“Codec Packs” are evil, don’t install them!!

Anyone ever look inside a “Codec Pack” are see what you really are installing?  Most people don’t even think about it.  Well, I download the “famous” K-Lite Codec Pack and exacted the files from the installer, I was very supprised to see exactly what they installed.  For the purpose of this post i’m looking at the “Mega Pack” from K-Lite.


First thing you will notice when looking at the files exacted from the installer is the amount of pirated software you are installing.  This thing had files from 3ivx, DivXNetworks, Ligos, Real Network, Apple Computer, Microsoft, Cyberlink, Elecard, and Intel.  All of these files were cracked to allow the basic timebomb the software has not to be active anymore.


In addition to them being pirated, they install out-of-date versions and versions that can confilt with each other.  Why do I need the DivX decoder from DivX Networks and a build of the XviD decoder?  The DivX decoder will decode XviD.  The 3ivX decoder, also included, will also decode DivX and XviD content.  So, DivX, XviD, 3ivX, all can help decode the same video formats.  Confused?  Windows is too.  In addition many “Codec Packs” come with ffdshow, this also decodes both DivX and XviD (ffdshow is open source and should be the only decoder you install, goto SourceForge.net for more)


The files installed from Microsoft will break the Windows Media Encoder, anyway why do you need to install files included in Windows to begin with?  Does that make any sence?  This thing had many files from WMP 8, why?  WMP is a part of Windows, this thing only installs on Windows!  I seem to also see the famous DivX Audio Codec, this being an OLD hack on WMA.  This will break a few things in Windows too.


In case you need to play third party formats this thing will install any DShow decoder you can think of, yet I can’t think of a reason I would never need to use it.  I have yet to see a video encoded with VP6.  I think i’m also loooking at two different Ogg decoders, again why?  You do not need all of this junk!


On to MPEG-2 deocoders.  Off the top of my head I see CLVSD.ax (Cyberlink), mcdsmpeg.ax (MainConcepts), mpgdec.ax (Elecard), and lmpgvd.ax (Ligos) .  All of those listed MPEG-2 cost money.  On another note, mpgdec.ax doesn’t play along with other DVD Decoders installed.  In WMP (and WinDVD and PowerDVD) you should get a “Copyright Protection” error when playing a DVD.  Un-registering mpgdec.ax will fix that if it happens to you.  I think the nice group of pirates who put this together registered the decoders in order correctly, so it should not happen.  But if you already had a MPEG-2 decoder install, this would likely through it off.  321 Studio’s DVD X Copy will do the same, it seems to be a bug in Elecard’s decoder TMK.


If you have not figured it out yet, there is ZERO reason to ever install a “Codec Pack“.  ffdshow from SourceForge will decode DivX, XviD, 3ivX, and more without included pirated decoders.  It’s open source and 100% free.  If you would like to do DivX encoding purchase the encoder from DivXNetworks.  You can do XivD encoding for free, without download a “Codec Pack“  Go search for “XviD Binaries“  Nic’s and Koepi’s are GREAT.  Use those, don’t trust what’s in a “Codec Pack“


If you have any questions about decoder’s or encoder’s feel free to ask me, just don’t install a “Codec Pack” in order to get the codec’s on your system.  Not only is it illegal to download these (Ya, I broke the law, so you be smart enough not too) but it’s stupid to listen to anyone who says you need a “Codec Pack”  Be smart.  If anyone suggests to a person to download a “Codec Pack”, correct them!  The less people who screw up their systems the better.


Another issue with these is that the “uninstallers” do not really uninstall all of the crap they put on their.  Without you extracting all of the files from the setup’s and then writing a batch file to unregister them all, you are kind of screwed for getting them off of the system.


Note: WMP 10 will install a brand new MP3 Encoder, the file name is l3codecp.acm and you can read about http://msmvps.com/chrisl/archive/2004/09/04/12994.aspx.  This same file is contained in many different “Codec Packs”.  The link explains the differences.

41 thoughts on ““Codec Packs” are evil, don’t install them!!”

  1. OK. I get it. Codecs-when needed but let’s talk about audio codecs a bit shall we? OK. How can you play MP3s without the FgH’s Radium codec? A pirate one that is(if there is actually a legal version of it). I couldn’t and even now can’t play MP3s because this codec is missing now. But this thing breaks crossfading(I know it’s better not to have it all then to have nothing,right?)! So what’s the solution? Get a legal codec? From where? And if its paid-Why? If people are using codecs(audio and video ones) to read media and not make one why they have to pay? Oh wait. I know! Someone has to get something for his creation even if not everyone is going to see/admire/use/share/remember it…

    Please tell me- what is the alternative? DivX,Xvid,FFDShow-ok. But what else? Give me some alternative for an MP3 codec(mail me at boen_robot@yahoo.com please).

    Where can users find free AND legal codecs?

