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Best Video Player for macOS Big Sur

As a Mac video player, QuickTime is great, but it lacks options, features and format compatibility. You can get a lot more out of a third-party app. Which is why we’ve compiled this list - it’s full of feature-rich players, complete with pros and cons for you to choose. You can choose the application you need in no time.

Top choice
Elmedia Player Free
4.8 Rank based on 131+ users, Reviews(131)
The best video player for Mac - Elmedia

1. The Best Mac Video Player: Elmedia

Coming in as our top pick for the best Mac video player is Elmedia Player. It can play a wide range of media formats including .mp4, .mov, .mkv, .avi, .flv, . swf, .wmv, .mp3, .dat, .flac, .mpg, and more, making it a true powerhouse.

One of the best features is its ability to play videos from YouTube, Dailymotion, or Vimeo directly in the video player without ads.

Elmedia Player is optimized to run natively on Apple's M1 chip, so you can expect incredible performance on your Apple Silicon Mac device.

Plus, the great thing about this video player for macOS devices is that it is free with an option to upgrade at a one-off cost of $19.95 to unlock even more features! The PRO features include streaming audio and video to Apple TV, Smart TV and Chromecast devices, audio EQ presets, interface color customization, Picture-in-Picture so you can watch while multitasking, and the ability to save subtitles from opensubtitles.org.

 Best Video Player for Mac

icon pros Pros

  • Can play a ton of formats, including .mp4, .mov, .mkv, .avi, .wmv and more
  • Optimized for Apple's M1 chip with native compatibility
  • Can queue up online videos from YouTube and avoid ads
  • Beautiful, minimalist design that blends into macOS
  • Subtitle support including .srt subtitle files, .ass, .smil and others
  • Audio synchronization so your video and audio are always in sync
  • Support for Picture-in-Picture mode

icon cons Cons

  • Elmedia Player has limited support for older devices

2. JustPlay

JustPlay is a compact, but powerful video player for Mac. It supports countless formats, from MP4 to SWF, along with files not native to macOS, like WMV. Its feature list includes HD 4K and Ultra HD 8K compatibility, the option to choose an audio output device, opening external audio and subtitle tracks, deinterlacing and Touch Bar support.

best multimedia player for Mac

icon pros Pros

  • Small footprint and reduced storage use
  • Wide range of supported file formats
  • Outstandingly seamless 4K and 8K playback
  • Substantial macOS support, such as Touch Bar integration
  • Variety of audio and video options

icon cons Cons

  • No free version available
  • Blu-ray capabilities are limited

3.VLC Media Player – One Of The Oldest Video Players Mac Has Available

Another option if you're looking for the best video player Mac has to offer, and don't mind sacrificing on design, is VLC Media Player.

This 25-year-old software is one of the stalwarts of Mac video player applications. It is often cited as one of the best video players for Mac, offering excellent video format compatibility and functionality.

With VLC Player, you can play various video formats, including those QuickTime Player cannot (.mkv, .avi, .wmv, and more). Plus, it is available for free on macOS and iOS, allowing you to watch videos on any Apple device.

VLC - one of the best video player for Mac

icon pros Pros

  • Completely private app
  • Can play a lot of video formats
  • There is a wealth of functionality, including subtitles, audio synchronization, and multiple audio tracks

icon cons Cons

  • The 4K playback and DVD playback can be unreliable
  • The interface is clunky and dated-looking
  • You can't customize the interface
  • Can't install from the Mac App Store for added peace of mind
  • You have to update the app manually
  • No AirPlay functionality, so you can't stream to Apple TV

4. 5KPlayer – One Of The Free Video Players Mac Users Might Find Useful

5KPlayer is another contender in our list of the best video players for Mac. The video player has some great features, including Airplay support and online video downloads to help you download videos & music from sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Facebook, Vimeo, and more.

5KPlayer offers GPU acceleration to help your Mac provide a smooth video playback experience, getting rid of stuttering, inaccurate color, and dropped frames. It also provides some basic video editing functionality, allowing you to cut videos so you can share them.

Unfortunately, 5KPlayer is not available on the Mac App Store, adding an extra layer of complexity when updating or removing the application.

One of the best video players for macOS

icon pros Pros

  • GPU accelerated playback should help with large 4K files
  • It is free to download

icon cons Cons

  • You can't install the application via the Mac App Store for added security and ease of updating
  • Not being installed through the Mac App Store can make uninstalling the software difficult
  • Some of the reviews online are negative, speculating that it could be malware

5.IINA

If you’re looking for an all-in-one Mac video player, check out IINA. Created with macOS users in mind, it achieves authenticity with the gesture controls, Touch Bar support and Dark Mode. This app wouldn’t feel out of place in the standard Apple lineup. In addition, IINA runs equally smoothly on older and newer versions of macOS.

