This review is done by our Forum member Corker. Thanks to him for putting up this great review.
Greetings, Avinashtech Readers! Today we have another giveaway for you. 5 licenses for Zoom Player Home MAX are on the table for five lucky people to bring them home. But let’s not rush in, shall we? Spare your moment to read the following notes before joining the raffle.
There are tons of nifty multimedia player software for Windows PC around us. Much to our delight, most of them are freeware. However, grabbing a good one is a thing while finding one that can deliver the best watching experience is another thing. If I were a 52 years old man (No, Mike. I don’t mean you), I would be reluctant to be empirically testing those so-called filter, splitter, decoder, and renderer (any other -er-suffixed words I forgot to mention?) until I get the most correct ones. Especially with those myriad of suboption on KMPlayer. Instead, I will look up other software which is more automatic. This is where Zoom Player comes into play.
The first thing to understand, audio and video files we deal with are packet of data encoded into different container formats. Each format requires matching decoder to be able to be played. Combination between these two creates codec, a term I believe you often heard. It should not be difficult to attain a codec pack and begin enjoying any media file you want, thanks to plenty of independent developers that have created diverse codec packs for our disposal. Software hub site Softpedia also provides a dedicated subcategory from which we can download any codec pack that suits our need.
But with the abundant availability of codec packs, lies a secret fact less people might know. Installing codec pack may bring unexpected instability issue as they need to be registered to system. Moreover, components to be installed packed inside the setup are in bulk and not sorted out. What is the circumstances of this? We benefit from having all possible decoders to play any kind of formats in advance but at the downside we may end up installing similar-functioning components yet vague in terms of which one produces the best performance. Not to mention that sometimes some included codecs have become so outdated by the time the codec pack is released. These all could cause conflicts among filters.
To be able to decode various formats yet remain safe, this is a challenge Zoom Player has to answer. And Zoom Player comes up with clever approaches touting two prominent features.
Rather than throwing all components into a single setup package, Zoom Player separates the main component and additional component through a module called Install Center. Upon installation completion, Zoom Player will offer us to run Install Center after which Zoom Player will scan our system for missing components and then we can opt for downloading the best known and trustworthy decoding components we wish to have. Later, Install Center can be operated manually or automatically to check whether there are updates available. By this way, not only we will have a bunch of essential components but also guarantees that we will always have the latest required components without reinstalling the application itself.
The next prowess is Smart Play feature which overrides Windows filter and decoder selection so that we get the better rendering quality. Compared with decoder selected by Windows, a media being played through Smart Play selection can load faster and more reliable. That is because enabling Smart Play permit Zoom Player to pick the best component for decoding media files. It is advised to complete Install Center prior to Zoom Player initial run since Zoom Player will scan the system once more, this time for currently installed components to build play-profile.
Moving through the highlight to media playing functionality, Zoom Player is designed to be a media center instead of just being another media player. Upon installing Zoom Player, you can connect your PC to TV and convert it into a Home Entertainment Center or Home Theater PC. Zoom Player is capable of playing any multimedia files from images, music to videos from your local disk seamlessly as well as DVD and Blu-Ray movies from optical drive. In addition, it lets you to listen to radio broadcast from the Internet. These all are acquired upon assigning Install Center. You can create ringtone for your cellphone if you choose to include FFMPEG Core Files from Install Center (requires Zoom Player Home MAX).
Zoom Player comprises three â€œskinsâ€ for playing media based on its content:
a. Audio Mode: A simple and compact skin for listening to audio content.
b. Video Mode: A skin with display for viewing video content.
c. DVD Mode: An enhanced Media Mode for DVD Playback purpose with its capability of using decoders from multiple vendors and open source parties other than Microsoft. This feature favors Zoom Player over Windows Media Player when it comes to DVD Playback. You will be prompted to configure Video and Audio Decoder prior to play (DVD Mode is unavailable if you have less than Professional edition).