  2. In addition if you have mixed, live or classical CDs that are supposed to play seamlessly with no gap between th tracks, a codec pack will break seamless playback and ruin your music.

  3. Well, the end user generally doesn’t get rid of them. You format your system and rebuild it. The advanced user might know how to find all of them, un-register them, and then delete the filters. But that’s a small smaount becuase you have to know the exact file name of what was installed by the ‘codec pack’ and the exact location. Add to this that many of the files they install are a huge part of WMP and allow you to decode Windows Media content, un-register these are have a fun time getting WMP/WME/MM2/Etc to start working again.

  4. I downloaded the SLD codec pack purely so I can rip as mp3 although I have used it for some movies. So far I have no problems or conflicts with it and it works fine and it automatically select the appropriate video decoder without conflict.

    Without it I would have to pay for a mp3 encoder which, given the choice, I would take the free one.

    I just think it is ridiculous that microsoft cannot allow users of WMP to rip as mp3 for free with the player given that mp3 is the most widely used format and many mp3 players cannot support wma. If microsoft included a mp3 encoder in WMP then I would have no need for a codec pack.

    Thus I state; there is not ZERO reason for getting a codec pack, the is ONE, cos I found it.

    If anyone knows the url or name of a free mp3 encoder I would very much like to know about it.

  5. You have a few holes in here, like most people when dealing with this issue.

    Yes, it will allow MP3 encoder, but try and use the crossfader! That is a pirated encoder/decoder. Microsoft has nothing to do with this. Its FhG’s decoder that was hacked. FhG NEVER made a full fuction MP3 encoder/decoder @ all bitrates.

    The fact that "it worked for you" is great, good for you. You are one in millions and it still doesn’t change the fact that you are pirated codec’s installed! Assuming you are running XP, once you upgrade to SP2 you will be having fun. Explorer.exe should be crashing on you, due to the fact that the DivX folks are a bit slow updating their software, add to that you have 4 or 5 different decoders for DivX on your machine.

    I think its ridiculous that if Microsoft included a MP3 encoder, we would have to pay MORE for Windows. Most users don’t think of things like this, and I bet you are one of the people who does not wish to pay more. If you want a free MP3 encoder go talk to FhG about it, or get the LameACM guys to care about you, they don’t seem to care what I have to say. Lame is a free MP3 encoder, much better quality then the Radium hack which is what you are using.

    If your only reason for downloading a codec pack was to get the encoder, why not just download the encoder itself? That’s pretty much that stupid thing I have never heard.

    You have failed to convise me with a good reason, you can go out and purchase a MP3 encoder that works with WMP for $10, and if you want that free MP3 encoder, go talk to any LameACM dev and tell him the rest of the WMP users want to free one too!

  6. Firstly: that was bloody quick to reply.

    I see your point and I would rather not have the codec pack if I can help it.

    However you say just get the encod and don’t bother with the pack, but where from, you say "Lame" is a good encoder. Where do I get it from? Is it free? is it part of WMP?

    Google just led me to this codec pack and it works.

    And about your point about how when I upgrade to SP2 I’ll be having problems.

    I won’t be upgrading to SP2; it’s too much hassle and doesn’t make any noticable difference (well I think so).

    As for talking to all these people to convince them to make one, somehow I have a funny feeling I’d be wasting my time.

  7. Happen to be right here when you posted. :-)

    LAME is a free and open source MP3 encoder. For WMP to use Lame, it most use the ACM version. The ACM version is not as highly developered as the basic dll encoder most apps can use. You can download it from many different sites, but it will not work with WMP. All you would do is basically change the path in the registery from C:\Windows\L3codeca.acm (That’s the pirated you are are using now) to C:\Windows\LameACM.acm. But, the issue is here that it encodes trash and hangs at 100% CPU usage and 500/512MB of RAM. So, it gives you nothing you can use.

    Not upgrading to SP2 on Windows XP is stupider then installing a Codec Pack for the MP3 encoder. I’m not joking. SP2 includes SO much in better security its not even funny. Most of the main system files have been recompiled to prevent buffer overflows, the new security center, etc. If you don’t think you should upgrade to it when released via Windows Update you don’t deserve to be on the internet. The rest of the users depend on people like *you* to keep the internet a safe place. It’s people like you who don’t install the stuff that ccuase virus’ and worms to attack main internet routers and, in effect, shut down the internet for everyone. WHEN RELEASED GOTO WINDOWS UPDATE AND INSTALL IT!. To add to that it upgrades WMP9, Windows Movie Maker, DirectX 9.0c, Anyone running a MCE machine will now have MCE 2004, anyone running a Tablet will now have Tablet PC 2005. THERE IS ZERO REASON TO NOT INSTALL SP2 IF YOU ARE A BASIC END USER. Thanks for being that up, becuase now i’m going to have to make a whole long post about it. ;0

    Yes, you would be wasting your time. No offense, but I know a bit more about the subject at hand. I have also seen "codec packs" kill people PC’s to the point they have to format, lose everything, and start clean just to keep Explorer not from crashing, or to have WMP play anything.

