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Zero Codec Pack

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A comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about codecs and how to not destroy your system using them.

* you are using your pc to watch movies?

* another codec pack destroyed your system?

* you hate quicktime and real media players?

* you look for 101% legal software for watching divx/xvid/dvd?

* you have some problems with new web multimedia content?

* you feel that you install more than you really need?

* you think those opensource geeks doing a good job?

* you do care about what you install?

Read The Zero Codec Pack Guide

Codecs: Frequently Asked Questions

gomplayerrl8.gifGOM Player | Screenshot |

GOM Player supports most popular codecs (AVI, DAT, MPEG, DivX plus many more) with its own embedded codec system that you won't have to look for appropriate codecs everytime you can't play a certain video format.

What's good: Very nice interface; support for many, many media file types.

What's bad: Very dubious EULA. GOM Player comes with DRM

2011 Notes: None.

ohi5w.pngRulesPlayer | Screenshot |

rulesPlayer is a clean and easy-to-use GUI for MPlayer under Windows, written in D and DWT. rulesPlayer supports most popular media files (AVI, 3gp, ASF, FLV, Matroska, MOV QuickTime, MP4, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia, DivX plus many more) supported by many native, XAnim, and Win32 DLL codecs. You can watch VideoCD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5 and even can watch video files while you are downloading them!

What's good: rulesPlayer is a hidden gem among multimedia applications. rulesPlayer cover all existing video files (Real Media, Quicktime, DivX etc..) without any codec pack. Also rulesPlayer offers a basic menu and hotkeys, giving you quick access to the playback functions.

What's bad: I don't know if is really a bad thing: to install rulesPlayer a good internet connection is required not because of his size (1.1mb) but because it automatically download all the necessary codecs.

2011 Notes: RulesPlayer development is pretty dead, though is still a good multimedia player for Windows XP. Doesn't support AERO glass on Windows 7.

RsNKQ.pngSPlayer | Screenshot |

SPlayer is a simple and open-source media player , which supports all the popular media formats, including DVDRip, HDTV, RMVB, QuickTime, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AC3/DTS, VP3/6/7, Indeo, XVD, OGG / OGM, APE, FLAC, TTA, AAC, MPC, 3GP/AMR, and subtitles. Play Incomplete / Broken files. Support GPU acceleration. Optimization for multi-core SSE2 SSE3 MMX GPU etc.

What's good: SPlayer plays major video and audio formats, as well as Blu-Ray and DVDs. Portable version available. Clean & Simple interface.

What's bad: Small parts of the actual user interface in Chinese.

2011 Notes: SPlayer development is very active nowadays. Lot of features has been added and the portable version is a must have on my USB applications suite.

kmplayerfe1.pngKMPlayer | Screenshot |

The KMPlayer is a versatile media player which can cover various types of container format such as VCD, DVD, AVI, MKV, Ogg Theora, OGM, 3GP, MPEG-1/2/4, WMV, RealMedia, and QuickTime among others.

What's good: Pleasant & elegant interface; support many, many media file types. Lot of settings, tweaks and options.

What's bad: Nothing. Maybe the installer that contains a ''Pandora Toolbar'' but is optional.

2011 Notes: The KMPlayer developer left the team to build another great media player : PotPlayer (see details below).

V8ZzP.pngVideoLan | Screenshot |

VideoLAN is an excellent multimedia player with it's own plugins for playing different formats, so it doesn't need any codecs to be installed. It works great for previewing partially downloaded files too as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

What's good: VLC will play 90% of your media files shoutcast streams included.

What's bad: VLC doesn't support Real Media & Quicktime; some problems with subtitles.

2011 Notes: VideoLan is one of my favorite software this year. Is still under heavy development but since last year so VLC grown up a lot. It has more settings than ever, the installer is clean (without any toolbar) , more file types has been added.

smplayericonyz6.pngSMPlayer | Screenshot |

SMPlayer intends to be a complete front-end for MPlayer, from basic features like playing videos, DVDs, and VCDs to more advanced features like support for MPlayer filters and more.

