Strange problem playing videos stored in my computer

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Strange problem playing videos stored in my computer
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shobansen
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May 12, 2010 - 9:11 pm
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I use Windows XP Home Edition. This is problem associated with Windows Media Player 11.

I just discovered this problem. I make video files using Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 and save them as MPEG (.mpg) files and store them in My Videos folder in my computer. I upload these files to YouTube and they ALWAYS play normally without any problem. (As of this moment, I have 75 videos in YouTube).

Today, I was trying to watch them in my computer using Windows Media Player 11. Some of the files are playing normally (both audio and video part), but in SOME only the audio is playing but no video (black screen). These are ALL made in the same way, saved in MPEG format, made by the same software ... basically they are all same kind of files. They, of course, are playing in Corel (the software used to create them) and also in another media player called Final Media Player.

I tested WMP in various ways ... played other videos with it and also DVDs (both commercially made and home made by me using the above named Corel software). Everything seems fine. So why it is not playing SOME of my video files created exactly the same way as others?

I tried to research in the mind boggling land of "Codecs". I, of course, don't understand much of the technicalities of the Codecs, Decoders and stuff, but I discovered an utility called "Sherlock" created by a Microsoft MVP engineer. With this amazingly easy to use utility I printed out a 11-page long list of audio and video codecs installed in my computer, in case some Codec Expert wants to know if I have a particular codec installed in my system. The utility says if a particular codec is damaged or out of date, it will notify me in RED. There is not a single red in my 11-page long list!!! Since the list is long, I am not including it here. If any expert in this forum wants to see it, I can e-mail it to him/her.

Any thought anybody?

Shoban Sen

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Jim Hillier
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May 12, 2010 - 11:30 pm
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Hi Shoban - This definitely has the earmarks of a missing codec....my guess would be MPEG-4, but I could be wrong (has been known, surprisingly! )

[quote:1onv3td8]I make video files using Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 and save them as MPEG (.mpg) files[/quote:1onv3td8]

Yes, but MPEG format has different variations; MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-3 and MPEG-4, and your Corel software supports all of them as output file formats. However, WMP does not include native support for all of them.

I suggest you identify the exact video format for the ones which do work for you in WMP. You can view full technical information for any video on your hard drive by using a nice free tool called MediaInfo which you can read about and download from [url=http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/en:1onv3td8]HERE.[/url:1onv3td8]

Use MediaInfo to identify the exact MPEG format of the video files which play OK in WMP and then make sure you select that exact same format for all output files created by the Corel software.

You could probably overcome this problem too by installing a third party media player which supports a lot more codecs than WMP (and setting that as your default player). There are quite a few nice ones around; VLC media player and GOMPlayer spring readily to mind. However, I see you already have Final Media Player installed (which does support MPEG-4) so any extra would probably amount to overkill.

HTH,
Cheers....Jim

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David Hartsock
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May 13, 2010 - 7:20 am
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Hi Shobansen. Glad to see you here on the forum!

I see why you are so frustrated! Codecs and the associated video formats are a huge barrel of formats, framerates, and containers. To further confuse the matter it is possible to have different audio and video formats in the same container.

Jim's advice is good (as always). It will show you the minute differences between the files. It's kind of interesting to see how complicated video actually is!

My advice would be to create a disk image of your computer (in case something goes wrong) and download the K-lite codec pack ([url=http://www.codecguide.com/download_k-lite_codec_pack_full.htm:uei9tl81]32 bit[/url:uei9tl81] and [url=http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/KLite_Codec_Pack_64bit_Addon/1094057842/5/:uei9tl81]64 bit[/url:uei9tl81]). You'll need both versions as they only work with programs of the same bit (32bit codec works with 32bit programs - 64bit codec pack works with native 64bit programs).

Install it using the default settings, except do not install media player classic (uncheck it during the installation process). K-lite should let you play every video and format known to man!

