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- If you're looking for a feature-rich 4K media player for your PC, this guide will help with your choice.
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- For further inspiration, you might want to check out the Audio section.
As you all know, 4K is a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution for monitors and TVs. For digital cinema, 4K is a slightly different 4,096 x 2,160 picture resolution.
However, 4K is more widely recognized as an Ultra HD 3,840 x 2,160 VDU (Visual Display Unit) resolution. It provides a much more detailed and sharper picture than 1,080p on larger monitors and TVs.
The 4K resolution isn’t really something new anymore. The 5K and 8K (7,680 x 4,320) resolutions have now eclipsed 4K. As such, there are quite a few Windows media players that support the 4K video resolution.
In this article, you’ll find some of the best media players to play Ultra HD 4K videos and movie streams on Windows 10 PCs.
Top 4K media players for your PC
CyberLink’s PowerDVD Ultra is a Windows 10, 8, and 7 media player optimized for Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc playback. There are three alternative versions of the software, depending on the paid plan – Standard, Ultra, and 365.
PowerDVD Ultra is the best version that supports the full range of video disc formats, such as 4K Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 3D, ISO, 21:9 aspect ratio playback, AVCHD, and 3D DVD.
Note that the PowerDVD Standard version doesn’t support 4K Blu-ray Disc playback.
It’s not entirely surprising that PowerDVD has been getting rave reviews as it boasts a great feature set. The software provides unique TrueTheater enhancements that boost color, lighting, and sound in videos for better picture and audio quality.
PowerDVD fully supports virtual reality and 360-degree video and includes a VR Mode for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets. Even if you don’t have a headset, you can still watch 360-degree videos from all angles by selecting the software’s Tri-View Mode.
The tool enables users to cast video, photos, and music from PC to TV with the FireTV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku media streamers. If that isn’t enough, the media player also plays online 4K, HDR, 360, and 3D-360 Youtube and Vimeo videos.
The Media Library is another notable addition to PowerDVD. That automatically imports all your videos, photos, and music files. So you can also utilize the software to play photo slideshows and music as well as video content.
CyberLink PowerDVDTry this top all-around multimedia player to watch, stream and share 4k video content anytime, anywhere.
GOM Player is another top media player to stream Ultra HD content. Not only it support tens of popular video formats, but it will also play damaged files or partially downloaded files.
Just as CyberLink, GOM also includes a 360° VR Playback mode so you can fully immerse yourself in the cinematographic environment.
With over 80k subtitles in the built-in library, GOM will automatically look for and load subtitles for the vide that’s being played.
GOM Player is available for devices running from Windows Vista onwards and it’s user-friendly interface makes it a convenient media player for just about anyone.
GOM PlayerA sleek media player that will display 4K videos smoothly and vividly on your Windows 10 PC.
Blu-ray Disc is one notable input media that VLC doesn’t directly support. If you need a media player that plays Blu-ray content without any hiccups, Aiseesoft Blu-ray Player is a better choice than VLC.
This media player is optimized for 1080p Blu-ray playback, and it also supports 4K playback for MOV, AVI, MKV, FLV, WebM, and MP4 video formats.
Aiseesoft Blu-ray Player boasts smooth audio playback and HD surround sound for crystal-clear video audio as well as super-fast video loading time, especially when connected to the Internet.
Although less rich in configuration settings and features compared to the previous options, the Aiseesoft player can still be customized in terms of playing effects, video playback time, and media player skins.
Aiseesoft Blu-ray Player is compatible with Windows platforms starting with Windows XP.
With an abundance of 10-bit HDR & 4K Ultra HD video content, the world is looking for an authentic and efficient media player that can give a smooth playback without any blurriness.
CnX Media Player on Windows 10 aided by Intel-based hardware acceleration is an incredible choice to enjoy a phenomenal visual experience.
Key technical insights include:
- High-Performance Playback Core – Enabling a breath-taking visual experience
- Plays 4K, 10-bit videos, HDR videos, Full HD
- Supports MKV, TS, AVI, FLV, MP4, MOV, webm video formats.
- Supports various codecs – HEVC/H.265, VP9, VP8, H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1, WMV & others
- Less battery consumption, due to optimized implementation of Intel Hardware Acceleration (HW+).
- Safe installation – Microsoft Certified UWP App.
- Laptop speaker friendly.
- Protects Graphics Card (GPU) – Playing 4K content on devices is GPU intensive and produces enormous heat. CnX Player algorithms are designed in the best way to take care of device hardware and provide the best visuals.
- Play network streams (URLs)
- Play & browse media gallery together – no need to stop video to browse gallery
- Multiple language subtitles
- Personalized player screen (adjust saturation, contrast, brightness)
- Easy video management
- Natural & intuitive gesture controls – fast fwd, rewind, skip, volume control & many more.
So, if you are a person who loves watching movies in the highest quality, CnX Media Player is one of the best choices! CnX is a cross-platform media player and it’s available on Windows 10, Android and iOS.
If you’re looking for a freeware 4K media player, VLC is certainly one worthy of note. This is an open-source media player that’s compatible with Windows platforms from XP to 10, Mac OS X, iOS, Android and Linux.
VLC is one of the best 4K media players as it plays almost all video and music file formats without you needing to install additional codec packs.
You can play a whole host of input media with VLC, such as DVD, CD, SVCD, DVB for digital TV, VCD and numerous streaming protocols.
The latest VLC comes with hardware-acceleration support for 4K videos and support for 8K playback.
The tool is undoubtedly one of the most customizable media players as it includes a slew of settings for customizing video playback, audio, subtitles, hotkeys, and the software’s UI.
Furthermore, there is also a wide range of plug-ins and skins for VLC that users can further enhance the software with.
5KPlayer is freeware software that you can add to both Windows (XP to 10) and Mac platforms
5KPlayer provides better 4K playback than most video players primarily because it supports Nvidia, DXVA 2.0 and Intel hardware-acceleration that boosts decoding for high-resolution video.
The software also incorporates an HEVC decoder that enables it to play H.265 coded 4K and 5K videos at a high frame rate. Consequently, 5KPlayer plays 4K videos with a very little stutter and lag.
Aside from its smooth 4K playback, 5KPlayer includes some great media features.
For instance, the software supports Apple Airplay so that users can stream audio and video files between 5KPlayer and iPhone and iPad devices.
Another great thing about this media player is that it enables users to download videos from more than 300 video websites.
Users can also listen to satellite radio with the software’s built-in radio player that includes a variety of preset stations to choose from.
So these are five great media players to play your 4K videos on Windows 10 and other platforms. Few other software can match the range of video options and media features that these media players include.
Your suggestions are welcome, so feel free to use the comments section below to share with us other great media players that you have tried.
FAQ: Learn more about 4K videos
- What is a 4K video?
A 4K video has a resolution four times the resolution of a 1080p HD video. The 4K resolution size is 3840×2160 pixels.
- Do you need a special player for 4K?
To play 4K videos, you need a special video player that supports 4K resolution. Using a regular player will result in all types of technical glitches.
- Can you really tell the difference between 1080p and 4K?
The 4K resolution standard displays 4 times the number of pixels on a 1080p screen but the human eye is not capable of telling the difference in quality between 1080p and 4K, especially from a distance.
- Is 4K video available on YouTube?
YouTube supports 4K videos but you need to manually set the video resolution to 4K. By default, 4K videos are rendered on a lower resolution to reduce the strain on your computer.
- Does VLC play 4K UHD?
The latest versions of VLC support 4K video playback without any problems. Thanks to the latest features it received (acceleration support for high-end video formats), the player can seamlessly render 4K videos.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and was updated and revamped in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.