Windows

Review: Shark007 Video-Audio Codec Pack for Windows

This free codec upgrade makes just about any media file playable.

Microsoft, despite the many years Windows has been in development, hasn't really expanded Windows' multimedia capacity much at all. Because of this, netizens are inclined to run into MKVs, OGMs, and other, more exotic formats that still can't be played with Windows Media Player.

For some, a simple download of VLC Media Player will do the job. But if you are looking for some better format support, as well as tighter integration with the operating system, there are Windows Media Player codec packs designed for various video and audio types. However, none come as close to encompassing every kind of variant like Shark007's Video Codec Pack does.

Shark007

With Shark007's solution, all you need to do is install the codec package that corresponds to your installed version of Windows, reboot, and enjoy. Since the software is comprehensive in its coverage of formats, the author strongly recommends that no other third-party codec packages are installed on the system, as possible conflicts might occur.

Once initialized, media files come to life with full support for thumbnails in Windows Explorer as well as playback of DTS streams contained in some movies, for instance. A few other interesting features include XBOX 360 extender support, which allows one to pump files like MKVs over a network to the game console for playback on the TV, preview pane support for delivering detailed information on media in Windows Explorer, and an incredibly tweak-able backend full of options for power users.

For multi-user systems, Shark007's kit enforces UAC rules, which allow each account to have its own unique configuration, without affecting other users in the process. This way, everyone can have their cake and eat it too, with regards to how everything is handled in playback. With the need for VLC or MPlayer out of the picture, Shark007's solution seems to deliver well on its promise to beef up Windows' internal codec support.

In my investigation of the software, my only pet peeve would be concerning the settings interface, which is relatively cramped and not clearly organized in an easy-to-find fashion. There are tabs in the configuration area for the different media formats that this tool supports, but they aren't too descriptive or helpful for anyone who might be a neophyte with computers. Nevertheless, thanks to the install-it-and-forget-it mentality behind the codec pack, most will not need to mess around with the deeper settings anyway.

Bottom line

Overall, Shark007 offers a compelling package for media lovers who want to stick with their beloved Windows Media Player and not shuffle between other player applications. It's quick to install and set up, and the price is at an always-attractive $0.00, which makes picking up this software a no-brainer. No matter what the media file, Shark007 has got you covered.

About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

15 comments
craigkra
craigkra

Could Matthew Nawrocki or someone from Tech Republic please give us a comparison with the 3 K-lite Codec Packs, since these packages are usually cited as the "standard" solution for playback problems.

fstraka
fstraka

But not for Windows XP.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you run into situations where a multimedia will just not play? Perhaps a new codec package would help you.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

I have not explored the K-lite packs myself, and will definitely check them out and post a comparison table of this and Shark007's software down the road. By looking at the website and glancing at the features K-lite has, it seems to have very similar support for codecs that Shark007 has. As far as the user interface is concerned, I'd have to look at that further, since I am not sure if K-lite is as customizable. Stay tuned...

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

That download link should work for XP just fine. However if you are reporting any issues, let me know.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Sorry for all the confusion. Let me assist in clarifying how to install and get the codec pack up and running. If you are a user of Windows XP or Vista, please check for the download here... http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=5326 For Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit users, please check for downloads here. http://shark007.net/forum/Thread-Setup-and-usage Remember, in the case of a Windows 32-bit install, simply download the "32bit Win7Codecs" package from the site, install and reboot. If you are running 64-bit Windows 7, you will also need to install the "x64Components add-on" package after the 32-bit one is installed. Reboot then give it a try and report back here. That is the method I used to get this software running on here and it has worked well for me. Also, give this step by step guide a look. This should prove very helpful in understanding the install process and how it is done properly. http://assassinhtpcblog.com/?page_id=39 Hope this helps!

natomega
natomega

Can Techrepublic cut all the CRAP and give the actual URL so the Codec can be downloaded rather than have to wade through oodles of pages and links and then have to be careful not to download advertised material which can be easily mistaken for the "Shark Codec"

craigkra
craigkra

Thanks for the speedy reply and I am really looking forward to your more detailed analysis and comparison table.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

See my reply above in the comments for info on the versions to install and run. Hope that helps.

natomega
natomega

Matt - Thank you Greatly appreciated

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Anything I can do to help my readers out, my friend. Sorry I took a bit longer than usual to get back with a solution.

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