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Winamp is one of the most recognizable media players ever developed.
Its performance as an MP3 players was a big part of that success, but it was also the customization options that were integrated into its design from the start. Standard Winamp was rather basic originally, but users could dictate the visual design, the layout of independent windows and even add functionality. In fact, the mod scene really took to Winamp and helped with that early success by developing plugins that the average user could add to enrich his or her experience.
The modern version of Winamp is far less basic out of the box. It boasts a sleek aesthetic and a wide selection of preinstalled, preconfigured plugins that you can flip on or off with ease. Customization is still a core tenet of the design philosophy, and you’ll discover more than 20,000 visual styles, which are called skins, to choose from as well thousands upon thousands of plugins to tailor your experience.
While MP3s were certainly a focal point of this media player from start, it can do so much more. Indeed, when it was first releases in 1997 by Nullsoft, there were few other players that strove to support so many multimedia formats in a single package. In addition to MP3, the latest version supports AAC, FLAC, MIDI, MOD, MPEG-1 and MP2, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and much more. Winamp handles video playback as deftly as it plays music and can even serve as a Windows Media Player replacement.
Winamp also features Shoutcast, which was a product ahead of it time when first released. It provides a means to access a multitude of audio sources from across the Web and stream them to your device. Although an option we take for granted now, Shoutcast helped make Internet radio and podcasts what they are today, and the feature continues to be a great way to enjoy live and recorded streams.
Winamp has a wide range of other built-in features, including desktop sync and iTunes support, which means that it can serve as your multimedia hub regardless of what devices you use. The program also has excellent management tools for not only managing your personal library but for subscribing to podcasts, Internet radio stations and streamed other audio sources.
- UI customization
- Feature customization via plugins
- Broad format support
- No MOV or FLV support
- Some themes are resource-intensive