What's good: Yet another Windows Media Player replacement. Support for hundreds of different media files. Someone doesn't like VideoLan also; you should try SMPlayer, it's what VideoLan should be and more.

What's bad: Nothing.

2011 Notes: None.

282lvyo.pngRadLight | Screenshot |

RadLight is a media player that allows a user to experience a large variety of multimedia, including content such as DivX, DVD video (requires third-party plugin) or AAC/MP4 audio.

What's good: I like this one! The clean and old skool GUI it reminds me of Media Player Classic. The free version used in conjunction with FFDSHOW, it works luvly.

What's bad: Don't download the ''PRO'' version for free because is not really free but is ad supported by AdVantage.

2011 Notes: Outdated but still great. Don't get fooled by classic, OLD STYLE interface. RadLight still has more to offer and works perfectly under Windows 7 even the last version has been created few years ago.

c91Gm.pngBS.Player Free | Screenshot |

BS.Player is a great media player that features anything you need to watch movies or any other kind of video on your PC. BS.Player supports all popular video formats (and audio as well, in case you were wondering) and though its basic interface is not really the nicest one I've seen, you can easily customize it with skins.

What's good: A powerful media player. Lot of options and settings. One of the oldest multimedia software available on the web maybe older than Windows itself (sarcasm).

What's bad: Take care installing the ''FREE'' version. It tries to install a toolbar, change your home page etc.. Ugly interface but BS.Player supports skins. Like other multimedia software a ''PRO'' paid version is available, that is pretty useless. Those guys must understand that we hate toolbars and change their business model.

2011 Notes: None.

fLN2w.pngALLPlayer | Screenshot |

ALLPlayer claims to be the most popular program for watching movies with subtitles. It plays all known media formats, and futhermore has an implemented LiveUpdate function to update the latest codecs if there is a problem with opening a movie file. The program also searches for matching subtitles in all languages automatically. Unlike most players, ALLPlayer is not merely an overlay for MediaPlayer, and it uses DirectX, which makes it possible to play any movie. The program is also integrated with a speech synthesizer application, allowing you to watch movies with subtitles with a reader (dubbing).

What's good: Pleasant interface; support many, many media file types; Lot of settings and options to play with.

What's bad: The ''LiveUpdate function to update the latest codecs'' is available only in the ''Premium'' paid version of ALLPlayer so I don't understand why ALLPlayer is the ''most popular program for watching movies with subtitles''.

2011 Notes: None.

f2Jer.pngALPlayer | Screenshot |

AlPlayer (formerly ALShow) is a video player that includes the basic codecs to play most of the movies. For those rare kinds of codecs that are not popularly used, ALPlayer will download the codec from ALPlayer Codec Center then install it for you. With ALPlayer, you do not have to wander around the internet to find the proper codec for your video. ALPlayer will do everything for you.

What's good: A nice, tiny but in the same time powerful media player. In my tests played everything without any problems.

What's bad: Nothing bad here, if you need a little media player even for old systems like XP or Windows 2000 ALPlayer is a good choice. Not for the geeks that expect a lot of settings to mess up. Don't get confused with the name: ALPlayer is not the same with ALLPlayer.

2011 Notes: None.

S6gF0.pngMedia Player Classic - Home Cinema

Media Player Classic is an extremely light-weight media player for Windows. MPC has, for instance, a built in DVD player with real-time zoom, support for AVI subtitles, QuickTime and RealVideo support (requires QT and/or Real player), and lots more.

What's good: Media Player Classic it's a great Windows Media Player replacement. Support for hundreds of different media files.

What's bad: Emmm, hard to find something bad in MPC. Maybe some speed issues but this depends exclusively by your PC.

2011 Notes: None.

ywahm.pngDAPlayer | Screenshot |

DAPlayer is totally free Blu ray Player, which can not only playback tool for Blu-ray disc, but also take the job of free HD Media Player. DAPlayer is the ultimate Bluray/DVD/HD video player on the Windows PC. Up to 1080p Bluray, AVCHD, TS, MKV, MPEG4, H264 movies playback, it brings razor-sharp HD images as well as high-definition audio enjoyment.

