:

  • DVD-quality videos with 5.1 channel audio output.
  • Supports most Codecs (AVI, DAT, MPEG, DivX, FLI using an embedded Codec system
  • Plays incomplete or damaged AVI file by skipping the damaged frames
  • Plays Locked Media Files while downloading or sharing
  • Supports HTTP Streaming ASF/OGG/MP3/AAC/MPEG PS/MPEG TS
  • Subtitle, Overlay Mixer features, Keys Remapping, Super speed/High Mode
  • Play Audio CD
  • Play Video CD/SVCD/XCD
  • Enhanced Filter Rendering
  • Drag-and-drop support
  • Editable skins
  • Real-time index rebuilding for AVI files
  • Unicode support

Advanced Features:

  • Customizable settings on the control panel
  • Adjust image brightness, hue, and saturation
  • Sharpen and add noise to your video
  • Audio equalizer
  • Fast forward/rewind using left/right keys
  • Repeat a section of your video using A-B Repeat feature

System Requirements: Windows Me/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista

Note: I’m currently running this application on Windows 7 Beta with no problems what-so-ever.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Digital Media, Freeware, High Definition Video Players, Media Player Replacement, Multimedia Tools, Open Source, Software, Windows Tips and Tools