It's so silly that we have to do this,but as I've been investigating various issues around the Digital Media Core series, I've run into all kinds of compatibility issues with various video formats, especially, so I've been trying to find codec packages that I can recommend to readers without reservation. It's difficult. I've actually paid for a few video codecs over the years, but obviously there are free alternatives, so I'd like to stick to that route if possible. Here are the two that look most interesting to me right now, but that could change over time...

Combined Community Codec Pack. I recommend this on my What I Use page because I really use it and it appears to be pretty complete.

K-Lite Mega Codec Pack. I came across this one recently and just installed on both of my x64-based Vista machines to test. So far so good, but what I've discovered is that there are free and non-free variants, which makes me nervous. Also, where's the "real" home page for this thing?

Does anyone have experience with these or other codecs packages? I'd like something that basically makes H.264, DivX, and Xvid just work with both Windows Media Player and Media Center. It's unclear is this is even possible in a reliable way right now.