Windows Media Player 12 codecs

When it comes to understanding DVD codecs for Windows Media Player we first need to know what a CODEC is and that the DVD codec's are NOT installed by default in Windows Media Player. (Read here for a simple plug-in that will allow you to play your DVDs in WMP).

CODECs Quick Definition:

A CODEC is a specially written mathematical algorithm used to compress large data signals (video & audio) into small spaces with minimal perceived loss of information.

Windows Media Player

Windows has had a media player since the year 1991, when Windows 3.0 with Multi Media Extensions was released.

The current version, Windows Media Player 11, was released on October 30, 2006. Its successor, Windows Media Player 12, is under development; an initial test version was demonstrated in October 2008 as part of Windows 7.

The default file formats are Windows Media Video (WMV), Windows Media Audio (WMA), and Advanced Systems Format (ASF). However there is no native DVD support in the free software.

DVD Codec:


# MPEG-2 is widely used as the format of digital television signals that are broadcast by terrestrial (over-the-air), cable, and direct broadcast satellite TV systems. It also specifies the format of movies and other programs that are distributed on DVD.

BlueRay Discs:

Increasingly Blue Ray is becoming a popular format for playing movies on your desktop or laptop. There is NO SUPPORT for playing these discs in Windows Media Player - you will need a DVD Decoder from software vendors such as CyberLink or COREL to play them.

Here is a brief description of the codec's used on Blueray discs...

H.264 (Sometimes known as MPEG-4 Part 10)

# H.264 is the next-generation video compression technology (in the MPEG-4 standard), also known as MPEG-4 Part 10. H.264 can match the best possible MPEG-2 (found on today's DVD's) quality at up to half the data rate

# High Definition MPEG-2 content at 1920x1080 traditionally runs at 12-20 Mbps, while H.264 can deliver 1920x1080 content at 7-8 Mbps at the same or better quality

# H.264 is a mandatory codec for the next generation High Definition DVD formats: HD-DVD and Blu-ray

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  • ffdshow is a media decoder and encoder mainly used for the fast and high-quality decoding of video in the MPEG-4 ASP (e.g. encoded with DivX, Xvid, or FFmpeg MPEG-4) and AVC (H.264) formats, but it supports numerous other video and audio formats as well. It is free software released under the GPL license, runs on Windows, and is implemented as...

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