Codec Basics

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Codec Basics

Post#1 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:56 am

Hey-- since we're still in a wait/see on the Wiki for the new site; and, being this is the Codecs/Encoding subforum, can we get a sticky going on codec basics?

So, stuff like--
Codecs: A codec is a computer program capable of encoding and/or decoding a digital data stream or signal. (Wikipedia Definition)
Examples: DIVX, XVID, H264, VC1, MPEG2 are all Video Codecs. AC3, AAC, MP3, DTS are all Audio Codecs.

Containers: A file wrapper that "contains" various codec streams into a single file.
Examples: .WMV, .AVI, .MP4, .TS, .M2TS, .MKV, .WTV, .DVR-MS are all Video File containers that can contain certain combinations of Video AND Audio streams within a single file.

Transcoding: The process of taking a media file and converting it from one set of container/codecs to another.
Example: Taking a .VOB file that has MPEG2 audio & video and converting it into a .AVI file that use h264 video & AC3 audio.

Muxing: The process of taking individual audio and video stream files and putting them succinctly into a single container file.
DeMuxing: The Reverse. Taking a single media file and pulling the individual streams out into their own separate raw stream files.
Example: Movie.AVI made up of h264/ac3 will be demuxed into two files-- a Movie.h264 video-only file, and a Move.ac3 audio-only file.
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Post#2 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:19 pm

And perhaps the pros and cons of using codec packs?
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Post#3 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:38 am

Yeah, for sure. I personally never use them; but, I've been at this a long time now.

So, I'd like those that use 'em to maybe chime in here?

CCC Pack, Shark007, etc...
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Post#4 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:53 am

You got stuck BTW Mr. Os :)
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Post#5 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:03 am

Thanks STC!

All-- If/Until we get a wiki up on the site, if you want me to edit or add a section to the OP (original post) that STC has stuck to the top, feel free to shoot me a PM & I'll be happy to add it with attribution.
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Post#6 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:06 am

I didn't stick you :) I was going to but one of the other crew did.
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Post#7 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:30 am

StumpyBloke wrote:And perhaps the pros and cons of using codec packs?


Pro: You can make WMC play content it doesn't natively play.
Con: You can break WMC if you aren't careful. One wrong move and POOF!, there goes your live TV.
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Post#8 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:45 pm

The only video codec that I needed and win 7 did not come with was one to view MKV files. I save everything. The website that I found this at is (http://www.hack7mc.com), I made a few changes though.

MKVs for Minimalists on Windows 7
JTS REVISION
http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/02/mkvs-for ... ows-7.html

Step One: Download a copy of FFDShow Tryouts from here. Those running an x64 version will also need the x64 SVN here. Install the right ones for your system, the latest versions will work.
Step Two: Download Haali Media Splitter. Download here http://haali.su/mkv/
Step Three: Enable viewing of MKV files in Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center by downloading either the x86 registry file or x64 registry file and double-click to add it to your registry. Allow it to be added when prompted. Restart your machine.
That’s all there is to it, this will take you from a clean install to playing MKVs and more in no time at all. For details on using FFDShow Audio settings for your live TV and DVDs in Media Center check this article.

If you have trouble viewing your MKVs in Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player, try deleting your “C:\Users\YOUR-USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player\CurrentDatabase_371.wmdb” file. To enable this file to be deleted you will need to stop the WMPNetworkSvc service from the task manager (ctrl-alt-delete).
Last edited by guppy on Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post#9 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:47 pm

The only audio codec that I needed and win 7 did not come with was one to play FLAC files. I save everything. The website that I found this at is (www.hack7mc.com), I made a few changes though.

Playing FLAC files in WMP & Media Center
JTS REVISION
Currently Windows Media Player and Media Center don’t include native file support for a number of lossless audio codecs including FLAC, OGG, and basically anything other than Microsoft’s own WMA files. There is a cure for this minor omission though so no worries.
We suggest that 32-bit users download and install the madFlac decoder from madshi. For 64-bit users, codecs for both x64 and x86 versions of windows can be found at Xiph’s open source site. The files linked above are the latest versions available at the time of this post but you should check Xiph’s page to check for updated versions.
Once you have the proper codecs installed it’s time to get them to show up in the Music Library. The most convenient way to manage your Music Library in Media Center is through Windows Media Player 12. Changes made to your Music Library in WMP will be reflected in Media Center and it provides a relatively simple GUI for manipulating your files.
If you have already established your WMP Music Library it may be necessary to clear your Music Library before this fix will take effect. The most effective way to clear your WMP libraries is to remove your albums from inside WMP by selecting them and pressing delete.
Be sure when prompted you select the option to “Remove from Library only” so you don’t lose all your songs! There is also and option under “Tools > Options > Library Tab” that should be unchecked before clearing your library inside of WMP.

Close WMP and navigate Windows Explorer to “C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player” then delete the file “CurrentDatabase_371.wmdb” contained inside. You may need to stop the WMP Network Sharing service by going through Control Panel > System and Security>Administrative Tools > Services >Windows Media Player Sharing Service and stopping it in order to delete the main WMP database.


NOTE:
AppData is a hidden folder.
Open explorer
Click Organize > Folder and Search Options>View Tab
Under "Hidden files and folders", change to the second option: "Show hidden files, folders..."
Now you should see it on your system drive (C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player in most cases)

Now, one more step before we reopen WMP to check our new Library for FLAC files, download and install the M4a/Flac/Ogg/Ape/Mpc Tag Support Plugin for Windows Media Player & Media Center v 1.1 from SoftPointer. This will enable files with FLAC (and other) extensions to be picked up by the Library. Next we can finally reopen WMP.

Once you’re back inside WMP go to “Tools > Plugins” and ensure that the Tag Support Plugin is enabled. Once it has been enabled select your Music Library. Your music should begin to repopulate the Music Library, this may take some time to complete.
After you’re sure the process has finished, find your artists that you have FLAC files under and verify they are indeed there. Once you can see your newly supported files inside WMP they should also be included in your Media Center Library as well, have fun!
Note: Certain aspects of these files will still not be displayed properly, such as the length of the files.
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Post#10 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:51 pm

I had originally installed Shark007, i later had to format the hard drive and reinstall win7 to get it off.

Video player for Windows
CCCP with Media Player Classic Home Cinema was very nice, as well as VLC, but once I installed win 7 and started using WMC there is no turning back.
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Post#11 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:32 am

I have shark's pack installed in my 2 media centers, and they work really well. I like that all the configs are in one program, and it's easy to setup for passing dts/hd audio to my receiver.
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Post#12 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:22 am

Now that we have a WIKI, I created a starter page if you want to add/update. Red links are not yet defined. I posted this as a subsection in the how to guides area, butnmay be linked from anywhere.

http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/wiki/index ... d_Playback
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