  8. Thanks for your advice, I will download and install the LAME encoder and I hope it will work. I really think that Microsoft should include an mp3 encoder of their own in WMP as it will stop these kind of problems.

    And your comment about an mp3 encoder increasing the price of Windows; no offense, but that’s bollocks. How could the inclusion of a simple thing like an encoder in WMP make any difference. WMP is freeware anyway so previous users would still be able to download it.

    I will consider installing SP2 when it comes out but I have fairly good internet security(ad-aware pro and Norton antivirus) and my pc is not networked so risk of spread of anything that did get on my computer is small.

  9. Let’s see FhG changes "x" amount for each copy of the encoder shipped, lets say it was just $3. How many millions of copies of XP have been shipped? Lets just say 5 million. That’s only, what, $150 million from MS 2 FhG? Take into account the people happy with WMA encoding (Since over 500 CE devices do support the format) and what have you gain? Nothing. What have you lost? A boat load of money. So, why not let Cyberlink, InterVideo, and Sonic sell the MP3 encoder then license from FhG? This way, the user can purchase it, if they want to, and the other user who isn’t to to use MP3 or is not going to use WMP doesn’t pay. Sounds simple to me.

    WMP is only freeware is MS doesn’t spend billions in licensing tech. to include with it! If you include the encoder after the fact, you (1) Raise the price of Windows a lot to make up for it, remember, millions of copies are already shipped, you are not getting money from those people <or> (2) Charge for the WMP upgrade that includes a MP3 encoder, again, for reasons above this is stupid. Dispite the size of MS, you can’t just spend that type of money, investors would kill you.

    And the last reason, this one is good. When Microsoft includes stuff like thism the feds get all up in arms and someone screams anti-trust.

    —–

    Ad-aware only removes what’s on the system, IE 6 is a huge UPGRADE in SP2. To the fact ad-aware will only be used to remove Cookies, which IE does anyway. the new build of IE will NOT allow anything to be downloaded unless you give it the okay. This means ActiveX controls and more. Spyware is put on the system by yourself, this helps protect your PC. Spyware and adware is installed by you, so get SP2 when it comes out. If you had a secure PC, you would not need an Anti-Virus or Ad-aware installed. But, only like 2% of the people out their know howto stay away from crap on the web. Those 2% of people are either not running IE or are running IE w/ SP2 installed.

    If your PC is connected to the internet (ie. you are posted from it now) it is networked. The internet is nothing but a network. Any e-mail you spend, and webpage you site, and chat room, etc, etc is your PC on a network.

    ——-

    Lame comes as the source <or> as the ZIP with it all compiled.

    http://users.tpg.com.au/mtam/install_lame.htm

    Here’s a thread on WMP 9and LameACM.

    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=23007

    There is _no_ other MP3 encoders out there to use with WMP.

  10. I am not suggesting they get fhg to supply the encoder. That would surely be stupidly expensive with licensing and all. I am saying they could very easily develop their own mp3 encoder and intergrate into WMP. The development costs for a fairly simple thing like an mp3 encoder would pale into insignificance compared to Longhorn for example and would result in an mp3 encoder in WMP at no extra cost to the user. Voila.

    Ad-aware does not only remove cookies; it detects all malicious files (eg .dll’s), registry modifications and BHO’s, so it is a very useful piece of software to have.

    Plus sp2 may prevent stuff from installing itself, but I reckon about 95% of spyware/adware/malware etc is installed along with a perfectly innocent looking piece of freeware software, at this point SP2 is pretty useless.

    Lame sounds great but it involves altering the registry and I’m not touching that.

  11. When you go off and develop your own Mp3 encoder you get junk like what Apple puts in with iTunes. :\ No MP3 encoder is better that then junk. All that needs to happen is for some lame dev to fix lameacm. then you have free mp3 encoding and the best mp3 encoder out there. it is worth noting that windows does ship with an fhg encoder, it just does not encode above 56kbps or something.

    I don’t think i said ad-aware just removes cookies, i said that IE in Sp2 is so updated that all ad-ware would be deleting it cookies. this means you are not going to get the amount of spyware installed via random websites if you are running sp2. if you are not running sp2 you will still have huge problems. spyware/adware is installed via the user, if the user does not take the time to install a service pack, they should have to deal with hude amounts of spyware/adware/malware on their system, becuase it’s their own fault. The % of that high, but its still installed via the user. Sp2 helps prevent installing through IE, since that is the main target for writers of the software. Sp2 is a big step to increase the users awarness about this stuff.

