SPlayer, yes you read SPlayer not SMPlayer, is a new contender for the Windows media playback throne.
Depending on your media player of choice, you are either stuck with installing codecs to get certain video formats to work, or enjoy a media player that comes with binary codecs for video formats. The latter allows you to play media without having to hunt down missing codecs or - god forbid - install a video codec pack which sometimes does more harm than good to the system.
SPlayer uses binary codecs just like VLC Media Player or SMPlayer do. The player played all formats that we threw at it during tests, including video formats such as avi, mpg, mkv but also audio formats like mp3.
Even better is the fact that it can also play movies from DVD, Blu-Ray or remote locations.
The player uses a basic interface much like the new Windows Media Player lite does in Windows 7. The controls only become visible if the user moves the mouse cursor on the interface. It is then possible to load movies or music, configure and control playback settings, and use various other options.
We had to use Google Translate to translate the Chinese information on the developer's homepage into English (update: an English version of the homepage is available by now).
The homepage does contain a table comparing SPlayer to various other media players including KPlayer and Real Player (but unfortunately not Windows Media Player, Quicktime, VLC or a MPlayer variant).
Some of the features that speak for SPlayer are that it is Open Source, uses GPU acceleration, has a low installation size, rather low memory and cpu footprint, and that it uses binary codecs to playback videos. The only problem could be the non-English homepage which could make it difficult to get support or questions answered.
The player works pretty much as you'd expect it to work. Drag and drop a media file, e.g. a video or music file, on to the interface to play it. You can make the player the default playback device so that any media file that gets loaded on the system is loaded in SPlayer, or use the open controls instead.
Update: Splayer development seems to have stopped. The last release dates back to 2013. While the program works fine in that release version, it is suggested that you run media players that are still in development instead.
SPlayer is available from the developer's website. It worked fine in Windows 7 Professional and is likely to work in other Windows operating systems as well.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.