In some areas of the world, if you go to the cinema you might see more than one set of subtitles on screen at once. This is because the country might have more than one major language and so just showing one subtitle language isn’t enough to cater for the majority of watchers. This becomes a problem at home though as DVD/media players and TVs cannot display more than one subtitle at once on discs or when playing video files and you would have to encode the subtitles you want into the video file itself.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case on a computer and it’s quite easy to display two subtitles on a video at the same time if you have the right media player software to allow it. Here we show you 5 solutions for playing two or more subtitles on your Windows computer, all you need is the video file and the required language SRT subtitle files.
Tip: For best results you should rename the SRT files to nameofvideo.language.SRT, for instance my_video.eng.SRT. Then place the files in the same folder as the video. This way the media player will pick up the subtitles without you having to manually search for them. Also make sure your subtitles are synced correctly or they will display at different times.
KMPlayer has been able to play more than one subtitle at once for quite a few years. Apart from that ability, it also boasts a number of options for displaying, loading and saving the subtitles back out again. Some of the other subtitle features are merging subtitles together, subtitle explorer/editor, syncing, multiple display and effect options, online subtitle finder and the ability to show up to three subtitles on screen at once.
By default KMPlayer will show the first subtitle at the bottom if you have SRT files located in the same directory as the video file. You can add a second by right clicking on the video window > Subtitles > Subtitles Languages > 2nd Subtitle and selecting the file you want to add at the top of the video. Adding a 3rd Subtitle from the same menu will display it on the middle of the image. Be aware that KMPlayer offers adware during install.
2. Daum PotPlayer
PotPlayer is from the same developer that’s responsible for creating KMPlayer who decided to leave that project and start another. Unsurprisingly PotPlayer also has a range of subtitle options like KMPlayer, including a subtitles browser and plenty of tweaking and display options. PotPlayer can show two subtitles on the video at the same time.
How to add a second subtitle onto the video is very similar to KMPlayer, right click on the video > Subtitles> Add/Select Languages > 2nd Subtitle, and select the language to be placed at the top of the video. If the second SRT subtitle file is not in the same folder you can manually load it.
3. Media Player Classic – Home Cinema
Media Player Classic – Home Cinema has been around for years and has gained popularity among PC users, not least for being able to smoothly play full HD content on low end or old hardware. The disadvantage of MPC playing two subtitles at once is it can’t do it out of the box and requires you to do a few things first.
Firstly, you need to install a Directshow filter called VSFilter which takes care of showing the second subtitle. Download and install VSFilter and tick the box to configure it when the install is complete. In the Main tab tick Override placement and enter a vertical (V) number somewhere between 0-25 to put this subtitle at the top. Click OK.
Secondly, open MPC-HC and go to Options (O) > Advanced, double click the BlockVSFilter entry to make it False. Click OK, close and reopen MPC-HC.
When you open a video file and want two subtitles, you can access the the bottom subtitle from the right click > Subtitles menu, the second subtitle is accessed via Filters > “VSFilter (auto-loading version)”, a green arrow icon in the system tray is also visible where you can right click and alter the top subtitle.
If you find playback with two subtitles to be jerky or resource intensive, a fork of VSFilter called XY-VSFilter is faster and more optimized, this should be able to help produce a smoother experience.
BS.Player is one of a few media players that offer a paid version which is a pricey €29.90 for a year’s worth of Pro version updates. Thankfully the free version handles playing two subtitles at once with ease. A few options for uploading/downloading subtitles, timings and how they get displayed are available.
Like the other programs, adding subtitles is very easy. Right click on the video, go to Subtitles and choose Primary or Secondary for a sub menu listing the bottom and top subtitles. BS.Player offers to locally install a number of third party codecs such as AC3 Filter, while not necessary to display two subtitles they may be required to playback your videos correctly.
5. Merging the Subtitles into one File
This last method isn’t actually a piece of software but is instead a simple way to display two or more subtitles at once in just about any media player that supports playing SRT subtitle files. It’s is done by simply merging the SRT files from different languages into one main file so you only ever have to load one subtitle SRT. The advantage is this also works for DVD players, TVs and hardware multimedia players that support a single SRT subtitle file.
You can follow the guide in our “How To Add Two or More Subtitles to Video” article. The resulting SRT file should allow the player to play all the subtitles together automatically at the bottom of the video with optional different colors.
Additional Note: SMPlayer is a frontend GUI for the command line MPlayer which is the engine behind a number of media players. Although it claims to have the ability to play two subtitles at once we were unable to get the second subtitle to work. It should also be possible with the ffdshow video codec to display two subtitles although it can be tricky to setup for all but experienced users. Another way is using the Greenfish subtitle player to show a secondary subtitle in a separate window.