Your friend said it is a great movie but the damn thing won't play on your computer. The screen remains black and you hear no audio at all. Many users tend to download a huge codec package and install it on their system if they encounter playback issues on it.
Sure, the movie most likely plays fine after installation of the codec pack, but it is certainly overkill to get it to play as you install dozens of codecs on the system even though you may only need one or two to play the movie.
MediaInfo scans a video or audio file and displays its technical information in its interface afterwards. Information include general information like title, author and duration but also relevant information about the audio and video codec used to create the file. The freeware provides a link to a player who is playing that file and a link to the codec if you already have a favorite player.
The supported formats list is to large to be listed here at Ghacks, take a look at the MediaInfo supported formats list for a complete listing. A similar tool is Gspot which offers basically the same functionality and is freeware as well.
Both tools offer in depth information about the analyzed file which help if you encounter other problems, for example bitrate related problems.
To use Media Info, simply install the program first on your system. You should pay attention to the installation dialog as a third party toolbar is selected for installation by default. If you do not want to install it, disable it during setup.
Click on File > Open and select the video that you want to analyze to get started with the program. You can afterwards click on the go to a website link to visit a website with a player that can play the video file or the go to the web site of this video codec instead.
Update: You can alternatively switch to a movie player that supports the majority of video and audio formats out of the box, without codec installation worries. Popular media players that support this are SMPlayer and VLC Media Player, both of which are free to use.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.