GOM Player: The simple way to get customized video playback

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Every respectable PC user has a preferred media player program and some could be using the same one for years. But we must accept the fact that as time goes by, better applications emerge while others fall behind even if at one point they were top-notch programs with the richest set of features, and this applies to media players as well.

So let’s take a look at GOM Player, see what’s under the hood and more importantly…if it’s worth making it our regular video playback tool. It’s a highly appreciated free program, even if there are other media players significantly more popular, this particular application focuses on providing a comfortable playback experience through a generous collection of useful features. 

GOM Player Main

Installation & Requirements

Complying with modern standards, GOM Player has a simple and quick installation process.  You’ll have to choose some components such as codecs, shortcuts and file associations and in a couple of seconds you’ll be able to run the program. For a free application, GOM Player displays only a mild form of adware: the program presents the option of installing GOM Video Converter but keep in mind that this is just an option and there is a visible Cancel button at the bottom of the window.

At first launch, GOM Player will deploy the Configuration Wizard and assist you into setting up the program to suit your playback needs. You can opt for the Normal Mode, High-quality Mode or the TV Output Mode and the following configuration windows will contain easy to understand options although the player works just fine if you go with the default settings.

Besides the easy intuitive installation, GOM Player is also very accessible concerning the system requirements: you’ll only need a 300 MHz CPU, 16 MB of RAM and 20 MB of free hard disk space and one of the following operating systems: Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, or 7 . The only inconvenience is that GOM Player is a Windows-only application so in case you are using another OS the program is out of reach.

Interface

GOM Player unifies its multitude of features into a well-organized and modern looking interface that truly suggests a high-quality product. The layout is complying with current standards of media player interfaces so at the top we have buttons for fullscreen, minimizing, maximizing and closing the program. Below the display area you will see past time/total time of the currently playing video followed by the common but very useful seek bar and volume bar. Buttons for play, stop, backward and forward are placed at the bottom left side of the GUI while at the right side we can access similar shortcuts for opening files, the Control Panel or the playlist. Between these controls is a commercial area under the form of a long bar (it doesn’t impair any activities whatsoever) and right below it is the Preferences menu.  This menu contains all the tweak-able functions of GOM Player, nicely organized into related categories.

Right-clicking anywhere inside the player will bring you a richness of options and settings for important aspects such as playback, subtitles, video and audio, but also other tweaks, for example skins, playlist, aspect ratio and many others. A large number of these features can also be accessed through the Preferences menu and some of them you might have seen if you went through the Configuration Wizard.

To conclude, GOM Player’s slick grey interface bundles an extensive array of features which can easily compete against some of the commercial media players.

Pros

– Small application with low hardware requirements.

– Clean and user friendly interface customizable via skins.

– Comes with a built-in codec library and the Automatic Codec Finder will download and add codecs when a video can’t be played.

– Powerful subtitle support and controls.

– The Advanced Screen Capture allows you to capture up to 999 continuous screenshots.

– Can play broken AVI files.

Cons

– The player can experience errors when playing some uncommon video formats.

– There is no support or documentation present within the player’s interface. Still, GOM player does have a user manual and a forum accessible from the official website.

– No multilingual support (except for Korean and English).

Alternatives

The list of media players is virtually endless, but like any industry this one has its own leaders.  From the freeware Windows-only category KMPlayer is also a popular application with a nice stack of features but more importantly it supports 24 languages.

SMPlayer is another reliable free media player available for both Linux and Windows operating systems and decent multilingual support. However, it doesn’t benefit from frequent updates although it could really use some as the player is currently unable to play Blu-ray files.

If you consider these alternatives as limited options you probably should give VLC Media Player a try. This open-source media player is available for a considerable number of platforms varying from Windows and Mac OS X to a large variety of Linux distributions as well as Android, iOS, Solaris, FreeBSD and many others.

Conclusion

Besides the lack of language support and minimalistic online documentation we must admit that GOM Player is a friendly media player. The intuitive interface listing easy to understand options as well as its built-in codec library, automatic codec finder, powerful subtitle controls and a few other neat features make GOM Player one of the most capable and ready for use software products from the industry of media player applications.