codecs for w7 htpc?

CorNut

Limp Gawd
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I just finished building an HTPC for my mom and she lives a couple hours away so I want to be certain everything will work for her. Which pack(s) would you recommend if any? The tuner in it is just a HVR 1250, other than that it is going to typically just be a DVD player or streaming netflix/hulu etc. For those functions I assume she won't need anything, but I'm not sure how adventurous she'll get, say she decided to DL something from a torrent or something, would that still work with the basic w7 MC codecs?

I am pretty jealous of the setup, going to have to build 1 for myself. It's in the Antec ISK 300-65 with a 30GB SSD(I donated that since I upgraded my PC to a 96GB) boot drive and 500GB laptop drive for storage for ripping dvd's DL's etc. 4GB (2x2gb) crusial 1066, and a samsung dvd burner on a sapphire E350 board. Anyway, I installed all possible windows updates, installed security essentials, and adobe. Can you think of anything else she might need? I want to avoid the phone calls if at all possible ;)
 

Daemos

Limp Gawd
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The only pack I recommend is the cccp project or combined community codec pack. It's made by encoders and coders for viewers. It uses a custom ffdshow pack, and has media player classic for the player. It keeps evolving as needs of media playback evolves.

Been using it since it first came out years ago when I was involved in encoding, video editing and talked to the people that made the pack.
 

IronMan77

Weaksauce
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I use CCCP as well.

However I know many others who choose KLite or Shark007. You should be fine with any of these.
 

mope54

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why do you guys use codec packs? I don't use any and I'm fine. I had to deal with a few niggling issues when I first installed x64, but I didn't resort to codec packs.
 

Trepidati0n

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CODEC packs aren't as intrusive any more as they were on XP (and even somewhat Vista). Therefore installing them doesn't tend to cause the same level of grief as not having them.

I stil use MPC therefore codec packs don't help me. But for others use MCE, it probably helps alot.
 

mope54

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I use MCE exclusively and codec packs don't help at all and they are unnecessary.

I recommend to the OP to use no pack at all.
 

nalc

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I use MCE exclusively and codec packs don't help at all and they are unnecessary.

I recommend to the OP to use no pack at all.


Not true. 7MC requires a codec pack for mkv playback.
 

mope54

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Not true. 7MC requires a codec pack for mkv playback.
No it does not. Don't spread misinformation.

@CorNut,
A simple google search will reveal how to set up MKV compatibility in 7MC. You'll be able to find that you do not need a codec pack to play MKV files and that you can trust my advice as knowledgeable moreso than the people suggesting you use one.

sidenote: torrents and MKV's really shouldn't be the topic of discussion regardless for what should be obvious reasons. My mother gets her movies from the library rather than torrents and I suggest you counsel your mother to do the same for a number of sane reasons. the bottom line is that your mother will be able to play anything *legitimate* without any kind of tweaking but installing a splitter will suffice for everything else. You don't need a codec pack for a matroska splitter :\
 

scaarbelly

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VLC plays everything for a strait player and XBMC as a media center requires no additional software or codecs to play any format out there.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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Not true. 7MC requires a codec pack for mkv playback.

No it does not. All it needs is a registry entry.


As for codec packs, I use Shark007. I prefer to watch all my media on my HTPC within media center using my standard media center remote which doesn't have any keyboard/mouse functionality and does not have remappable buttons. That way I don't have to whip out keyboard or mouse just to open vlc or mpc. Every once in a while I come across some media that requires an odd codec that I don't want to fuck around with. The codec pack helps with that.

As for why I prefer Shark007 codecs over the others, there is one main reason. I can get into the control panel quickly and change settings. Since sometimes those settings break TV recording by messing with the default windows video/audio streams, the control panel has a simple "return to defaults" button that lets me undo anything I fuck up really quickly. This is especially handy for a codec novice like me.
 
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JohnDC

Limp Gawd
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I only have Haali installed on my W7 build, and WMC plays everything I have thrown at it.
 

SirMaster

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I use FFDShow with MPC Home Cinema and it works great.

FFDShow has options that let me encode the DTS and DD from my movies into a stereo signal using a HRTF (head-related transfer function) so I get surround sound in my headphones.

How else could I do this without some additional alternative decoders like the ones included with FFDShow?
 

nalc

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Care to share, then? I spent some time reading up on the issue while trying to get MKVs to work in 7MC, and every single site I found said you need to install a codec pack to get 7MC to play them, and a registry edit for them to show up in the Media Library. A "simple google" search yields recommendations for Shark007, CCCP, DivX MKV Demux, FFDShow, and Haali codecs in addition to a registry edit.
 

