Ians Site

A/V codec help and links

This is just a page of links to various media players, codecs, and plugins. The idea is that I can link here from where ever I provide video or audio files. Hopefully this will save me from getting emails asking "how do I play your weird em-kay-vee files?".

Linux, *BSD, *NIX

Windows '95, '98, Me,
NT4, 2000, XP



  • MPlayer. The all-singing all-dancing media player for Linux and *BSD. Just be sure you have all the libraries, etc for the formats you want to play. Not for the faint of heart, but it's worth it.
  • Xine. The other media player for Linux. This one has a GUI and supports the interactive menus of DVDs.
  • Media Player Classic. An Open Source™ re-implementation of MS's Windows Media Player. It may not look as pretty, but it sure makes up for it in features. The biggest feature, in my opinion, is that it also plays QuickTime and Real content thus avoiding the horrible Quicktime player and RealPlayer. Seriously, I'm not the only person that finds Apples' player is, ironically, a usability nightmare.


Matroska is a new multimedia container format. i.e it contains and interleaves the contents of one or more audio and/or video files. Put simply, it's like MS's AVI format or Apples' MOV (quicktime) format.
For Debian/unstable users, add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list:

		  deb http://www.bunkus.org/debian/unstable/ ./
apt-get install mkvtoolnix
  • Matroska splitter - allows Media Player and other apps to decode .mkv files. You still need the individual codecs to play the content, so be sure to get FFdshow, OggDS, etc.


An Open Source™ MPEG-4 video codec. XViD recently won a codec test on the Doom9 site against several big-name codecs.
  • FFDshow download. A port of the video decoder (encoder?) from FFmpeg. Will play (almost?) any MPEG-4 video e.g DiVX 3/4/5, OpenDiVX, XViD.

Ogg Vorbis

An Open Source™ audio codec. It achieves better quality than MP3 at similar bitrates. Its quality is perhaps more like AAC, the MPEG-4 audio codec being used by Apple in its iPod portable music player and iTunes music store. Ogg Vorbis also supports up to 256 channels and flexible channel coupling (like joint stereo in MP3), so it's ready for than just portable music players.
  • OggDS for playing Vorbis files with Media Player and Vorbis audio tracks in movie files.
  • WinAmp includes native support for Ogg Vorbis audio in versions 3 and 5.

Ian Tester