Other prominent features (agen, a few of them also require no less than Professional edition) include:
- 5-Key (Up/Down/Left/Right/Select) Fullscreen Navigation Interface
- Can remember last played position for media files and resume accordingly
- Play incomplete AVI files, thanks to AVI Splitter
- Can automatically extract and play any Archive format using user-specified extractors
- Can play locked files allowing for previewing of files downloaded from eMule and similar P2P networks without having to copy the files first
- Category based Media Library for easier file navigation using a remote device
- Advanced Play List Control Interface and extensive Play List support (ZPL/B4S/M3U/WPL/ASX), including unicode file names
- Automatically open multi-segment files using a user-specified file mask
- Automatic detection of missing decoders, including links to downloading the latest versions
- Black Listing of unstable/conflicting DirectShow filter
- Can utilize advanced media features with AVI/OGM/Matroska wrappers, including multiple audio tracks, subtitles, chaptering, auto-language detection
- 10-Band Equalizer and PreAmp with user selectable Presets
- Bilinear Smooth Scaled Image Slideshow capability
- OSD Navigation systems for Files, Blanking, Bookmarks, Chapters and Play Lists
- Support for Windows Media Format 9 High Resolution Audio Renderering and multi-channel support
- Dynamic range of Aspect Ratio settings including non square pixels relative adjustment, manual Fit-To-Rectangle Aspect Ratio, Anamorphic Aspect Ratio and even a Custom user-specified ratio
- Easy control of Video Size and Positioning to reduce image overscan when used in conjunction with a TV-Output device
- Video Orbiting system to prevent screen-burns on high end projectors and television sets
- Blanking support to cover up non-black area of encoded Video (useful for widescreen DVDs or badly encoded media files)
- Programmable keyboard editor, including support for chaining multiple functions to one key
- Advanced mouse controls with per-button function allocation including a wide array of wheel supported features
- Fully compliant with Multi-Monitor setups
Despite having many customization, Zoom Player has been tailored to accommodate all segment of users. By default the Options is set to be in Basic mode which should befit you the best if you are a novice. The more you are getting seasoned with Zoom Player, you can switch to Advanced Options anytime.
The latest release of Zoom Player is Zoom Player 8. The developer, Inmatrix had taken plenty of development time before unleashing it. But user wait did not end in vain since the developer manage to score a lot of improvements as the exchange. From what I get as a former Zoom Player 7 user, notable improvements on the current version are enhanced experiences for Windows 7 users. Taskbar of Windows 7 can be set to peek progress bar and tasklist.
Icon association also has changed. Previously, media files associated to Zoom Player would be starkly displayed as a bunch of round orange icons. No clue what format it was in. Now users can see the format of file inscribed at the lower part of the icon. In fact, you will be able to recognize whether a file belongs to an audio or video at once through icon color categorizing.
Another change I notice is smarter playback capability. I used to try to open a video which accidentally got renamed in a false format with Zoom Player 7 and it was failed. It could not figure out the real format. This shortcoming now has been overcome too. I take Zoom Player has utilized DirectShowâ€™s potential utmost.
Zoom Player is a feature-rich multimedia player. With installation of right codecs, you can play all sort of media files. You are definitely going to be pleased with it if you know how to configure it properly according to your system specification. Unless you are experienced in video player software, you may feel its plethora of options is overwhelming. My two cents, start in Basic Mode if you are an average user and read the Help file before proceeding to Advanced. By the time you have mastered all, you can make your own profile settings that resembles your preference the most.
And it is certainly better than picking up a codec pack …..
Zoom Player ships with three flavors, Free, Pro, and Max. You may head over this page to learn more about the differences amongst the three. Thanks to Inmatrix, we have 5 licenses for Zoom Player Home MAX. The licenses entitle you to lifetime free updates as long as Inmatrix has not changed its policy. Just follow the simple rules below to enter in this draw.
1. Subscribe to Avinashtech by entering your email address in the subscribe box on right sidebar of the blog or by clicking this link. Do remember to verify your email address when you get the verification email from Feedburner.
2. Like the Facebook Fan Page of Avinashtech (If you donâ€™t have a Facebook account you can skip this).
3. Tell us using comments, why you would like to have a license for this application.
4. Share this on Twitter, Facebook. (If you have an account there).