Spooony

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CODEC packs aren't as intrusive any more as they were on XP (and even somewhat Vista). Therefore installing them doesn't tend to cause the same level of grief as not having them.

I stil use MPC therefore codec packs don't help me. But for others use MCE, it probably helps alot.

try playing mpeg 2 files on wmp. Or try playing vob files in it. Windows comes with its own Codecs yes but its for the benefit of wmp. Those are crappy filters as well. Much better filters can be found in k-lite Codec pack. Video editing apps don't even use direct show filters to top it off.

Op you need 32bit and 64bit Codec packs if your on windows 64bit. Codec packs have lots of Codecs you can use which are better than the build in direct show filters. there's tweaks you can do with the settings in Codec packs that windows don't let you do and wmp are shyt and full of bugs
 

JohnDC

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Care to share, then? I spent some time reading up on the issue while trying to get MKVs to work in 7MC, and every single site I found said you need to install a codec pack to get 7MC to play them, and a registry edit for them to show up in the Media Library. A "simple google" search yields recommendations for Shark007, CCCP, DivX MKV Demux, FFDShow, and Haali codecs in addition to a registry edit.

Install either Haali or Gabast media splitter. That will do it. For some audio configs you might find FFDSHOW useful. Or install Sharks. I have used it in the past with good results.
 

Spooony

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Install either Haali or Gabast media splitter. That will do it. For some audio configs you might find FFDSHOW useful. Or install Sharks. I have used it in the past with good results.

this as well Win7DSfilterTweaker
Ms Codecs do not support Vc-1 video inside M2TS files. Your going to need that
 

tgxiii

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Care to share, then? I spent some time reading up on the issue while trying to get MKVs to work in 7MC, and every single site I found said you need to install a codec pack to get 7MC to play them, and a registry edit for them to show up in the Media Library. A "simple google" search yields recommendations for Shark007, CCCP, DivX MKV Demux, FFDShow, and Haali codecs in addition to a registry edit.

For the least amount of effort, go with Shark007 codecs. In my experience, it's the best one out there for HTPCs (using Windows Media Center or MediaPortal) in that installation is quick and easy, configuration has been simplified, has never messed with any of my systems, and uninstalls cleanly as well.

For the minimalist, go with Haali's Media Splitter and the registry edit. This will work for most people, but it's also the most psychologically daunting for the non-technical since it involves editing the registry.

If those first two options won't work for you, it means your requirements are more complicated than the majority. More complicated requirements = more complicated solutions.
 

nalc

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For the least amount of effort, go with Shark007 codecs. In my experience, it's the best one out there for HTPCs (using Windows Media Center or MediaPortal) in that installation is quick and easy, configuration has been simplified, has never messed with any of my systems, and uninstalls cleanly as well.

For the minimalist, go with Haali's Media Splitter and the registry edit. This will work for most people, but it's also the most psychologically daunting for the non-technical since it involves editing the registry.

If those first two options won't work for you, it means your requirements are more complicated than the majority. More complicated requirements = more complicated solutions.

I'm using CCCP and the registry edit, and it has been working fine. I'm asking the two people who claimed that there is a way to make MKVs play with only a registry edit and no additional codec packs how they claim to do that. Every other person, and every online guide, says that you need to install something in addition to the registry edit.
 

IronMan77

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I'm using CCCP and the registry edit, and it has been working fine. I'm asking the two people who claimed that there is a way to make MKVs play with only a registry edit and no additional codec packs how they claim to do that. Every other person, and every online guide, says that you need to install something in addition to the registry edit.

1. Install CCCP
2. Done.

No need for a reg edit as well.
 

DDR4040

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I'm using CCCP and the registry edit, and it has been working fine. I'm asking the two people who claimed that there is a way to make MKVs play with only a registry edit and no additional codec packs how they claim to do that. Every other person, and every online guide, says that you need to install something in addition to the registry edit.

MKV is a container format. To play MKV's on Windows, you need to install a Matroska splitter that will break up the audio and video into something Windows understands. Most people use either Haali, Gabest or DIVX Labs splitters. Every popular codec pack out there will include one of these 3 splitters. They also install extra codecs and filters that not everyone wants or needs. A good codec pack like CCCP or Sharks007, will closely manage these extra codecs and filters and prevent them from causing problems. Shitty codec packs just install the codecs and filters without doing any management of them at all.

