Finding the right media player software to install on your computer can very often be a long and frustrating process. Owning an iPod for example may lead you to the conclusion that iTunes is the only software you can use -- not so. This article lists software that gives you the most flexibility for playing, organizing, and synchronizing media to your portable media player.
Originally released in 1997, Winamp has matured from a player into a complete media manager. It is a very capable audio and video player that supports many media formats. Winamp also has added functionality which includes, CD ripping and burning, SHOUTcast radio, AOL radio, Podcasts, and playlist generation. Since version 5.2, it has supported synchronizing DRM-free media to the iPod which makes Winamp an excellent alternative to iTunes. The Full version is free to use and will suit most people's needs; if you want it all then you can go pro for $19.95
Apple's highly polished iTunes software is a firm favorite with iPod users, but is also useful if you want a media player that can organize your music library. As well as purchasing music from the iTunes Store, you can rip your own CDs, burn custom audio CDs, listen to Internet radio, download free podcasts, and more. The only downside to iTunes is its portable media device support; apart from the iPod and iPhone, there are very view supported devices. That said, iTunes still offers enough features to make it your default player and media manager.
Whether you love or loath Microsoft, their Windows Media Player (WMP) has become a very popular choice for PC users. Now at version 11, WMP serves as a good all-in-one solution for audio, video, and image management. With its built-in CD burning engine and ripping facility, WMP makes it easy to build up your music library. A number of other useful options includes, a DVD player, SRS WOW audio effects, 10-band graphics equalizer, and synchronization to portable MP3/media devices.
JetAudio is Cowon's multi-fuctional media player that contrary to its name can handle video too. This often overlooked media player has a plethora of features to help play and manage your media library. It supports a large array of file formats and sports a built-in file format converter. One of the more interesting features of JetAudio 7 is the recording facility that enables you to record your own sounds via microphone or other auxiliary sound source. JetAudio can rip and burn audio CDs and also has the facility to play DVDs. If you're looking for an alternative media player then Cowon's offering is worth trying.
Media Jukebox is another overlooked application that can function as a total-solution for your digital media needs. As well as the usual features you would expect from a full-fledged application, it also has a basic Internet browser for use with its built-in music services. The Amazon MP3 store and Last.FM are accessible using Media Jukebox 12 (MJ 12), along with podcast websites which you can subscribe to. Other features include, automatic CD and track lookup, full-speed CD ripping and burning, EQ and DSP audio effects, and CD label and cover printing. MJ 12 is also compatible with the iPod and so is another option to the massively popular iTunes software.