    All programs involve editing the registry. Your codec pack did all of the editing in this case. if lameACM did work, i would have already made an installer and put it up on wmplugins.com so editing the registry would not have to happen. :)

  12. In response to:-

    "If you don’t think you should upgrade to it when released via Windows Update you don’t deserve to be on the internet."

    I thought the internet was about communication not segregation, ppl like you shouldn’t be on the internet. Blanket statements, (which I’ll admit I will say) aren’t useful, many ppl don’t upgrade because the application BREAKS current applications on a platform. They do what they can to get use out of their resources, not have them lay idle because some arrogant net-master says they shouldn’t be doing what everyone was doing at one time previously.

    Codec Packs are evil, you say.. well Windows Media Player has and continues to fail in its attempts to find codecs for media files. WMP cannot play many files, audio and video without user intervention. I make these blanket statements because time and time again I find that ‘technically’ a media file should be able to decode (I’m talking about simple decoding here) the formats some twit has encoded his hour long presentation into xvid, divx, mp3 etc.. yet, WMP cannot play them? What is a user to do? .. besides using another player, witch simply relies on the OS to provide codecs..

    Time and time again I’m forced to install misc codecs in the vain hope it’ll play.. and usually, with some pain I admit, it does.

    You seem to suggest that, WMP will find a codec and play, I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen to work successfully. It may download a codec, but still fail to play..

    There seems to be no standards regarding codecs, so while you can claim ‘codec packs’ are evil, that simply binds oneself to never being able to play the simplest of mpeg’s or divx.

    the windows media formats are simply creating more problems for those of us using cross platforms than creating some standard in the industry.

    I will not suggest a solution to this crisis in media.. but I will say that IP issues with regard to quality encoding it one reason for the current situation.

    Statements about using ‘pirated codecs’ aren’t helpful because time and time again users are forced into installing anything they can to PLAY a KNOWN, and should already be available and working, format on their pc.

  13. "I thought the internet was about communication not segregation, ppl like you shouldn’t be on the internet. Blanket statements, (which I’ll admit I will say) aren’t useful, many ppl don’t upgrade because the application BREAKS current applications on a platform. They do what they can to get use out of their resources, not have them lay idle because some arrogant net-master says they shouldn’t be doing what everyone was doing at one time previously."

    So, you are saying that people with un-secure PC’s should be on the internet causing more problems for you? Through this post you keep saying stuff about "Blanket statements" and how they are not helpful for me to say. I guess the difference between you and me is I can back mine up with facts. Sure, SP’s can break things, so can the everyday update from Windows Update! How is this different? It updates more files, but wait, that right, they have all been recompiled. As for breaking current apps, ya, it will happen. SP2 has only been in beta longer than any other MS SP. It the app maker is not ready and has not seen what SP might do to their applications, thats just plain stupid. This is the case with Divxnetworks. SP2 broke divx, although they really didn’t tell their users about upgrading. They had known before SP2 shippped that the users would have problems, any word from them? Nope. Who’s fault? Microsoft’s for releasing the SP or them for not caring enough about their customers to fix it, and get the word out?

    "Codec Packs are evil, you say.. well Windows Media Player has and continues to fail in its attempts to find codecs for media files. WMP cannot play many files, audio and video without user intervention. I make these blanket statements because time and time again I find that ‘technically’ a media file should be able to decode (I’m talking about simple decoding here) the formats some twit has encoded his hour long presentation into xvid, divx, mp3 etc.. yet, WMP cannot play them? What is a user to do? .. besides using another player, witch simply relies on the OS to provide codecs.. "

    Working on for WMP 10. Again with your blanket statements. Define should? Becuase you think you have the right codec’s installed? Becuase a codec pack "should" of installed the codec? Becuase you downloaded from a random site and they say it "should" work? Becuase the header "might" not be corrupt through the download process? Becuase you downloaded from a P2P network, where the user who you downloaded it from said it should work? Simple decoding can only exist if (1) the users knows enough about the codec’s he/she has put on their system not to get in the way of each other (2) the media was encoded correctly. (3) the app used to view the media can use the codec installed. – So, reason 1 is out for most of the users, becuase theyknow nothing about codecs. Reason 2 is out becuase all these people today think install DivX ;) 3.11 and encoding a video is fine, since it says Low Motion it might work for the low motion video, right? Reason 3 is a toss up. Many people try and install dshow codecs to use in quicktime, and they can’t figure out they it doesn’t work.

    "Time and time again I’m forced to install misc codecs in the vain hope it’ll play.. and usually, with some pain I admit, it does."

    Right, becuase you take the "codec pack" approach. Install tons of juck, not knowing what it is, and hope the random media you have will play. This should be expected for somone who takes the shot in the dark approach.

    "You seem to suggest that, WMP will find a codec and play, I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen to work successfully. It may download a codec, but still fail to play.. "

    Where do I do that? Throught the articles I have on this site I state that just becuase you have the correct codec’s installed doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem with the file itself.

