[Software @-] Language observatoire

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Review and wishlist for Media Player Classic 6.4.x.x


Media Player Classic (MPC) is a compact audio/video/picture/radio/DVD player with a rich enough set of features. Its interface is rather plain which makes it suitable for simple playback - including on somewhat older wintel computers. Keeping with the spirit of the software, I'm only proposing a few tweaks in the interface rather than stuffing MPC with unnecessary bells and whistles.
All in all, the interface, ergonomics and tweakability of MPC truly deserve praise; I'm here to only report the minor bugs/annoyances that I have encountered.

Wishlist + alleged bugs (usability-related mostly)

(1) Would need to have an ability to _add_ items to the current playlist when choosing an item from the Favourites list. Currently choosing from the faves _erases_ the whole playlist and replaces it with the single item from the faves. Also dragging an item onto the playback area (even while the playlist is hidden) from an external folder or handling an external doubleclick of an MPC-associated filetype or URL should _add_ (at least optionally) the item to the playlist instead of instantly replacing the whole playlist with the single item. (Or: there could be a one-step undo function within playlist editing -- however this could be regarded as a diversion from the ascetic, rugged and nerdily-flavoured design of the MPC?)

(2) Should add tab- or Ctrl-tab based navigation for switching between the playback area and the playlist (once in the playlist, the user could then easily save and open their own playlists.

(3) Ctrl-7 should be able not only to bring up the playlist but also to hide it (at any time, i.e., regardless of where the navigation focus is on).

(4) Up- and down-arrow should be able to _always_ adjust sound volume. In the current version, when the navigation focus is on the playlist and when the user switches to another application and then comes back to MPC, the arrow keys cannot do anything anymore - neither move up/down the playlist or adjust volume.

(5) Bug: If playback option is set to "play 1 times" and the last item on the list cannot be played due to a network or URL error then the player doesn't stop at the last item but restarts to play from the playlist's first item (that is, sort of enables the 'repeat forever' feature).

(6) Language localization-related bug. If the playlist has files whose file path contains characters other than basic Ascii characters then after quitting and restarting MPC the respective files cannot be found anymore (MPC skips forward in the list to seek for other files). This occurs on OS win98 with a locale that supports the extended characters in question, so theoretically the playlist failure should not occur. P.S. Also, are there any translations of MPC other than CZE, RUS and French?

(7) Unsure: whether the 'remember last window position' and 'remember last window size' does always work and whether these settings are dependent on the View/Video Frame menu and Alt-1/alt-2/alt-3 settings or override them.

(8) Brightness, contrast etc. settings seem to only work for MPEG/dvd playback but not for avi/divx playback (or does it depend on the codec repertoire installed?). It could be nice to enable them because there are computer displays that lack strong control over the above parameters - e.g., in some laptops.

Tips for new users of MPC (under default key settings)

(1) While playing (e.g., a movie), pressing O opens the options dialog - this is useful for, e.g., choosing between MPEG deinterlacing methods.

(2) Ctrl-L brings you to loading of subtitles.

(3) W enables/disables displaying of the current subtitle (if any loaded of course).

http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/ --> Files
Also recommended
Real Alternative, Quicktime Alternative


  • There is another supposed bug that tends to pop up both when running MPC under windows 98 and windows XP: the windows sound volume setting for "wave" sound goes to zero when opening a new URL. I'm not sure whether it is related to the behaviour of the codecs in my machines.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 09, 2006 10:20 pm  

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