With cutting the cord becoming more and more popular, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. While you will ultimately need some form of content provider to help you supplant your traditional cable television service, cutting the cord also necessitates that you provide your own apps to play the content too. This is why we bring you our list of the 10 best IPTV players, comparing them with one another to figure out which one is right for you. Since there are a multitude of devices, platforms, formats, and the like to choose from, there is no player that is unanimously better than all of the others in every way, but these 10 are all excellent within their field.
The 10 Best IPTV Player
While there are plenty of IPTV apps on the market that includes Apple products compatibility, few are willing to push all of their chips to the middle of the table betting on Apple products like rIPTV does. We say this because while rIPTV technically offers its service to Android users, the company most definitely focuses, if not outright specializes, on Apple products, including Apple TV as well as the various iOS and OSX devices. This does mean that if you are not using Apple hardware, you may want to opt for a player that is designed for your format, mostly due to the absence of nuance and minor inconveniences that focused development can cause.
On the other hand, the near-exclusive focus rIPTV places on its Apple compatibility does at least mean that you can expect it to provide plenty of solutions to nuanced issues that only Apple users face. First and foremost among these is just the general compatibility with protocols, file formats, and other software issues for which rIPTV does not present many when using Apple products. This being the case, you should also expect to find some of the more troublesome qualities that accompany apps designed to work with Apple products as well like the absence of too many 3rd party add-ons that Apple does not approve of.
Another quality of rIPTV that seems to fall in lockstep with Apple products’ general philosophy is an emphasis on design and user interface over raw power and versatile functionality. To be point blank, rIPTV does not have as many bells and whistles as other players and lags far behind those players developed open source which often have dozens, if not hundreds, of different 3rd party add-ons to expand the IPTV experience. On the other hand, just like with Apple products, you do not have to worry about the player being difficult to set up or use, and pretty much every function is either right there in front of you or easily accessible and changed.
A big part of this is that rIPTV is basically an Apple-friendly version of VLC Player, another top 10 player in our opinion, which offers legitimately impressive power and functionality for Apple products and technically Android devices as well–though the there are better players for Android. Regardless, rIPTV makes importing your playlists and EPG files fairly easy without having to jump through a number of pop-up hoops.
So long as you are not an Apple user or someone with an uncommon operating system on their device, Perfect Player may be the most aptly named option on our list. A quick google search is all you need to see that Perfect Player, despite not having a perfect rating, is still one of the most respected and preferred options on the market today. To be clear before going further, the Perfect Player app only supports Windows, Linux, and Android-based operating systems.
While this clearly excludes a huge chunk of the market, it does not change the fact that Perfect Player is an amazingly powerful and convenient app for IPTV–two qualities which most apps require you to choose from. This is a set-top box player that allows you to access its functions whether you are using a computer, a smart device, or even a standard television set with a digital-to-analog conversion system–whether a separate box, flash stick, or some other method. This further extends the Perfect Player’s versatility without sacrificing the ease of installation and setup.
While Perfect Player is not strictly the most compatible player we saw, it offers plenty of file compatibility to suit most people’s needs. For your personal viewing experience, Perfect Player supports the two most common types of playlist files: M3U and XSPF. For ancillary details, like the Perfect Player supports the two most common types of EPG files as well with XMLTV and JTV formats both supported.
Of course, the convenience and ease are still one of Perfect Player’s biggest selling points, and this really begins and ends with the user interface which is both slick, minimal, and incredibly easy to use. The OSD presents all of the relevant information in a clear and easy to read format without disturbing your viewing experience. On top of that, the Perfect Player app also presents a scalability that few other programs can compete with offering resolutions and scales that not all players can provide.
Moreover, thanks to its popularity, the Perfect Player app provides a number of protocols and codecs that are absent from many other apps and which increase its convenience. For instance, the Perfect Player IPTV app not only connects with remotes but also allows you to control the app with a wide variety of devices.
For those Apple addicts out there who cannot watch their IPTV streams on Perfect Player, we recommend Kodi–though, unlike Perfect Player, Kodi does not limit its compatibility in a similar manner as Perfect Player. Of course, a big part of this has to do with the freedom that developers give up whenever they work on an app for Apple’s App Store. However, it should be noted that Kodi does not hold your hand nearly as much as Perfect Player–though both have excellent documentation.
