Media Player Classic – Black Edition has been around for a long time, and I’m quite certain some of you maybe using it. Some of you may prefer Media Player Classic – Home Cinema, which is still being updated.
Both programs are quite identical, because they are based on the original Media Player Classic. In fact, MPC – BE is a fork of MPC-HC, so it can play all video formats that HC supports. But MPC-BE has a few features which aren’t available in HC. So, we’ll only be looking at what’s different in MPC-BE.
A modern interface
MPC-BE has a modern GUI, with a dark theme for the main screen and all its menus, which makes it easier on the eyes.
While jumping ahead or rewinding a video, you don’t have to hit the left or right arrow keys, hoping to stop at the exact time-stamp from which you want to watch the video. You have a preview in MPC-BE, a visual seek bar, which you can use with precision. It is quite similar to YouTube’s seek preview. This is an incredible feature to have, and one which is especially useful if you missed the action on the screen.
Tip: You have to enable the preview feature from Options > Interface > Enable preview in the search.
MPC-BE can play YouTube videos by default, with no user required settings whatsoever. Copy the URL of the video you wish to play, and select the Open File/URL option in the program. Hit ok and the video should play. You can set the default resolution and format of the videos from Options > Online Media Services.
MPC-BE uses a built-in option which is based on YouTube-dl (another open-source program), to parse the video from the URL. You can even use the player to seek through the streaming video and it works perfectly. It doesn’t have seek preview for YouTube videos though. It is perfectly legal to use, since it is only streaming the video, just like your web browser, and you don’t need to keep a browser open in the background while watching the video.
Tip: You can enable the same in MPC-HC, but you have to download YouTube-dl manually for it to work.
The settings page in Media Player Classic – BE is quite different compared to HC’s. Mostly the options are re-arranged in the same page, but some pages, for e.g. from the Output settings are broken down into their own sections, like Video, Audio, etc,.
This is one area where MPC-HC is better by default, because it ships with LAV Filters, ready to use. But that’s not a big issue since the LAV Filters are also open source, meaning you can download and install them on your computer. Once you have done that, go to MPC-BE’s Options > External Filters > Add Filter and set the LAV Video Decoder and Audio Decoder Filters as the preferred one.
Resource Usage and Output Quality
I did not notice any major difference in the resource usage between MPC – BE and MPC – HC when playing videos. Though I have always noticed that MPC-BE is slightly faster, when it comes to opening files than MPC-HC. The latter takes quite a few seconds to start the playback. It’s not a deal breaker though. The output quality is nearly the same in both, but that’s probably because I use the same settings and filters for MPC-BE and HC.
I use both versions from time to time, although I will admit that I favor mpv nowadays. I have downloaded mpv.net, which Martin wrote about recently, and it seems to be good.
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