Are you sick and tired of all the types of media formats that you come across on the Internet that never seem to play right? Are you sick of downloading the various media players from Apple, Real, DivX, XviD and so on but still not be able to handle every format you come across and all the various versions of each format? It's bad enough you have to worry about software vulnerabilities from Microsoft and their built-in Windows Media Player, but Apple's latest dozen vulnerabilities on their media player is exposing not only Macs but PCs that have QuickTime installed. Real Player which is not only one of the most obnoxious pieces of software in the world the way it insists of making itself the default file handler for all your media files no matter what you do is also a nasty piece of spyware. All these problems are enough to drive a computer user insane but if you're looking for a way out, K-Lite is the tool for you!
Once you download (there are bad sources and imitators on the Internet laced with pop-ups and lord knows what else so use this link) and install K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, you'll be able to play just about any media file in the world, even commercial DVDs and High Definition MPEG files that you've recorded over the air or ripped from your HD-DVR! It also plays standard QuickTime and Real files right inside of your default media player which is usually Windows Media Player 9 for most Windows users. K-Lite also comes with a very recent version of Microsoft Media Player classic which seems to get around some of the problems associated with Windows Media Player 10 though Media Player Classic doesn't seem to have any play-list capability to queue up multiple files.
Note that when you install K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, you'll most likely want to use the default settings to get the best results. If you try to do a custom install, the number of options that you can tweak is dizzying and you'll probably have problems getting everything working right. Whenever I'm building a new computer for a friend or whenever anyone asks me for advice for media playback issues, I tell them to uninstall of all their junk and just install K-Lite because it's a must-have for any PC.