This means that there is a good chance you will need to configure Kodi more than Perfect Player which is fairly plug-and-play for the average user. However, there are plenty of other major differences between these two leading players, primarily that one is designed for IPTV specifically while the other is more of a general media player that can play movies, music, and other types of media on your hard drive. In fact, it is in some part due to the versatility of Kodi that it takes a bit longer and more effort and know-how to set up, but once you do, you have a complete media center at your fingertips.
Another reason that Kodi can be a bit more complicated to set up is due to the fact that it is an open source project meaning that it is free for anyone to take the source code and change or add onto it. As such, Kodi has a wealth of 3rd party add-ons and plugins to provide even more functionality than most other players. This actually allows you to customize Kodi in some impressive ways that few other players can match–though all custom options must be designated by the user.
Of course, there are plenty of open profiles available that will set some of this up for you, but that can be a bit riskier than doing it yourself, both for compatibility, programming, and security reasons. Still, the fully-integrated remote functions are another example of how this open source format can lead to impressive add-ons that other players either lack or are less than great at. Even better, the Kodi player actually has a screen-size setting for up to 10’ which is more than enough for even the largest television sets and even allows the use of some smaller projector systems if you prefer.
Out of the players on our list, Plex and Kodi are potentially the closest things to direct competitors that we saw. This definitely has more to do with their compatibility as opposed to their features, but the fact remains that Plex is quickly becoming one of the premier players on the market today. In fact, it is not the shiny new design or any user interface that truly distinguishes the Plex player but its programming options that truly puts it on our list.
One thing to remember when streaming live television is that not everyone uses the same protocols, file formats, and any number of coded options. This means that it is entirely possible to accidentally get the wrong player for your particular IPTV streaming service rendering the experience incomplete to outright unusable. Thankfully, Plex aims to solve some of these issues by providing transcoding options above and beyond what most of their competitors are will or able to offer.
For instance, the Plex player has the ability to transcode the media files on the fly such that you do not have to wait for your content to buffer nor will you be left without valuable metadata. This difference is so stark that Plex is actually willing and able to provide hardware acceleration to ensure that the live transcoding process remains stable even if your device’s hardware lags a bit behind the curve. To keep the gravy train rolling, Plex also makes it a point to provide the user a much easier experience from start to finish than some of their competitors.
A great example of this comes in the form of your library which can include content stored on your hard drive, on a flash stick, or even in the cloud. Unlike many other players, Plex is able to fully integrate all of these different sources into a single “library” which can be accessed by any of your devices connected to Plex. This means that you do not have to go through the hassle of constantly setting everything up when you switch a new device or use a different type of storage; it all just works.
It is worth noting that Plex is not a free service, so you definitely get what you pay for compared to the free alternatives on the market. However, paying for a player service does have its advantages as Plex provides quality customer service and support rather than expecting you to troll through online documentation to figure the solution out and employ it yourself.
To follow up its Apple clone, VLC Media Player is easily the oldest player on our list, but that does not at all mean it is outdated. In fact, VLC is one of the most powerful players we saw and is arguably one of the most comprehensive multimedia players on the market with the ability to play a wide range of file formats that include television, music, movies, and images. However, with such a wide range of features and functionality, not to mention fairly broad compatibility, VLC is definitely not the most user-friendly player out there, even if it is one of the most powerful.
What really puts VLC up there with some of the more focused players available is its sheer breadth of compatibility.
Though the rIPTV player is designed to work specifically with Apple products, the VLC player is no slouch in this department as well, especially since the company had difficulty updating their product for Windows 10 and took that time to perfect their Apple integration. Keep in mind, “perfecting their integration” is not the same thing as making it easy to use, because VLC’s expansive compatibility does mean that you will need to be a bit more deliberate when setting up VLC to work with your IPTV streaming service.
Of course, like most players that offer a wide range of compatible file formats, this also means that VLC is loaded with 3rd party add-ons and other goodies which can greatly improve your viewing experience. In fact, because it has been around for so long and continues to remain not only effective but relevant as well, there is a huge library of add-ons to choose from including many which rely on Windows-specific drivers and software like DirectX. This keeps VLC in line with newer players written using contemporary programming languages and ensures that you can enjoy your IPTV programming in the most advanced settings like 4K resolution.
