A codec is a computer program that is essential to your PC’s media player for shrinking and playing large files like movies and music. Movies and music files are so large they need a little extra help speeding up their download times. That’s where codecs come in. These programs take the raw file and, utilizing built in mathematical coders, they shrink the file size for faster downloads. Once downloaded, the codecs employ a decoder to open the file.
For end-users, it’s important to know that there are literally hundreds of codecs (sometimes spelled codex) being used today. They are used for many different functions including:
Codecs are used in everyday PC functions. MP3 is a codec, compressing big audio files like WAVs to smaller, more manageable files. Other commonly used codec examples are: WMA, RealAudio, RealVideo, DivX, and Xvid.
So how do you know which codecs your PC needs?
A brand new, fresh from the factory PC will come with the most commonly used codecs needed to play Windows WMV files, audio CDs, WAV files, and even some AVI files. But even with a new PC, the odds are you will have to download a few new codecs to access all of your media files.
Tech consultants also recommend downloading a codec pack. Oftentimes, this is more convenient then going codec shopping every time a media file doesn’t open. Codec Packs are assembled to fit the needs of specific groups, so it's best to find out which types of codecs you need and then pick a pack that helps you the most.
The following are three of the most trusted and most popular codec packs.
K-Lite Codec Pack is a user-friendly package with four different levels of codec-goodness: basic, standard, full, and mega. It's available at…