Audio player:Xmplay (it use BASS library and low in size)
Video Player: Used to be Splash Player but it got no update for a long time so its MPV.net(tons of settings to tweak the video quality) for now.
Paid multimedia player: Jriver (support vst plugins and madvr)
Worth to mention: Qmplay2
Yes that is correct MPC-HC does play the majority of video formats and there are other codec packs out there that are very bad.
I use the Mega codec pack because I also do extensive Video and Audio encoding.
Have been using this particular pack for years without any issues. Has no impact on my system performance at all.
It depends on hardware usage (Keyboard or mouse) at the time. But what i generally use is
Audio: Windows Media Player, VLC
Video: MPC-HC (K-Lite Codec Mega), VLC
For keyboard controls, i use MPC-HC as it has the best keyboard shortcuts/keys IMO. I specially like the features to play the next file in the folder shortcut, so even if i didn't create a playlist i get to play all the files in a folder & left click on video to pause/play. Respectively i use WMP as it is compatible with my keyboard media keys.
For mouse controls, i use VLC as it has the best mouse controls IMO. I specially like the step-forward & step-backwards buttons in the toolbar.
True, but IMO codecs are invaluable to whoever really needs it.
EDIT: Plus i firmly believe that a dedicated piece of software does a better job than a general one. So if anyone needs a player with extra features using codecs is acceptable. In terms of security, nothing is perfect.