Can someone explain codecs for me



Not sure if this is the right place…as Im new here… hello!

I have been installing codec to make avi files that have been a bit tempermental to work. I would like to get a further understanding of what they are.

Also since installing, i have unistalled and my real player doesnt seem to be working as it was.

Any help/ info appreciated.


Codec: COmpression/DECompression algorithm. It’s for reducing file size, as uncompressed audio/video takes a lot of HD space. Generally speaking, if you want to play a compressed video file, you need the same specific codecs as were used to compress it.

Get the latest beta version of GSpot to identify the audio and video codecs in a particular video file:

Codec Sniper can identify and remove broken codecs from your system:

Both are free. Good luck. :wink:



Are there several different codecs for different files eg, avi


AVI (Audio Video Interleaved) is not a set format, but a container. An AVI may contain video compressed using DivX, XviD, or a number of other codecs. Audio is generally MP3. Use GSpot to find out what you’re dealing with in a specific AVI.

Wouldn’t hurt for you to read the glossary and newbie articles at

Regards. :wink:


One word of warning, avoid codec-packs. More codecs is NOT a good thing, as they can conflict and cause an untold number of problems.

Two popular codecs are divx and xvid. Xvid can play back most divx encoded video.

Another option is ffdshow. is a great source for video specific information, spend some time reading (the key word is time).


I got rid of my codecs and installed one codec pack - the K-lite codec pack. Works fine for me.


ffdshow decodes most common stuff. I’d try that before resorting to any ropey codec packs.