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 0.7.95 (see full changelog for more):

+ EBUCore: EBUCore 1.8 with acquisition metadata output.
+ Better support of growing files, especially when accessed by FTP
+ Matroska: better support of some broken files (high EBMLMaxSizeLength, padding before start of EBML)
+ EXR: showing Multipart and Deep flags
+ EXR: show image compression method
x EBUCore: fixed display aspect ratio (was using rational)
x EBUCore: fixed frame rate factor (was num/den instead of factor)
x AVC: some streams with dynamic frame type were having a wrong frame rate
x MPEG-4: some old AAC tracks were not correctly detected
x Matroska: was sometimes displaying "Bit depth: Bit0" when bit depth is unknown
x Nut: fix crash with some files
x FFV1: PixelAspectRatio was an integer, switched to 3-digit rational
x DTS: fix frame count
x Dolby E: fix frame count
x EBUCore: fix regression creating invalid XML files
x AVC: some streams with dynamic frame type were having a wrong frame rate
x I490, EXR: was not supporting valid 31-char attribute names


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