Let’s admit it. Going digital has brought in a ton of content overload. Photos, music, videos – every single format type easily consumes tens of gigabytes of hard disk space. Navigating through the hundreds of files to locate the ones you are looking for using a standard file explorer is a painful process.
When it comes music, there plenty of apps that do an amazing job organizing the digital music library. Winamp, iTunes and our very Windows Media player are some worth mentioning. I heard good things about MediaMonkey and thought it would be fun to try this media manager out. Read about my tryst with this media manager after the break.
Many people use their computers to watch videos – I have an older laptop permanently hooked up to my TV so I can watch videos stored on my network drive on a larger screen as well as watching content from YouTube and other streaming sites and services – and almost everyone that does so will have encountered the dreaded problem of codecs.
Playing back videos is not just a simple matter of having a media player installed. Just like image files, videos can be saved in a variety of formats having been encoded with a codec – and you need to ensure you have the right one installed in order to be able to watch a particular video file.
Those of you who used to watch video on your PCs in the 90s will remember the hassles of installing codecs and finding media players that supported them – all just to catch a grainy rerun of Friends.
Thankfully those days are behind us. With the arrival of codec packs, apps like Media Player Classic and eventually Windows 7, we haven’t really had to worry about whether a video file will play on our computers or not. But the user experience still left a lot to be desired. Did you ever look at VLC Media Player and think it was just plain ugly? Or think that Windows Media Player was, although better-looking, almost as clunky as iTunes? Thankfully, there is another option…
One of the great things about Windows is the abundance of freeware available for just about every function you can think of, and for all kinds of users too. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important factors to take into account when selecting an OS to work with and Windows scores very high here.
However, a large range of apps also poses the problem of users having to choose the right one, particularly in the case of perhaps the most popular categories of apps – media converters.
I remember the days back when the only MP3s I could get my hands on were clips of songs from websites promoting CD albums – I was on a 9.6 kbps connection and it’d take about an hour to download 20 seconds of audio. But that was a big deal then and I wanted to enjoy listening to the music I’d acquired from the other side of the globe as best as I could.
I started trying out all the media players available on CDs that accompanied computer magazines and that’s when I first stumbled upon Winamp. The year was 1997, and thus began my love affair with the most beautiful media player for Windows. Is it any good today? Let’s find out.