IINA - a modern mac player

icon pros Pros

  • Modern design with accordance to Apple guidelines
  • Support for nearly all file formats
  • Intuitive browser extension with full integration
  • Support for ad-free YouTube streaming
  • Rich subtitle options

icon cons Cons

  • Storage and CPU-heavy, compared to some other video players
  • Faulty playback of 10-bit H.265 full HD videos

6. Omni Player

OmniPlayer is an MKV video player found on the Mac App Store, but it offers a lot of compatibility with other media files. It allows direct streaming of YouTube videos, and playing remote files over FTP. There is more - ordinary playback, subtitle and audio options, playlists, and screenshot taking.

OmniPlayer - best multimedia player for mac

icon pros Pros

  • No-nonsense, condensed interface
  • Plays in the background with Picture-in-Picture
  • Playlists can be created, edited or played

icon cons Cons

  • Free version barely has anything
  • No specific advanced features

7. Cisdem Video Player – The Best Mac Video Player For Converting File Types

Cisdem Video Player is another of the best video players Mac users have at their disposal. This free video player for Mac is an excellent option if you're looking to play any of the leading video file formats, including .mp4, .mkv, .avi, .mov, and even more.

The application boasts the ability to smoothly play videos from 1080p up to 4K, 5K, and even 8K making it one impressive piece of software.

Like the previous application, 5KPlayer, this competitor in the race to be the best video player for Mac is not available for download on the Mac App Store, which may be a deterrent if you want an application that's easy to update or uninstall.

Cisdem Mac player

icon pros Pros

  • Supports more than fifty file formats
  • Can add external subtitle files
  • Can convert video file types with the paid version

icon cons Cons

  • Not available to download on the Mac App Store
  • The interface is a little dated and doesn't blend in well with macOS
  • Not yet updated for native compatibility with Apple Silicon

5 things to consider when choosing the best video player for Mac:

  • It should run most known video and audio formats, especially WMV, AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, DAT, FLAC, FLV, SWF, MP3, M4V, MPG, and MKV
  • The video player you choose should offer compatibility with the latest version of macOS and support for videos of the highest resolution (4K and 8K)
  • Look for an app with a robust, efficient user interface
  • Try to find a player with features to create and manage playlists
  • Be wary of ads and pop-ups on the download page - this is not a good sign when searching for a video player for Mac

Find the best video player for Mac in the year 2021

The best video players for Mac are gathered in one easily-readable chart. Find the right one for you over here!

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Swipe tip
Top features
VideoDuke
Elmedia
JustPlay
VLC
5KPlayer
IINA Player
Omni Player
Cisdem
Complete support for several video formats
Complete support for several video formats
yes (AVI, FLV, SWF, MP4, WMV, MOV, DAT, M4V, MPG, DivX, MKV.)  
yes (MP4, AVI, MOV, SWF, DAT, MKV, etc.)  
yes (MKV, MP4, VOB, WMV, MPG AVI, etc.)  
yes (MKV, M2TS, MP4, AVI, WMV, FLV, etc.)  
yes ( AVI, MP4, FLV, SWF, WMV, MKV, M4V etc.)  
yes ( AVI, MP4, FLV, SWF, WMV, MKV, M4V, etc. )  
yes (MKV, AVI, FLV, AVCHD, WMV, etc.)  
Plays many different audio formats
Plays many different audio formats
yes (MP3, WMA, AC2, MKA, OGG, FLAC, AAC)  
yes (FlAC, AAC, MP3, WMA, etc.)  
yes (AAC, AC-3, FLAC, MP3, ALAC)  
yes (MP3, AAC, AC3, WMA, FLAC, ALAC)  
yes (AAC,FLAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, etc.)  
yes (AAC,FLAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, etc.)  
yes (MP3, OGG, ACC, WMA, AIFF)  
Supports local file streaming of several different formats to TVs and other streaming-enabled devices
Supports local file streaming of several different formats to TVs and other streaming-enabled devices
yes (PRO)  
no  
yes  
yes  
no  
yes (PRO)  
no  
Create and edit playlists
Create and edit playlists
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Features a video tuner
Features a video tuner
yes (PRO)  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
yes (PRO)  
no  
Built-in audio equalizer
Built-in audio equalizer
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
yes  
yes  
no  
Includes support for Subtitles
Includes support for Subtitles
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
Supports Picture-in-Picture
Supports Picture-in-Picture
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Enables screen recording
Enables screen recording
no  
no  
yes  
no  
no  
yes (PRO)  
no  
No-cost version
Free option
yes
no
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes

To Sum Up

One of the best things about owning a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac is the high quality and usefulness of Apple's baked-in software. That said, sometimes these apps don't provide all the functionality you might need to get a task done, like watching standard video formats such as .mkv with QuickTime Player.

