Media Players and Codec's: A Beginner's Guide One of the benefits of the technology dominated age that we live in is that now, more than ever before, people have the ability to share digital media with one another. Digital media is an invaluable tool that has a bevy of practical applications it can be used for. But like tangible media, it has many options and can be difficult to navigate at first. Digital media, in layman's terms, can be simply defined as any form of electronic media. The most prevalent examples are video games, music and video files. Since there is so much material that falls under that umbrella, and being that most people are already familiar with how to use video games and music files, we will focus our attention on video files.You need two things in order to play a video file on your computer. The first is a media player (this is a program that allows you to view the video files on your computer.) There are literally dozens of media players available on the Internet, and some of these players can even be downloaded for free. The operating system Windows even comes with its own media player, which is called Windows Media Player. Using these applications is incredibly simple. In most cases, all you have to do is click on the video file in question and the media player will begin to play it. However, it is very common to see an error message that says "The application cannot play the file because the codec has not been found." This brings us to the second thing that you need to play a video file, which is a codec.
A codec is a program that allows you to play a certain type of video file. Just as there are different home video formats such as VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD there are several types of video files that your computer is capable of viewing. The most common ones are AVI and DIVX, and both codec's are not only free but easy to find on the Internet. AVI is definately the most common type of file format for video, and the AVI codec is installed by default in most media players. DIVX, which is a higher quality video codec, is more common in web based players(which you let you watch a video online without downloading it to your computer), but enough video files are released in that format that you should be familiar with it. Just as there are several file formats, there are also several media players to watch video on. DIVX, QuickTime (for Macs), and RealPlayer are all common and very easy to find. It is important that you pay attention when downloading a video file so that you know what codec your computer needs to run it. If you don't have the correct codec, you will not be able to view the file. There are always new programs and formats being released, so the more you pay attention to what's going on in cyberspace, the easier the world of computerized video will be to navigate.