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What is a Freeware Player?

Article Details
  • Written By: S. Gonzales
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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A freeware player is media player available for download to users at no cost. Freeware players work like proprietary media player software in that they help users organize, store, and play music and video files. While freeware players are generally designed to work on a computer, they may also support devices like MP3 players, video players, and cell phones so that users can add the files onto their devices and make them mobile.

Using a freeware player can mean that a user may view music and video files without having to download various associated codecs. Downloading a freeware player can also help a user save computer resources that would have been consumed by using a memory-heavy proprietary software. Freeware players can usually be operated solely with the use of a keyboard. As it is free and meant to be an alternative to complicated proprietary software, interfaces are usually simple and to-the-point.

Individuals usually download freeware players so that they can listen to and view certain audio and video files, including DivX, .AVI, .WMA, .MP3, and .OGG. DVDs, VCDs, and streaming audio and video may also be compatible with certain freeware. Freeware players, by default, will offer a few different playback functions like programming, shuffling, and random play. In more advanced programs, these functions can be controlled by remote.

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Generally, freeware players are designed to be alternatives to proprietary software with the same features. When a freeware player is based on a specific proprietary software, the player may be able to play the proprietary software's files. For example, freeware that is designed to be a choice over RealPlayer® may be able to play RealPlayer® files including .RA, .RM, and .SMIL. Users may enjoy listening to or viewing these file formats without having to download and pay for the proprietary software.

Some freeware players offer users the ability to create their own audio or visual files or let users stream unicast or multicast media. Extra features may depend on the manufacturer, but it is not uncommon to come across freeware with advanced features that provide users with media libraries, A/V filters and effects, playlists, lyric viewers, subtitles, and album cover downloads. CD burning and ripping can also be achieved through many freeware players with advanced features. The ability and customize a freeware player's look is probably the most popular of the extra features offered.

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