Video formats... ah, the formidable foe that is always able to detract even the sturdiest of the techies. The problem is, with the diversity of our portable gadgets and operating systems, coupled with big corporations wanting to cash-in on any and everything, the number of video formats out there is incredible.
Now, to the average PC user, wanting to play that viral video sent via email from Bob the IT guy, there is an inevitable sense of frustration when, no matter how hard they try to get it to work, the damn file won't play. I'll admit that I've been in that situation more than often.
The reason to this is that the most common media players - Windows Media Player, Quicktime, iTunes etc. don't have the necessary codecs installed in order for them to read and understand the file. So, they do what they know best: pop-up a confusing error dialog along the lines of "The file [insert name here] can't be opened" coupled with either some weird numbers or a strange error code.
Today, thanks once again to my cousin Nitesh (big ups to him for letting me know about this and the previous post) I have for you a solution to all your video woes. It's a video codec package called the K-Lite Mega Codec Package (what a name...)
One of the main good things about this package is that, as the site says, it's all about being user-friendly and being able to set you up quickly so that you can watch your favourite films. Furthermore, it is updated frequently, so you can be sure that you're covered in terms of bugs and having the latest codecs.
So, how does this whole thing work? Well, firstly, it comes in a few "variants": basic, standard, full, corporate and mega. For personal use, I'd recommend you get the Basic package. This covers you for all the popular formats that you're likely to encounter; as you're probably not working in the professional film and audio field, I'm guessing you're not gonna want to be worrying about playing VFW/ACM codecs - wait, what? Yeah, like I said, just keep it simple and basic, and you'll be fine.
If, however, you're the mega-crazy techie that's working with a myriad of formats - perhaps even at the same time (if that's even possible!) then you're better off with the Mega package.
Once you've downloaded the variant of your choice, the next step is to run the downloaded file. After following the instructions from the installer, you should be good to go. Along with the package comes an application called Windows Media Classic, and, according to Nitesh, this "one-stop-shop for playing files" was a lifesaver for him.
At this point in time, I have yet to try it, as I'm currently working in Mac OS X Leopard, although I do believe that a release for the Mac system is available with Quicktime codecs. Nevertheless, this is sure to put aside the issues of having to play the million-and-one file formats that we consumers have to contend with daily.
To get the KLM codec package, visit this website. To learn more about it, click here.
Don't forget to drop a line in the comments if you have any thoughts about this.