One thing that might turn off some users is the fact that native VLC, meaning without user interface add-ons, can be a bit plain and look just like any other media player. Of course, if you have any level of tech-savvy, you can always customize that as well as most of the player’s features even more so than even most players who boast wide-ranging customization options.
Not everyone looking to transition to an IPTV service actually intends to use it in the traditional television set with a single, large screen around which the family gathers to watch the same programming. In fact, it is becoming more and more common that along with “cutting the cord,” people are often eschewing the large screen as well, preferring to stick with smartphones and tablets instead. This is where the GSE Smart IPTV app comes in handy as this player was designed from the ground up for smart devices more so than with other types of hardware, though they do offer decent support for OSX devices and smart TVs too.
That said, this player does have some issues that many community members find inconvenient or annoying, though they do not actually impact the app’s overall functionality. To the point, GSE Smart IPTV is noted for a less attractive user interface and a far more limited palette in terms of your customization options–this is not the player for you hardcore techies. It is also not nearly as user-friendly as some of the other players we have already reviewed and will require you to manage your playlists outside of the app which is not something everyone knows how to do.
On the flip side, GSE Smart IPTV does offer some of the most responsive sizing functions for smart devices that we saw had little to no difficulty immediately resizing its display for pretty much any and every major smart device screen size on the market. This is likely a legacy feature that harkens back to the focus GSE Smart IPTV initially placed on Android devices which have a far wider range of screen sizes and qualities than Apple, but it is incredibly easy and effective with either platform.
That said, it is a bit surprising that GSE Smart IPTV is now moving much harder into the Apple market and away from the Android market, but its original foundation should allow for smooth and easy use with either for quite some time. However, it is worth noting that GSE Smart IPTV does not support all of the different file formats out there, so make sure your IPTV service uses the appropriate file format before trying to use this player.
While some players might lean a little bit heavier to one general OS or another, whether Linux-based or Apple, or one general platform or another, like smart devices or traditional hardware, Lazy IPTV is hyper-focused on providing the best IPTV experience to Android users above all else. This is not to suggest that Lazy IPTV is only compatible with Android devices, but it is definitely more effective, functional, and stable on Android devices compared to Apple products with a customer rating difference of nearly double between the two platforms.
However, the main draw of Lazy IPTV, as the name suggests, is that it is mostly very easy to use…for Android users anyway. This begins primarily with the playlist functionality which can not only read m3u files as you would expect, but it also supports numerous other playlist formats as well. That said, this is not inherently all that exclusive, but the fact that Lazy IPTV is one of the most effective apps we saw at automatically updating your playlists is definitely a welcome addition not always found with the competition.
Of course, this player could not really get away with calling itself “Lazy” without providing a number of other features that are designed to make your experience easier and more streamlined. For one, while the breadth of supported file formats is nice, those of us who are less tech savvy may still struggle a bit with compressed or archived files. Thankfully, Lazy IPTV can read these files without having to extract them and can even effortlessly incorporate them into your other playlists and IPTV-relevant files.
In terms of display and customization, Lazy IPTV offers as much functionality as can be expected with an app focused primarily on a single platform and OS. This is not to suggest that Lazy IPTV does not offer common customization options, but you are not going to find a wealth of 3rd party add-ons like you will with some of the more robust and complicated players out there. Still, the user interface can be easily customized in both style and layout while the programming and streaming functions are also easily set within the menu including how your channels and playlists interact with one another and even offers parental controls.
Continuing with our more specialized players, Smart IPTV is an app that was explicitly designed to work with Samsung and LG smart television sets, though the app does have support for Android-based devices as well. Of course, as we have seen, when a player is designed to work with a particular platform or format, it generally works much better with its specialization compared to the “expanded compatibility” tacked on after the fact. Still, if you have one of the more popular smart televisions on the market since LG and Samsung dominate that market, then this is very likely one of, if not, your best options.
Keep in mind, we are not suggesting that Smart IPTV is the easiest to use or even the most expansive in terms of functionality and features, but smart TVs have a tendency to be finicky as it is. There is no point in going with a player that may or may not be easy to use and riddled with bugs on the platform when you can just go with an app that works but may lack some of the higher-level functionality that other, less compatible, players provide. So, in order to get the best compatibility and most stable functionality with your LG or Samsung smart TV, you may want to just sacrifice some of the extra features other players provide for reliability.
