Windows Media Codec List utility uses IWMCodecInfo interface (see also IWMCodecInfo2, IWMCodecInfo3) lists installed Windows Media Codecs and their formats and presents the findings in a convenient way. The utility gives a quick idea what a programmer would obtain through IWMCodecInfo2/IWMCodecInfo3 interfaces and what well known format structures (WM_MEDIA_TYPE, AM_MEDIA_TYPE, WAVEFORMATEX, VIDEOINFOHEADER) correspond to particular format.
For a description of Windows Media video and audio codecs, check article Encoding Audio and Video with Windows Media Codecs.
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Some quick facts immediately visualized by the utility:
- for a video codec there is exactly one generic codec format listed
- video codec FOUCCs are: WM Video – WMV1, WMV2, WMV3; WM Video Screen – MSS1, MSS2; WM Video Image – WMVP, WVP2; WM Video Advanced Profile – WVC1
- for audio codecs there are complete codec formats enumerated, with names/descriptions suitable for GUI
- audio codecs enumerate different formats in response to enumeration settings (e.g. request for VBR formats)
- WM Audio Lossless only lists formats for single pass VBR mode
- audio format tags (wFormatTag) are: WM Audio including Professional and Lossless – 0x0161, 0x0162, 0x0163; WM Audio Voice – 0x000A; ACELP.net – 0x0130
- VC-1 on Wikipedia:
Simple and Main Profiles of VC-1 remained completely faithful to the existing WMV3 implementation, making WMV3 bitstreams fully VC-1 compliant. The WMV3 codec was designed to primarily support progressive encoding for computer displays. An interlaced encoding mode was implemented, but quickly became deprecated when Microsoft started implementing WMV Advanced Profile. Whereas WMV3 progressive encoding was implemented in the YUV 4:2:0 color space, the deprecated interlaced mode was implemented in the less common YUV 4:1:1 color space.
The Windows Media Video 9 (WMV3) codec implements the Simple and Main modes of the VC-1 codec standard, providing high-quality video for streaming and downloading. “It provides support for a wide range of bit rates, from high-definition content at one-half to one-third the bit rate of MPEG-2, to low-bit-rate Internet video delivered over a dial-up modem. This codec also supports professional-quality downloadable video with two-pass and variable bit rate (VBR) encoding. Windows Media Video 9 is already supported by a wide variety of players and devices.”
A number of high definition movies and videos have been released commercially in a format dubbed WMV HD. These titles are encoded with WMV3 Main Profile @ High Level (MP@HL).
WVC1, also known as Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile, implements a more recent and fully compliant Advanced Profile of the VC-1 codec standard. It offers support for interlaced content and is transport independent. With the previous version of the Windows Media Video 9 Series codec, users could deliver progressive content at data rates as low as one-third that of the MPEG-2 codec and still get equivalent or comparable quality to MPEG-2. The Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile codec also offers this same improvement in encoding efficiency with interlaced contents. A decoder for WVC1 is included in Windows Media Player 11, which is bundled with Windows Vista and is available as a download for Windows XP.
- Windows Media Audio on Wikipedia