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Q:When do I need 64-bit codecs and DirectShow filters?

Important to remember is that 64-bit applications can only use 64-bit codecs/filters, and 32-bit applications can only use 32-bit codecs/filters.

The 64-bit versions of Windows can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. Most software is still 32-bit, so you will need 32-bit codecs for them. Only a few applications are 64-bit and thus need 64-bit codecs.

An example of a 64-bit application is Windows Media Center. Windows Explorer is also a 64-bit application. Both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version of Windows Media Player is included with x64 versions of Windows. The 32-bit version of WMP is used by default for compatibility reasons.

The codec pack contains both 32-bit and 64-bit codecs.

Q:Should I use a 32-bit or a 64-bit player?

The 64-bit codecs have better performance. For common formats such as H.264 video, the difference is relatively small, about 10%. For newer formats such as HEVC and VP9 video the difference is much larger, up to 100%. So it can be beneficial to use a 64-bit player.

One reason to use a 32-bit player is compatibility with legacy codecs for which no 64-bit version is available. The codec pack contains 64-bit versions of all important codecs, so this only matters if you have any old third party codecs installed.

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