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Making sense of codecs

Question : WINDOWS Media Player gave me an error message saying "Windows Media Player is unable to download an appropriate decompressor" when I tried playing a video file my friend sent to me. I heard I may need either an XviD or DivX codec. Can you help?

Answer : BOTH XviD and DivX are popular video codecs, which are based on "lossy" MPEG4 technology.

These codecs have become popular due to their ability to compress lengthy video files into smaller ones, while still maintaining high visual quality.

For example, a full-length DVD movie can be compressed to between 1/4 and 1/5 of its original size, with imperceptible loss in quality.

As a result, XviD and DivX format files are often exchanged over the Internet because they are smaller and can be downloaded over broadband connections in a relatively short time.

The DivX codec is owned by DivX Inc, while the XviD codec is an open-source project.

The word codec is short for compressor/decompressor; when you install a video codec, it works like an add-on to your PC with instructions how to compress and decompress video in a particular format.

If a required codec is missing, you will receive an error message such as "Windows Media Player is unable to download an appropriate decompressor" when you try to play video files.

The DivX codec can be obtained at www.divx.com. Due to some patent concerns, the official XviD homepage does not provide binary versions of the XviD codec. However, you can obtain an XviD installer by surfing to www.divx-digest.com/software/xvidhtml.


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