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 0.7.93 (see full changelog for more):

+ Matroska: detection of native FFV1 CodecID ("V_FFV1")
+ AC-3/E-AC-3: detection of Atmos inside core streams
+ AC-3/E-AC-3: slight reorganization of metadata display for dual mono and surround
+ AC-3/E-AC-3: "complete main" and similar info moved to "Service kind" dedicated line
+ AC-3/E-AC-3: more precision about how is built a stream (e.g. "E-AC-3+Atmos / E-AC-3" or "TrueHD+Atmos / TrueHD / AC-3")
+ WTV: basic detection
+ MPEG-TS: Detection of Opus
+ URL: "URLEncode" option for saying if the input should be URL encoded or not (default is guess = no change except if it contains spaces)
x MediaTrace: for bitstreams (not bytestreams), bit offset was wrong
x HLS: duration was sometimes wrong, reading only the first TS file duration. Now full duration is displayed
x MPEG-TS: if stream is encrypted or invalid, level was sometimes not the expected one for AVC (e.g. "[email protected]" instead of "[email protected]")
x Matroska: FFV1 stream width/height was not initialized when Matroska track header width/height is after CodecID
x FFV1: fix potential crash with some buggy slice headers
x Matroska: crash in case of big attachment and CRC32 presen

Verdict

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