One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with media files is that seemingly identical files are anything but. Why is it you’re able to play one AVI video file, but not another? How come that .MP4 video plays flawlessly, but this one just won’t open?
The problem is that the three-letter file extension is just part of the makeup of a video file. You need to identify the actual codecs used to render the audio and video, which can be tricky without third-party help. Thankfully, there’s a free tool that can identify those codecs for you in the form of MediaInfo Lite.
Once installed, you can use MediaInfo Lite one of two ways – open it manually and browse for a video file, or locate the video file on your hard drive, right-click it and choose MediaInfo.
Either way you’ll get a pop-up window displaying detailed information about the media file in question, including sections dedicated to Video and Audio. It’s here you’ll find the all-important Codec ID you need to help you identify the file and possible reason why it won’t play on your PC.
And what do you do when you’ve discovered the all-important, mysterious codec? You have a number of choices. You can try hunting it down –to locate individual codecs, try Googling the name of the codec, plus the word ‘codec’ and maybe ‘download’ to see what turns up. Alternatively, you’ll find many codecs are part of the various K-Lite Codec Packs.
Alternatively, consider switching media player to one that can handle a wider range of formats. And when it comes to handling a wide range of formats, there’s none better than VLC Media Player. Alternatively, try converting the video into a format your current media player can handle, using a free tool such as Freemake Video Converter.
MediaInfo Lite 0.7.59 is a freeware download for PCs running Windows XP or later.