When iTunes isn’t enough: The best media players for PC and Mac

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Players with fees

Emby Premiere – Windows, Mac, iOS and Android ($5 per month)

Emby

Emby’s free movie-oriented package is useful on its own, but the Premiere version (also available for $54 a year or $130 for a lifetime license) adds many features that turn Emby into an elite multimedia manager for images, video, recording and more. This is particularly useful for users who have large movie portfolios to manage and pride themselves on providing cinematic experiences.

There’s a dedicated cinema mode, a cover art plugin, offline support for downloaded movies, an Emby Theater app, and syncing options for your folders via cloud storage (which you can also use for backups). For those who prefer to record the latest TV media, Emby DVR provides easy scheduling for solo or series recording. Automatic conversion is offered as you record, so you can choose the format you need in real time. Oh, and there’s even Alexa compatibility!

Tune-Up – Windows andMac ($25)

TuneUp

Tune-Up isn’t a primary music player, but rather a large plugin to augment traditional media players. It’s designed to scan for duplicate tracks, missing or incomplete song info, and lost cover art. It then uses waveform recognition technology to find the missing information, and insert it, while generally cleaning up your music library.

If your music history is a little spotty, with a lot of unnamed tracks from dubious origins and an unknown number of duplicates, Tune-Up is the perfect tool to whip your library into something you can be proud of. If you’re a big fan of specific artists, you’ll also be pleased to note that it offers concert alerts, updated music videos, biographies, and other additional information.

Elmedia – Mac

Elmedia

Elmedia is a more refined, complete media player for those who get their music and videos from a variety of different sources. It provides playback for AVI, MP4, FLV, MP3, DAT, FLAC, M4V, and many other formats, so compatibility probably won’t be an issue. It also has an in-app browser to look up and play music videos.

The design–which feels as though it takes a cue from VLC–is minimalist and time-saving, yet it still includes a number of extra features you don’t always find elsewhere. These include the ability to customize output for entertainment systems and program virtual surround sound for high-end headphones, along with the ability to stream over AirPlay. The Pro version ($20) allows for more downloading and additional tinkering, ideal for those searching for a high-quality option.

Updated on September 26, 2017 by Tyler Lacoma. Removed MPlayerX, Media Player Classic, and foobar2000. Added MusicBee, Emby Premiere, and TuneUp

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