    "There seems to be no standards regarding codecs, so while you can claim ‘codec packs’ are evil, that simply binds oneself to never being able to play the simplest of mpeg’s or divx. the windows media formats are simply creating more problems for those of us using cross platforms than creating some standard in the industry. "

    There are standards, but who says they have to apply to the pirates who think they know the most about decoding media? btw, MS licenses WM to anyone, can’t say the same for folks like Apple and Real

    "Statements about using ‘pirated codecs’ aren’t helpful because time and time again users are forced into installing anything they can to PLAY a KNOWN, and should already be available and working, format on their pc. "

    Now, good for you. Could this be why I have write 50+ articles about problems in WMP? They all are linked to from this site. I have posted almost 40,000 replies in the WMP newsgroups in the past year. Is this way I point out to every person who linsk to a codec pack that it is a dumb idea? Is this hy I uggest to everyone that downloading ffdshow to decode video is a good idea? Wake up dude.

  14. That’s called being a senior in high school, having 3 classes then coming home at 10 something in the morning. All my friends were still back at school, you got to do something to pass the time [Plus, you get cool from from MS for doing it]

  15. >>So, you are saying that people with un-secure PC’s should

    >>be on the internet causing more problems for you?

    No, in responce to

    "If you don’t think you should upgrade to it when released via Windows Update you don’t deserve to be on the internet."

    I’m saying that computers deserve to be on the internet irrespective of their upgrade policies.. I develop pretty customized network involving applications for windows xp, and when they don’t work because of a new patch, I think its unreasonable to not be able to still use that application until its re-written for the changed environment. Even if its on an unpatched machine.

    Also all machines connected to the internet, imo are ‘unsecure’ since they can be attacked from the internet. An internet connected secured machine is an unreachable perfect goal. imo.

    >> Through this post you keep saying stuff about "Blanket

    >>statements" and how they are not helpful for me to say. I

    >>guess the difference between you and me is I can back

    >>mine up with facts.

    I’m reminded of my comment about arrogant net-masters here. facts hey?.. well I’ll just accept that, why not, its not like you’d have any reason to lie about something factual. However fair enough, I did go a over the top for something I care so little about. The point I was trying to make was that the comment about deserving to be on the internet, was in your own (our) self interest, and did not consider others who would be marginalized by that policy if put into action.

    >>…As for breaking current apps, ya, it will happen. SP2 has

    >>only been in beta longer than any other MS SP. It the app

    >>maker is not ready and has not seen what SP might do to

    >>their applications, thats just plain stupid. This is the case

    >>with Divxnetworks. SP2 broke divx, although they really

    >>didn’t tell their users about upgrading. They had known

    >>before SP2 shippped that the users would have problems,

    >>any word from them? Nope. Who’s fault? Microsoft’s for

    >>releasing the SP or them for not caring enough about their

    >> customers to fix it, and get the word out?

    Whoa, tangent here, however this all stems from the problem of changing systems, change takes time, and resources and for many companies (at least those I know about) change is expensive. Hence it happens slowly. I’m in favour of trying to get it right the first time. I’m not trying to blame anyone here. And I certainly don’t blame and label companies and people with resource constraints as stupid.

    I won’t quote everything this’ll get too huge, but you ask why do I think it ‘should’ work.. because it has in the past, the file hasn’t changed yet the version of windows and wmp has. Wrong codec version? probably, I’m not a ‘codec’ god like you pretend to be, but as a user I find it frustrating when something that supposed to request from the ‘central authority’ of codecs from Microsoft cannot analyse the file and find at least a few options for me to work with. And just spits out, error codec not found, or click here to see if there’s a codec on the net and then not find anything. (and if it did? would that be a codec pack?).. (how do I know it isn’t illegal?)

    Btw, the files I’m talking about aren’t from p2p they’re usually video conferencing records or what not from people I work for, roughly encoded by them and told to me to be divx, mpeg. Maybe it shouldn’t work, maybe its thourghly illlegal to decode using the patented codec, I’m not sure.

    How then pray tell, if wmp’s automated approach cannot sort it out, how does a novice user? Why also does wmp not link to fddshow when ppl have these issues and fddshow could resolve it?

    If all media headers were not corrupt, would we still have these problems. I think so yes because files without corruption have these problems. Also if I can get a file to play using ‘evil codec packs’ does that make the file itself evil/corrupt? If everyone knew about the same as the developers of wmp would ppl still have these problems? I think so yes, because wmp doesn’t adequately support its users atm, imo.

    Standards, I mention standards because I don’t think ‘whatever standard you call this’ is working. You mention standards to suggest people don’t follow them. Fair enough, I want to change the standards not the people because its easier imo. Maybe though, we need to change both. Starting here.