To play MKV's on Win7 you need 3 things:

1.Reg edit to register the MKV file type with Windows so it knows what to do with it.

2.Matroska Splitter that breaks up the MKV container into formats Windows recognizes.

3.AC3Filter. When you use a 3rd party splitter like Haali or Gabest, sometimes Win7's MF codecs won't accept the audio. AC3Filter is a backup decoder for these situations.

MKV's are about 95% of my media collection. Personally, I just use the Reg Edit, Haali and AC3Filter. I've used Sharks007 before and it was fine, but it does install a bunch of extras that just duplicate the MF codecs Win7 uses.
 

tgxiii

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I'm using CCCP and the registry edit, and it has been working fine. I'm asking the two people who claimed that there is a way to make MKVs play with only a registry edit and no additional codec packs how they claim to do that. Every other person, and every online guide, says that you need to install something in addition to the registry edit.

CCCP is a great codec pack as well.

Don't bother waiting for their answer though, because it's not possible. Windows 7 is not able to split an MKV natively. You need a third party splitter.

1. Install CCCP
2. Done.

No need for a reg edit as well.

In his first post, he mentioned "w7 MC", so I think he wants to use Media Center. In which case, he needs the registry hack in order to have MKVs show up in Media Center. The splitter is needed to play the file; the registry hack is needed to make the files actually show up in Media Center.

If my assumption is wrong though, and he's not using Media Center as a front end, then you're right.
 

JohnDC

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I did not do a reg edit, and my mkv's show up in both media browser, and media center. Like I said, I just installed Haali.
 

mope54

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CCCP is a great codec pack as well.

Don't bother waiting for their answer though, because it's not possible. Windows 7 is not able to split an MKV natively. You need a third party splitter.
A splitter is not a codec and you don't need to install a codec "pack" to install a splitter.

If you don't know what you're talking about, then you shouldn't be dispensing advice and disparaging the advice from those of us who do.
 

IronMan77

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In his first post, he mentioned "w7 MC", so I think he wants to use Media Center. In which case, he needs the registry hack in order to have MKVs show up in Media Center. The splitter is needed to play the file; the registry hack is needed to make the files actually show up in Media Center.

If my assumption is wrong though, and he's not using Media Center as a front end, then you're right.

Like 'JohnDC' mentioned as well, I did not have to do any reg edit to get MKV's to show up in WMC or XBMC (Haali comes with CCCP).
 

Ryokurin

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The bottom line is, as long as you are playing traditional files (that is avi with divx, or mpeg) then no you don't need a codec pack. However Matroska will need a splitter and anything out of the ordinary, like subtitles may need a codec pack depending on the format. As an example if you want subtitles and hardware acceleration then you'll need a pack that installs ffdshow, which can insert the srt into the right spot to allow it.
 

tgxiii

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A splitter is not a codec and you don't need to install a codec "pack" to install a splitter.

If you don't know what you're talking about, then you shouldn't be dispensing advice and disparaging the advice from those of us who do.

Where did I call a splitter a codec, and where did I say that you need a codec pack to install a splitter?

Did you quote the right person?

Edit: My bad, I now see why you interpreted what I said that way. When I said "it's not possible" because "Windows 7 is not able to split an MKV natively", I was saying it in response this part of nalc's statement: "a way to make MKVs play with only a registry edit". I was focused on the "only a registry edit and no additional" part; you do need something in addition to the registry edit, but that additional thing is just a splitter and not necessarily an entire codec pack, so I should not have bolded the "codec packs" portion of his statement also.
 
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Omegas

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so TrueHD and DTS Master come through with no problem too? or how about HardwareAcceleration? or HD-DVD's rips? or HDDVD's rips re-encoded with Handbrake with HA and HD Audio? Some times codec packs like CCCP just make things MUCH easier.
 

Fix Me

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I guess the bottom line should be that if you use codec packs and they don't cause any problems for you, go for it and use them. But you don't necessarily have to have them. As others have stated, you only need a third party splitter and maybe a regedit to get mkv's to play in 7MC.
 

CrimandEvil

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I guess the bottom line should be that if you use codec packs and they don't cause any problems for you, go for it and use them. But you don't necessarily have to have them. As others have stated, you only need a third party splitter and maybe a regedit to get mkv's to play in 7MC.

I need them cause I watch a lot of anime with subtitles, some of my other media doesn't play so nice with MS's codecs either.

