What Codecs Should I Use?

You have downloaded a video or audio file and you are unable to open it or it does not play properly?

This can be due to a simple reason: a missing codec. But what codec(s) should i download?

1. The easiest way to find out is to check the file extension.

One thing to be noted is that some files can be named wrongly and some file formats, such as AVI, require different codecs depending on the file, even if the file extension is the same.

2. Other method - also very simple - to find out the proper codec for video or audio files is to use a  codec identifierMediaInfoGSpot (obsolete) or other similar software (see the list below).

These small tools can help you to check what codecs you need and whether your computer is able to play the file(s).

MediaInfo interface

3. Sometimes it would be simpler to just install most of the commonly used codecs so as to avoid having to search for one each time you download a file using a new codec.

Such codec packs are available here, at CODECS.COM, however, you must take precautions to ensure that there are no software conflicts.

Many users reported troubles with codec packs.

Our advice: if you choose to install a codec pack, always use tools like MediaInfo or DXVA Checker and try to install only the codecs you need. Almost all packs give you the option to select the codecs before installation.


Some recommended codecs related tools - from Codec Identifiers section:

DSF/MFT Viewer: displays information about various multimedia tools (decoders, filters, splitters and so on) installed on your computer.

InstalledCodec: provides information about the codecs and filters installed on your PC.

CodecViewer: is a little tool, which tells you which audio and video codecs you need for an avi file.

AVIcodec: provides the codec information you need in order to play a media file.

- You may use the forum to report problems related to codecs & codec packs.
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