  16. Do you lock your car/house door when you leave it? Sure you do, why? That glass window is right their, what’s stopping someone from getting in? By your internet statement you are saying that you do not lock the door to your house and/or car becuase there is still a way to get in even if you do.

    WinXP SP2: stop moaning and get downloading

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/12/winxp_sp2_stop_moaning/

    As I have said, this is being worked on for WMP 10, I can not say anymore about that. I have brought this topic up so many times i’m sure parts of the WMP beta team hate me.

    Again, your statements all seem to be your opinion. I’m sure parts of my are my opinion, but larger parts of it are fact. I agree WMP needs to change, but so does the amount of pirated codec’s going around.

  17. "Do you lock your car/house door when you leave it? Sure you do, why? That glass window is right their, what’s stopping someone from getting in?"

    Double Glazing is bloody strong. A brick lobbed at one would just bounce off.-That’s what..

    "I agree WMP needs to change, but so does the amount of pirated codec’s going around."

    It seems as though the main reason you dislike codec packs is cause they are ‘pirated’.

    A bit of a generalisation don’t you think; it this thread you have only mentioned one codec pack – there are hundreds out there. Have you tested every single one for its integrity and legality? I think not. I’m sure there are many that do the job well and are not pirated. After all, if there’s a free option and a paid for option, most people are going to go to the free option.

    It seems that the only way to resolve this is for WMP to include all neccassary codecs pre-installed so no-one has the need to download such ‘evil’ codec packs.

  18. > It seems as though the main reason you dislike codec packs is cause they are ‘pirated’.

    Wrong, If you read "In addition to them being pirated, they install out-of-date versions and versions that can confilt with each other." , "This will break a few things in Windows too.", "you should get a “Copyright Protection” error when playing a DVD.". They break more then a few things. The Radium Hack breaks Crossfading in WMP.

    The reason I only talk about one of them is that extracting the files from some of the others is not an easy thing to do. It just so happens that the K-Lite ones are packed with a 7Zip archive.

    >> Have you tested every single one for its integrity and legality?

    They don’t change what’s in there. Pirated is pirated, hacked is hacked. There is no legal version of l3codecA.acm, there is np legal version of DivX 3.11, there is no legal version of DivX that does not include spyware. How mnay of these do you see with Spyware in them? There is NO legal DVD decoder that is free, none, zip. There is (1) MPEG-2 decoder that is free, it can be downloaded from SourceForge, and guess what, its not in any of the packages. They choose it pirate one and stick it in there, most of the time, more than one.

    >> I’m sure there are many that do the job well and are not pirated.

    Could you point me to one? Remember, the owner of the codec’s must be allowing them to re-distibute the codecs.

    >> After all, if there’s a free option and a paid for option, most people are going to go to the free option.

    Who makes a paid codec pack? Link? Only reason stuff is free is beuase its pirated.

    >> It seems that the only way to resolve this is for WMP to include all neccassary codecs pre-installed so no-one has the need to download such ‘evil’ codec packs.

    Or, for people to stop distributing illegal, hacked, pirated codec packs. That’s not a hard question to ask, or is it?

  19. >> On another note, mpgdec.ax doesn’t play along with other DVD Decoders installed. In WMP (and WinDVD and PowerDVD) you should get a “Copyright Protection” error when playing a DVD. Un-registering mpgdec.ax will fix that if it happens to you.

    I have this problem… deleted the entire registry entry for Elecard, uninstalled the codec pack I had put in, and still getting the error. Any suggestions?

    After I installed a codec pack the video for my DVDs was all screwed up. Messed around for a while but only got it to the point where I can watch them in Media Player Classic but not WMP or other programs. Get the cannot watch due to digital copyright protection error message.

  20. Chris Laner

    Have a thing for codecs huh? :) You also seem to write a very agressive uncompromising responce to peoples comments, upgrading to SP2 will be a bitch for many companies and individuals, how about showing some sympathy or at least some recognition of that pain. :P

    I believe what sftu was saying is not the he’ll leave the door open, but he won’t shut the door if it’ll break his windows :) until he gets his windows reframed.

    If we are going to resolve pirating with regard to codecs we’ll need to recruit people on board, instead of attacking them with the I’m right you’re wrong aproach.

    Also there is a MPEG-2 decoder that is free and available in a codec pack,

    http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Codec_Pack_All_in_1.htm

    Yes there is a lot of pirated software/codecs being used in the world. :/

    I’m sure the free software foundation would be insulted by your attitude that something is only free because its been pirated. Freedom can refer to both the cost of obtaining the item and the ability to use that item.

    There is a massive amount of quality free software out there which is very widely used and hasn’t been stolen or otherwise pirated in anyway.

    You can buy codecs however to market them companies usually sell media players with them, Power DVD comes to mind.

    John

  21. Steve: You might see if http://msmvps.com/chrisl/articles/11496.aspx address your problem.

    John: I have a thing for people pirating stuff, then, in turn screwing up their PC.