We frame it this way because Smart IPTV is not a pretty or intuitive player, but neither will it suffer from some of the coding errors that the intended smart TVs often have with other players. Still, this will be a big decision as the EPG information and playlist options are a bit more restrictive and simplified when compared to some of their competitor’s user interfaces. Another potential concern is the fact that the app was removed from the Google Play store in June 2018 due to a copyright complaint, but Samsung will be providing a free update to its users.
To be clear, Smart IPTV did not, in fact, infringe on anyone’s copyright as it is merely a player that does not actually provide any content on its own, which is what the copyright claim suggested. Regardless, this does mean that the smaller development team who initially created Smart IPTV now has the backing of Samsung to ensure that the next update is not only unassailable but provides even more functionality than the original app.
Wiseplay is another player that limits the breadth of its functionality in order to more effectively cater to its target demographic which, in this instance, happens to be Android and iOS users. Basically, Wiseplay is another player that sees the future of IPTV on smart devices far more than computers, boxes/sticks, or smart TVs and offers some of the best compatibility with both major smart device operating systems. While this clearly limits where you can use Wiseplay, it thankfully does not limit how effective and broad this player’s features are.
In order to provide its users more value than the average player focused on smart devices, Wiseplay is actually a full media center much like Windows Media Player or any number of media players on this very list. What separates the Wiseplay media player from the others is the fact that it was designed from the ground up to be used by smart devices which allows the Wiseplay media player to work more effectively and easily with smart devices than media players initially developed for use with computers. If you have ever tried to customize some of the features with VLC on your smartphone, you probably already have a good idea of why this is a meaningful quality.
Still, Wiseplay offers plenty more functionality than simply being streamlined for smart devices, and is actually one of the few players that we saw which offers full VR support. While this may not necessarily be that big of a deal right now with little VR content available, it is certainly going to be important in the very near future as more and more content producers begin to experiment with recording in VR. Also, Wiseplay was developed with both major smart device operating systems in mind, so it does not actually favor one platform over the other–though it does offer some extended functionality for Android users.
That said, Wiseplay still has a great record on iOS devices, and whatever limitations it has with this platform are imposed on it by Apple in order to maintain control over their smart devices. Regardless of which platform you use, the ease with which you can upload and manage a playlist as well as the sheer plethora of file formats supported all but ensures that Wiseplay is an excellent option for both IPTV and personal media content. The slick user interface does not exactly hurt Wiseplay’s case either.
We end our list with a player that does not actually do anything better than its competitors but offers an all-around excellent experience for most users…assuming you are not using Apple products. While the absence of iOS and OSX support is a bit disappointing, Simple IPTV does at least provide solid support for other IPTV devices like smart TVs, casting programs, and various set-top boxes. In fact, this particular player actually offers a fairly impressive range of compatibility for non-Apple users as this app can read pretty much every and any type of playlist used by an IPTV provider.
This may actually be the biggest benefit that Simple IPTV provides and is likely a bit part of where the namesake comes from since few other players cast such a wide net in terms of playlists, instead generally sticking with just the standard m3u and XSPF formats. It is worth noting that while Simple IPTV supports most Windows-based playlist file formats, the app is not actually designed to be used with computers–whether they are running a Windows OS or not. As such, while Simple IPTV can be seen as a somewhat exclusively Android player, it is still able to function with the wide majority of smart TVs as well.
In fact, the playlist integration and functionality are definitely one of Simple IPTV’s biggest selling points and a big part of why this player is legitimately simple for some of its functions. However, one nagging issue that may stick in your craw is the fact that you may have to load your EPG file every time you open the app, though this is more dependent on the hardware you use and is limited primarily to select smart TV brands. Still, arguably one of the best qualities of the Simple IPTV is that the developer is incredibly quick to respond to issues and regularly updates the app based on user feedback.
Ultimately, the best IPTV player will heavily depend on the what platforms you intend to view your IPTV content on. While Android and Windows are fairly inclusive, Apple products are a bit more difficult to select for. Depending on your devices, any of the top 5 on our list are great options with Perfect Player taking the top spot for non-Apple products and Kodi being the best for Apple users. Of course, if you are a bit more tech savvy and want an incredibly powerful media center that can also support IPTV streams or downloads, VLC is still kicking and shows no signs of slowing down–it also happens to be free too.