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Is K-lite Codec Bloated?


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#1 skyfuser

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 09:35 PM

Reading up on codecs... then I found this article about how K-Lite, even the standard version, is complete and utter crappy bloat. It even says it distributes beta and alpha versions of copyrighted material which were prohibited for free distribution.
This little essay is direct copy and paste, I read through the whole thing (and I understood it!! :D) but haven't bothered to cut out the profanity, but did cut out irrelevant parts. Would anyone mind confirming this?
Note: Java somehow screwed up Firefox, something's wrong with it. Apologies if the html comes out wrong...
Note 2: More than allowed amounts of quote blocks...


Note 3: Content removed for copyright issues ~ groove

Edited by groovicus, 06 April 2008 - 09:56 AM.

"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way." - Bertrand Russell

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#2 mommabear

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 08:21 AM

Just an FYI, if you're thinking of using K-Lite to solve any problems. I tried it and several others a long time back when I'd have various problems. I finally settled on using the XP Codec Pack (I think there's one for Vista now too) and using media player classic that comes with it as my default player. And when I still had some problems with a few other things, mostly streaming videos at MSNBC and CNN, I installed the Codec 6030 all-in-one pack.

As far as "bloat" in K-Lite, I can only say my eyes popped out of my head when I used codec finder to see what all was there after installing it. :thumbsup:

I don't do a lot of advanced things with media, so just using these with the way they set up as default has worked fine for me. They made me a happy camper, for sure.

#3 skyfuser

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 08:19 PM

I tried K-Lite before, but never ended up installing. The options were too confusing for a newbie like me :thumbsup: I'm using CCCP which is just a gift from the tech dieties.

And apologies to groovicus for violating the whole copyright problem. I didn't think that would count as plagarizing >_< Well since you didn't reply whether I could repost or not I decided to give in some quick edits. I really want to see what the experts have to say...

This is taken directly from http://www.anime-planet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11558 with certain parts edited to make it family-friendly.

Even the STANDARD pack is bloated. It installs two MP4 splitters (as if more than one would ever get used), and the alpha version of CoreAVC. God alone knows if they turn off h.264 decoding in ffdshow by default - if they don't, having it is almost completely pointless.

The full pack... we shouldn't even talk about it. The developers seem to subscribe to the policy "redundancy is awesome". It's just the fact that in DirectShow, it's NOT. K-Lite Full installs (and I'm just looking at the feature page here):
- three separate (and by default conflicting) MPEG4 ASP decoders
- two different and incompatible VP* decoders
- no less than FIVE different (and conflicting) MPEG1/MPEG2 decoders - God alone knows which one will actually get used
- three MPEG4 ASP encoders, x264 VfW, three mutually incompatible VP* encoders (3, 6, and 7)
- three or four Intel Indeo encoders (depending on how you count) - versions 2, 3, 4, and 5
- two MPEG4 SP encoders, namely Divx3 and MSMPEG4
- three different and incompatible AC3 decoders, two of which are actually the same (AC3filter, but two different versions, one being a leaked beta never intended for public use)
- various mp3 de- and encoders (the decoders being utterly pointless since Windows comes with one)
- two different AAC decoders
- two conflicting Matroska splitters, two conflicting Ogg splitters (one being the ancient evil crashing OggDS) and two likewise conflicting MP4 splitters
- no less than FOUR different and subtly incompatible MPEG splitters
- TWO different versions of VSFilter, 2.33 and 2.37, the former known for being extremely buggy - also, since these two are basically the same filter, I'm far from sure that Windows even LETS them both being registered at the same time
- at least two utterly pointless and in many cases downright HARMFUL directshow filters (Morgan Stream Switcher and Matrix Mixer)
- and as icing on the cake, ffdshow. WITH all the plugins AND the VfW interface.