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shobansen
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May 13, 2010 - 11:01 am
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Hi Dave: Thank you very much for your advice. I was thinking in the same line after reading various postings in other forums. I visited the K-lite download page at [url:q6j51h13]http://www.free-codecs.com/download/K_Lite_Codec_Pack.htm[/url:q6j51h13] before. They have three kinds of packs -- Full, Standard, and Basic. [b:q6j51h13]Are you advicing to download and install the Full pack? Please clarify on this.[/b:q6j51h13]

The second question is I already have a bunch of Codecs in my computer (of course, everybody has that). Is there any chance that this K-lite pack might cause any conflict or interference with the existing ones? The only reason why I have not installed the K-lite Codec Pack yet is I am not sure whether they will screw up my system!!

[b:q6j51h13]I know that is why you asked me to create a disk image of my computer first. I shall be completely honest and frank here. I do NOT know how to do that. Can you PLEASE give me step-by-step instructions? Thanks.[/b:q6j51h13]

Is creating disk image different from creating a System Restore Point? I know how to create a System Restore Point.

Shoban

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Jim Hillier
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May 13, 2010 - 5:35 pm
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I have to disagree....the mega codec packs, such as K-lite, are [b:2b2gpeuz]not[/b:2b2gpeuz] a good solution. In fact, I will go so far as to say they are a[b:2b2gpeuz] bad[/b:2b2gpeuz] solution. Or at least [i:2b2gpeuz]can [/i:2b2gpeuz]be. The people who publish these packs do not actually make the tools, they just collect them from wherever and put them together. The packs make many system changes; file associations are altered as the codec pack sets itself as default. This creates an environment where conflicts are not uncommon, [i:2b2gpeuz]especially[/i:2b2gpeuz] with other installed video software such as Corel VideoStudio!

Codec packs offer a download-all-in-one approach which a lot of users find attractive because it provides a simple solution....an easy way out, but in reality these packs can create some serious problems which can often not be fixed by simply removing the pack. Conventional wisdom these days is very much anti codec packs.

If you don't believe me then just Google something like "Codec packs - good or bad" and read through some of the hits in the search results. Here is a link to just one, I strongly recommend you read through it and then decide: http://www.howtogeek.com/wiki/.....ks_Are_Bad

Shoban - Trust me...the safest way for you to overcome your problem is to first identify the exact format which is not being played correctly by WMP. Then, once that has been identified, download and install just that missing codec. MediaInfo will identify the format for you and if you need any help locating the correct codec...you know where to come.

There is absolutely no need to create any backup images (as a safety net) if you do it that way.

Cheers now....Jim

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grr
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May 13, 2010 - 10:23 pm
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i myself use Klite codec...so i would suggest it. Full Version..

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Jim Hillier
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May 13, 2010 - 10:42 pm
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Grr - Just because you have K-Lite codec pack installed and it works OK for you, that does not necessarily mean it will be the same for everyone.

There would be lots of people who have done the same...installed a codec pack and experienced zero issues BUT there are also plenty who [i:3ikqobe0]have[/i:3ikqobe0] experienced serious issues. It is very much hit and miss.

It depends largely on what other video/DVD type software is also installed on the host machine.

I am right into video and DVD software...I have plenty installed on my machine. I know very well how to 'safely' overcome problems associated with missing codecs and I would never recommend installing one the codec packs to anyone who is working with 3rd party video/DVD software.

Cheers....Jim

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Chad Johnson
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May 13, 2010 - 11:33 pm
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The only time a codec pack has worked correctly for me was when it was the first thing I installed after a Windows installed.
So Jim, in short, I agree with you. However, to Dave's point, he did recommend the full image first, just in case.

That's my two cents.

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Jim Hillier
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May 14, 2010 - 12:53 am
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Yep, agreed Zigmeister [i:1qcvq727][b:1qcvq727]but[/b:1qcvq727][/i:1qcvq727] that recommendation alone (to create a full image first) would seem to indicate there is a fairly high level of risk involved.

