With so many different codecs to choose from, it is little wonder that codec packs such as K-Lite prove so popular. If you regularly obtain audio and video files from different sources, you may not always know what format they will be provided in and what codec will have been used to encode them. Rather than just installing every available codec, you may want to take a look at MediaInfo Lite, a free tool that can be used to determine just which codec you need.

The program can be used in one of two ways. It installs as a regular Windows application, but it also features context menu integration. You have the option of launching the main program and then selecting the file you would like to know more about, or you can right click on an audio or video file and select the MediaInfo Lite entry that has been added to the menu.

Whichever route you decide to go down, the result will be the same. You will be provided will a screen packed will all manner of details about the currently selected file. You will be told not only about the name and format of the video, but the precise codec that was used during the encoding process – this is very helpful if you have found that you were unable to play the file and just want to install the necessary codec rather than a full codec pack.

But the tool can be used to discover a wealth of additional information about media files. You can learn about video resolution and audio bitrate as well as checking the frame rate of footage and the overall size and length of a file. All of the data is displayed in a handy, easy to read window, but you can also quickly export it to a text file so you can use it in other programs without the need to manually make a note of anything.

Version 0.7.88 (see full changelog for more):

- Tree view for Windows: present the results at the top of the tree
- QuickTime: support of Panasonic AVC-Intra 50/100/200 without SPS/PPS ("aixx" and "AVin" CodecID)
- More QuickTime/MP4/AVC/HEVC color descriptions based on future ISO 23001-8:201x/PDAM1
- FFV1: handling 16+ bitdepth (YUV and RGB) while handling buggy version <= 3 YUV 16-bit streams
- Improved growing file detection, option for forcing the growing file test
- Matroska: support of video FieldOrder, MatrixCoefficients, BitsPerChannel, Range, TransferCharacteristics, Primaries
- Acquisition Metadata: support of more elements (IrisTNumber, IrisRingPosition, FocusRingPosition, ZoomRingPosition, ColorMatrix)
- Add stream counts to MIXML output
- I242, AVI/Matroska: mapping of mjp2 to JPEG 2000 format name
- MPEG-4 Visual: parsing of Studio profiles, providing width/height/frame rate...
- MXF: reading MPEG-4 Visual profile from MXF sub-descriptor and/or EssenceCompression
- MXF: reading Intra GOP info from descriptors + Sequence of images: detection of sequence even if the provided path separator is the Unix one (Windows only)
- Acquisition Metadata: IrisFNumber, FocusPosition, LensZoom were not correctly reported
- LXF: fixed crash in case of some malformed files
- LXF: reject bad frames instead of displaying wrong duration and bit rate


Incredibly useful and a great alternative to simply install a huge number of codecs in case they are needed.