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Best Media Player

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PixelationWe’ve all suffered through the frustrating moment when you download a media file, try to play it and all you get is the audio with no video. Most times you don’t get an error code, just a blank screen. The problem? You’re missing some obscure CODEC which is required to ‘decode’ the video stream and allow your player to display it. Other manifestations of a missing or out-dated CODEC are extreme pixelation and distorted images. I’ve also seen where the video plays, but is upside down. But now comes the hard part. Which one of the hundreds of available CODECS are you missing? Is the website you’ve never heard of a reliable source? Will you end up with hundreds of CODECS you don’t need because you had to download a CODEC bundle to get the one you want? Good luck. It is hard enough to figure exactly which CODEC you need, but that effort is further complicated by figuring out which version of the CODEC will work in your particular situation.

DistortionPersonally, I do not like the idea of downloading unknown, possibly virus-laden, code from dodgy websites. Not to mention possibly ending up with with hundreds of these little add-ons on my hard drive. One more thing of which you need to be aware: It is entirely possible that a CODEC doesn’t even exist that would enable that must-see video to be viewed by your media player of choice. Thankfully, there are a couple of approaches to this dilemma. You could download media player after media player (and there are dozens of them) in an effort to find the one that can play your media file natively, but who wants to end up with five or six media players and then keep it all sorted as to which one plays what.

K-Lite CODEC PackYou could go the CODEC route, but in the past, I’ve downloaded CODECS that did much, much more harm than good. But it’s your choice. If you want what is the most reliable and well known CODEC pack, download and install K-Lite. It comes in several different sizes from basic to mega and also has a 64bit pack.

VLC Media PlayerPerhaps I can change your mind about media players. While there are several excellent free players available for download, I and others have had the best experience with an open-source player from VideoLAN called VLC. Personally, I have yet to find a media format that it can’t handle right out of the gate. It installs quickly, is not a resource hog, and is 100% free, including all updates. It is highly customizable including hundreds of different skins and documentation on how to create your own.

Kim KardashianIt is available for Windows, MAC and many different flavours of UNIX and LINUX. The user forums on the VideoLAN site also provide a massive amount of help for any issues you may encounter and since it is open-source, VideoLAN makes the source code available for download for you adventurous sorts who enjoy finding out how things work and possibly improve on them yourself.

Paris HiltonWhen all is said and done, it simply appeals to me to not have half a dozen different media players and hundreds of CODECS on my system.

Let me know which approach appeals to you and why, because now you can go back and watch your downloaded copies of the Kim Kardashian and the Paris Hilton sex tapes! Till next time…

Love ya, Poppy

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