Cheers mate...Jim

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grr
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May 14, 2010 - 2:42 am
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I am right into video and DVD software...I have plenty installed on my machine. I know very well how to 'safely' overcome problems associated with missing codecs [/quote:lri3kpx9]

Nice to know that Jim..I should say I have been quite lucky to have no issues with codecs at all..[b:lri3kpx9][i:lri3kpx9][color=#FF80FF:lri3kpx9]Touchwood[/color:lri3kpx9][/i:lri3kpx9][/b:lri3kpx9]

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Chad Johnson
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May 14, 2010 - 9:24 am
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Yep, agreed Zigmeister [i:ve7d7gij][b:ve7d7gij]but[/b:ve7d7gij][/i:ve7d7gij] that recommendation alone (to create a full image first) would seem to indicate there is a fairly high level of risk involved.

Cheers mate...Jim[/quote:ve7d7gij]

FWIW - I recommend creating a full image before installing any software. Never know what could go wrong and make your system unusable...

--Chad

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shobansen
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May 14, 2010 - 2:53 pm
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Wow. in order to avoid a conflict in my computer by downloading and installing the K-lite Codec Pack (Full), I asked the experts of this forum a question. Now I find that in the process, I created a conflict between the forum members here. LOL.

No, just kidding. Actually, I am happy that I have started a stimulating and thought provoking discussion. I have been carefully reading all the answers to my question with much interest. Before I go on to my next point, let me clarify that I have only an academic interest in this subject. This little problem is NOT hampering my work in any way. I can see my videos with other programs, I have all of them in DVDs which I can watch in my computer, and I have them all in YouTube. I just want to learn -- I am a life-long learner!

Now let me mention another thing that I did not mention earlier. This may or may not have relevance to my orininal problem. I also have RealPlayer (latest version) in my computer. This RealPlayer CANNOT play [b:2wd6pp2d]any[/b:2wd6pp2d] of my .mpg video files that I have created using Corel VideoStudio Pro X2. It keeps on saying,

[color=#0080FF:2wd6pp2d]"In order for RealPlayer to play MPEG-2 files, you must first install a DirectShow-compatible MPEG-2 decoder on your computer. Most computer DVD playback software includes a DirectShow-compatible MPEG-2 decoder. If you have DVD playback software installed, please try re-installing this software before attempting to playback MPEG-2 content." [/color:2wd6pp2d]

Now, that prompted me to do some research on which, if any, MPEG-2 decoder (DVD decoder) is installed in my computer. I was surprised because if I don't have MPEG-2 decoder, how can I play DVDs in my computer? WMP plays ALL DVDs in my computer -- store bought and home made!

I always start my research at the source, in this case Microsoft. Soon I discovered Microsoft offers an utility to "Genuine Windows users" called [b:2wd6pp2d]Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility[/b:2wd6pp2d] which can be downloaded from

[url:2wd6pp2d]http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=DE1491AC-0AB6-4990-943D-627E6ADE9FCB&displaylang=en[/url:2wd6pp2d]

I downloaded this utility, installed it, and let it checkup what I have in my computer. This is what it found:

[attachment=0:2wd6pp2d]video_decoder_checkup_utility.jpg[/attachment:2wd6pp2d]

I shall stop here now for interested people to study it, comment on it, and to ask me specific questions. (I hope the picture uploads correctly and it is readable.)

My question to the experts in this forum: Should I download and install more MPEG-2 Decoder(s)? If so, which one(s) and from where? Or, should I uninstall and then re-install my Windows Media Player 11 as RealPlayer is suggesting?? BTW, my Windows XP is set to get all critical updates AUTOMATICALLY, and I just checked manually. It is not missing any update. One more info: I also have Winows Media Center in my computer which I almost never use! I am mentioning this because I have read from Microsoft's web site that there may be issues associated with Media Center 2005 and WMP. But if I understood it correctly, that is about installing WMP and it can be corrected by installing a particular Windows update. I don't think my problem is associated with that.

[b:2wd6pp2d]And oh, if you cannot read anything from the above screenshot, let me know[/b:2wd6pp2d]. I shall write the names of all those MPEG-2 Decoders, and their file names etc. That will be a pain in the neck though! Can you magify the browser screen to read them?

