"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In addition to them being pirated, they install out-of-date versions and versions that can confilt with each other.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.