Media Player Clasic and VLC Media Player are easily the two best media players about, if you’re using spyware ridden RealPlayer or Quicktime, get rid of em now! Note that I use these media players mostly for playing videos, I use Winamp for music just because of habit really. You can get a plugin called Real Alternative to play RM files and I think you also get a Quicktime one but I’ve never used it as you need Quicktime for iTunes.
Windows Media Player is alright IMO but it’s annoying it can’t play partially downloaded DivX and XVid files which MPC and VLC both can. MPC needs time to ‘buffer’ and has problems when you skip ahead in a partially downloaded file, the picture is blurry for a few seconds. VLC seems to play fine straight away. I used to use MPC for all video files because it’s less sluggy, if you skip ahead or pause in VLC, it takes some noticeable time. But lately MPC is showing a green vertical bar in Xvid videos (which along with DivX is the most used codec of downloaded TV shows) which is very annoying. So it’s VLC now. But it could change again. What’s certain is the best free media player is one of these two. What do people prefer?