What video player can play avi files
April 10, 2007 4:04 PM   Subscribe

I downloaded thie following files from bit torrent 30.Rock.S01E08.REPACK.HDTV.XviD-NoTV.avi 30.Rock.S01E12.HDTV.XviD-NoTV.avi and find I can't play them on any of my media players (Real, Windows Media Player, Winamp). All say it is unrecognized. Any suggestions?
posted by quintno to Computers & Internet (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps your torrent client hasn't finished downloading the complete file. Windows Media Player usually plays AVI files by default, but the other two you listed can also. It might also require a non-standard codec for some reason. hope this ends well
posted by Burhanistan at 4:07 PM on April 10, 2007

I play .avi files with VLC.
posted by xo at 4:07 PM on April 10, 2007

As a wild guess, perhaps you don't yet have the Xvid codec installed? Alternatively, the VLC media player often manages the parts that other players can't reach.
posted by chrismear at 4:08 PM on April 10, 2007

VLC Media Player will probably play it.

And if you want to burn it onto DVD, try DVD Flick.

(Assuming you are using a recent version of Windows.)
posted by Ike_Arumba at 4:08 PM on April 10, 2007

Normally I would call you a pirate and throw things at you, but I personally believe downloading TV shows is no different than tivoing them. Use VLC player to open those files.
posted by saraswati at 4:08 PM on April 10, 2007

Or try googling for "Windows Media Player Classic" ... which was my default until I started using VLC. VLC gets everything, if reinstalling codecs for XVID fails, you have a bad copy. There's got to be a dozen of different releases of that episode on the torrent sites or on usenet.
posted by geoff. at 4:12 PM on April 10, 2007

Sorry for the wrath this question incurred. I don't "pirate" material as a practice, but since I missed my chance to see these when they were posted on the NBC.com site (and I figured NBC was fine with the shows being posted), I didn't feel I was violating copyright provisions. Again, my apologies.
posted by quintno at 4:16 PM on April 10, 2007

It's fine. Network TV is free, and you're probably not going to rebroadcast this in your bar or something. It would be helpful to spell out your intent a little clearer so flamers might be more reluctant to rev their engines.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:19 PM on April 10, 2007

I'm quite partial to both VLC and MPC which were mentioned earlier.

However, if you have a favorite media player you want to use, you'll need to install the DivX/Xvid codec (as apparent in the XviD in the file name). I would recommend downloading the ffdshow library, which will install all the codecs you'll need.
posted by aranyx at 4:35 PM on April 10, 2007

The Combined Community Codec Pack should permit you to watch whatever-it-is using your favorite video player program.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:42 PM on April 10, 2007

VCL rocks my face off
posted by craven_morhead at 4:44 PM on April 10, 2007

Wikipedia article about the CCCP.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:44 PM on April 10, 2007

the MPAA thinks this is copyright violation

The MPAA thinks pausing a show while you take a piss is copyright violation. Well, the CEO of Turner does anyway.

It's not unknown for dud files to be released using standard release group nomenclature. The TV and movie companies contract with certain companies to do this. The idea is that poisoning the network like this delays you getting real stuff, because your connection is tied up grabbing duds. These vanish quite quickly from the bittorrent aggregator sites as people drop them, but it can take several days - they have a half life. You may have one of these. Run AVICodec or GSpot on it to check it's really an AVI.
posted by meehawl at 4:44 PM on April 10, 2007

Actually, NBC is not fine with it. I got a cease and desist letter yesterday through my ISP because I had downloaded the finale of Battlestar Galactica after my Tivo missed it.
posted by saffry at 4:49 PM on April 10, 2007

VLC is definitely the way to go; if that doesn't play the file, then the file is probably bad. That happens occasionally, so worst-case scenario, you'll need to download the episode again. (I would go for a different version of the file; try a different release group.)

Most BT trackers have a way of leaving comments on a file, you can also try a torrent that has some positive comments on it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:55 PM on April 10, 2007

posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:07 PM on April 10, 2007

A good resource in this situation is Media Info. It adds a "Media Info" entry to your right-click menu, and then will tell you the codec information of the file.

