The best free HD media player as of 2014 is SMPlayer, according to Tech Radar. The program was tested for speed and CPU usage alongside several other free media players. MPCSTAR ranked second in the tests.
SMPlayer receives top marks for both its CPU and memory usage. The program uses just 80 megabytes of memory to run, making it very efficient, even for less powerful computers. SMPlayer does not boast the fastest start time, but Tech Radar notes that its maximum time of two seconds is an acceptable wait.
Free media player MPCSTAR also receives top reviews. MPCSTAR receives strong ratings for its performance and light memory usage, but reviewers do note its lack of support for the OGG file format.