VIDEO CODEC  What are they + Types + How to install ▷ 2020

Taking into account all the multimedia information that we visualize every day, we undoubtedly need a small piece of software that nobody gives the value it deserves. This is the so-called video codec. In this post, we are going to talk about what these elements of audiovisual files are so present, without our knowing it, in our day to day.

If we didn’t use codecs, it would be impossible to enjoy watching a movie or just listening to a song. Its function consists, in short, in encode and decode signals.

There are a good number of codecs different for each type of file and each of them has been created for a task specific. But the technology in which they are designed is quite new and it can surely catch your attention. Read on to learn more about what what are these tiny video softwares and the characteristics of each one of them.

What is a video codec and what is this type of program used for?

what is video codec

As we have indicated at the beginning of this post, a codec is the software that takes care of encode analog data to digital (compressing the digital stream so that its length is much smaller and can fit within the available storage medium) and to decode these, when necessary, for work and reproduce them in a format that the user can see or hear.

The latter occurs simply when we click on the file to play it, taking place in a few tenths of a second.

The task of codecs is quite complicated, because they all cause some quality to be lost by reducing the file size. Information is compressed as it is saved and decompressed while playback is in progress.

From the above we can say that the video codecTherefore, it is any small software that complies with what is described in the previous paragraph and that works with audiovisual files, that is, video.

This is part of a set of many elements that come together to form the file: other codecs, image data, text, audio, interaction. Which is all packed into a container.

What are the main types of video codecs out there?


We can make a classification based on different aspects, such as the usefulness or loss of information. Depending on the utility, each video codec has been implemented by a different company and has its own algorithm.

Their specifications are different and apply to different fields. Therefore, you have to knowing how to choose perfectly the one we need depending on what we want to use it for.

To play

They are those that are thought to work very quickly and make playback of the file they accompany have the best features (clarity, fluency, etc).

Often, are required to be able to execute audiovisual files in somewhat strange formats which, by default, our equipment does not read, interpret or reproduce properly. The codecs work on these unreadable files so you can enjoy them.

To edit

Contrary to what we have just seen, the editing codecs are intended to keep even the smallest detail of the file so that the whole, 100%, is available to be modified. The procedure for handling files is slower because there is much more information to show, looking for quality to be maintained.

Another way to classify these softwares, and this time we are not only talking about the video ones but about all of them at a general level is depending on the loss that they cause to occur.

Lossy codec

It is the one that, when it starts up and begins to compress the files, makes they lose part of their content. In this case, you get lighter files.

Lossless codec

The encoding occurs but the result is a file that, because of not having decreased its quality by not losing parts, it is much heavier.

How to install an audiovisual codec in your editor or video player quickly and easily

Installing a video codec on our computers is a simple task. In fact, This is not usually done individually but in ready-made packages that include several of them.

If the idea is to find a single codec in particular, we must emphasize that this will become quite a complicated task unless, as we say, we find it within a pcl and get hold of it.

We can get the package K-Lite Codec Pack, which comes with all the necessary software for video and audio playback to play practically any type of file. It is the best valued and certainly one one of the most complete to get for free.

We also recommend the pack CCCP, which is also well stocked in terms of quantity and variety. When we install it, will do an analysis on the computer to see the codecs already present within the system. This the user is notified and gives you the option of keeping it or replacing it with the correct and most current codec.

In any case, knowing that there are many others and that there are no better or worse but some that better adapt to our needs; it’s just a matter of searching.

If we connect to the microsoft store directly we can get codecs that we need in a simple way. Also, only in this way will we be able to install them on our equipment.or as if it were one more application, with the approval of the corporation, that is, without the “handicap” of installing something unofficial, of doubtful origin or potentially harmful.

But, come on, this is something that the company releases us when we install practically anything so if any of the packs that we have proposed or another are of your interest, go ahead with the installation.

Any pack it is downloaded compressed and / or in an executable and it is installed as we do with any other file. Double click, follow the installer instructions, and voila! The software remains on your computer and you will be able to play multimedia files that you may not have been capable of before.

Sometimes we can access the help menu of our editing or reproduction program and from there look for the option where it invites us to find and install the codecs needed to view each image. This other way of, in the end, taking us to the same place.

List of the best codecs to edit or play audiovisual content of all kinds

Videos are compressed by a series of codecs, and we have already seen that in the compression process it is possible that they lose some information; this will depend on the software used.

Then, we are going to show which are the most commonly used video codecs for editing and playing audiovisual content:

best video codecs


It is one of the best known by users. Provides a lots of possibilities at the time of compression of the files.

The three best known types are:

  • MPEG-1: Is used to make the VCDs. It combines with MPS codec for audio encoding. It provides a lot of support on all types of computers, which is why it is available to the vast majority. Its quality is not too good, because only allows progressive scanning to be performed from image.
  • MPEG-2: Image quality is slightly higher to the previous one. It is very frequently used in DVD’s, since it allows you to make a progressive and interlaced scanning of the files.
  • MPEG-4: It has been developed based on the previous model, but improving compression methods, making it the best codec in the whole family. It focuses on the distribution of content in networks so, in addition to being good with video, it includes audio specifications and interactivity.

H.264 or MPEG-4 AVC

This was created in 2003. It is one of the most widely used because it has a high compression capacity and minimal loss of information and quality in doing so. It is mostly used to compress 3D or HD videos although we currently see it a lot in streaming in real time.

Nowadays H.265 codec already exists, which is capable of compressing videos in 4D, although it is not really used, in part, due to the little content available.


It is the first video codec to be used in DVD movies. His initial goal was to decrease video size and burn content to CD without compressing audio.

An alternative was created for this codec, called XVID, although the former was better in terms of quality. In addition, there were a large number of players that supported it, so that it remained at the forefront without achieving that the competitor that left it made a notable niche in the market.


It is a VP3 based codec created for light duty hardware it consumes very little CPU. Works with a block-based compression for movement so that there is no final loss of quality although if it is transcoded to VP3 that loss can be avoided.


It is a codec created with free code. It was made to be able compete with H.264, since their characteristics are very similar.

We wanted to introduce you to the best known. However, there are many more that you can use. You just have to take a look at any available package and you will see that you will find dozens of them, although in the end they always end up using them for their versatility, utility and good characteristics.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

You may be interested:

Rate this post

Leave a Comment