Now... let me try to explain why this is an exercise in futility. First of all, there are several filters installed by K-Lite that are known to be buggy if not downright harmful (Morgan Stream Switcher being one example - it used to be, and probably still is, one of the buggiest directshow filters ever).
Second, in directshow, redundancy is pointless. If there's more than one filter that claims to be able do something, the one with the highest directshow filter merit will be chosen. When choosing a decoder, in 95% of all cases, this WILL be ffdshow if it is installed, since it has a ridicoulously high filter merit. This is a Good Thing, since many of the separate decoders installed by K-Lite are FAR from capable of doing everything they claim to be able to do. DivX, for example, will happily try to decode almost any MPEG4 ASP, but last time I checked, there was still lots of things it could randomly fail on. In any case, ffdshow makes, in one stroke, about 75% of the filters installed by K-Lite Full COMPLETELY pointless if not downright harmful. Directshow does NOT, contrary to popular belief, have some sort of error recovery. Once a filter accepts input, directshow will NOT try to use some other filter, EVEN IF THE FIRST FILTER CHOSEN CRASHES. This means that only ONE filter, the one with the highest merit, will be used, despite how many others are used (unless the user does manual tweaking of the merits and/or the player graph building, that is).
Third, some things K-Lite does are VERY questionable. It installs two versions of AC3filter and two versions of VSFilter - and as far as I know, Windows will not allow that, but instead just register the newest one and forget about the older.
Fourth: as mentioned above, most stuff K-Lite installs is completely pointless since it's never going to get used. There are, however, some filters that WILL get used even though they are completely useless. Morgan Stream Switcher is the prime example of this. It's designed to make audio stream switching work with splitters that doesn't have it built-in (i.e. OggDS with "Enable all streams" or Microsoft's AVI splitter with dual-audio AVI's) and a player that doesn't have built-in audio stream switching (i.e. Windows Media Player). Nowadays, this is completely pointless since the scenario is pretty much nonexistent, and people who use WMP should just be told to go use a better player - but the filter is still there, and it will STILL TRY TO INSERT ITSELF INTO EVERY SINGLE GRAPH!

In conclusion: the makers of the K-Lite pack doesn't seem to have a single clue about what they're doing. It seems they just slapped together a large collection of random filters, the more versions of them the better. The ironical thing is that this might actually work, since ffdshow pretty much takes over everything with its default settings, and because MPC has built-in filters for a lot of stuff, that takes predecence over the directshow filters. In fact, 90% of K-Lite's playback functionality and a part of the encoding functionality could be replaced with ffdshow and MPC alone. Is it bloated? Yes. Is it stupid? Very. Are they going to stop? Not likely.

Verdict: DO NOT USE K-LITE.

This is the feedback and replies from the other members of that forum.

And Fluff forgot one more thing: Many of the filters installed by K-Lite (or K-Mega, I think that also exists?) are in fact commercial software, or part of commercial software packages and can NOT freely be distributed. Just in case anyone cares about that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
First of all, it is not possible to install two MP4 splitters. A choice must be made between them, or none at all. CoreAVC works pretty good. The people from CCCP also recommended this exact same filter. And yes, h.264 decoding in ffdshow gets turned off when you install it. In fact it does so with all redundant stuff.

We don't exactly recommend CoreAVC (we're not very interesting in free advertising) - we only suggest it for people who have insufficient CPU power to use ffdshow. Last time I looked, K-Lite distributed the alpha version (which is still highly illegal).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
No conflicting stuff is installed. Exclusive choices must be made between similar filters. So you can't install two almost the same filters twice.

Oh. How very thoughtful. Nice idea to include some broken stuff as well for added potential for Surprise and Confusion. :trumpet:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
When installing DivX, XviD and 3ivX, they are configured to only decode their own format.

Very nice. Now, why anyone would ever want to use DivX for decoding anything (including DivX encoded videos, especially ones encoded with DivX versions older than 5.0.5 - all DivX5 versions since 5.1 or so has a decoding bug that makes anything encoded with 5.0.5 or older look very blocky unless you enable a slight amount of postprocessing, and even then it won't look perfect) is beyond me, but... sure. "Freedom of choice". Right. A good thing that everyone knows of every single obscure decoder bug ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFluff
no less than FIVE different (and conflicting) MPEG1/MPEG2 decoders - God alone knows which one will actually get used
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
Again, an exclusive choice between them. No MPEG decoder is installed by default. The users actually requested this freedom of choice.

Did it ever occur to you that what they NEEDED was a working MPEG1/2 decoder, nothing else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
K-Lite actually offers encoding support of various formats. Something CCCP does not.

We actually do, kind of, since we install the VfW interface too (albeit with everything disabled by default). But if you wanted to encode, you should know enough to install your own codecs (for encoding) instead of downloading lots of megabytes of Mega pack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFluff
two MPEG4 SP encoders, namely Divx3 and MSMPEG4
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
So what?

Who wants to encode div3 these days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFluff
three different and incompatible AC3 decoders, two of which are actually the same (AC3filter, but two different versions, one being a leaked beta never intended for public use)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
Again, exclusive choice. Again by populair demand. Different people prefer different versions of the filter.

