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This article is meant to offer a brief explanation of the most common Codecs used on BoxTorrents and is purely information. For codec troubleshooting, see the Common Playback Problems BoxTorrents Wiki article, or visit the Playback Forum for help playing/installing codecs.


A codec is a device or software that is capable of decoding and/or encoding data, wether it be a digital data stream or signal. Basically, they are what we use to encode and decode virtually all of the content found on BoxTorrents. For the most part, we only worry about the decoding.

Video Codecs

Currently, many formats exist for video codecs, here are the more common ones found on BoxTorrents:

  • MPEG-2 -
  • MPEG-4 Part 2 -
  • MPEG-4 Part 10 -
  • DivX, Xvid, FFmpeg, MPEG-4, and 3ivx -
  • WMV -
  • VC-1 -
  • x264 -

Audio Codecs

Several audio formats exist as well, these apply to both movies and music/sounds. Here are some of the common ones used on BoxTorrents. (Coming soon!)

Text Codecs

Text codecs are used for files that contain softsubs, they are basically text that is rendered during playback separately from the video track instead of being rendered directly to the video file during encoding (hardsubs). The main advantage of using softsubs being that multiple subtitle/karaoke tracks can be packaged into one file or not used at all during playback. The main drawback is that it adds more overhead to the file.

The softsub file is sometimes a separate file, .sub for example, but is usually inside the container file. Here are the most common codecs used on BoxTorrents:

  • SubStation Alpha - Commonly used on BoxTorrents. Supports both styled text and metadata. Has a precision of 10 milliseconds. Frequently encoded within a container, thus rarely seen as a separate file. Uses a .ssa or .ass extension.
  • VobSub - Common on BoxTorrents as well. VobSub is image-based so it doesn't support styled text or metadata. This is the codec used when the subtitles are ripped directly from the source DVD. These have a precision of 1 millisecond.

  • Hardsubs are rendered directly into the video stream so a separate codec isn't required