Top 10 Best Video Players for Mac 2024 (incl. M1/M2/M3)

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Peter William
January 09, 2024 Preview 516.7K Preview 5
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If you are keen on watching TV series and movies on Mac, a good video player is a must-have.

Apple's default media player, QuickTime, lacks support for several widely used digital formats like MKV, AVI, FLV, WMA, Xvid, etc. Therefore, it is necessary for Mac users to know about other reliable third-party video players as well.

Based on user recommendations, thousands of online reviews and ratings, we've gathered a list of the best video players for Mac in 2024. In this post, you'll find a selection of video players that are both trustworthy and powerful, making it easy for you to enjoy any multimedia file with crystal-clear quality.

 

The Best Media Player for Mac Picks: 5 Criteria

When you’re selecting the best video player for Mac, take the following 5 criteria into consideration.

Safe to use: Be free of ads, viruses, malware, and spyware.

User-friendly interface: Born with a slick and directive interface, making the app simple to navigate.

Robust codec support: Come with strong coding skills and support wide-ranging video & audio formats, so you can play any media file including 4K/8K video without losing quality.

Compact and basic video playback controls: play/pause, time display, volume up/down, adjustable playback speed, picture-in-picture mode, full-screen mode, etc.

More enhanced features: It could be better if a video player can trim video into several clips, record the screen, take a snapshot, airplay videos to Apple TV, convert videos, download videos, play DVD/VCD/CD/Blu-rays, or others.

 

Top 10 Best Video Players for Mac 2024 (Free/Paid)

While video player software isn’t rare, finding a free yet powerful one can be challenging. Hence, we tested a bunch of Mac video players and screened out the top 10 best free video player for Mac with the above criteria in mind. Read on for more detailed information.

#1 Cisdem Video Player

Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.10 or later, including Sonoma and Apple M1/M2/M3

Overall Rating: 4.8/5

Price: Free

Cisdem Video Player ranks first on the list owing to its safety, ease of use & control, advanced performance, as well as its ability to play media files in any format & resolution. It offers smoother playback while other media players show a video jitter, choppy, or stalling.

Free Download

This best video player Mac takes care of your local media files and music/videos downloaded from YouTube, Vimeo, TikTik, or others. It’s fully compatible with all popular video/audio file formats and codecs including h265/h264/vp9/av01. Also, it can play media files in 1080p, 4K, 5K, and 8K, ensuring the playback of high-quality video files a breeze.

Its user-friendly interface enables you to quickly import media, organize and play clips. You can add an individual file, multiple files, or a folder to the app by dragging and dropping. All audio and video files you added will be put into a playlist on the right.

Cisdem playlist

The app can play videos with audio and subtitles. If your media resource is embedded in multi-language audio and subtitle streams, Cisdem Video Player will detect all streams and let you toggle to the one you need. You can also manually add ASS or SRT subtitles, or sync subtitles in the same folder as the video file.

Cisdem control bar

In addition to the necessary controls, the best Mac video player supports incognito mode and separate mode. The former helps you watch movies secretly without leaving a trace. The latter will separate the video playback interface, playlist, and control bar into 3 windows. Each window can be independently operated, making it more flexible and easier to manage.

incognitoseparate windows

Cisdem Video Player contains a built-in video converter, allowing you to convert media files to MP4, M4V, MOV, MP3, M4A, iPhone, iPad, Samsung, and more formats or compatible device. It's totally free to play video & audio files but to unlock the conversion function, you need to upgrade to the pro version.