If you are looking to switch things up and download one of the other video players Mac users have at their disposal, there are a lot of great applications that can make watching movies a lot more enjoyable.

You no longer need to sacrifice time or computer power converting videos using online or desktop converter apps. Not when there are well-designed, feature-rich video players like Elmedia Player that work with an extensive range of video formats right out of the box. With a plethora of features and advanced AirPlay functionality, including an AirPlay to Elmedia Player option, it makes an excellent companion application for any macOS device.

Frequently Asked Questions

A video player is an application that you can download from the Internet to play various media files on your computer, such as videos and music. Almost all video players have some standard features. Most video/media players will play any media files stored on your computer, like videos or music. Some can be used to view photos as well. That said, video players can differ significantly in terms of ease of use and capabilities, so it is essential to research which one best fits your needs.

Watching videos on your Mac has never been easier – as you can see, there are countless options from which to choose. Elmedia Player is one of the most reliable, easy-to-use, multifunctional video players out there right now.

Here’s how to get Elmedia:

  • Download the free version of Elmedia Player on your Mac via the Mac App Store or online here. Install it into your Applications folder.
  • Open Elmedia to get started. If you have media files stored locally on your computer, you can go to "File", then "Open", and choose the file you’d like to watch.
  • Click the Play button and enjoy watching videos on your Mac!

VLC Media Player is available for Mac OS X as a free download. If you’re interested in getting VLC installed on your Mac, please follow the instructions below:

  • Go to the VLC website from your Internet browser: https://www.videolan.org.
  • Download the app and choose a location on your computer to store it.
  • Double-click the downloaded .dmg file. Doing this will open the installation window..
  • Click and drag the VLC app icon onto the "Applications" folder.
  • Launch VLC. The first time you open VLC after installing it, your computer will prompt you to do the following:
    1. Double-click the VLC app icon in the Applications folder
    2. Wait for your Mac to verify VLC
    3. Click Open when prompted

VLC is considered one of the most popular video players for Mac because it can play nearly all file formats. It is an open-source, cross-platform media player first developed around 1996, so it was one of the first media players available to the casual user. VLC can play almost any media file in existence, including webcam files, game records, streams, local files, DVDs, VCDs, and other discs. The range of formats also includes MPEG-4, MPEG-2, WMV, MP3, WebM, MKV.

VLC is not the be-all-end-all Mac media player, though. Elmedia is dead set on giving VLC a run for its money, and it offers many features that VLC cannot match.

VLC went through a period when it was considered a serious security hazard. Later, it turned out to be a mistake. Here is what happened: CERT-Bund, a cybersecurity company, decided to test the player. They used an outdated version that was installed on an outdated Linux distribution. To no one's surprise, this retro installation wasn't secured from modern Trojans. Needless to say, after this fact was established, the accusations were quickly rolled back. These days, VLC is not considered to be a safety risk.

Here's a complete list of Macs that can play 4K video:

  • iMac (27-inch, late 2014 and later)
  • Mac Mini (Late 2014 and later)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, early 2015 and later)
  • MacBook Air (Early 2015 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, Late 2013 and later)

If you have any of these devices, then you've got nothing to worry about! You're golden. But it's still highly recommended to have a high-quality, reliable video player like Elmedia that can play all of your favorite HD movies and more.

Most video players generally share a similar feature-set and experience that is only differentiated by a few key factors. These include the user interface (UI), the libraries used internally, and any other stand-out feature unique to that specific video player. Based on these three points, we've narrowed it down to the following video players:

  • VLC Media Player
  • SMPlayer
  • MPV Player

There are many great video players for Windows you can use. To help our Windows friends narrow down their options, we've compiled the top three that we think all movie and video enthusiasts will be sure to love:

  • PotPlayer
  • VLC Player
  • GOM Player

Do you have a MacBook Pro/Air? This lightweight player will run on it smoothly. When considering what video player is the best for your MacBook Pro/Air, the key factor is the CPU load and playback stability. We recommend using Elmedia over any of the aforementioned apps or QuickTime Player. You can also look at all the other factors and criteria for choosing the best app above in the article.

Many online video sites run ads, which get in the way of watching your favorite videos. These interruptions can happen at any moment, and anyone that uses YouTube regularly is familiar with how annoying these ads get.

With Elmedia, the online video player from URL you’ll have the ability to watch videos from YouTube, Vimeo or Dailymotion without annoying ads. This app allows you to simply copy and paste a URL from any video source online and play it in the Elmedia interface.

Elmedia Player Free
Requirements: macOS 10.12+ , 103.67MB of free space
Version 8.1(2848) (28 Jul, 2021) Release notes
Category: MultimediaApplication