CCCP (short for Combined Community Codec Pack) is a filter pack designed to enable your applications to play as many media file formats as possible while being as light and un-intrusive as possible.
It includes tools such as Media Player classic, Zoom Player, and Haali Media Splitter.
Origins: CCCP was apparently conceived in order to enable the playback of all the different formats that were proliferating quickly on the Anime scene; with all the different Anime ’groups’ promising to support it.
(A codec pack is a collection of Directshow filters that enable media players and media editing applications to decode/read/play and sometimes encode/write various media file formats).
I want my computer to play and/or edit most any media file formats that is out there: in this case, CCCP is for you. These are the reasons I highly recommend it:
It works: It is not merely a mish-mash of a things that may or may not work (like some other codec packs are).
It’s compact: CCCP is designed to be lightweight: while some codec packs contain overlapping filters that do the same thing, CCCP does not contain unnecessary extras.
It’s safe: CCCP is built so it will not ruin your system and/or send it into a tailspin. The CCCP site actually states that installing CCCP might resolve previously existing conflicts.
Note that while the above points are the reasons CCCP’s was invented, it is hard for me as a reviewer to evaluate how CCCP will behave in every conceivable situation. All I can say is that so far my experience with it has been excellent. I also tested uninstalling it and it uninstalled beautifully without a trace.
Do I need a codec pack: If your media files are playing just fine and/or your media editing/converting applications do what you want then you probably don’t. If you encounter media files that do not play on your machine and your player is unable to download the necessary codecs on-demand, a codec pack will likely provide a solution. Note that some programs like VLC media player, GOM player, and Mediacoder have their own internal codecs and do not require system codecs.
Supported formats: The aim of CCCP is not to cover every media file format under the sun, but to offer a good all-around collection of codecs that supports a wide range of possible media files that you might come across. Here’s a list of formats supported and not supported:
Formats it can play: Video: Containers; AVI, MKV (Matroska), OGM, MP4, TS, FLV. Codecs; MPEG2, MPEG4-ASP (including Xvid, DivX, and other generic e.g. 3ivx, lavc, etc.), MPEG4-AVC/H.264, Theora, WMV9, and FLV1.Audio: MP3 and relatives, AC3, DTS, AAC, Vorbis, IMA, ADPCM, LPCM, FLAC, TTA, Wavpack.
Formats that can be optionally enabled: The following are not enabled by default but can be enabled in FFDshow: Video; VP3, SVQ1, SVQ3, H.26+ (for 3gp), Indeo 3 (IV3), MJPG, LJPG. Audio; AMR (for 3gp).
Formats that are not supported: Video; Real Media (.rm .ra .rmvb .ram .rpm etc), advanced features of DivX such as subtitles, chapters, and interactive menus (these need the DivX Player). Nullsoft Streaming video (.NSV), RV10-40, VP6 & VP7 (VP60, VP61, VP62, VP70), Indeo 4 & 5 (IV40-IV49, IV50). For Audio; Real Audio, Musepack (.mpc), Monkey’s Audio (.ape), OptimFROG Audio (.ofr .ofs).
For Real Media and Quicktime support, you can install Real Alternative and Quicktime Alternative. Note that if you install any of these you do not need to re-install the Windows Media Classic player (it already installs with CCCP).
The Verdict: This is the Codec pack that I would recommend. It works very well and comes without any of the problems that codec packs typically come with. It has excellent documentation and benefits from the support of a dedicated community that is constantly testing and improving it.