Have an audio or video file that you can’t seem to open on your computer? Let me tell you about a great, free program that can make your life a whole lot easier. VLC Player is the answer to your codec error problems. What’s a codec you might ask. My flip answer is that codecs are the devil, but the more technically correct answer is that a codec is a device or program that compresses data for faster transmission and then decompresses the data. You’ll see a codec error when the programs on your computer don’t recognize the program that compressed the data in the file you’re trying to open.

I worked for many, many years in television and codec errors were the bane of our existence. A commercial made on a particular editing system would refuse to open on another one. Sometimes a file would refuse to open on the same system running a different version of software. Where it really caused problem was when we tried to open surveillance video provided to us by various law enforcement agencies. Every single one of them used a different format. Good luck finding America’s most wanted when you can’t open the video.

Thankfully, a very wise engineer introduced me to VLP. It’s free and I’ve yet to find anything it won’t open. VLC Play was developed by VideoLAN organization, a non-profit the promotes free, open-source multimedia solutions.  You can choose to donate if you wish, but it’s not required.

Take a look at the video formats it supports:

And the audio formats:

Whether you’re using MAC…

Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8… (This is especially great for Windows 8, since it doesn’t come with a built-in DVD player)

Or Linux. This is a great free, tool.

To learn more about VLC and to download it for free, follow this link.

~ Cynthia