Cisdem Video Player convert

Pros:

  • Equipped with a concise and decent interface
  • Play video/audio files in more than 300 formats
  • Load subtitles in any language, or import subtitles, as you want
  • Choose the audio soundtracks and stereo
  • Capture snapshots of each frame
  • Control speed and volume
  • Create a personalized video playlist for seamless playback
  • Take less occupancy on CPU memory of your Mac

Cons:

  1. The conversion feature is a paid service
 
Supported Media Formats:
Video Formats: wmv, avi, asf, rm, rmvb, 3gp, 3g2, mpg, mpeg, m2v, mpa, dat, mp4, ts, m2t, t2, mov, qt, m4v, m2ts, mts, flv, f4v, mkv, dv, dif, dvr, xwmv, amv, mpv, nsv, au, mjpg, mjpeg, nut, h261, h263, h264, h265, YUV, iso, divx, mod, tod, vro, dpg
Audio Formats: mp3, mp2, wma, wav, ogg, aac, ac3, m4a, mka, aiff, ape, flac

 

What're the differences between Cisdem Video Player and Cisdem Video Converter?

  Cisdem Video Player Cisdem Video Converter
Download Link MAC | WIN MAC | WIN
Price Free ($19.99/lifetime to active conversion feature) $49.99/year or 69.99/lifetime
Play Video Dedicated video player (rich playback controls) Inbuilt-in video player (non-primary function)
Convert Video Support 40+ output formats Support 600+ formats
Batch Convert Videos No Yes
Extra

/

  • Rip DVD movies and music
  • Download online videos from 1000+ sites

Both programs support playing and converting features. But as their names indicate, the former is mainly used to play videos, while the latter is a professional video converter & downloader.

 

#2 VLC Media Player

Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.7.5 or newer, Macs with Apple Silicon chip

Techradar Rating: 4.5/5

Price: Free

VLC Media Player, an uncluttered, open-source and cross-platform program, supports AirPlay, DivX and MPEG streaming. It can play DVDs, CDs, VCDs, network streaming protocols, and various types of video files for free with advanced video playback. Meanwhile, it empowers you to open Zip media files without unpacking them.

VLC offers playlist for viewing multiple videos one after the other. And you can simply tweak the playback controls and audio volume (up to 200%).

But there is a slight delay when it comes to streaming online videos from YouTube. Whenever we open a network video, it plays other audio and DVDs instead, and after multiple tries, it finally plays the YouTube video.

VLC

Pros:

  1. Help you enjoy Windows Media, MP3, QuickTime, and OGG files
  2. Record the movies/music you are playing with VLC
  3. Adjust playback speed: Slower, Normal, and Faster
  4. Support external subtitles and Closed Captions

Cons:

  1. Outdated user interface
  2. Delay a little while playing the media files
  3. Hard to found the basic functions
  4. Sometimes offer a poor playback to play the ripped DVD content
 
Supported Media Formats:
ES, PS, TS, PVA, MP3, AVI, ASF, WMV, WMA, MP4, MOV, 3GP, OGG, OGM, MKV, Real, WAV, DTS, AAC, AC3/A52, Raw DV, FLAC, FLV (Flash), MXF, Nut, Standard MIDI / SMF, Creative™ Voice.

 

#3 Plex Media Player

Compatibility: macOS 10.14 Mojave or later, 64-bit only

Techradar Rating: 4.5/5

Price: Free

Plex is an excellent video player for watching local and online media sources such as movies, TV shows, music, drama, etc. It features intelligent classification to assist you in finding what you need quickly. Also, it supports multi-device synchronization, which means you can play videos on mobiles, gaming consoles, , streaming devices, and more other than Macs.

When you open Plex on your computer, it shows you an intuitive and clear interface, allowing you to understand this tool in a short time. On the main interface, you can come to the section for adding your local sources, it will instruct you to download Plex Media Server to scan all files on your computer and add them to Plex immediately.

Plex media player

Pros:

  1. Can access to numerous online resources
  2. Smartly recommend content based on video playback history
  3. Offer DVR and TV for users to enjoy
  4. Integrated search function

Cons:

  1. Require use with Plex Media Server to view local files
  2. Have trouble in playing 8K titles
  3. Slow to load large videos
  4. Only the upgraded version provides more features, but it's expensive
 
Supported Media Formats:
asf, avi, mov, mp4, mpeg, ts, mkv, wmv, aac, alac, e-ac3, flac, mp3, m4a, wav, etc.

