WinAmp: This is worth exploring if you are fairly tech-savvy and prefer a wide range of features over simplicity of use. It gives you plenty of options for creating a ‘skin’, which changes the look of the player. One of its main advantages is in playing NSV video files, which are much smaller than other video formats.
RealPlayer: This has plenty of features and add-ons, such as the ability to download YouTube clips. It’s also pretty much the only simple way to listen to RealAudio or watch RealVideo clips. However, for any other format, most of the features are now common in all leading media software. There is also a lot of criticism that RealPlayer slows down computers unnecessarily and generally clogs up your machine.
Creative Organiser/Media Player: This comes bundled with Creative music and video devices such as the Zen range. It’s usually the most convenient way to manage files on the player itself. WMP can connect to the players, but this may require a firmware update which wipes your player’s contents, meaning you’ll have to back-up and restore the music. For playing back files on your PC, Creative’s software isn’t as feature-packed or intuitive as WMP or iTunes.
Media Player Classic: This looks and feels like the early editions of Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, but works well with most modern file formats. It’s an open source program, so independent developers do a lot of work to keep it updated and improved. It’s worth a try if you are having trouble playing a particular file.