Some people need them, some don't.
 

mope54

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no one needs a codec pack

if you need a codec to watch your anime, then you should find and install the codec(s) you need and manage them manually.

however, this thread isn't about computer users in general, this thread is specifically asking what the OP should do to ensure his mother doesn't have any issues playing back videos and she 100:1 isn't going to be torrenting MKV's or anime so unless she has some bizarre need that we are unaware of (which should have been listed in the opening thread) she will not need anything other than bone-stock windows 7.

she's not going to need DTS-HD to her surround system, she's not going to need ffdshow, ac3filter, none of that "esoteric" stuff. She needs a hulu bookmark, a library card, and a netflix account...done. unless he wants to play tech rabbit every time he visits to weed out whatever might be going haywire with a codec clash or virus/malware she accidentally dumped to her system.

the fact that he's asking this most basic question in the first place underscores the need to KISS the system regardless of whether it's for a real or hypothetical "mother."

To reiterate, when
I'm not sure how adventurous she'll get, say she decided to DL something from a torrent or something
is the scenario, the correct answer is, "don't do that mom because the motion picture industry can and will eventually track you down, force your internet provider to shut you out, and sue you for imaginary damages."
 

tgxiii

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no one needs a codec pack

if you need a codec to watch your anime, then you should find and install the codec(s) you need and manage them manually.

I'd rather tell my anime-watching friends to install CCCP than figure out what filters they need (although it's not as bad as before, there is still huge fragmentation in the way fansubs are encoded) and then teach them how to install and configure it. You'd be surprised just how technically-disinclined some people are.

These aren't the days when every codec pack was like K-lite; we actually have viable options now.

CCCP doesn't try to be the one single solution for all media playback situations. It was developed mainly for anime watchers. For the most part, it works for them. Plus, if the lead developer of x264 supports it, can it really be that bad?

I'm all for a minimalist approach also, and I agree that if you're watching nothing but standard formats then you don't need any additional filters at all. But as you add requirements, you add complexity. Yes, it can be done by grabbing each filter on its own and configuring it, but there's a point when a codec pack (the right one) will simplify the process.

I don't use codec packs for my HTPC or my main workstation, but I'm confident enough suggesting CCCP or Shark007 to my friends and family. Neither one has caused and problems for them yet.
 

CorNut

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sidenote: torrents and MKV's really shouldn't be the topic of discussion regardless for what should be obvious reasons. My mother gets her movies from the library rather than torrents and I suggest you counsel your mother to do the same for a number of sane reasons. the bottom line is that your mother will be able to play anything *legitimate* without any kind of tweaking but installing a splitter will suffice for everything else. You don't need a codec pack for a matroska splitter :\

I actually did tell her not to bother with downloading. With various plugins that little machine keeps here occupied. I am no expert at this at all but google has been my friend, I set it up with some sort of virtual clonedrive that is free from anydvd combined with dvdfab's free version for ripping so she is able to back her dvd collection up for easy viewing through the media browser plugin. With that, the TV Tuner with media center's DVR function and the various streaming she uses (hulu, netflix and others) she has a much better setup than the basic cable she had before that she was paying $17/mo for. The entire HTPC cost under $300 with rebates (only that high because I got the Antec isk 300-65 case) and that E350 is more than powerful for her needs. She has been using the thing for around a week and other than when she backs up her dvd's it is all controlled by the media center remote and she has no trouble using it which was my main concern.

The cccp was recommended the most so that's what I installed on it but seems like maybe I didn't even have to install it, it's there anyway though, just in case. After being abe to play with that thing I'm thinking about building myself a little box like that too. Thanks for the replies
 

Snowdog

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To play MKV's on Win7 you need 3 things:

1.Reg edit to register the MKV file type with Windows so it knows what to do with it.

2.Matroska Splitter that breaks up the MKV container into formats Windows recognizes.

3.AC3Filter. When you use a 3rd party splitter like Haali or Gabest, sometimes Win7's MF codecs won't accept the audio. AC3Filter is a backup decoder for these situations.


I have only installed Haali Splitter and WMP will play everything, I have never had a sound problem and have not installed AC3Filter (though I run in passthrough out to my Optical port).

I haven't done a Regedit, but I don't use Win Media Center, I use XBMC.

I am of the, "install the minimum necessary" philosophy. Start with Haali (or other) media splitter and the regedit for WMC, before proceeding to codec packs.

Also I find WMP actually has better playback than MPC-HC or VLC. I often notice some micro-stutter in the the latter two playback sometimes, WMP never does this. So I wouldn't want to over-ride WMP codecs with a a codec pack that might actually be inferior.
 
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