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Windows 10’s default video player utterly destroys VLC in battery life

Watching 4K movies on your laptop, while unplugged? Microsoft Movies & TV, the default video player that comes with Windows 10, lasts over twice as long as the competition.

You might think of VLC and Media Player Classic as the lightweight alternatives to Microsoft’s bloated default offering, but that thinking seems outdated. Microsoft Movies & TV utterly destroyed the free competition in battery life in a series of tests run by PC World Executive Editor Gordon Mah Ung.

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“Most people ‘in the know’ skip the default options for their video player of choice because it’s ‘better’ or more ‘efficient’,” wrote Mah Ung. “My results disprove this from a battery-life aspect.”

The test was simple. A 4K video, Tears of Steel, was played on a brand new Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 running Windows 10. Brightness was set manually, and airplane mode was turned on, but beyond that everything was left at the default settings. The video was looped in several different players until the battery died, and the results were surprising.

Program Minutes Playing 4K Video
Microsoft Movies & TV 314
Media Player Classic HC 138
KMPlayer 130
PotPlayer 131
VLC 125

Microsoft’s Movies & TV lasted 314 minutes, over twice as long as the closest competition, Media Player Classic HC. VLC, long loved by users for being lightweight, offered the worst results of all.

“I’m a huge VLC fan and out of pure laziness, download VLC on my machines and never venture further,” wrote Mah Ung. “So it was a bummer to see my favorite media player perform so poorly in battery performance.”

Apple’s QuickTime 7, long forced on users installing iTunes, couldn’t even open the file.

“It seems odd that Apple would hurl stones at Adobe while sitting inside of a house made of shimmering non-Gorilla Glass,” wrote Mah Ung.

Apple hasn’t done a lot to update that software for Windows, but it’s still noteworthy considering how much time and energy Cupertino spent pushing the Windows version.

The real story, though, is how efficient Microsoft’s video player is. If you’ve been avoiding default players because of how bloated Windows Media Player was in older versions of Windows, it might be time for a re-think.