 

#4 QuickTime Player

Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.6.3 or above

Overall Rating: 4.0/5

Price: Free

QuickTime is the default media player that bundled with the Mac operating system. It ensures you to view Internet video, HD movie trailers, and personal media. For viewing Internet videos, you don’t need to download them as QuickTime can reach them with only URL.

This best media player for Mac is slick and easy to use. You can quickly export your videos to 4k, 1080p, 720p, 480p (based on original resolution) or extract them as M4A audio. It also functions as a screen recorder, which allows you to record your playing movie, track, or anything on your current desktop.

However, it supports limited video formats. For more formats available like FLV, you have to install external plug-in Perian.

QuickTime

Pros:

  1. No additional installation required
  2. Provide you with advanced H.264 video compression technology to help deliver perfect HD video with less storage space
  3. Record your Mac screen

Cons:

  1. A bit slow to launch
  2. Can’t work with common subtitle files
  3. Can’t open MKV, WMV, WMA, AVI, FLV, etc.
  4. Unable to open MP4 encoded with vp09 and hev1
  5. Need to install more plug-ins to get more features
 
Supported Media Formats:
Video File Formats:
mov, mp4, m4v, MPEG-1, 3GPP, 3GPP2, AVI, DV
Audio File Formats:
m4a, m4b, m4p, MP3, caf, AIFF, AU, SD2, WAV, SND, AMR

 

#5 Elmedia Player

Compatibility: macOS 10.12 or later

App Store Rating: 4.5/5

Price: $19.95

A multifunctional free media player for Mac, Elmedia Player supports a wide range of common and not so common audio & video formats, like FLV, SWF, MP4, MKV, and more. It can play virtually all media files including Blu-rays and online videos on your Mac with clear resolution. The app comes with some helpful functions like controlling playback speed, making a loop playback, etc.

Although it has some other special features, such as downloading online videos from YouTube and adjusting audio settings, they are not free and need to be upgraded.


Elmedia Player

Pros:

  1. Play online videos without ads
  2. Support embedded and external subtitles
  3. Save and load playlist
  4. Reset audio delay

Cons:

  1. Consume major CPU
  2. Might lose video quality when swiping back and forth
  3. Only pro version allows to take screenshots and record screen
 
Supported Media Formats:
Video File Formats:
3gp, avi, mp4, mpeg, vob, flv, mov, mkv, 3iv, asf, fli, m1v, m2t, m2ts, m2v, m4v, mp2, mpg, mpg2, mpg4, mpv, mqv, nut, nuv, nsv, qt, ram, rec, rm, rmvb, ts, vcd, vfw, wmv, webm, rv, f4v, ogv, ogm, divx, asx, dat, tp, mjp, yuv, xvid, vc1, mtv, mxf, qtz, dv, hdv, 3g2, mts
Audio File Formats:
mp3, m4a, wma, aac, ac3, aiff, ape, flac, mka, ogg, pcm, ra, vaw, waw, wav, aif, oga, caf, midi, mid, acm, dts, mpa, webm

 

#6 Movist Video Player

Compatibility: macOS 10.13 or later

MacUpdate Rating: 4.1/5

Price: $4.99

Movist is another best media player for Mac based on QuickTime and FFmpeg codecs, which shows videos in clear crystal pictures and is easy to master with simple interface. It has the ability to encode/decode a multitude of formats and add subtitles. You can do some general and advanced settings for better and convenient video playback.

However, the new versions like 2.10.0 are not free now, which charge $4.99 or $7.99 (Movist Pro). Naturally, the pro version brings users more features like watching Internet videos directly. To get Movist free video player for Mac, you should install the old version like 0.6.8 or before.

Movist Video Player

Pros:

  1. Simple to operate
  2. Support playlist
  3. Many customizable options

Cons:

  1. The new versions are not free now
 
Supported Media Formats: H.264, H.265, HEVC, etc.

 

#7 5KPlayer

Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.8.0 or higher

Overall​ Rating: 3.3/5

Price: Free

5KPlayer is a mixture of free AirPlay media streamer, online video downloader, music player and movie player for Mac. It supports playing all HD, 4K, 5K videos in various formats such as MKV, MTS, AVCHD and so on. Plus, this free video player for Mac designs with a library section to work as a media library, which provides users with plenty of media sources from different origins and is also able to remember the played videos.

