[Guide] Codec Packs Explained

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[Guide] Codec Packs Explained

Post by Rahul on Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:24 pm



A comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about codecs and how to not destroy your system using them.
* you are using your pc to watch movies?
* another codec pack destroyed your system?
* you hate quicktime and real media players?
* you look for 101% legal software for watching divx/xvid/dvd?
* you have some problems with new web multimedia content?
* you feel that you install more than you really need?
* you think those opensource geeks doing a good job?
* you do care about what you install?

Read The Zero Codec Pack Guide (Website Temporary Unavailable)


GOM Player | Screenshot |
GOM Player supports most popular codecs (AVI, DAT, MPEG, DivX plus many
more) with its own embedded codec system that you won't have to look
for appropriate codecs everytime you can't play a certain video format.

What's good: Very nice interface; support for many, many media file types.
What's bad: Very dubious EULA. GOM Player comes with DRM


RulesPlayer | Screenshot |
rulesPlayer is a clean and easy-to-use GUI for MPlayer under Windows, written in D
and DWT. rulesPlayer supports most popular media files (AVI, 3gp, ASF,
FLV, Matroska, MOV QuickTime, MP4, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia, DivX plus
many more) supported by many native, XAnim, and Win32 DLL codecs. You
can watch VideoCD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5 and even can watch video
files while you are downloading them!

What's good:
rulesPlayer is a hidden gem among multimedia applications. rulesPlayer
cover all existing video files (Real Media, Quicktime, DivX etc..)
without any codec pack. Also rulesPlayer offers a basic menu and
hotkeys, giving you quick access to the playback functions.
What's bad:
I don't know if is really a bad thing: to install rulesPlayer a good
internet connection is required not because of his size (1.1mb) but
because it automatically download all the necessary codecs.


KMPlayer | Screenshot |
The KMPlayer is a versatile media player which can cover various types of
container format such as VCD, DVD, AVI, MKV, Ogg Theora, OGM, 3GP,
MPEG-1/2/4, WMV, RealMedia, and QuickTime among others.

What's good: Pleasant & elegant interface; support many, many media file types.
What's bad: Maybe KMPlayer is a little bloated for my taste ? Too many options and too many tweaks ?


VideoLan | Screenshot |
VideoLAN is an excellent multimedia player with it's own plugins for playing different formats, so it doesn't need any codecs to be installed.
It works great for previewing partially downloaded files too as well as
DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a
server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a
high-bandwidth network.

What's good: VLC will play 90% of your media files shoutcast streams included. No install package (zip) available.
What's bad: VLC doesn't support Real Media & Quicktime; some problems with subtitles.


FFDShow
FFDSHOW is a DirectShow decoding filter for decompressing DivX, XviD, WMV,
MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 movies. It uses libavcodec from ffmpeg project for
video decompression, postprocessing code from mplayer to enhance visual
quality of low bitrate movies, and is based on original DirectShow
filter from XviD, which is GPL'ed educational implementation of MPEG4
encoder.

What's good: FFDSHOW is just great! Should be used with a media player of choice like Media Player Classic or Windows Media Player.
What's bad: Nothing, it's the perfect decoding filter.


Media Player Classic
Media Player Classic is an extremely light-weight media player for Windows.
MPC has, for instance, a built in DVD player with real-time zoom,
support for AVI subtitles, QuickTime and RealVideo support (requires QT
and/or Real player), and lots more.

What's good: Media Player Classic it's a great Windows Media Player replacement. Support for hundreds of different media files.
What's bad: Emmm, hard to find something bad in MPC. Maybe some speed issues but this depends exclusively by your PC.


Koepi's XviD Codec
XviD codec allows you to watch and create MPEG-4 compatible video files.
Most new movies and videos are being encoded with XviD. XviD is an
MPEG-4 compatible codec, which produces very good video quality --
something that really competes with DivX.

What's good: The original XviD, nothing better has been inventend yet. To be used with Media Player Classic or Windows Media Player.
What's bad: Yet another ''Emmm'', personally i didn't found any bug in XviD. It's a decoding filter not a Antivirus, it does what it says.


MPUI - The MPlayer Frontend
MPUI is a easy to use GUI for MPlayer, a very powerful & fast open source multimedia player
with no installation required. MPUI plays hundreds of different video
and audio formats, including MPEG-1, -2 and -4 (DivX), H.264, MP3, Ogg
Vorbis and AAC. For most media files, no additional codecs are needed.

What's good: About 3.5 MB in size! No install required, no hassle, no codecs. Works great for previewing partially downloaded files too.
What's bad: It's still a beta. Unknown to the masses, just 3 words: GET IT NOW!


DirectVobSub (Subtitle Display)
DirectVobSub is simply a DirectShow filter which can be used to display subtitle
files created by VobSub during playback in Windows Media Player, Media
Player Classic, Zoom Player and other players as well.

What's good: A great very easy to use subtitle filter! Lot of languages are supported.
What's bad: Nothing.

Lazy people - Get the most lightweight & legally codec packs:
How To: Install Playback Software
DefilerPak
Divx Total Pack - open source
Combined Community Codec Pack
Tzim's Lite Codec Pack

On The Web:
Codec Packs are evil, don't install them!! by Chris Lanier
VideoHelp.com Interesting Read
Random Codec Packs Are Evil Topics

Already read the ZCP Guide and need even more help? Are you still undecided ? Here's my recipe:
- for Beginners - MPUI or VideoLan or rulesPlayer or a slim codec pack from above, nothing else.
- for Advanced Users
- MPUI or VideoLan or FFDshow+Media Player Classic+DirectVobSub or
FFDshow+Windows Media Player+DirectVobSub or a slim codec pack from
above+Media Player Classic.

NOTE: Has anyone monitored the installation of K-Lite Codec Pack to see what kind of hit
it takes on the registry? I don't think, anyway here's an interesting result : Keys added 1330, Values added 805! That's a lot so think twice before you want to install a ''MEGA CODEC STUFF''.
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Rahul
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