codec for windows media player 10

Who else wants a Codec for Windows Media Player 10 ?


Codec for Windows Media Player 10





Many of you who are reading this article will do so because YOU require a codec for windows media player 10. The reason I can make this guess is due to the high number of emails I get on this subject!

Others of you may read the title "codec for windows media player 10" and simply want to know more on what can often seem a confusing subject....

Finding Codec for Media Player Windows

This article should give most readers a basic understanding of what a codec is and exactly what codec's are available for windows media player 10.

(NB - What this article will not focus on is how to play DVD's using windows media player. For more information on this topic please visit )

So What Is A Codec?

Before we delve into the specifics of what codecs for windows media player 10 are available - it would be good just to explain a FEW of the fundamentals.

So what exactly is a codec and why do we need them? Well simply put the term codec is short for:

Compressor / Decompressor

When you make an audio or video recording, the "raw" file that is created is often VERY large. This presents us with two major problems:

Storage and Transmission.

Lets look at an example of what I am referring to...

The other month my younger brother got married. I decided to use my MiniDV camcorder to record the event and create a DVD as a memento of the occasion. I filled up TWO 60 minute tapes, so how much room will I need on my computer to store this video?

Well the answer is 13 Gb's per 60 minute tape! That's 26 Gb's in total.

So not only am I going to make sure I have a large hard drive to store the video, there is also going to be huge problem if I try and transmit a file that size too. And that's the twin problem of storage and transmission.

So what can be done about this?

Well many years ago, circa 1980's, special "mathematical algorithms" were designed to make the files smaller but still play well on a computer.

And so codec's were born.

Now of course there are thousands of codec's available for audio and video compression. There are codec's that are suited to streaming video over the Internet, playing music on you're MP3 player, there are codec's for speech and even for codec's for screen capture.

Because there are so many codec's available, this often leads you to try and find a codec for windows media player 10. as it is impractical to have every codec installed on you're PC.

Windows media player 10 does have an inbuilt feature to try and get the codec for you if it not already installed on your PC.... but sometimes this does not work very well and does not cover EVERY codec available

The AVI Format

One of the oldest and still most commonly found video file formats available today, is the AVI format. This was Microsoft's early file format that allowed content producers to combine audio and video into a single file.

Microsoft has since given up development of the AVI format, instead preferring to develop its own video compression technology in the form of Windows Media Video (WMV).

AVI has a simple architecture which means it will run on many different systems like Windows, Mac's, Linux, Unix etc. In fact many media players such as WMP, Real and QuickTime can play .avi files. But the AVI format is not suited for Internet playback so .avi files are downloaded to a users PC and then played locally rather than trying to "stream" the content.

Since the AVI format is so simple MANY vendors and individuals have created an ENORMOUS number of AVI codec's over the years. Allot of these are either to old to be of any use or were just so poor at doing their job that you should hopefully not encounter them anymore!

Often folks ask why Microsoft do not put all these AVI codec's into the operating system... well that would make things unstable as there are so many AVI codec's....

(The reason I give prominence the AVI format here is that when looking for a codec for windows media player 9 - the AVI format is the single biggest codec issue...)

Getting That Codec for Windows Media Player 10

But there is allot of AVI video content still out there on the Internet, and indeed still being created, that you may want to play in windows media player 9 but you simply do not have the codec installed on your PC.... These include:

VP3, Indeo 3.2, Indeo 4.4, Indeo 5, DivX, Cinepak, Microsoft Video 1, ClearVideo and TrueMotion to name but a few.

Well, Windows Media Player 9 has the ability to look at the file and decide if it has the codec available on your PC. If this fails you should get an error that says:

"The XXXX codec is needed to play this file"

The XXXX sequence here is the "FourCC" (Four character code) Once you have this XXXX code go to this website The FourCC's and match the code against the list of AVI codec's you can download. (These codes are not just limited to AVI codec's...) Microsoft also has an archived page on the FourCC's

You also need to make sure you have admin privileges and that your Internet security settings are set to Medium.

Codec Information Appliance

Another great way of getting information about which codec you might need is to use Gspot. This excellent FREE utility allows you to establish what you need to play your AVI file from its database of over 350 AVI codec's. It can also help identify problems with your AVI file too.

If you just want to find the Audio and Video codec's installed on your Windows XP machine read this article to discover how:

SHERLOCK - The Codec Detective!

Need to find what codec's are installed on your computer? Then YOU NEED this FREE utility:

Windows Media Player DVD Plugin's


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Marc Liron                    

Marc Liron - Microsoft MVP (2004-2010)


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