Windows NT 4.0 and Multimedia.
Windows NT 4.0 was not originally intended as a basis for a 'multimedia workstation', and so to some degree, it's performance in this area is poorer than would be expected. As it so happened however, much multimedia authoring and processing wound up being done on NT 4.0 machines (especially NT Workstation) because it provided the most stable and reliable Win32 platform available. As you can imagine, there is nothing more annoying in this world than watching 6 hours of audio or video editing go 'down the tubes', just before you had a chance to hit the 'Save' button, because Win9x has thrown a 'Blue Screen of Death' !
In typical Microsoft style however, enhancements that COULD have made NT 4.0 far more suitable for this type of work (example: DirectX upgrades past V3.0) were never done. Again I suspect this was because they were fearful that if NT 4.0 worked TOO well, nobody would buy Win2k or XP ! (Sorry Microsoft I still won't, and never will !!)
As it stands now, with suitable additions NT 4.0 can provide very satisfactory multimedia results. I recommend the following items to maximise NT's performance and functionality for the recording, playback and processing of audio and video:
|Windows Media Player V6.4||This is the LAST version of Media Player supported on NT 4.0|
Caution: Ensure the required Security patches are applied after Media Player is installed.
|Current Codec Pack||I recommend the 'K-Lite' Codec pack (get it here), though several offerings from other sources would be equally as suitable. See the Notes below for more details.|
|GSpot Codec Information Appliance||This tool will analyse a multimedia file and give details of what codecs are required to allow playback. It also has a lot of useful functions for administration of codecs installed on the machine - FREEWARE - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.|
|VLC Player||The 'Video LAN Client' Player is an excellent alternative to Windows Media Player. The latest versions unfortunately DO NOT function on Windows NT 4.0 - See my comments below.|
|Real Player V8.0||Versions 9 and 10 of Real Player can be installed, however, they have issues with Spyware content and require Internet Explorer V5.5 or later to be installed.|
See the Notes below for enhancements to Real Player V8.0 to improve it's functionality.
|QuickTime V6.52||Apple claim that QuickTime V6.1 was the last version for NT 4.0 - this is a total untruth - QuickTime V6.52 installs and functions perfectly on NT 4.0|
|WinAmp V2.95||I recommend this audio player in preference to using Windows Media Player for Audio playback. WinAmp is far more extensible and configurable. V5.x of WinAmp is available, but I prefer V2.x family. Thousands of 'plugins' to enhance WinAmp are available as well.|
|Virtual Dub||This great FREEWARE package can do a multiplicity of useful Video processing and editing tasks - extensible by a 'plug-in' architecture.|
|Spectrum Lab||This programme is a real time audio spectrum analyser with literally HUNDREDS of functions. Most notable feature is the ability to display in 'waterfall' mode.|
This page is very much a 'work in progress'. If you know of useful software or tweaks that assist NT 4.0 in the multimedia area, please contact the author via the email link on the index of this site.
- The Codec pack will offer a mountain of codecs for installation. The ones I find that are commonly needed are:
- AC3 (Audio)
- MPEG2 (use the MainConcept combination on K-Lite Pack)
- 3ivx (not commonly used however)
- The codec pack may initially refuse to install on a NT 4.0 system that does not have Internet Explorer available. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND INSTALLING ANY VERSION OF I.E. ! The file the codec pack is looking for is dsdmo.dll - you may have to track a copy of this file down on the internet first.
- RealPlayer V8.0 cannot play RealMedia files or streams created using RA/RV 9.0 or 10.0 formats. This is fixable however. After you have installed RealPlayer V8.0 on your system, visit somebody who has RealPlayer 10 installed on their system. In the folder X:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Codecs (where X: is the drive letter where Windows is installed on the system) you will find a series of .dll files. (eg: cook3260.dll) Take a copy of the contents of this folder. Overwrite your originally installed codecs with these 'later' .dll codecs in the same folder on your RealPlayer V8.0 installation and the new media forms are now playable.
- VLC is a great media player in it's own right. I actually have this installed on my system as a 'backup player' to handle occassions where, for one reason or another, Windows Media Player will not play back a particular file. VLC has several interesting characteristics:
- Is very non-invasive of a system, requiring no other external codecs or system components.
- Seems to be more tolerant of 'broken' media files than other players.
- Supports a wide variety of popular media types.
- On average, it uses less CPU resources during playback. A file which pushes Windows Media Player to 100% CPU utilisation, resulting in dropped frames or stuttering audio, will quite likely play back smoothly on VLC.
- The latest versions of VLC Player have been compiled to only function on Windows 2000 and above. The last version to correctly function on NT 4.0 was Version 0.8.6h available here.
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Last Update April 7, 2010 at 8:38 PMAEST.