    As for that "free" decoder, its not. mcdsmpeg.ax is the file is installs. That’s a MainConcept’s file. Looking at their website, they are not offering free downloads, unless you see one I don’t? Free is much different from pirated. Put a free application under a CNU GPL and then its free. Althrough a codec pack maker could claim their "product" is under a GPL, the files inside are copyrights owned by other companies.

    I’m sure that no free software foundation has a problem with my attitude, firstly I suggest open source software all the time. ffdshow, ac3filter, xvid, and these are just encoders/decoders! I hate to say, but the laws go the other way on your freedom statement. In terms of fair use, I would doubt they have a problem with me either.

    And codec packs prevent Cyberlink have selling their software. Why?\, is the average person going to purchase PowerDVD, when the K-Lite and Nimo codec packs already include their audio and video decoders? Any reason for the average person who knows little about it to purchase PowerDVD/WinDVD/nVDVD/CinePlayer?

  22. An interesting situation:

    A product produced and given away by the author for no cost with no license is free. It would be stolen to have a license put on it by another that would removing it from public use.

    I’m not sure on your legal system, but from my point of view, it is legal to distribute software without a license on that software, and my ‘freedom statement’ is simply an understanding of the separate meanings of a term widely and vaguely used to cover cost and not ability to use. This understanding in no way conflicts with any body of law I know of.

    Don’t mix up open source software and ‘free software’, that is why I tried to make a distinction between ‘free use’ and ‘free cost’.

    I believe most of PowerDVD’s customers come from when they purchase a DVD player with their software bundled into it so they can play DVD’s from their DVD drive.

    MainConcept do offer a media player, see

    http://www.mainconcept.com/downloads.shtml

    which is available for purchase, I assume the file you mentioned is available in their downloads. The demo they produce will watermark video encoded with the codec until a registration code is provided. Decoding I would presume is not watermarked for media properly encoded.

    Is providing their decoder in a codec pack part of fair use when you could (say you can) install it by downloading a demo product? I’m not sure. I would hope so, imo it doesn’t damage MainConcepts product line (encoders) to have their decoder widely available. MainConcept’s opinion and yours may differ widely from this, fine. I’m not willing to argue over it, my point for that link was simply to show that free decoders are used in some codec packs, not to argue they are all clean or legal. You will notice ffdshow is included in that pack. Not all files inside a codec pack are copyright owned by other companies.

    Either way, if Free-Codecs.com is somehow infringing or helping infringe on MainConcept’s legal rights, then it can and should have a civil case brought against it.

    In this post I find myself largely repeating what I have said before, which I’m sure you do all the time :) I think I understand you, I’m just not sure you understood what I wast trying to communicate before.

    Regards

    John

  23. In the US (Just noticed you are posting from AU) it is consider illegal to re-distribute someone elses copyrighted work. The main example we have of this is with the RIAA. At any given time the RIAA can slap a lawsuit on use for "trading" (Which is distributing) copyrighted music files. MainConcept owns that decoder, thus it is illegal for anyone else to distribute without their premissions. You can bet they are not giving premission to these people to give it away,

    "Free software" is still not this. If a Ferrari is stilling on the side of the road with a "free sign" on it, are you really thinking that someone is just giving away that $100,000+ car to the next person who might want it? On the same side do you think MainConcept’s is giving away a part of their business? Remember, they make money off selling this.

    "Purchase" is a key word, the first text that strikes me on the site is "Try before you buy". You are not paying them for that decoder, thus you "trial" period gets extened. Legal? Not in the US.

    Its not fair use at all, back to the Ferrari. Say the sign that said "free" is gone, but you saw it there before. So, you hope in the car and take off (Much like downloading a codec pack, right? It says its free, you don’t think twice, and you download it). 5 miles down the road the cops get you, is "fair use" something you would argue? "It said free a few minutes ago"? Not going to fly.

    Much of the responces to this post are personal opinion. Your (Nor anyone elses) personal opinion has any place. Its a fact that these can mess up your PC, It’s a fact that they are pirated, Its a fact that the companies did not license their files out. You opinion of it not hurting the company is really ludicrous. let’s take the codec pack you linked to, okay? 767,274 downloads, just from that webpage alone! Now, go purchase 767,274 players from MainConcept, make a difference, hell yes. You can’t say they don’t loss money. $26,854,590 is what they could have made had every person from that site bought there player/PVR product. Now, it is stupid to think everyone downloaded it to get the MPEG-2 decoder, but the point stands. It’s MainConcept’s file, they are distributing it without premission, and MainConcept’s loses money off of it.

    I don’t think you understnad what the legal and what’s not, of course thats just my opinion (or is it)

  24. Hi Chris,

    I’ve got WMP 10, and I’m trying to save some web videos on my computer for offline playback. I can’t do it. The files are downloaded to the temporary internet folder in ?.dat format, which WMP can’t play without connecting to the web.

