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First post, by Zup

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I'm looking for an old-style media viewer, one that relies on codecs and filters in the host OS to play videos. Newer video players (like VLC) includes libraries that allows to play everything instead, and I want to play some videos through OS.

So it seems that the best (maybe only?) option is using Media Player Classic, but that project was abandoned... and then forked into two projects: Media Player Classic Black Edition and Media Player Classic Home Cinema. I'm confused, because wikipedia says that MPC-HC was abandoned again but there is still some people updating it... and MPC-BE is the still supported project. Looking again at wikipedia, it seems that MPC-HC has newer versions than MPC-BE, but MPC-BE has more features.

What old style media viewer would you recommend? (Using Windows Media Player is not an option) Do you prefer MPC-BE, MPC-HC or are any other media viewer?

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Reply 1 of 18, by wiretap

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MPC-HC is what I use -- best media player I've come across, especially for UHD content with MadVR/LAV and great subtitle support. (it can also do HDR passthrough with MadVR) I haven't used MPC-BE, but they have recent nightly builds available.

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Reply 3 of 18, by Wolfus

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Yeah, K-Lite and MPC-HC never let me down.
VLC is easier to use, but i do not like its controls. Especially bottom bar popping-up randomly (OK, I might have oversensitive mouse).

Reply 4 of 18, by DracoNihil

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Wolfus wrote:

Yeah, K-Lite and MPC-HC never let me down.
VLC is easier to use, but i do not like its controls. Especially bottom bar popping-up randomly (OK, I might have oversensitive mouse).

The controls will randomly pop up if another window "steals focus" away from VLC. This can happen quite a lot under most Linux desktop environments too with some misbehavingly written programs.

I used to just use Winamp for playing back videos via DirectShow, does that count?

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Reply 6 of 18, by Zup

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VLC is out of the question, as it is a "new style" player. Most decoding is done using internal libraries, and I'm looking for a player that only use directshow filters (BTW, VLC is already my standard player).

The difference is that "old style" players sometimes can play damaged files that can not be played using VLC (other times VLC is the player that works). Also, it can be a quick test to know if some video file can work with other tools that rely on filters (VirtualDub and the like).

(I don't like standard Windows Media Player, I find it bloated and the user interface is a nightmare)

I can see that most people prefers MPC-HC (others says MPC + codec pack, but don't say which version/fork they like).

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Reply 8 of 18, by dr_st

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Doesn't MPC-HC come with its own codecs as well? I don't recall it ever telling me that I have a codec missing, whereas WMP sometimes would.

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Reply 9 of 18, by ZellSF

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MPC-HC comes with built-in LAVFilters (that you can disable if you want to test an external codec for something). You should avoid codec packs (like CCCP or K-Lite) unless you're doing something very weird and know what you're doing; those codec packs are likely to introduce compatibility problems with other software (mainly old games).

I use MPC-HC, something bothered me about MPC-BE, but I can't recall what. They're practically the same anyway, and I think it's the best player because of its customizable UI (why the hell do most video players insist on using screen space for a menu bar?) and hotkeys (most media players don't allow you to rebind mouse buttons).

Reply 10 of 18, by eL_PuSHeR

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I have never had any issues with K-Lite. I also use K-Lite + MPC HC and sometimes combined with VLC as backup. For very, very old PCs with little processing power (old Intel dual core), VLC seems to consume less cpu power than K-Lite's MPC HC.

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Reply 11 of 18, by wiretap

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ZellSF wrote:

MPC-HC comes with built-in LAVFilters (that you can disable if you want to test an external codec for something). You should avoid codec packs (like CCCP or K-Lite) unless you're doing something very weird and know what you're doing; those codec packs are likely to introduce compatibility problems with other software (mainly old games).

I use MPC-HC, something bothered me about MPC-BE, but I can't recall what. They're practically the same anyway, and I think it's the best player because of its customizable UI (why the hell do most video players insist on using screen space for a menu bar?) and hotkeys (most media players don't allow you to rebind mouse buttons).

True, I never understood why people use codec packs. Completely unnecessary. Also, if someone is doing something very weird and knows what they're doing, they wouldn't be using codec packs. 🤣 If you need support for some odd container or filter, you just go to the author's page and get that single item -- no need for a bloated codec pack which writes all sorts of registry values for directshow and container shell support.

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Reply 12 of 18, by dr_st

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Why people use codec packs? I guess it's because, when they work well, it's easier than figuring out which individual codecs you need, installing them one at a time, then next week doing it again for this other video that you are trying to watch, etc.

I've been using K-Lite for many years on some of my computers, and it's been working well for me. It comes with many tweaks and configuration utilities, but most of the time I never needed to touch anything - things just work out-of-the-box.

Nowadays, it's simpler to just get MPC-HC with its LAVFilters, or VLC with its own pack (depending on which interface you prefer) and there is a 99% chance you won't ever need anything else. This hasn't always been the case. Some 15 years ago codec packs could be useful.

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Reply 13 of 18, by oeuvre

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Yeah, I have also been using K-Lite for many years (and CCCP for a few in between). Never had issues with either, regardless of OS

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Reply 14 of 18, by ZellSF

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You won't have OS issues, you'll have issues with specific software. For example Star Wars: Republic Commando and Starship Troopers (2005) won't play any videos if you have LAV filters installed, so K-Lite (and CCCP) breaks both those games.

Reply 15 of 18, by dr_st

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Maybe the solution then is to avoid installing these broken pieces of software, instead of avoiding well-maintained and organized codec packs. In any case, I am sure that within the plethora of configuration settings available in K-Lite there is one that can be ticked to temporary disable whatever filters introduce problems with the broken games, such as the ones you mentioned.

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Reply 16 of 18, by ZellSF

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dr_st wrote:

Maybe the solution then is to avoid installing these broken pieces of software, instead of avoiding well-maintained and organized codec packs. In any case, I am sure that within the plethora of configuration settings available in K-Lite there is one that can be ticked to temporary disable whatever filters introduce problems with the broken games, such as the ones you mentioned.

There's a way to maintain a blacklist for LAV filters, it requires manual registry editing.

I don't install software just because it's "well-maintained and organized". It needs to also have a purpose. Codec packs don't any longer.

Reply 17 of 18, by dr_st

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The key word here is 'anymore'. As I hinted (although I failed to say it explicitly), I also don't bother with codec packs nowadays, since MPC-HC with the built-in filters is enough for me.

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Reply 18 of 18, by blurks

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I use MPC-HC in combination with ffdshow which works good and covers all popular (video) file formats. Sadly the development ended in 2014 so this is probably not the preferred choice for anyone who is only interested in maintained software.