Playing MPEG-2 files can be somewhat complex as MPEG-2 contains two varieties (MPEG-2 Program & MPEG-2 Transport),
and on most systems, you may already have one or more MPEG-2 decoders installed (Certain computer outfits pre-install MPEG-2 decoders
on your system for the purpose of DVD Playback. These decoders tend to be limited and at times can cause conflicts on the system and
MPEG-2 Program ("M2V/MPG/MPEG/VOB" file extensions) is a relatively straight forward format. It always contains MPEG-2 Video and
can contain either AC3 (Dolby Digital), DTS or LPCM audio. To play files of this type,
you need a good splitter (such as the Gabest MPEG-2 splitter linked below) and decoders for the Audio & Video (linked throughout this page).
MPEG-2 Transport ("TS/TP/TSP/TRP/PVA/M2T" file extensions) is the format used by Digital TV broadcast. Most Digital Capture cards
(DTV/ATSC) capture to this format. Playback of this format can be a bit tricky as various capture devices or even the Broadcast itself
may have small variations and not all Splitters may properly read the file (this issue is slowly going away as new and improved
splitters are being released). To play files of this type you need a good splitter (different from the MPEG-2 Program splitter)
and decoders for the Audio & Video. MPEG-2 Transport files support more Audio & Video formats, such as
"H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4"
for Video and "AC3/DTS/AAC" for Audio.
Choosing a Splitter
With MPEG-2 Program files, the choice is rather simple, the Gabest splitter is fast and reliable. With
MPEG-2 Transport files, the choice is a bit more complex. The two most popular splitters are
HDTV Pump and
Haali's Media Splitter (older versions may not support Transport files, so make sure
you download a recent version). If one doesn't work well for you, uninstall it and try the other. Haali's is probably easier
Choosing an MPEG-2 Video Decoder
Both MPEG-2 Program and MPEG-2 Transport can contain MPEG-2 Video content, so a good decoder is required.
There are a lot of options out there, but probably the best (Quality wise) is the
DScaler MPEG Decoder.
Another good alternative is the Gabest MPEG Decoder (link below).
Download the Gabest Universal Open Source MPEG Splitter v22.214.171.124 (Windows XP/2000/2003/Vista):
Download the Gabest Universal Open Source MPEG Splitter v126.96.36.199 (Windows 95/98/ME):
Download the Gabest Universal Open Source MPEG Video Decoder v188.8.131.52 (Windows XP/2000/2003/Vista):
Download the Gabest Universal Open Source MPEG Video Decoder v184.108.40.206 (Windows 95/98/ME):
Back to Index