codec

KMPlayer review

KMPlayer has evolved from a video player to a leading source for content discovery. The app's record-breaking viewership and the use of its flagship media is most visible on the gaming front, with a successful casting of Season 3 of the League of Legends World Championship. Alongside other forays into e-sports, like GOM and Starcraft 2: Hearts of the Swarm, KMPlayer has established strong viewership that's created a whole new layer of interaction beyond being a standalone video player.

Pros

Unobtrusive layout:Dark colors and a pop-out settings menu give you clean, uninterrupted access to features like subtitle … Read more

VLC Media Player review

VLC Media Player is an open-source program that lets you play all kinds of media on your iOS device even if they're in formats that are not normally supported. Just download your music and videos to your iPhone or iPad, and you're ready to enjoy them wherever you go.

Pros

Multiple transfer options: When you're ready to move files from your computer to your VLC library, you have several options. You can connect your device directly to the computer, and then complete the transfer through iTunes, or you can connect both your computer and your device to … Read more

Realtek High Definition Audio Codec review

Realtek's free High Definition Audio Codec pack enables stereo digital audio at resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz, as well as 5.1-channel Dolby Digital audio. Though it's essentially a package of drivers, it installs like a Windows program and may require a reboot. Realtek HD Audio Codec is available in separate downloads for 32-bit or 64-bit Windows Vista, 7, and 8 systems with Realtek controllers.

Pros

Audiophile-quality digital audio: No matter the source, you'll get super-high-quality digital audio. We streamed audio at up to 320kbs from Spotify and other sources. Even MP3s sounded better.

Dolby HT4: Dolby … Read more

Windows 7 Codec Pack review

Windows 7 Codec Pack adds up-to-date, high-quality audio and video playback capabilities to Windows Media Center or any media player. Though it's a bundle of software codecs, not a program, it installs just like any Windows program, and the Codec Settings panel opens from the Start Menu.

Pros

Plays in anything: These codecs work with any Windows-compatible media player, not just Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player. Specific codecs and settings for 32-bit or 64-bit Windows enable precise compatibility and high performance.

Hi-def, hi-res, hi-fi: Windows 7 Codec Pack includes not just HD video codecs but also high-resolution … Read more

Patent licensing terms still murky for next-gen video

A patent licensing group has revealed many names of the corporate muscle behind an important next-generation video compression technology -- but the license itself remains elusive even as the technology arrives in the marketplace.

The technology, called HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) or H.265, is a codec used to encode and decode video for more economical storage and transmission across networks. It's designed to make a transition to 4K Ultra HD video more feasible on today's network connections.

HEVC/H.265 is the sequel to today's dominant technology, AVC/H.264 -- and it's at … Read more

Review: VLC Codec Pack adds dozens of new formats to your media player of choice

VLC Codec Pack gives several different media players more support for videos and audio in a few seconds. It even comes with a brand-new media player that's loaded with features. If you constantly run into messages that your media player can't play a video or song, this download is awesome to have.

Though this pack shares a name with a very popular media player, it works with a few other players, as well. If you try it and it doesn't work with your player, the download includes a version of VLC's player, which gets high marks … Read more

Cisco, Mozilla open things up for real-time online video

Tapping into one of the biggest trends in information technology this year, Cisco will be open sourcing its H.264 codec for high-definition, online video.

The codec will be available to download for free as a binary module for use with the open-source project WebRTC. Cisco noted that it will not pass on its MPEG LA licensing costs for this module.

Mozilla already has signed up as one of the first supporters of Cisco's new strategy here by adding support for the OpenH.264 binary modules to Firefox.

Cisco and Mozilla reps declared that the free and open distribution … Read more

Review: Media Player Codec Pack adds format support to Windows Media Player

Media Player Codec Pack supercharges your Windows Media Player by adding support for dozens of new video and audio formats. If you'd rather not download a universal player to play all of your favorite songs and movies, this will be an essential boost to your built-in media player.

This comprehensive pack adds support for FLAC, MP4, FLV, and other video formats as well as some obscure audio files on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. You can install it by choosing between two installation modes -- easy and detailed. We recommend using detailed as you will be able … Read more

Apple acquires AlgoTrim, maker of compression tech, report says

Apple has acquired AlgoTrim, a Sweden-based specialist in algorithms for tasks like compressing images, video, and software, the Swedish publication Rapidus reported Wednesday.

The company got its start creating algorithms for feature phones but expanded to smartphones. AlgoTrim's Web site says its technology is used for fast decoding of images in Google's Gallery app for the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android and to compress firmware updates for Android phones for some device makers.

Asked about the report, Apple said in a statement, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not … Read more

Review: Skip the fuss with Axara Audio Converter

If you simply want to convert a funny WAV clip or a cool song in OGG into an MP3 that you can play on a smartphone or similar device as well as share with friends, Axara Audio Converter belongs on your short list, especially since you can try it free for 30 days, though the trial version only converts 30 percent of a file.

Axara Audio Converter's attractive, cleanly-rendered user interface takes its styling cues from Microsoft's Office suite, with a Start button menu and Ribbon-style toolbar that has four background color options. As Axara's documentation describes, … Read more