What is a decoder, which ones do I need, and where do I get them?

What is a decoder, and why do I need it?

A combination of audio decoders and video decoders are required for you to watch live tv and recordings. In simplistic terms, decoders take compressed audio/video frames, and decompresses them into audio samples for sending to the speakers, or video frames for displaying on the screen.

NextPVR is a non-commerical application, and ships without any decoders installed, since these would cost $$$ for me to legally license and distribute. Instead, NextPVR will make use of decoders you already have on your system. Some of these are supplied with Windows, some come from other applications you have installed, some are downloaded from Internet sources.

Below is info on what decoders you need and recommendations, the TL;DR answer: install the LAV decoders from HERE, then go to the Settings->Decoders screen, and set everything to the LAV decoders

Which decoders do I need?

It depends on the country you're in, the television system you're using, and sometimes the device you use. If you don't have a decoder you require, NextPVR will tell you what type of decoder it's missing. Here are some example decoder requirements for common user groups:

What decoders do you recommend?

H.264 Video

For H.264 video, we recommend the 'Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder', which is included with most versions of Windows.

Other good H.264 decoder include the 'LAV Video Decoder'. The ArcSoft decoder, included with various Hauppauge applications is also a good alternative.

MPEG-2 Video

The best options for MPEG-2 are the 'LAV Video Decoder', or the 'Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder'. Unfortunately this Microsoft decoder is only availble in some versions of Windows. It was freely included in Win7 and Vista. In more recent versions of Windows, you typically need to purchase Microsoft's DVD Player app to enable MPEG2. (Alternatively, some people have reported they sucessfully enabled MPEG2 in the 'Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder' on Windows 10 following the 32bit install instructions at

Lots of other decoders also work well. Many of these are included with other software you may have. Some examples include, the MainConcept decoder that comes with the Hauppauge WinTV software, or the Cyberlink decoder that comes PowerDVD, the ArcSoft decoder that comes with ArcSoft applications etc.

The ffdshow decoder also works well. You can download the ffdshow decoder from, making sure you enable MPEG2 during the install (since it's disabled by default)

HEVC / H.265 Video HEVC is new, and very rarely used in broadcast television at this stage, can be left disabled for most users. For users of DVB-T2 in Germany, or other regions with HEVC broadcasts, the LAV Video Decoder is probably your best option, and can be downloaded from HERE
MPEG1/AC3/AAC/HE-AAC Audio For decoding audio we recommend the LAV decoders. You can download them from HERE

Is there anything else I should be aware of?

NextPVR is a 32bit application so will only see 32bit decoders on the machine. It can't see 64bit decoders, so these will not be listed.

NextPVR's decoder settings only apply to Live TV, and the playback of .ts recordings. For playback of other file types, like .mkv/.mp4/.avi, it's left to Windows to decide what decoders etc are used during playback. Installing LAV from HERE will often resolve issues with playback of these other file types.