MediaInfo is a free program that can provide you with all the information you would want to know about your media files. It can identify the format and codecs used for encoding both video and audio, as well as the bit rate, frame rate, resolution, aspect ratio, and a host of other pieces of relevant information, depending on your media file.

Here’s why this program is cool:

  • Provides information on a wide range of media files: Matroska, OGG (including OGM), MPEG1 (including VCD), MPEG2 (including DVD and SVCD), MPEG4 (including Itunes M4A), Quicktime RealMedia WindowsMedia (including WMV, WMA), Microsoft RIFF (including AVI, WAV). Sound-only formats are: AC3, DTS, AAC, AU, AIFF and others.
  • Installs a ’MediaInfo’ entry in the right-click context menu that can be used to quickly show information on any media file right from Windows Explorer.
  • Can process entire folders of media files or a selected batch of files.
  • Is extremely fast (especially compared to, say, Gspot).
  • Will optionally install an information window that will pop into view whenever you hover over a media file with the mouse.
  • Provides a button that will take you either to the home page of the codec in question or to the page of an appropriate player. This tends to be very mainstream though; for FLV it will take you to the Adobe Flash Player page, for MP4 it will show the iTunes page. While this can be useful if you have no idea how to go about playing a media file, I couldn’t help wishing that it offered alternative viewing solutions as well such as VLC player, FFDShow, Real Alternative and Quicktime Alternative. (If you want a codec pack, I recommend CCCP).
  • Offers many views for displaying information, including a tree-outline view.You can also create you own custom view.

I really like this program because (a) it is the one program that I found that will give information on pretty much any media file you encounter (I tried both AVICodec and Gspot) and these have a rather limited scope to AVI’s and MPG’s, and (b) it has context menu support, which I like, and a nice overall design. I am placing this squarely in my ’essential tools’ category. Try it you will like it.

Compatibility: WinAll

Go to the program home page to get the latest version (approx 2.1Megs).