*Warning* I will not be mentioning the elephant in the room "VLC" in this tutorial due to the fact that I cannot find one good reason to recommend it over the players mentioned below (for anime at least)
*Please take note that performance varies a lot between computers of the same price range, clock speed, and year. Don't assume that your device can or can't support madVR.
Very Low performance -
It is hands down the best option for (very) low performance users who still want better video playback, and to possibly* watch 10 bit videos (I had a slow laptop that with Kodi, surprisingly played 10 bit) but does not have the processing power for "quality at all costs" madVR.
*Please take note that Kodi 17 will come with a redesigned video player, so try 16.2 if the latest version doesn't help.
Instructions - Read this (link) then follow this to enable higher* quality scaling.
Note: I meant to say that, if the video is low bitrate, and low resolution then you may want to enable the post processing option (I never use it though).
And now you're good to go!
This is where it gets trickier because madVR (the ideal renderer in pretty much all aspects) will likely work on these devices, but may require enabling settings that reduce quality, or have dropped frames if you don't, which would make madVR pointless. But, if you insist, here you go.
madVR (Go to High Performance) -
- Install madVR by extracting the zip to a safe place as the installer does not move the files.
- Run install.bat as Administrator, and you're done installing.
mpv - If this is right for you then you probably don't need this guide (this is easier, but there is no point on Windows, honestly).
Potplayer - (This is the middle of the road if you use EVR, rather than madVR) - The built-in renderer in Potplayer in my opinion is the best option for people want madVR, but can't because of the performance needed.
- Download it here. (DO NOT USE 64-BIT)
- At the end of the installation make sure to check "install additional codecs" as some formats may not play properly if you don't.
- Download these settings (Link) *Right click and select "Save link as." (change the renderer to auto if madVR is too slow)
- Then just double-click and merge the .reg file once you've finished installing Potplayer.
High performance - This (link) guide is better than what I would do since I'm lazy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) so just read that as well.
I personally prefer Jinc to all the other scaling options (including NNEDI3) but this is more preference than anything. I also have never liked the results of the "smooth motion" option either, but to each their own. And uncheck all the options under "trade quality for performance" except maybe "scale chroma separately if it saves performance" if you can.
Also XySubFilter is a subtitle renderer that is supposed to be better than your players internal subtitle renderer, but I don't see an improvement over the internal renderer in Potplayer (it's probably a custom XyVSfilter, so it may have the same quality as xysub), here is the link if you want it.
My madVR settings are here for reference. (link)
*You can also use madVR with Potplayer (I personally prefer this to MPC-HC) and kodi! To use it with Kodi go here (link), but keep in mind that the developer has abandoned the project so no bugfixes or new releases are expected at the moment.
Phone or Tablet - Use Kodi for iOS and MX player (or BSPlayer) for android.
Either use some form of mpv or Kodi because there's NO madVR like alternative for Linux/GNU or OS X. I use both Kodi and SMPlayer which is a frontend for mpv.
There are programs that can let you run Windows applications within another OS (e.g Parallels, Wine, VM's), but in my experience they tend to not play nice with graphical applications, so your mileage may vary.
This guide is authored and actively maintained by wellivea1.