With AirPlay streaming tech, it can act as AirPlay sender/receiver: stream video music from iPhone, iPad to PC or from PC to Apple TV. Although the best Mac video player lets you download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, etc., the download process will be a bit slower.

5KPlayer

Pros:

  1. Embedded copious codecs for playing different audio, video, and DVD
  2. No need to install additional codec or pack
  3. Import subtitle and switch soundtrack
  4. Manage YouTube downloaded videos, DLNA server, and playlist in library

Cons:

  1. Install Bonjour voluntarily without any hint when you need to make AirPlay work
  2. The media player will get stuck when playing high resolution & long videos
  3. Its default interface contains ads for downloading another software
  4. Can only cut MP4/h.264 video, or it needs help from another software
 
Supported Media Formats:
Video File Formats:
MP4, MOV, M4V, 3GP, ASF, DAT, DviX, F4V, FLV, H.264, H.265, M2T, M2TS, MKV, MPEG, MTS, OGV, RM, RMVB, TP, TS, VC1, VOB, WEBM, WMV, Xvid, YUV, etc.
Audio File Formats:
MP3, AAC, OGM, AC3, APE, FLAC, M4A, M4B, MID, MIDI, MKA, MPA, OGG, PCM, RA, RAM, WAV, WMA, AMR, etc.
DVD: Support 6-ragion DVDs, Disney DVD, Encrypted DVD, home-made DVD, ISO files, etc.

 

#8 Realplayer

Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.9 or later

Overall Rating: 3.9/5

Price: Free

Realplayer can play all formats of videos. This best video player Mac is a universal media player that automatically recognizes the file format of the video or audio file you want to play. So you can keep it as a reliable Mac video player to open the most popular audio and video file formats including AVI, MP4, WMA, etc. Plus, it allows you to create and manage a playlist without having to add individual videos manually, making it effortless to play, pause, skip, and shuffle through the video list.

However, Realplayer requires a fairly powerful machine for some functions. Several applications need to be installed in advance to launch the application properly.

Realplayer

Pros:

  1. Offer several visualization ways for listening and locate your media files automatically
  2. Include handy downloading and conversion features

Cons:

  1. Work slowly
  2. Less user-friendly to use
  3. Make no response to some operations sometimes
 
Supported Media Formats:
mp4, m4e, m4v, webm, mkv, vob, divx, mps, m2v, m1v, mpe, avi, mp3, wma, wav, flv, mpeg

 

#9 MPlayerX

Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.7 or above

MacUpdate Rating: 3.7/5

Price: Free

MPlayerX is one of the fastest choices to play various popular digital files in high resolution and lossless sound without installing third-party plug-ins. Plus, this best media player for Mac supports multi-touch, gesture, auto-encode subtitles, and online YouTube/Vimeo playback.

If you are a language learner, you must fall in this player because it supports various languages such as Latins, Eastern Asian languages, Arabic, Hebrew, etc. But don't confuse MPlayerX and MPlayer OSX Extended. They are two completely different programs.

MPlayerX

Pros:

  1. Stand-alone video player for Mac
  2. Support various output formats and devices
  3. Auto convert subtitles for media files

Cons:

  1. Injects pop-up ads or advertising banners which may bring a virus
  2. Take up too much CPU
  3. Encounter problem when open the software and ask you to eject the disk image
  4. Don't compatible with the latest macOS.
 
Supported Media Formats:
MPEG (damages MPEG files included), MP3, AVI, WAV, ASF, MP4, WMV, OGG/OGM, XMMS, SDP, WMA, PVA, GIF, CD audio

 

#10 NicePlayer

Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.5 or above

Overall Rating: 3.8/5

Price: Free

NicePlayer is the best Video Player for MacBook with a multi-engine player designed for playing movies nicely. The lightweight program has its own features, including full-screen or borderless floating windows, useful controls for scrubbing or queuing movies, and on-the-fly playlist creation. If you have DVDs to play, this free video player for Mac can help you play them smoothly. Still, it only supports playing a few popular digital formats like MP4 and can’t directly drag the video to the program for playback.

