Codecs enable the Operating System to be able to play audio and video file formats that are not supported by the Operating System itself. Windows comes pre-installed with Windows Media Player which is the default media player in all editions of Windows. The problem with Windows Media Player is that it does not play all the media (audio and video) formats that are used in the wild.
Windows Media Codecs come into play in this situation. Windows Codes enable Windows Media Player to encode/decode all the file formats that were not previously supported by Windows Media Player. Here are some of the Windows 7 Codec packs that I have come across and have installed on my system to play every type of multimedia file.
Windows 7 Codecs
This is a very useful codec pack as it includes all the codecs that are necessary to play almost all the media formats and yet doesn’t clutter the computer with unnecessary installations. You can enable or disable individual components from Windows 7 Codecs window. This codec pack doesn’t include any media player but relies on the built in Windows Media Player to play all the multimedia stuff.
The latest version of Windows 7 Codecs can be downloaded from FileHippo.
K-Lite Codec Pack
K-Lite Codec Pack is by far the most popular and codec pack of choice for many people. The reason for this is that K-Lite Codec Pack is very easy to install and requires almost no configuration. If you are not an advanced user, you can easily leave everything to default and everything will work. K-Lite Codec pack contains all the encoders and decoders necessary to play all the popular audio and video formats. Since it is actively maintained and frequently updated, it rarely includes any buggy codecs. K-Lite Codec Pack also include Classic Windows Media Player which can serve as an alternative to already installed WMP.
If you are a frequent downloader of movies and multimedia stuff from torrents, then this Codec pack is for you as it contains codecs to play different types of video codecs including the codecs for playing DVDs etc. Here are some of the codecs that are included in this pack:
XviD Codec 1.0.3
DivX, XviD – FFDShow 17.02.2005 Alpha
Subtitles G400 2.83
Subtitles DVobSub (Win9x, Win2k and WinXP) 2.23, 2.33
CCCP is a community powered video codec pack which contains practically all the codecs needed to play any type of video available. Since a community is actively supporting Combined Community Codec Pack, it will probably not contain any buggy or outdated encoders or decoders.