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JRiver

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4/5 User rating

jriver.com

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The best viewing experience on traditional mediums isn’t necessarily dependent on your tv and internet connection alone. Cinephiles like you and I know the importance of having a quality DVD player software that can provide the best audio and video playback.

There are plenty of media centers out there catering to the needs of the audience. However, there’s been a lack of services that offer you in-depth customization options. The reason why I didn’t face any issue with optimization is that I’ve been using JRiver Media Center for a long time.

With various plugins and personalization options followed by a great user forum and knowledgebase, JRiver does provide a comprehensive movie-viewing experience. The customization capacity along with a variety of other features earns it a Top 5 position in my list of best media centers out there.

If you’ve heard the word ‘JRiver’ before and would like to know more about it, the overview below will give you all you need to know.

What is JRiver?

JRiver Media Center is amongst the most modern solutions when it comes to multimedia playback and managing your media player. It’s the ultimate platform designed to achieve the best audio and video quality. Along with its amazing interface, the compatibility factor is what sets JRiver apart. You can access your media whenever and wherever you want, as you can integrate them with services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Last.Fm. You can also use your Android, iOS devices as a remote control.

You can use the media center for ripping, burning CDs, playing music, listening to podcasts, copying music, and carrying on other tasks. JRiver Media Center allows you to encode and play popular media formats. That’s not all because now we’re going to check out different elements that make JRiver too good of an option to turn down.

Why should you use JRiver?

With the most modern interface and easy-to-use software, you can enjoy content on this software with ease. You can use it with a variety of digital formats along with the traditional discs. People don’t have to be a techie to use this media player. It’s user-friendly and once you get going, you’ll get used to it within 20 minutes. Recording TV shows on integrated platforms has never been so easy.

Simplified tasks

I know that for many of us, ripping audio files, importing audio, searching for files on the hard drive and converting files is not really a cakewalk. But JRiver ensures that we not only can convert but even downmix and upmix audio effortlessly. Owing to its 64-bit audio path, you get pristine audio quality with lossless compression. Much of that can also be accredited to its DTS and Dolby audio support.

Flexible program

JRiver is not as rigid as its competitors. It is one of the most flexible programs. You can play audio and video on different operating systems such as Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can integrate plugins, third-party software and even add other scripts and manual tweaks to personalize the experience. It is due to its flexibility that JRiver consumes little CPU power allowing you to get the best experience without requiring your PC to be put in a clinic. Low power consumption provides you with processing speed, essential for multitasking.

Excellent Playback

JRiver Media Center’s playback capabilities are amazing. It’s smooth and stable which prevents lag and buffering. The resume function allows you to continue playing media from where you left off. You can change world regions as per your convenience and even connect with social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. The seamless playback allows you to post a comment directly from the media center. Not just that, you can even customize the skins as per your preference.

Massive Community

JRiver’s website might come off as a turn-off but its contact resources are up to date. You can access the user forum where you can find answers to all your queries. You can ask various questions ranging from simple to complex customization options. There’s a dedicated wiki page, where you can learn about different functions of this media player. Using the wiki, you’ll be able to get the notification about upgrades, DVD software offers and so on.

Dual Interface

You can play both music and movies simultaneously. While the Windows Media Player can provide this option, it doesn’t do it in the same length. Not only can you play multiple media but you can even decide the output. For instance, if you want ASIO output for music, you can do so as well. Thus, there’s no room for compromise.

How to access JRiver?

You can access JRiver in two possible ways. 1. Search for the term ‘JRiver’ and you’ll likely find the website on the first page of your search results. 2. Click on the JRiver screenshot on the left to access the website directly.

Design

Since we’re more focused on reviewing the website, our focus will be on the design and interface of the website. Having said that, I’ll still share information about the actual player as well. The website is not at all impressive. It looks 2000ish and doesn’t justify the good work that is visible within the actual media center.

Header

The header section of the website has a logo on the left and five options towards the right – home, download, purchase, support, and company. We’ve seen such traditional software failing to update their website because that’s not their core competency. But given that JRiver does offer digital solutions, I’m quite disappointed that they didn’t feel the need to modernize their website.

Hero Section

The hero section is center-aligned with several sections. First, there’s a narrow banner with a headline that reads ‘The Most Comprehensive Media Software’. Other than that, you’ll find ‘Download Now’, ‘Audio’, ‘Video’, ‘Network’, ‘Home Theater’, and ‘Images’. You can click on any of these sections and learn more about the service by heading towards the inner page.

Body

It’s safe to say that there’s no body section on the website. As you scroll once, you’ll find three options – ‘Forum’, ‘WIki’, and ‘Quotes’ and that’s about it. RIght under that, you can actually find various footer options.

Footer

The footer section on the website has four options – ‘About Media Center’, ‘Support’, ‘Corporate Solutions’, ‘Other Products’. Each of these categories has several options. For instance, besides ‘Support’, you can navigation options to pages such as ‘Forum’, “Wiki’, ‘Developer’, ‘Licensing’, ‘Privacy Policy’, and ‘Links’.

Inner Pages

There are not many inner pages on the website. As for the ones that are there, I like the download page the most. Why? Because I prefer getting done with the download than staying on the website for a little longer. The download page has important content such as ‘How this works’, ‘Installation Guide’, ‘Purchase’, and ‘Download section’. You can also learn about prices and upgrade from an older version if you want to.

JRiver Media Center Interface

As said earlier, I would like to discuss the media center interface. That’s the most impressive aspect of the service. The end-product itself is worth spending your hard-earned money on. In terms of interface, you have the grey top-menu panel with various options on the left-hand side. These include ‘Audio’, ‘Burning, ‘CD, ‘DVD & BD’, ‘Encoding’, ‘File Location’, ‘File Types’, ‘General’, Handheld’, ‘Library & Folders’, ‘Media Network’, ‘Podcast, ‘Remote Control’, ‘Services’, ‘Startup’, ‘Theater View’, ‘Tree & View’.

The interface is sleek and modern. Nothing like the website experience. Once you’re in the software, you can choose from a wide range of skins, access panels for features such as ‘Audio’, ‘Images’, ‘Videos’, ‘Performer Store’, ‘Podcasts’, ‘Playlist’, ‘Drives & Devices’, ‘Services & Plug-ins’. At the bottom, you have different options in the Action Window – ‘Rip Disc’, ‘Burn Disc’, ‘Sync Handheld’, ‘Create Playlist’, ‘Camera’, and ‘Tag’.

Plans & Pricing

As for plans and pricing, you’re just required to pay a one-time license fee. If you want to purchase the master license, you need to spend $79.98. If you want the software for a specific platform per se Windows or Mac, you need to spend $59.98.

Suggestions I have for JRiver

JRiver is a commendable media center with enormous capabilities. My only advice to the developers would be to improve the website experience, given that the landing page is so unconvincing. I’m not sure how the end-user makes the purchase decision after browsing such a poor website.

Conclusion

There’s no denying the fact that JRiver is one of the best media players available in the market. Innovative interface coupled with complete control and customization of files makes it a stand out service. Thus, I’d totally recommend this media center.

Likes & Hates:
Amazing software interface
Great customization options
Excellent audio and video support
Quality Integration feature
Poor website design
Understanding the software can be tumultuous at first