Thanking everybody helping me out in advance.

Shoban Sen
(Still young at 69)

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Jim Hillier
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May 14, 2010 - 4:23 pm
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FWIW - I recommend creating a full image before installing any software. Never know what could go wrong and make your system unusable...[/quote:2knfxe6u]

Well Zig, I would consider that to be a slightly over-cautious approach. It certainly doesn't hurt to play it safe but perhaps employing that method, even for trusted software which has historically been proven safe, may be leaning just a tad too far in that direction.

Also, one needs to bear in mind; we are very familiar with the terminology and processes involved but the majority of 'average' users would have no idea (maybe a vague idea) what 'creating a full system image' means, let alone what it entails.

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Jim Hillier
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May 14, 2010 - 6:18 pm
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Hi Shoban - No conflict mate...just a healthy debate.

When it comes to computers and the myriad of associated fields, Dave is by far and away the cleverest and most knowledgeable person I have ever come into contact with. He is the master!! I would never normally disagree with any advice he gives....simply because taking that path generally turns out to be harmful to ones ego. In this case, however, you have broached a subject about which I have some knowledge (limited as that may be), born from personal experience so I was prepared to take the risk.

It seems to me Shoban you are somewhat attempting to run before you have learned to walk. Video, DVD, audio, codecs, formats....it's a highly complex subject matter. If you wish to expand your knowledge I recommend you start from the beginning by learning the basics first. Here are some of the answers you would need to research:

What is a format and what is a codec? What is the difference?
What is a container?
What is an encoder and what is a decoder?
What is MPEG and why are there so many variations?
What is the difference between MPEG-2 and VOB?

An understanding of those things would be a good starting point.

I am not being critical of your level of ability at all. It's just that learning the basics will answer a lot of the simpler questions for you and also help with your comprehension of more complex matters.....hope you understand.

Now I'll try and answer some of your questions:
[quote:osssp1uo]Should I download and install more MPEG-2 Decoder(s)?[/quote:osssp1uo]

No, why bother? You can already play MPEG-2 in a number of ways.

[quote:osssp1uo]should I uninstall and then re-install my Windows Media Player 11[/quote:osssp1uo]

No. If it ain't broke it don't need fixing. Sounds to me as though the problem lies with RealPlayer not WMP.

[quote:osssp1uo]I also have Windows Media Center in my computer which I almost never use! I am mentioning this because I have read from Microsoft's web site that there may be issues associated with Media Center 2005 and WMP. But if I understood it correctly, that is about installing WMP and it can be corrected by installing a particular Windows update. I don't think my problem is associated with that. [/quote:osssp1uo]

Read the MS support pages re this subject: [url=http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11/readme.aspx:osssp1uo]HERE[/url:osssp1uo] (see under "Installing the Player on Windows XP Media Center Edition") and [url=http://support.microsoft.com/KB/900325:osssp1uo]HERE.[/url:osssp1uo]

Cheers now....Jim

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Chad Johnson
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May 14, 2010 - 8:14 pm
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FWIW - I recommend creating a full image before installing any software. Never know what could go wrong and make your system unusable...[/quote:ajlvj9ma]

Well Zig, I would consider that to be a slightly over-cautious approach. It certainly doesn't hurt to play it safe but perhaps employing that method, even for trusted software which has historically been proven safe, may be leaning just a tad too far in that direction.

Also, one needs to bear in mind; we are very familiar with the terminology and processes involved but the majority of 'average' users would have no idea (maybe a vague idea) what 'creating a full system image' means, let alone what it entails.[/quote:ajlvj9ma]

Hrm. Fine. Call me out on a quick reply.

There is some software I run the full image for first, and some where I take the chance. Anymore, I keep a base image of my system (fresh install) and install with reckless abandon, but I don't recommend that for most people.

And you're right, I got carried away. I'll let you go back to discussing codecs and encoders and all the other things I have a loose grasp on.

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