Also, I use Media Player Classic to watch all my video & dvds.
posted by blind.wombat at 5:14 PM on April 10, 2007

I've had one or two DivX/avi files that VLC player could not handle, and with those I have had luck with the ffdshow codec bundle/decoder. Once you run the installer it automatically decodes a bunch of video formats for Windows Media Player or Media Player Classic (I don't think it automatically takes over the VLC codecs though).
posted by p3t3 at 5:16 PM on April 10, 2007

Do not use shovelware codec packs. They will bork your system. Uninstall them if you have any.

VLC is a good choice, but I personally find the interface execrable, and don't use it except to try and view damaged video files, where it works pretty well.

There is nothing -- literally nothing in the seven years or more than I've been using it, and watching 99% of my TV and movie consumption on my PC -- that the Defiler pack (which is basically just ffdshow with a couple of supportive bits) in combination with Media Player Classic has not been able to handle.

The beauty of ffdshow, both for audio and video, is once you've got it configured to throw up tray icons, it is massively configurable, although default setttings work just fine.

Note that the author of the Defiler pack is in late beta stages of testing a new pack with the help of the SH/SC goons, with a newer, good fork of ffdshow, with an eye to being the best codec solution on Vista as well.

Trust me on this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:20 PM on April 10, 2007 [3 favorites]

[a few comments removed, please don't have the pirate discussions here.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:05 PM on April 10, 2007

Kinda surprised no one mentioned mplayer.

But yeah: codecs.
posted by baylink at 6:06 PM on April 10, 2007

Seconding everything stavrosthewonderchicken said, I've been codec wrangling for years and nothing's cleaner and easier than Deflierpack and MPC.
posted by bizwank at 6:31 PM on April 10, 2007

(By the way, I'd recommend getting the Defiler pack over directly searching for ffdshow, as there are various code forks and versions out there, some of which are demonstrably better performing than others. Defiler makes it a point to use the best recent build in his release, and wraps it in a configurable unified installer/uninstaller with the other components that makes life easier.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on April 10, 2007

nth-ing VLC. best media player evarrrr
posted by mittenedsex at 6:36 PM on April 10, 2007

Nthing VLC too. Interface is not great (just as bad as WMP but in different way?) but will play pretty much everything you throw at it.
posted by singingfish at 6:47 PM on April 10, 2007

Using another player is fine, but what if you don't want to? After all, the Xvid codec is what is necessary and sufficient. Google for "K-lite codec" pack, which is a free bundle that'll allow you to play your divx and xvid files on your favorite player once it is installed.
posted by dendrite at 7:16 PM on April 10, 2007

For what it's worth, I strongly recommend that you do not follow dendrite's advice, for reasons I mentioned above. Any codec pack that shovels in enough possibly-conflicting codecs will allow any player to play the video in question (although there are some players, like VLC, that use their own internal codecs), but codec packs are more trouble than they're worth.

Again, Defiler pack (which shouldn't be called a codec pack, as it is basically a user-friendly distro of ffdshow (which is effectively a 'universal' codec) with some supporting stuff) will do the same, and be much, much less trouble.

My recommendation of Media Player Classic is independant of my recommendation for the Defiler pack. I just think it is the best, most lightweight and well-designed player of the moment (actually the last several years), and can be configured to use ffdshow or its own internal codecs for audio and video, even though it just works without tweaking as well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:26 PM on April 10, 2007

Though stavros does not provide any citation or example of how codec packs "can be more trouble than their worth," I'll just add that I've never had a problem with K-lite either in installation or uninstallation - though other codec packs may indeed suck.
posted by dendrite at 12:13 AM on April 11, 2007

GSpot is a program that will help you id what codec you need and whether it's installed. Likely candidates are xvid, divx,mpeg2.
posted by jeblis at 1:43 AM on April 11, 2007

I use K-Lite as well, been using it for many many years. But I plan to follow Stavros' advice in the future.

To answer your original question, it's not playing because you don't have the XVID codec installed. Your three options are: follow Stavro's advice, install a codec pack, or use VLC player (which has everything built in).
posted by exhilaration at 8:43 AM on April 11, 2007

If you get *deep* into vlc tweaking, you can use it to re-encode on the fly and send your video down the wire and across the Internet. It's basically a software slingbox. Pretty cool. I use it to stream MPEG-2 from my ReplayTVs, encode to MPEG-4, and then pipe it out.
posted by meehawl at 4:21 PM on April 11, 2007

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