What's good: DAPlayer is the new kid on the block and for a new comer succeed to impress. Not to many settings but the seamless playback and the modern interface makes DAPlayer a ''no problem'' video player.

What's bad: Fails to play some Blu-ray discs but the price is right (Freeware).

2011 Notes: None.

hHQn2.pngLight Alloy | Screenshot |

Play AVI, DVD, DivX, MP3 with Light Alloy, an advanced video and audio player with many features and a friendly user interface. Light Alloy supports all popular multimedia formats. The main feature - ease of use and at the same time, Light Alloy comes loaded with hundreds of highly flexible settings, allowing you to customize it according to your own desire.

What's good: The developers of Light Alloy made a great move: Light Alloy is now freeware. Bundled with a lot of settings, makes Light Alloy the perfect multimedia player for geeks.

What's bad: The home page is in Russian but the English description is available here. Still a beta but a stable one.

2011 Notes: None.

2gw5gk7.pngMPUI - The MPlayer Frontend

MPUI is a easy to use GUI for MPlayer, a very powerful & fast open source multimedia player with no installation required. MPUI plays hundreds of different video and audio formats, including MPEG-1, -2 and -4 (DivX), H.264, MP3, Ogg Vorbis and AAC. For most media files, no additional codecs are needed.

What's good: About 3.5 MB in size! No install required, no hassle, no codecs. Works great for previewing partially downloaded files too.

What's bad: It's still a beta. Unknown to the masses, just 3 words: GET IT NOW!

2011 Notes: Outdated, the development stopped, no support for Windows 7 AERO glass. Works fine under Windows XP & Co.

2gw5gk7.png MPUI-HCB | Screenshot |

MPUI-HCB is an easy-to-use Windows frontend for MPlayer based on the the original MPUI. Plays files, network streams and discs (such as (S)VCD or DVD). Drag&Drop supported. Plays hundreds of different video and audio formats, including MPEG-1, -2 and -4 (DivX), H.264, MP3, Ogg Vorbis and AAC. Support for multiple audio and subtitle tracks on DVDs, lyric in rar, 7z, zip and multi-volume archive.

What's good: Right now this is my ''daily'' media player. This is MPUI ''PRO'' and more.

What's bad: Nothing.

2011 Notes: None.

2gw5gk7.pngMPlayer WW | Screenshot |

MPlayer WW is a GUI (Graphical User Interface) front-end for MPlayer with amazing interface to play almost all media files. It supports a wide range of codecs and multimedia media file formats including AVI, WMA, WMV, MPG, MOV, MP3 and plenty more. It is intended to provide a simple and enjoyable media player experience. Consuming less memory and CPU Cycles than Windows Media player, this player provides a better looking, familiar interface to watch movies on your Windows PC. A very powerful & fast open source multimedia player with NO installation required.

What's good: Lot of options, lot of files supported.

What's bad: An installer would be nice, website in English not available.

2011 Notes: None.

LTmev.pngKantaris Media Player | Screenshot |

Kantaris Media Player aims to be an all-in-one media player that provides a great audio and video experience. Video playback is based on Videolan Client (VLC) code which results in that it plays everything without the need of installing any codecs. Connects to an online subtitle database, finds subtitles that are a perfect fit to the played media. Plays RAR-archives without first extracting the media.

What's good: Very modern GUI. Portable version available too. Having VLC as back-end is a great thing since VLC supports plenty of file types.

What's bad: The installer come with an optional toolbar.

2011 Notes: None.

hLJ5U.pngPotPlayer | Screenshot |

PotPlayer feels like the KMPlayer, but is in active development. Supports almost every available video formats out there. PotPlayer contains internal codecs and there is no need to install codecs manually. Other key features include WebCam/Analog/Digital TV devices support, gapless video Playback, DXVA, live broadcasting. It's been described on the Internet as The KMPlayer redux, and it pretty much is. Distinctive features of the player is a high quality playback, support for all modern video and audio formats and a built DXVA video codecs.

What's good: Like KMPlayer, PotPlayer is a versatile multimedia software with a plethora of settings and options.

