MPlayerX: A superior alternative to VLC for Mac users

The best thing about the poor VLC 2.0 is that I’ve discovered the much nicer MPlayerX (free in the Mac App Store).

MPlayerX logo Like VLC, MPlayerX is open source and plays a large variety of file formats, but unlike VLC it looks like it belongs on a Mac. In fact, it looks and behaves a lot like QuickTime. I especially like that all the chrome fades out when your mouse is off the window, leaving just the video.

There are other features that I didn’t realise I was missing out on. For example, it remembers where you are in a video when you close the app so you don’t have to go searching for your place next time you start it up. Also, if you are watching a series that is logically named, it will automatically start playing the next episode for you. You can turn that off, but it’s a feature I appreciate. So far, my only annoyance has been the limitation that you can only resize the player from the bottom-right corner. Still, at least it respects the media’s aspect ratio — something VLC can’t do any more!

MPlayerX screenshot

VLC 2.0 controls

The new ultra-cramped stylings of VLC 2.0.

I’m usually the last to complain about a new design (in fact, I’m usually one of the first to opt-in), but VLC 2.0 seems like a pretty big misfire to me. The critical play button is quite tiny now, and is tightly sandwiched between the forward and backward buttons, making it very easy to catapult yourself to the next video (or just dump you back at the beginning). It also didn’t seem possible to watch a video and edit the playlist at the same time either, as they both compete for the same window.

I’ll miss the traffic cone icon, but not much else.

Thanks to Mark Turner for the tip.

Handy links

Post updated 2013.01.06 to add a screenshot of MPlayerX.

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