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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

10 must-see videos of the week

It's Friddday! Which means it's time to roundup the best of the week in CNET video.

In our latest installment of our new How-To, DIY-tech series, The Fix, our resident how-to guru's offer up expert advice on building the ultimate home theater. They'll show you how to easily and affordably install a TV, give you tips on choosing the right screen size, as well as our top three ways to add audio to your home theater. You'll be your own home theater specialist by episode's end.

Earlier this week, Amazon revealed that it would … Read more

Mophie Space Pack, hands-on: An iPhone case with battery and extra storage, too

The two biggest problems plaguing most iPhone owners are the twin desires for more battery life and more storage space -- at least, those are my top two. What if you could kill both birds with one not-too-heavy accessory?

The Mophie Space Pack does, indeed, offer up both: a full-charge battery case, with 16 or 32GB of extra flash storage thrown right in. Sound like the best iPhone-as-camera accessory ever made? It very nearly is, if you can accept a high price and some limitations.

The Space Pack looks and performs like Mophie's other iPhone 5/5S battery-pack cases: … Read more

Cobra announces CES lineup of mobile Bluetooth speakers and portable chargers

Mobile and navigation accessories manufacturer Cobra Electronics announced a bevy of new products today, which it plans to demo next week during CES 2014 in Las Vegas.

Two of the devices include the Cobra AirWave Mini and AirWave Box (pictured above). Unlike the original AirWave, which we saw at CTIA 2013, these gadgets not only receive audio via a Bluetooth connection, but play it as well.

The Mini will be available in February for $39.99 and features a rugged, weatherproof design. The Box also has a durable construction with a soft-touch rubber exterior, but it can be fully dunked … Read more

How to 'dislike' something on Facebook...Messenger

For years Facebook users have been asking for the ability to dislike a post on the social network. It only makes sense users would want to express disapproval for some of the posts they're subjected to. Up until now, Facebook hasn't provided an easy way to do this short of leaving a nasty comment.

Earlier this week, Facebook finally gave in and provided a method for users to show displeasure. But instead of providing a dislike button on status updates, Facebook has released a sticker pack for Facebook Messenger that includes a thumbs-down icon, as first reported by … 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

Nine capacious juice packs to consider before your next trip

I've never met anyone who is completely satisfied with the battery life of his or her mobile device. And now that the FAA has given the green light to using electronics during takeoff and landing, you'll need even a few minutes more of juice.

The good news is there's a plethora of battery packs (aka juice packs) that now offer you many ways to conveniently carry extra power with you. Following are my nine favorite juice packs that, when paired with a mobile device, are great not only for long flights, but also when you're out … Read more

The BoostTurbine 4000 powers your gadgets with elbow grease

The Eton BoostTurbine 4000 is a unique portable charger. It's half everyday battery pack that can charge many modern smartphones, and half emergency power backup, thanks to its hand crank that lets you harness your elbow grease to power your dead iPhone. That makes it an ideal backup battery for powering your gadgets away from home, and helps you get power when there is no other power source, such as during a blackout, while you're camping, or if you've traveled to a remote area.

Most emergency backup power sources I've come across, like this Ambient Weather modelRead more

Keurig's tasty new Vue coffee tech

When its patent on the highly successful K-Cup technology expired in 2012, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which acquired Keurig back in 2006, needed a new gameplan. Its answer: the Keurig Vue, a single-serve coffee brewer that uses the new Vue pack, a coffee pod that's patent-protected through 2021.

Does the new design make the $199.99 Keurig Vue V700 a worthy addition to your kitchen? For many coffee drinkers we say "yes." If you're committed to pod-based coffee, the V700 and the Vue pack make a better-tasting cup than the K-Cup equivalent. And, unlike the K-Cup, … Read more

Review: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack manages files created with Office 2007

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack makes files created with Office 2007 and later work seamlessly on earlier versions of Office. If you're using an unpatched version of Office, this download will fix it. However, before you install this pack, make sure to download and install all of the latest updates from Microsoft.

If you're still using Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003, then this patch will help you easily open, edit, and save files created with newer versions of Office. It's a surprisingly big download -- checking in at 37MB. That means you should set aside some … Read more