Upgrade Your Phone's Video Player
With smartphone screens getting bigger and HD content now widely prevalent, it's become easier than ever to turn your Android phone or tablet into a portable theater. It gets even better because Android's open architecture and app marketplace allow users to easily replace stock video players with a variety of excellent video apps, allowing you to get just the features you need. Ranging from light, easy-to-use players to highly configurable powerhouses, check out the best Android video player apps on the market today. (Image Credit: Dennizn/Shutterstock)
MX Player (Free)
MX Player offers just the right mix of ease of use and powerful features. An uncluttered viewer supports various swipe gestures and pinch to zoom, while the app features both software and hardware decoding for a broad variety of file formats. Subtitle controls, variable aspect ratio and a screen lock are all within reach of the main view screen, while other tweaks are hidden in the settings menu. Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, support for DTS and AC3 audio isn't available in the core app, which can be a deal breaker, though there are custom codecs available online.
VLC for Android (Free)
If you're looking for a versatile, all-in-one media player that'll play just about any file format that you can throw at it, then give VLC for Android a spin. Out of the box it can play almost anything from the ubiquitous MP3 and MP4 files to more unusual formats such as MKV and FLAC. In addition to playing local files, VLC for Android also supports network streaming and media library organization, as well as advanced playback features such as multiple audio tracks and subtitles, and streaming to Chromecast.
Video Player All Format (Free)
Video Player All Format (also known as XPlayer) is another good all-around media player for your Android needs, with broad format support, ultraHD and 4K playback ability and hardware and software decoding options. The app includes helpful extras like gesture controls, variable playback speed, and Chromecast support. You can even view your videos in a pop-up window, allowing you to multitask, or have videos playing in the background, so you can just listen while doing something else. XPlayer is ad-supported, though you can remove advertising with an in-app purchase.
PlayerXtreme began as a well regarded iOS video player that's since made the jump to Android devices, delivering a good, all-around media player with a ton of features and options. The app supports more than 40 file formats, subtitles, and hardware acceleration. Streaming support both in and out lets you view media stored in your PC, NAS, or websites, while Air Play and Chromecast support lets you view media cast straight to your TV. The app comes with a wealth of playback features, such as frame-by-frame playback, variable playback speed, resizable subs, and audio and subtitle offset if your playback isn't perfectly in sync.
FX Player (Free)
FX Player delivers a good balance of features, with support for a wide variety of popular audio and video formats, hardware acceleration, and a popup player. You'll also find subtitle & multi language support as well as 4k playback and a variety of gesture controls let you easily tweak the playback. FX includes network support for SMB, FTP, HTTP and CIFS and WebDAV so you can keep your videos stored externally, saving up space on your phone. The app is ad-supported, with banner ads in the menus, and there's no option for an in-app purchase or subscription to remove those ads.
KMPlayer is another good Android player that supports a variety of video file formats and comes with extras like a library viewer and cloud storage support. It covers a broad range of file formats such as MP4 and MKV, includes subtitle support, playback speed controls for speeding up or slowing down video playback, and a library view with a variety of sorting options. Users can also watch videos in a windowed mode as well as view content stored in Google Drive.
BSPlayer is a solid Android video player featuring software and hardware decoding to play the most popular video formats. This uncluttered video player with swipe gesture support is further enhanced by a variety of skins, letting you customize the interface to your liking. BSPlayer includes support for subtitled files, as well as built-in subtitles in formats such as MKV. The app can even automatically find the appropriate subtitle files online. Another great feature is BSPlayer's "pop out" viewer, which you can use to view videos in a window above your other apps.
An established Android favorite, MoboPlayer supports a variety of video file formats, including ones that your device might not normally support, through the use of software decoding. Support for multiple audio tracks, subtitles (and multiple onscreen subtitles), media streaming, a library management mode with a cover flow view are among the many welcome features. A floating window mode allows you to keep a video window floating atop your other apps while working, texting or calling.
Video Player HD (Free)
Video Player HD is a solid Android video player that comes with support for 4K video playback, and a wealth of easily accessible playback features. Gesture controls let you quickly tweak brightness, volume, or time seeking, while on-screen controls let you access a 10-band equalizer, configure playback speed and enable a night mode. Users can add an audio or subtitle offset if playback isn't in sync, and users can also lock in a sleep timer. An in-app purchase removes banner ads from the library interface and when playback is paused.
gPlayer's main draw is its ability to play videos in windowed mode, allowing users to view multiple videos simultaneously. The app's resizable popup windows can display up to six videos simultaneously (with corresponding increases in memory footprint). The app supports a wide variety of video formats, from the standard MP4 to more unusual files such as MKV, complete with subtitles. The app also comes with additional features as support for streaming video URLs and group media sharing over Wi-Fi.
Archos Video Player (Free)
Archos doesn't just build Android hardware, it also has a solid Android video player app. The Archos Video Player supports hardware accelerated playback on numerous formats and devices, and comes with plenty of advanced features. You'll find network playback support, subtitle support and a subtitle downloader. The app also offers automatic retrieval of show and movie details and poster art as well as a visually impressive library view. If you're particular about organizing your media library and like having a visual flow to browsing your video files, give Archos Media Player a try.
The versatile Wondershare Player may not have the same advanced playback and system settings of more technically oriented apps, but it supports a wide variety of file formats. It also works with subtitles, video streaming and Chromecast. In addition, Wondershare also includes discovery tools for viewing videos from a variety of online sources such as TED, CNN and Funny or Die, with the option to download videos from some sources for later viewing.
Rather than playing video on your tiny smartphone screen, why not stream it to a larger screen, such as a smart TV or through a streaming stick? AllCast is an Android video player designed to work with such streaming sticks and boxes as Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV and other devices supporting DLNA. Users can stream videos (with subtitle support) as well as photos, videos and music from local storage, as well as cloud services. The free demo comes with a 5-minute viewing limit on videos and photos, allowing you to test out the app on your devices, with a premium key ($4.99) removing the limit.
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Another great option for streaming to devices like Chromecast, Roku, and Fire TV is LocalCast. It allows you to stream videos, music, and photos from your phone or tablet to a connected streaming device. Users can stream content stored locally on their phone, or from cloud storage providers like Google Drive and Dropbox. LocalCast even supports streaming from links as well as DLNA/UPnP connections or SMB file sharing. The app is free to use, but some features like local media search are gated behind the Pro version in-app purchase (which also removes advertising).
For something a bit more muscular than just a simple video player, try out the Android version of Kodi Media Center (formerly known as XBMC). This open-source app turns your Android device into a portable media hub, accessing locally stored content, as well as media and streams from network storage and the Internet. Kodi is chock loaded with sorting and playback features, but this also makes it more intimidating to run and set up the first few times. Still, if you're willing to poke around, Kodi's a powerful media center app with a rich developer and user community.
You've got to know where to find content to watch on your Android device. There are tons of streaming services available, but they are not all created equal. Find out which is our favorite streaming video service. To get that content from your tablet or smartphone to a TV, you may need a streaming player, and we've picked the best of those as well. Once you have all that set, it's time to dig in for some serious binge watching.