What's bad: No official home page in English. Some parts are still in Korean.

2011 Notes: Very hard to find direct download links for PotPlayer. English page, description & download here. Support forum & development here.

Cx6p5.pngUMPlayer | Screenshot |

UMPlayer is a cross-platform multimedia player supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It boasts many advanced features such as built-in subtitle search and YouTube player. UMPlayer plays everything! UMPlayer is the multimedia player that fills all your needs. With dozens of advanced features and built-in codecs it can handle any media format, and can play Audio CDs, DVDs, (S)VCDs, TV / Radio cards, YouTube? and SHOUTcast? streams and even incomplete or damaged media files.

What's good: Fantastic MPlayer GUI. Even is build around SMPlayer, this piece of software is what a modern media player shoud be. Support hundreds of media files, can play and record ShoutCast streams, browse and view YouTube videos.

What's bad: Nothing.

2011 Notes: None.

TokPlayer | Screenshot 1 | Screenshot 2 | Screenshot 3 |

TokPlayer is a complete multimedia player that is capable of playing EVERY multimedia audio and video format under the sun. Standalone software, no installation required. Simply download, extract the zip file, copy the folder anywhere you want and then run it.

What's good: A very nice crafted fork of KMPlayer. Play every file format you can may imagine. Low on resources. The portable version is a plus.

What's bad: The official home page of TokPlayer doesn't offer an English version of this great piece of software. This is made by enthusiasts.

2011 Notes: None.

Must have filters, codecs, addons:

Koepi's XviD Codec

The original XviD, nothing better has been inventend yet. To be used with Media Player Classic or Windows Media Player.

Jawor's Xvid Codec

Custom XviD builds by Jawor. Small installer size and more settings than the original XviD will make this one a better XviD.

DirectVobSub (Subtitle Display)

DirectVobSub is simply a DirectShow filter which can be used to display subtitle files created by VobSub during playback in Windows Media Player, Media Player Classic, Zoom Player and other players as well.

FFDShow Tryouts

FFDSHOW is a DirectShow decoding filter for decompressing DivX, XviD, WMV, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 movies.

Local Subtitles for WMP

This is a background plug-in for Windows Media Player. Its sole purpose is enabling textual subtitles, that accompany media files in formats not supported directly by Microsoft.

ReClock DirectShow Filter

The purpose of ReClock is to definitely get rid of jerky playback of video material on a PC (AVI, MKV, DVD, Blu-ray, etc) or a HTPC driving a TV, a flat panel, or a video-projector.

CoreAVC H.264 Video Decoder

CoreAVC 2.0 fully supports GPU hardware acceleration with NVIDIA CUDA Technology, and works with other compatible NVIDIA Platforms like ION running on Windows XP, Vista, or 7.

AC3Filter

AC3Filter is a high quality free audio decoder and processor filter. It allows media players to playback movies with AC3 and DTS audio tracks.

Lazy people - Get the most lightweight & legally codec packs:

DefilerPak Outdated

Windows Essentials Codec Pack - open source

Combined Community Codec Pack

Tzim's Lite Codec Pack Outdated

On The Web:

Codec Packs are evil, don't install them!! by Chris Lanier

VideoHelp.com Interesting Read

Random Codec Packs Are Evil Topics

Already read the ZCP Guide and need even more help? Are you still undecided ? Here's my recipe:

- for Beginners - MPUI or VideoLan or rulesPlayer or a slim codec pack from above, nothing else.

- for Advanced Users - MPUI or VideoLan or FFDshow+Media Player Classic+DirectVobSub or FFDshow+Windows Media Player+DirectVobSub or a slim codec pack from above+Media Player Classic.

2011 Update:

This year seems to be very hard to find a winner since Windows 7 - infamous Windows Media Player 12 support almost every video format.

Geeks should have a look over KMPlayer, UMPlayer, VideoLan, MPC-HC and Light Alloy.

Pioneers can try PotPlayer, Kantaris Media Player, MPlayer WW, MPUI-HCB and DaPlayer.

