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AVI Format and Video Compression

AVI is the Microsoft-specified format for saving digital videos. (AVI = Audio-Video Interleaved)

AVI video files are very large and this can lead to storage difficulties. In order to reduce the amount of memory needed to save AVI files, compression methods have been developed, otherwise known as Codecs (Compressor Decompressor).

To be able to play an AVI video, the PC has to have access to the same decompression Codec that was used to compress the file originally.

Unfortunately, however, the number of Codecs available in the market has been mushrooming recently, meaning that an AVI created on one PC will only work on another provided the same Codec happens to have been installed.

Determining which codes are installed.

How to find out which codes are installed on a PC:

  • Cue the system control (Windows Start - Settings - System Control)
  • Click on "Multimedia".
  • Click on "Hardware".
  • Select "Video Codecs" and click on the "Properties" button.

All the codes available on the PC are displayed.

How to find out which AVI Codec is used

How to find out which Codec a given AVI video uses:

  • Start PicturePlayer
  • Go to the toolbar and select: "AVI Info"
  • A window is outputted containing details about the AVI

AVI Properties

Creating AVI videos that can be played on all PCs.
  • If you want to create your own AVIs, make sure you save them using a Codec that is available on all PCs. (See list below).
  • If somebody else is creating your AVIs for you, make sure they use one of the Codecs listed below.
  • If you have access to graphics software (such Paint Shop Pro) which supports AVIs, please proceed as follows: Load AVI and playback using one of the codes listed below.

Use a sure-fire Codec

The following Codecs are installed on all Win32 systems (Win95...XP):

  • RLE: Microsoft RLE Codec
  • IV32: Indeo Codec R3.2 by Intel
  • CVID: Cinepak Codec Radius Inc.
  • CRAM: Microsoft Video 1
  • Uncompressed: Uncompressed AVIs don't need a Codec and can be played on all systems.

You can only be certain that your video will be played on all PCs if you use one of the "sure-fire codes" listed above when saving your AVI file.

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