NicePlayer

Pros:

  1. Lightweight and free
  2. Can adjust the aspect ratio
  3. Make a suitable presentation with the aid of toolbar (Half Size, Double Size, Fill Screen, Fill Width, etc.)

Cons:

  1. No support for subtitles and changing audio sources, etc.
  2. Not convenient to switch to another video
  3. Support a few formats
 
Supported Media Formats:
divx, vdvd, mkv, ogg, flv, ac3, avi, h.264, vp6, gvi, vfw, wma, aac, mpeg4, mp3, wmv

 

FAQs

1. What is media player (software)?

We often need the best media player for Mac, but before installing new software it is good to get some knowledge about it.

According to the explanation from Wikipedia, a media player (software) is a handy program that can help you play videos, music, movies, and other multimedia files on the computer. All media players display standard media control icons: play, pause, fast-forward, back forward, and stop buttons.

2. How to change the default video player on Mac?

As we all know, QuickTime Player is the default Mac media player. Once you have determined the best video player for Mac, you can set it as your default player. Below are steps:

Step 1. Locate the media file you wish to play.

Step 2. Right-click on it, a drop-down menu will appear.

Step 3. Choose “Open With” > “Other”, which brings up a dialog for selecting the application to open your media file.

right click to choose

Step 4. Choose your best media player Mac, check the box- “Always Open With”, and click on “Open”.

3. Does Mac have other built in media player except for QuickTime Player?

Yes. QuickTime Player, the default video player on Mac, is owned by Apple. In the meantime, there are other 4 tools developed by Apple for the public to play videos smoothly on Mac for free, which are QuickTime Look, Apple Music, Apple TV app and Safari.

Safari and QuickTime Look can help you play the videos directly. Apple Music and Apple TV app can not only play the videos directly by dragging them to the app, but also allow users to make a library to organize the viewed videos. However, all these four tools use the same playback engine of QuickTime Player, so all of them are short in available formats.

4. Is VLC better than QuickTime on Mac?

Yes. While QuickTime plays video quickly, records video, and trims video into several clips, its support for video formats is disappointingly limited. VLC, on the other hand, supports almost all of the popular audio and video file formats. It is open-source and available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Also, it supports finding subtitles automatically, ripping DVD movies, converting video files, and more features.

5. What's the best Mac media player?

Cisdem Video Player for Mac. It can play 4K/5K/18K videos, open all the popular SD & HD standard video formats, convert digital files, automatically load embedded subtitles or manually add native subtitles, etc., which other free Mac video player tools can't. Although VLC player is better than QuickTime, it has trouble playing 8K movies and MKVs with dual audio.

 

Conclusion

A good macOS video player should offer crisp and clear visuals for everyone to watch the video in high quality. With the top 10 apps introduced above, I believe you already have the best media player for Mac in mind. Now download it to your device and try it out to see if it meets your expectations completely. If you are still hesitant to decide which one as your must-have tool, from my experience, it is highly recommended to use Cisdem, VLC, and Plex.

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Peter William
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Peter has always had great enthusiasm for writing, programming and web development. He likes writing about software and technology, his works are featured on some tech blogs or forums like Tom's Hardware, CNET, etc.

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Comments (5) Leave a Reply

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  • Stephen Crews

    Cisdem and VLC can play my HEVC videos. But the former is my favorite, as it no more than 50MB in size.

    2 years ago commonReply

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    • Larae

      Hello! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you

      1 years ago
    • Ezra

      Hello There. I discovered your weblog using msn. That is a very smartly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra

      1 years ago
  • Jason

    Great list! I've downloaded 5k player for its airplay utility, working good so far.

    8 years ago commonReply

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    • Daisy

      Same here, now I can easily AirPlay videos from my MacBook Pro to my bedroom TV ^^

      8 years ago

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