How to detect if you have the right codecs

afreeCodecVT ScreenshotIt’s really annoying when you’ve downloaded a film or video and you can’t play it. The most common reason for this problem is that you don’t have the right codecs installed. Codecs basically allow your media player to decompress sound and image into something that it can play. Once installed, the codecs should work on all of your media players. But identifying which ones you need can be tricky…

Fortunately, there are a few tools out there though that analyse your audiovisual files and can tell you exactly which codec they need for playback. The most popular by far is afreeCodecVT. The reason being is that is analyses your files, tells you which codecs you need but also links you to the appropriate codec on it’s website.

One of my favourites though is GSpot. The program performs an instant analysis of your files and tells you the name of the codec you need. For me, this has worked in almost every instance although in some cases, it can’t tell you because the file is either unreadable or the compression standard is unknown. It can also diagnose playback problems that are caused when you’ve got too many codecs installed.

DVdate is another similar utility except this allows you to view information, including what codecs the film is using, during playback. It also includes other information such as the number of frames per second and aspect ratio. This program is useful if you have a batch of films that you want to analyse because it allows you to load several at one time.

Any one of these tools should ensure that your playback problems are a thing of the past.

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