With the demise of QuickTime Pro (some people still have it, but if you lose it, it’s pretty hard to rediscover) and the migration of QuickTime into ‘just’ a video Player with a few extras like clips copying and pasting (after you choose Show Clips from the View menu) , third parties have come up with other media players for Mac that offer more features.
One of the best of these is Elmedia Player. This multifunctional free media player for Mac supports a wide range of common (AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, MPG ) those for Flash (FLV and SWF) plus Windows media (WMV) and not-so-common audio and video formats like DAT, FLAC, M4V, MKV and more.
Playback — For HD (high definition) video, Elmedia Player has hardware accelerated decoding which helps to avoid video slowdown and sound-sync problems. Like QuickTime, the online controls disappear for clutter-free viewing until you put your cursor back over the video (but you can turn this function on and off). You can drag this control around too, for better viewing. An AirPlay icon (Pro version only) lets you direct the video immediately to Apple TV, and Open Online Video lets you watch YouTube videos in player without ads; these abilities are enhanced further in the Pro version (see below).
Extra tools — Elmedia Player also offers quick aspect ratio change and allows adjusting the speed of playback. The usual controls are there (play, pause, volume) but you can also flip or rotate video, which can be quite a mission in iMovie and even Final Cut. This is available from the View menu.
The Pro version — Paying US$19.95 (about NZ$28) gets you the more sophisticated version which lets you save videos, including RTMP streams, and external resources required by SWF animations.
You can download videos and soundtracks from YouTube, too – Elmedia Player Pro has a built-in web-browser and Open URL option to allow you to watch online videos from within the Player’s app window.
The Open Online Video option lets you access YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion videos directly from the app, meaning you can avoid the ads that plague YouTube these days – just find the video in YouTube (or wherever), copy the link and paste it into the Open Online Video option from the File menu (the shortcut is Command U). Elmedia checks the link and seconds later, the Open button becomes active and the video appears in the Player window. This also bypasses the option of paying for a YouTube Red subscription, which also lets you play videos without ads. There is no obvious way to ‘save’ videos you find online to your Mac, but Elmedia adds them to your Playlist and it stays available here; it’s a sort of transparent saving. To download and keep a video, select the file you want to download from the list under the video, then click Download.
Elmedia can download a video with its subtitles, but it also lets you set up encoding, font, size, font colour, and border colour for them. In case subtitles are not in perfect sync with the video, you can use Increase/Decrease Subtitles Delay. You can load the subtitles file automatically (.srt, .ass, .smil, etc.) or manually with Elmedia, a feature that might be very handy, for example, to educators.
You can grab a still from a video or make a set of images (your Mac has this anyway, of course, with Command-Shift-4) and convert Projector EXE files into SWF format. It has AirPlay support so you can stream music and videos from Elmedia Player to other devices with AirPlay support and vice versa, and extra Playback options including A-B loop, 10-band audio equalizer with presets (in the Window menu, strangely, rather than the Audio menu), and video and image layout adjustments.
You can run this player in English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Czech, Chinese and Russian.
Conclusion — The free Elmedia Player is an attractive, capable video player with some great features, and that’s even in the Free version. For those wanting more, the Pro version gives you extra conversion features making wither one a handy jack of all video trades. It’s also a robust player that runs on most Macs, and it can play most if not all of those weird video formats that strange PC people sometimes send you, or that you find with Eltima’s Folx software that lets you find those things (not strictly legally, sometimes, so don’t take this as an endorsement!).
What’s Great — Even the free version gives you a lot. Nice, smooth, high-definition playback of good-quality video.
What’s Not — A few interface quirks include having some of the audio controls, like the EQ, in the Window menu instead of in the Audio menu.
Needs — Those a bit miffed by the limits of Apple’s gratis QuickTime Player and who want something to dive into fast (i.e., not iMovie) do carry out some quick, effective video tasks.
System — OS X 10.7+
Contact — Eltima Software.