Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Anyone who is fond of videos (which most of us are) has at some point or other bumped into the situation where you can’t play the video for the lack of codecs or proper software.
Lets first see what all is required to play a video file and then we will look at how to overcome the problem.
To play any video file that exists in the wildest corners of the web you only need 2 things:
- A media player (or the software).
- A codec.
We are all familiar with media player but the term that needs a little attention is “codec”. In simple terms codec is nothing but an “something” that knows how to convert the video to 1s and 0s and back from 1s and 0s to the video that we all can see.
Looks pretty straightforward right? Not until you dive a little deeper into the world of codecs. There are many codecs out there that can be used to encode the video. In some sense the codec is like the key and your video file is like the lock, so you need the same key or the codec to actually view the file that was used to encode the file. This situation causes problems to most users if they don’t have the proper codec on their system. You can view the installed codecs by doing the following:
Control Panel -> Sounds and Audio Devices Properties -> Hardware – > highlight VIDEO CODECS -> push Properties button -> select PROPERTIES tab.
You can do the same for audio codecs as well.
So, How To Play Those Unplayable Video and Movies
Here are some suggestions to ensure that your video plays fine.
- (1) Install a media player that can support large number of formats.
- is a good choice. It’s not the only good video player out there.
(2) The second solution if you like to stick with the Windows Media Player is to install codec packs. These are packs that install the required codecs on your system for playing the common video formats. To figure what codecs the video needs check out MakeUseOf review of Gspot.
(3) Finally, you can use the MakeInstantPlayer, it converts your videos into self running executables that you can give to your friends or take to other computer. The executable is all that you need to watch the video. No software or codecs are required on the other system.
More on MakeInstantPlayer
MakeInstantPlayer offers other benefits as well like
– Adding a custom logo that will be displayed as the splash screen when you run the file.
– Ability to include the codecs as a part of the executable.
– Ability to make the user go to your homepage or site when the video finishes playing.
How To Make your Videos Executable on Any Computer
First, download and run the makeinstantplayer.exe . The software doesn’t add any registry entries and only extracts the files to your chosen location. Then, run the makeinstantplayer.exe from the location you provided while installing. You will see this:
- Choose the path to the video file you want to make executable by clicking on the source file entry field
- Choose the output file path and name by clicking on the Output File text entry field
Some Optional Settings
- – Enter a URL to direct the user to the after the playback finishes.
– Enter the path to your custom logo if you want that to be displayed as the splash screen when the video starts (JPG, JPEG, GIF, ANI, BMP, ICO, EMF are acceptable formats). I used the following:
– You can specify to keep the video fullscreen in the resulting exe or keep in on top of other windows or make it auto quit after playback ends or choose to start it all over again when it ends (check loop). You can also include codecs in the resulting exe.
– Preview it if you like or just hit Make it! to convert the video to executable.
It logs all the activities on the screen so you can see what it is upto. I tried and successfully converted DivX format, VOB, AVI, MPEG, MP4 and even WMV. Its was reasonably fast, on my 1GB RAM computer it took about a minute and a half to convert 700MB DivX file to executable.
Once you have the executable all you need to do is send the file and run it to view the video on any computer irrespective of the fact if it has the required codecs or not.
Do you know of some other ways to get rid of the codec chores? I would like to know them. Put them in comments please!