Controlling Codec Usage with Radlight Filter Manager

Although programs like GraphStudio can help us find out what’s going wrong during the playback of our media files, it isn’t really the easiest way to fix the problems.This is where a program like Radlight’s Filter Manager can come in handy. Unfortunately, this tool is no longer in development so no x64 version exists but an x86 version can be found for download here.

About Radlight Filter Manager

Using Filter Manager we can set the merits of DirectShow filters allow us to control what filters are loaded for certain file types. Each time a media file is loaded Windows will search for the filter with the highest merit capable of playing the file. Windows will then use that filter to playback the file. In the case of video files it will do this for both the video and audio streams. Using Filter Manager we are able to set the video stream to one codec such as FFDShow and the audio to another such as AC3Filter.

Filter Manager Merit

Once you’ve downloaded Filter Manager, simply extract the zip file to a folder on your hard disk. Running Filter Manager for the first time can be a little overwhelming with so many options. The main thing to look for is the section under the General tab for DirectShow Filters. This will provide a list of all the DirectShow filters installed on your machine.

From here setting the merit values of the DirectShow filters on the system is easy. Locate the filter that needs to have the merit level changed and select it in the list. Below the list of filters is a number of options including a dropbox with available merit values. Select the proper value from the list and press “Set Merit Value”. A system restart may be required before settings will take effect but many time simply restarting the media player will do the trick.

Set Merit with Filter Manager

Here we also see that Filter Manager can provide a number of other options for customizing the codecs on the machine. Registering of new DirectShow filters is also extremely easy using Filter Manager, just press the “Register” button and select the file to register. Selecting a filter from the list and pressing “Unregister” will do the opposite, unregistering the selected filter. You can even access the particular codec settings by pressing the “Property Page” button.

It may take some effort but using Filter Manager in combination with GraphStudio you’ll be able to get your codecs straightened out to perform just the way you’d like them to.

For even more on codecs in Windows 7 and Media Center check out this article on Clearing Up The Codec Confusion.

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