Non technical people - Windows Media Player 12 on Windows 7 is enough to play almost everything. Anyway for exotic file formats, I recommend a combo with FFDshow or CCCP.

Still using Windows XP? Grab Light Alloy, MPC-HC, KMPlayer, VideoLan or UMPlayer.

Ok, but which one is the best? This year Light Alloy get my vote together with UMPlayer. Can't do better and I know but both are fine video players and both look and work just like a ''2011'' software should work.

NOTE: Has anyone monitored the installation of K - Lite Codec Pack to see what kind of hit it takes on the registry? I don't think, anyway here's an interesting result : Keys added 1330, Values added 805! That's a lot so think twice before you want to install a ''MEGA CODEC STUFF''. :x

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Yes. I'm lazy. I had used DefilerPak above all other codec pack.

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I personally use VLC and absolutely nothing else. <snipped>

Edited by Fred Derf

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XP Codec Pack works very well for me.

Added by Fred Derf:

* 100% legal

* 100% freeware!

Edited by Fred Derf

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Is WM9Codecs from Microsoft a codec pack? And should I or should I not install it? Will WMP10 be able to play movies when it is not installed?

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I use CCCP

Added by Fred Derf:

I cannot find evidence of this being 100% legal/freeware or not so I'll leave it for now.

Edited by Fred Derf

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I personally use VLC and absolutely nothing else. But for my gf's laptop, I install the K-Lite Mega Codec pack, just for simplicity's sake. I uncheck absolutely everything she wouldn't need. It's sort of handy just to have everything in one spot. Plus, according to my (personal) benchmarks, I don't really see a difference before and after installing it (when I used to do so on my own PC). And I've NEVER had stability or messed up issues. I guess I just may be lucky.

Yep. I find it very useful aswell with everything one spot. Media Player Classic + Codecs = (Y)

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Never use em. Always ****s up my computer. Now I just install the codec when needed. I currently only use xvid and divx.

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codec "packs" are always a bad idea, its best to stay in control of which codecs you have installed, not just batch install a ton of them.

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Interesting read and facts......I never thought about it and didn't pay any atention to it, but this opened my eyes....thanks....

Unfortunately as I read once I installed a codec pack it is almost impossible to redo the changes made to the registry....but next time i reinstall my system I'll follow these advices....

keep up posting things in this manner.... Thanks

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Anyone tired of codecs and othe licencing nonsense VLC! -The king of all players

... unfortunately I have to use WPM10- then K-Lite :cool:

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OK I believe I believe,,but how the hell do you uninstall these evil Codec packs & get your PC back to normal

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That's part of the reason why people don't like codec packs. :p

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I used to use Codec Packs, but in reality you only need to use a handful of programs/codecs rather than hundreds of them.

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I just use FFDshow, and oh yea that AC3Filter, they seem to do the job.

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That's part of the reason why people don't like codec packs. :p

Ok, thats why I recomend VLC, but to get rid of them (if u cant see them on windows ad remove(with updates clicked)), get Ace Utilityes 30 day trial- the best utlity known to me for very many purposes. In it u'll find uninstall manager(the one that shows everything) and get it removed!

At the same time (once u got it instaled) run ace utility fully- that will be two rabits instead of one pig(or evil) :laugh:

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I used to use K-Lite Codec pack until i realised i don't use the majority of the codecs. So i just use MPC and FFDshow and xvid for encoding.

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i dont use codec packs just install Xvid and DivX, and im good to go..

most of the time programs that are used for converting include some sort of codecs, so there really is no need for massive of codecs imo.

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I liked the guide, about time a codec guide came for the community. cccp 4tw and videoLAN.

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codec "packs" are always a bad idea, its best to stay in control of which codecs you have installed, not just batch install a ton of them.

Well said.

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Posts referring to obvious illegal content have been removed. Not every codec pack contains 100% freeware / open-source software.

[Thread Cleaned]

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For those who are tech savvy, just use VLC. THAT'S ALL!

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-snip-

NOTE: [...] Keys added 1330, Values added 805! That's a lot so think twice before you want to install a ''MEGA CODEC STUFF''. :x

Where did you find that stuff?

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