And the author of AC3filter has demanded that public distribution of the 1.x branch should not be allowed. I'm not even sure if it's stable or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
People often mess up their system

Might that have something to do with them installing various codec packs? :flowers:

Seriously, if someone has managed to bork their system to such a degree that he/she has managed to get rid of the mp3 decoder, they would probably be better off reinstalling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFluff
two conflicting Matroska splitters, two conflicting Ogg splitters (one being the ancient evil crashing OggDS) and two likewise conflicting MP4 splitters
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
Again, exclusive choice. Again by populair demand. Different people prefer different filters.

Yes, I'm sure a great deal of people prefer to install a filter that is known to regularily crash Explorer under certain conditions. Oh, wait, maybe they didn't know it did that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFluff
TWO different versions of VSFilter, 2.33 and 2.37, the former known for being extremely buggy - also, since these two are basically the same filter, I'm far from sure that Windows even LETS them both being registered at the same time
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
Yet again, exclusive choice. Version 2.33 actually is a very stable version. It is includes because it works much better for people that experience troubles with newer versions. The few tiny bugs that it has won't be noticed at all by most people.

I'm sure the people who see a lot of garbage on their screen because 2.33 doesn't support UTF-8 (as used in ALL TEXT SUBTITLES MUXED INTO MATROSKA) won't notice that because it's such a tiny bug. 2.33 has numerous other issues as well and should never be used.

EDIT: confused some numbers. 2.23 is the extremely ancient version that breaks with utf8 and should never be used. I'm not sure about 2.33, but if you wanted to distro the version with the least amount of bugs, 2.35 would probably be the one to go for (2.36 has a border drawing bug and 2.37 has issues with vector \clip's - although the latter doesn't matter much since I don't know of anyone who would ever get the idea of softsubbing something with vector \clips.).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
I agree that WMP is a severely limited player. But since 35% of the users prefer it, those users can't be ignored.

They can and should be ignored, because WMP is not only near useless, but also incapable of playing certain things correctly. WMP9 and 10 does not play back anamorphic content in Matroska and MP4 containers properly - either it doesn't play at all, or it plays with incorrect aspect ratio. This is because of WMP itself inserting a filter that doesn't allow output format changes downstream of the decoder. If the "allow output format changes during playback" box in ffdshow is checked, all the user will get is a black screen and audio. If it's set to the intermediate state or unchecked, the video will play, but unresized (i.e. with incorrect aspect ratio). The simple answer to the question is "no support for WMP".

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
It gives freedom of choice without allowing the user to make a mess.

False, it does allow the user to make a huge mess. Now, I'm not exactly sure about what the default install settings are, but I suspect that to get a reasonably sane install, one HAS to have rather extensive knowledge of obscure filter bugs and quite a lot of general DirectShow knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
It's suitable for newbies and power users.

I wouldn't say it's suited to either category. For people only wanting playback, it's way too complicated and way too over-"featured". For power users, it's utterly pointless since those will want to install codecs separately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLSID
The users actually get listened to.

Who said that CCCP doesn't listen to its users? We fix huge amounts of playback problems, for example... and we do listen to suggestions.

However, the CCCP aims to provide one thing, and one thing only: working, accurate and simple playback of most common video formats. We do NOT:
- try to support everything
- include encoding-only components
- include redundant components.
If the user wants to use something else than what's already included, he or she is free to do so. We provide a simple solution that provides most needed functionality. Depending on what one wants to do, one may need to install other components on top of the CCCP - the most common ones being Real, QuickTime, and various encoding tools. We don't take away anyone's freedom of choice, we just strongly discourage use of certain filters and players as they are known to have problems. We try to accomplish WORKING playback, not semi-broken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercurial Morpheus
Concerning buggy filters, I actually use Matrix Mixer. There is indeed a warning about it. After installing, I'm even asked if I wish to disable it for compatibility. I know of no other pack that does this. I keep Matrix as I'm on a laptop, and some fansubs are really quiet. It helps considerably when MPC's internal booster doesn't get it loud enough. I've never once had a problem with it, so I don't see the big deal.

CCCP tries to disable Matrix Mixer on install, if it's found in the system... ;P
And you can use ffdshow for boosting volume, even if it's not used as the decoder (you can force it to load in the graph and use it as a passthrough). But beware of the normalization - one-pass normalization is a really bad idea.
"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way." - Bertrand Russell




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