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Codecs allow you to play different formats of audio and video files. Media Player supports a wide variety of codecs. Most are included out of the box; some additional codecs can be installed from the Microsoft Store.

Included codecs

Windows includes codecs that allow Media Player to play the following formats out of the box:

Audio codecs

  • MPEG-1, MPEG-2 audio (e.g. MP3, MP2)

  • Advanced Audio Coding (AAC, M4A)

  • Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC)

  • Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC)

  • Waveform (WAV)

  • Windows Media Audio (WMA)

  • 3GP, 3G2

  • Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR)

Video codecs

  • MPEG-4, H.264

  • H.263

  • VC-1

  • Windows Media Video (WMV)

  • DV

  • VP8

  • Motion JPEG

Additional codec packs available from the Microsoft Store

Codec packs add additional codec support to Windows. Apps like Media Player will then be able to play media files encoded in these formats. The following codecs packs are available:

A note on AC-3 (“Dolby Digital”)

AC-3 is an audio codec that supports multi-channel (“surround sound”) audio. It's also known as Dolby Digital.

On versions of Windows prior to Windows 11, version 24H2, the AC-3 codec is included.

Beginning with Windows 11, version 24H2, the AC-3 codec is no longer included with Windows. However, many device manufacturers will pre-install an AC-3 codec. Also, if you upgrade to Windows 11, version 24H2 from an earlier version of Windows, the AC-3 codec will be retained. In these cases, you will still be able to play files encoded with the AC-3 audio codec.

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