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Finding Codecs for Windows Media Player

written by: rmervine•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 12/10/2009

In the audio and video world, there are multiple kinds of video and audio formats for Windows. There are video formats from AVI to Real Media. Did you know that you can watch all these codecs in WMP? Here we discuss where to update Windows Media Player Codecs.

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    Where to get Codecs

    There are two well known places to where codecs can be downloaded from: K-Lite Codec Pack and Home of Windows Essentials. These Codecs are available free of charge and are as simple as downloading files. From comparing these two types of codec packages, I have found that they both offer sufficient formats necessary for anyone who wants to play more than what is included in Windows Media Player. Windows Media player codecs are completely transparent. For example, if I play a xVid formatted video, I simply load it in Windows Media Player and it plays the rest.

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    What are Codecs?

    Codecs can be a program or a device that allows you to play more video formats. On some consumer DVD players there are codecs in order to play Divx. For this purpose, I will be discussing codecs for Windows Media player. Think of codecs like the Swiss Army Knife of video formats.This key will allow you to unlock more media formats. For example, Windows Media Player out of the box can not play xVid or downloaded flash files. So, the next time someone gives you a video that Windows Media Player can not play, there are no more worries.

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    Types of Video and Audio Files

    There are multiple audio and video file formats supported. Here is a list:

    • AVI (.avi .divx)
    • MPEG-PS (.mpeg .mpg .m1v .m2v .mp2v .mpv2 .evo .m2p)
    • MPEG-TS (.ts .m2ts .m2t .mts)
    • Matroska (.mkv .mka)
    • MP4 (.mp4 .m4v .mp4v .mpv4 .k3g .mqv)
    • Ogg (.ogm .ogv .ogg .oga)
    • DVD/VCD/XVCD (.ifo .vob .dat)
    • Flash Video (.flv)
    • QuickTime (.mov .hdmov)
    • RealMedia (.rm .rmvb .ra .ram)
    • 3GP (.3gp .3gpp .3g2 .3gp2)
    • MP3 (.mp3)
    • MPEG-4 Audio (.m4a .aac)
    • FLAC (.flac)
    • Musepack (.mpc .mpp)
    • WavPack (.wv)
    • OptimFrog (.ofr .ofs)
    • Monkey's Audio (.ape .apl)
    • True Audio (.tta)
    • Apple Lossless Audio Codec (.alac)
    • AC3/DTS (.ac3 .dts)
    • AMR (.amr)
    • AMV (.amv)
    • Trackers (.xm .s3m .it .umx)
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    Links and a Word of Caution

    K-Lite Codec Pack

    Windows Essentials

    I want to issue a word of caution. You should only try to update Windows Media Player Codecs from the official sources. A lot of programs that mention they do the same thing end up with adware and/or spyware. If you seen correct naming, invalid version numbers, or incorrect file sizes, stay clear of these. These are clues to bring you into a trap. These files disguise themselves on a lot of P2P networks, such as Gnutella.