The anatomy of a video file

The title of the post seems to be a bit nerdy, But trust me, Its not and I’ll keep this as simple as possible.

The container:

This specifies how the information is stored in the video file. Different containers can store different kinds of data. The container has no effect on CPU usage, just on what kinds of things can be saved in the file.

The video:

This is what the picture is stored in. It is what affects the CPU usage the most. Common formats are DivX and XviD (medium CPU, medium quality) and H.264 (high CPU, high quality).

The audio:

This can be either stereo or surround. The format of the audio depends on what the container can store. Common formats include MP3, Vorbits, AC3 and AAC.

The subtitles:

Not every video file has this part. Many times the subtitles are stored as a part of the video (hardsub). Sometimes subtitles are also stored in a separate file. (ASS, SSA, SRT, SUB + IDX)

How can I play all of this?

There are many variations of media players and codec packs
1. VLC media player. – http://videolan.org
2. K-Lite codec pack. – http://bit.ly/LifeLan-klite
3. CCCP – Combined Community Codec Pack (Out of date) – http://cccp-project.net

My processor is so lame that I have trouble playing HD material?

Use CoreAVC codec with Media Player Classic Home Cinema (MPC-HC)
Minimum requirements:
800 MHz Intel Pentium class or equivalent AMD processor.
256 MB of RAM.

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