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So you have found yourself up into the wee hours of the morning downloading your favorite television series from your childhood (don’t worry we won’t tell anyone it’s the Smurfs!) only to discover that it won’t play?

Maybe it’s the video, audio or even both. What do you do?

I have been using a tool called Gspot for a long time now to figure out what is going on with my videos. This is how it works. First download the Gspot 2.70a package. It requires no installation and works very simply.

After you launch it, you will see a screen like this:

Gspot - How to play any movie

And now as your geeky eyes are going wild checking out all the fields and options let me tell you how easy it is to use! You simply drag the file that won’t work to this window. That’s it drag and drop! You should then see some thing like this:

GSpot Screenshot 2

You see my file identified as being an Xvid video in the upper right corner and it says the codec is installed. It lists the audio codec in the bottom left as “MPEG-1 layer 3” and also confirms that the codec is installed. You can verify other stuff like the file is complete or how many frames per second it is and lots of other data that means nothing to me. I am sure if you are authoring your own videos and you are down with the compression lingo then these options might be golden for you!

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If your computer does not have Xvid or Divx installed on it the Gspot scan will come back with a little banner that says:

Codec not installed

Fret not because Gspot will propose a solution at the bottom of the screen. I used to have problems with codecs all the time way back in 2001…

It is 2008 now so of course The Admin came up with a solution! I discovered that I didn’t have to install codecs individually anymore and there was an ongoing project that has a codec pack! And it’s free! You guys know I LOVE free stuff!

I downloaded the K-Lite codec pack. This is a huge complete pack with all the codecs you will ever need to author and play everything (until the new ones come out!).

There is also a standard set (plays mostly everything) and a basic set (plays the most popular formats) for more minimalistic installs. They can be found at Free Codecs.

Do you have a favorite codec pack or another way you make certain your videos play? Both of these tools are free and widely available on the web. Yet I do not know the author or true home page for either of them… do you?

Happy Downloading!

  1. Sean
    June 15, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    People saying k-lite is bloated or has conflicts, and that you should try cccp, are just plain crazy. Anybody who has tried to play HD movies on their computer before knows that cccp is a junk codec pack, and k-lite is superior in all possible ways. It's really a very lightweight pack that gives you everything you need to play any video while making sure that it's the bare minimum needed.

    Install media player classic and k-lite codec pack and you will be able to play any type of file, and play it well. I personally have VLC, MPlayer, and Media Player Classic installed on my machine. I like MPlayer for everyday use because it's fast and has more intuitive shortcuts and interface, but when I need to play an HD movie I always use Media Player Classic instead for a smoother and more reliable viewing experience (along with k-lite codec pack).

  2. bigjohnny
    April 12, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Two options for videos that won't play. They play nearly everything, are free, open-source and need no codecs:
    VLC ( http://www.videolan.org/ )
    Mplayer ( http://mpui.sourceforge.net/ )

  3. Ellidi
    April 7, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    VLC handles almost any video file type.

  4. BullDozer
    April 6, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    the problem with K-Lite is that many users don't know what to install so they install everything without knowing what to change in their settings, the result is conflicts among codecs or in another case installing it without uninstalling any other codecs before K-Lite.
    K-Lite is much like a big package with everything you might want.

    so if you know what you are doing i would recommend K-Lite but if you are not just use some players that have built-in codecs like VLC Player or KM Player.

    better yet if you want a simple package that wont make any conflicts in ur system try CCCP because it comes with minimal codecs needed to play any file and some nice tweaks to make sure everyone wont have any problems.

    • Karl L. Gechlik | AskTheAdmin.com
      April 7, 2008 at 10:58 am

      The only way you can have problems with Klite is if you are installing the developers pack or you have previously installed other codecs. I should have been more specific that I install the Klite standard. I have never had a problem.

      I would love to hear from any one that does!

      Warm geeky regards,

      Karl "TheAdmiN" Gechlik

  5. Ashutosh Mishra
    April 6, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I had GOM Player on Windows - plays pretty much every media format.
    Now I have Ubuntu and I use Totem with GStreamer backend - pretty solid again.
    :)

  6. Dave
    April 6, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    For what it is worth - I have also heard that you should *not* install K-Lite codec pack. Any of the codec packs can cause problems in some situations.

    For myself, I only install the codecs I need (identified by Gspot of course) and then install the particular codec. Keeps the system cleaner as well.

  7. BullDozer
    April 6, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    thanks Karl, i'v been using this one for a long time and i got tired of pursuing its main site until i found one that seems to be it or affiliated with it: codecguide.com
    and filehippo.com is another trusted & fast site to get the latest versions of K-Lite.

    there is another nice codec pack with some tweaks, its called CCCP (Combined Community Codec Pack) you can find it here cccp-project.net

    • Karl L. Gechlik | AskTheAdmin.com
      April 6, 2008 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks Bulldozer - apparently they are some of the webs best kept secrets!

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