Light Alloy is a free, highly customizable multimedia player for Windows. It was optimized to start as fast as possible and pre-tuned for minimum system resource usage. Besides of his support for all popular multimedia formats it also has its own advanced settings such as: fast video rewind, load subtitles, bookmarks in the list or timeline, preview window on timeline, selection of audio tracks and subtitles in multilingual films, minimize to tray, infrared remote control, adjust the brightness/contrast/saturation of the image, supports multimedia keyboards and has full support for DVD/Blu-ray (except for BD menus) and MKV/OGM/MP4 formats. It has a long list of features, those are just a few of them: built-in video/audio codecs (although you can choose to use other system codecs and you can configure audio and video filters), custom codecs, full support for subtitles, WinLIRC support (remote control), configurable playback speed, aspect ratio alignment, make and save screenshots (including WebP/WebP-LL formats), independent video settings for each file (brightness, contrast, saturation, subtitle, volume) save current playing position and resume later etc. The entire list of its features can be found on Light Alloy homepage.
I can't remember the first multimedia player that I used and that because it happened more than a decade ago. Ever since, I've been testing all kind of popular media players and most likely I won't stop soon. If you ever get disappointed by your current media player and by chance you land on this page, I have another popular suggestion: Light Alloy player. It was developed initially by a Russian company named "Softella" and it wasn't free. You had to buy it, however, starting with version 4.2 the project continued as a freeware application under a new development team lead by Mr. Dmitry "Vortex" Koteroff.
I tested both versions: installer and portable under Windows 7 and the program worked for me exactly as it was advertised on his homepage. Compact, easy to use and with a clean interface is not just a few words that I use, that's exactly what I have found for the current version (4.6.7). This player has its own built-in codecs that allows you to view any popular video format as soon as you finish the setup process (it's the same thing with the portable version). It has plenty of features and it can be customized in any way you want. Actually, it is a highly customizable player in many ways, without being limited to its own collection of skins.
There are plenty of features such as: timeline (view how much time left/passed from the movie), WinLIRC (remotely control the player from your own couch), live preview (similar with the one from YouTube), watch online videos from YouTube and Vimeo directly in Light Alloy (press "Ctrl+U", enter the URL and hit "OK"), Internet radio (listen, record, add them to favorites), tracker music support for XM, IT, S3M, MOD etc.
Light Alloy media player is actively developed and the list of features will likely grow over time so I will jump to my own conclusion: clean, easy and intuitive. It's a complete application for anyone interested in a reliable multimedia player. Like I said, it worked flawless for me and I might keep it for an indefinite period of time so, go ahead and try it for yourself.