I hate codecs. I hate that I have to play games to get certain files to do certain things on my HTPC. It drives me nuts that every time you install a codec pack it rarely uninstalls cleanly and you have a machine that is bug ridden just because you wanted to get a certain file type working.
Personally, I’ve become a minimalist. As long as my HTPC can playback Media Center native files (DVR-MS, WTV) as well as AVIs and MKVs then I’m set. What happens when you need more though? A codec pack is fast and easy. It’s not however, always the best solution.
Andy Van Till, author of DVRMS Toolbox, may have the answer. Andy hates codec packs like I do and so he’s gone and created his own. It sounds like backwards thinking but when you call your software “Antipack” it starts to make sense:
The real problem with PCs (and not just in this case) is complexity; most (understandably) want the convenience and not the hassle of dealing with containers and codecs so they turn to a pack to solve the immediate need. I completely understand that it’s a complex topic; something that everyone that has ever tried to get mystery file X to play has struggled with. Doing it the right way is hard, where codec packs are easy. After repeating “uninstall the codec pack” more times than I care to remember, I figured it was time to do something proactively to hopefully reduce the pain. So it is with some hesitation (and irony) that I’ve decided to roll my own “codec pack”.
AntiPack is intended to be part guide and part installer; hopefully making it easy enough for everyone to understand what they are doing, and provide an excellent/easy end user experience at the same time. Most important it is based on the filters I use on my system. Most are almost completly stock (with some changes to merit to reduce the arms-race nature of many OSS filters) but some I have customized to fix issues or to make them play nice with other filters.
You can find Andy’s complete write-up along with a ton of walk-through screenshots over at Missing Remote. Andy has taken time to spell out exactly what you need to do to get the most out of your HTPC and hopefully not cause issues that develop into WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) killing problems. Once you’ve read up and are ready to go, be sure to take time to check out DVR-MS Toolbox as well. This app does more than the name suggests and it has become a “must install” on my HTPC.