For those of us left still clinging onto Windows Media Center, for whatever reason (even with the awesome standalone Media Browser Theater client available), you still want your viewing experience to be the best it can possibly be. However, despite the various reviews and opinions that external players provide a superior picture quality over the internal player for WIndows Media Center, WMC user often still prefer the "completeness" in preferring the internal player option, when it comes to Media Browser.
So, with that said, I offer one of the simplest, yet most high-performing and quality-producing playback filters available to make the most of your media viewing experience - LAV Filters.
LAV is a multi-format DirectShow media splitter and decoding suite, based loosely on the ffmpeg project. What it does is allow you to playback the majority of modern media files, without compromising quality or performance. Native Windows 7 codecs are based upon the "new" Media Foundation, which provides support for many formats, but not some of the more popular open source media containers, like Matroska (MKV), for example.
Why You Need LAV
Depending on the file formats you use, you may not actually need LAV. However, for those of you that do need something other than the default Media Foundation, or are looking for a better performing and less complicated codec pack, LAV can provide that to you, plus all the advanced options you could hope for - all in a single executable that will work with default settings for the average user. LAV supports hardware accelerated playback using the the most common graphics hardware from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD. LAV also has highly-efficient software playback for those of you that do not have graphics supporting DXVA2 playback. LAV is capable of providing bitstreaming of common Dolby and DTS formats, as well as the current high definition audio formats like DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD. LAV also has built-in subtitle support for specific file format configurations.
The LAV Guide, Windows Media Center, and MB Classic
As you may have been wondering by now, "How do sign up?", well, that's where theHTPC.net's LAV filter guide comes into play. You see, it's not a completely simple process to install LAV filters and override Window's Media Foundation preferences when using the Media Center internal player. However, do not worry, it's not a terribly bad ordeal either. By following the guide, step-by-step, I can assure you that you will have properly configured system with the most minimal risk of "codec conflict" available.
This guide assumes a few things, but can be altered depending upon hardware availability. In other words, if your configuration sways from the following a little, don't worry! The Media Browser forums are a terrific place to find out how to make the guide work for you!
- You have a properly working Windows 7 (or Windows 8) system with no other codecs installed.
- You have a PC capable of hardware accelerated playback of supported format(s) (i.e. h.264).
- You have an audio/video receiver (AVR) that is HDMI-equipped and is capable of decoding digital audio configured for passthrough (AC-3, DTS, DTS-HD, TrueHD, etc.).
- You have the need for displaying external subtitle formats (.srt, for example). LAV supports embedded subtitles, but is not capable of pulling external subtitles into the playback chain. Therefore, xy-vsfilter is an optional installation for supporting this configuration (while still supporting embedded subs!).
- You are using the internal Windows Media Center player for playback of all media files via Media Browser Classic.
Edited by CBers, 21 July 2015 - 06:19 PM.