    I’m not a pirate, just a music fan – I would just as well get them from the store – but they aren’t available – so I hope you can help me!

    Thanks,

    Mont

  25. I actually just had to remove everything absolutely EVERYTHING because of some crazy codec-DivX/WinAmp downloading sessions and now with my fresh version of Windows I would like to do the right thing.

    What is safe and free for me to download in order to play DVDs and Divx?

    I am totally not as computer savvy as yall but after reading all the comments I thought this might be the best place to get help. So, thank you.

  26. do you know which version k-lite you tried? 95%+ of the people on the internet would never have to use something like klite or other codec packs on the internet. for the small % who do, it is their fault if they dont know what they are doing and dont know the alternatives

    just my thought

  27. the best thing for playing videos is the Videolan VLC media player. (just stick it in google to find it).

    It is an opensource media player that can play pretty much any video file; including DVD with menu support, DivX, Xvid, all the mpegs and a bunch of other obscure stuff.

    It doesn’t look great but it is simple and works.

    It can also play audio files but I don’t use it for that.

  28. i almost agree that gigantix codec packs are evil – the legality should be left to law-users and law-abusers, not simple joes and janes like you and me – i for one don’t pretend to be a lawer even though i was an avid LA Law fan =]…that aside, i am most concern with the conflicts introduced, out-of-date stuff. my 2cents why ppl make codec packs and why ppl use them, is because of the general confusion when faced with the many container (what’s a ‘container’?) formats, encoders & decoders for audio and visual files multiple that with some frustrations when things don’t play and players hang/crash. codec packs are the anti-biotics of av-world, one shot cures all that’s ill with one’s viewing happiness, purportedly.

    therefore, could you be so kind as to straighten ‘everything’ out, make a table full of these codecs and say what goes and what don’t go and why, and what-for and what-ifs. guide these unhappy folks to greener and *open* pastures eh?

  29. Beatrice: The DivX Codec from DivXNetworks will do fine for DivX/XivD decoding. There are many DVD Decoders, wmplugins.com lists a few of them.

    inoesomestuff: It was the "Mega Pack". By the number of download tracked LOTS of people are downloading these.

    miocene: ffdshow adds much of this to WMP. ffmpeg is one of the major keys to VLC, ffdshow adds DirectShow ability to work with WMP.

    vidhead: Microsoft is trying to help with this, but the main problem is people just don’t read. They search for "codec" on the web, download a "codec pack" that says it will let them play everything and thus screw up their PC’s.

    http://www.fourcc.org/codecs.php lists all the FourCC for the major codec’s. just click the links to the owners/developers of that codec and download it from them. Don’t follow the links at the top of their page, just the ones in the table.

  30. ya your right =\ it does leave some stuff behind, i later uninstalled it after hearing that the avi splitter suxed, i had to use a regcleaner to get the rest of the stuff out

    i would scan using Gspot to determine the codec then download it from the FourCC website thingy

    i found another codec pack thats pretty good, google KAA codec pack, only thing that is missing in divx50

  31. Chris: Great notes about codec packs. I wonder how many people had to reinstall OS after their installation… Just as you I’ve downloaded K-Lite and Cole Codec packs… First of all, I can’t understand why similiar decoders are included in codec packs. Then, these codec packs install all files into %systemroot% directory which is not a good idea generally. I even don’t mind that some of included decoders (CyberLink, InterVideo) are cracked versions.

  32. While installing the entire pack is foolish, they do have a place in the hands of knowledgable users. Perhaps if some of the creators of the these codecs would make them available to users without all the Bull there would be no problem.

    As far as breaking that DRM crippled player called WMP, good. I hope the damn thing dies and is never seen on this planet again. Folks, Media Player Classic beats every thing MS has ever produced. It will play any video file I have ever come across and does it without the DRM garbage. You want to play DVD’s no problem, QT, Real, and yes even garbage WMP files full of DRM.

  33. Oh, and one more comment, While it is possible to prop up the lame assed player called WMP, it doesn’t do a damn bit of good for situations that demand use of the MCI player. Say using media in any office document. Why is that? Because in their continuing stupidity MS has decided you don’t need quality media playback in any application other than WMP.

  34. I would not call you a "VideoGuy" if you think DRM cripples a player. ZoomPlayer, a great non-Microsoft program support WMRM. DRM is only a problem if you purchase or play media encoded with it. MPC, while a great player would never exist if it was not for Microsoft. The info of MPC is to fix what Microsoft did with WMP 7+, and stick with WMP 6.4 interface. The general PC user doesn’t want the mplayer2 interface. Power users do.

    Also, MPC is not immune to the affects of codec packs. Anything program that makes use of DS can be harmed by the crap.

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