What is CodecInfo ?

Good question, here's a brief explanation of what CodecInfo is :  “Whilst Kodi is playing media on screen you can activate the codecInfo overlay o key on a keyboard. This normally appears as white text on a black background bar located near the top of the screen (dependent on the skin being used). The codecInfo overlay displays a number of real time variables describing detailed information on the codecs currently in use. The codecInfo ** window/overlay normally contains information about the currently playing media, such as video and audio codecs, frame skips, decoding method, etc. Starting in Kodi v17 most of this information has been moved to a new window called PlayerProcessInfo.” (excerpt from Kodi-Wiki)

How/Where can CodecInfo be found

Where: This option can only be viewed while playing a Media File (Movie or TV Show) on Kodi Krypton. How:  There are two ways to find this option.
  1. While viewing the Media File Select the Letter O on the built in or wireless Keyboard.
  2. Using the Keyboard, click at the same time the CTRL + Shift + Letter O.
While both methods will produce information about the media file currently playing, Method 1 does provide a more detailed list and consequently this will be our focus. Depending on what skin you may have installed will produce slightly different results in addition to the Information about the media you are viewing. But for the purposes of this article, the Xonfluence Skin was used. The device was a PC, with Kodi 17 installed. ** The codecinfo screen is not entirely accurate for some of the reported data. Due to the fact that the codecinfo screen itself will reduce performance on low powered devices i.e., Raspberry Pi, some Android/ARM boxes. Using 4 examples of 480p, 720p (dts audio,5.1), 1080p (AAC, 2.0) 1080p (dts, 5.1) for comparison and showing what loads are being applied to your advice. This will also give you some idea why some of you are experiencing “stuttering” (buffering) and freezing.

480p

codecinfo As you can see from the title information, this is a 480p resolution with AAC Audio in 2.0. After selecting the letter O on the keyboard, the top third of the screen suddenly showed all these odd numbers ! What do these all mean ? Normally there are 7 lines with information about the Media and it's use and effect on the device. Depending on what device being used there may be only 6 lines as seen here.
  • D – Audio information – Demuxer
  • – Audio information – Player
  • D – Video information – Demuxer
  • P – Video information – Player
  • C – General playback information C
  • W – Windowing and System CPU information
  • S – Sync to screen information (this may or may not be available based on the skin and device used)
     

720p (dts audio, 5.1)

codecinfo So using the index above lets take a closer look at what these figures stand for :
  • D– Audio Information- Demuxer-Audio dts (Dedicated To Sound) confirms what is indicated in the movies menu. Sometimes sources are labelled falsely in order to remain active.
  • P– Audio Information-Player- Compared to the 480p example, this resolution is now at Kb/s 1468.16  from 93.55, also known as Average Audio Bitrate. As a result this is adding an extra load to your system when streaming. While being rather insignificant for most, it could be one of many reasons why viewing may not appear seamless.
  • D– Video Information- Demuxer- H.264 ( (MPEG-4 AVC) is the compression based standard to “package” the media file. H.265 (HEVC)is another compression that is becoming more and more popular to use due to its smaller footprint. Note the resolution size > 1280 x 536. (720 x 302 in 480p)
  • P– Video Information- Player- fr or Frame Rate , 23.976. this figure will fluctuate based on the resolution and size of the file being streamed. Why it's suggested to read the specifications of any Android device to ensure it can handle 4K, the Nvidia Shield for example has a fr of 60. More than enough to handle 4K resolution. -drop:0, skip:0 refer to frames being dropped/skipped, less is always best. Another contributor to streaming issues.
  • W– Windowing and System CPU information- These last group of numbers are a direct reflection on the loads on your device and will affect the buffering on your device.

1080p (acc-2.0)

codecinfo So using the examples from the previous photo, have a look at these next two photos and see how well you read the differences. In the following examples take note of these increases in relation to the resolution and file size. One solution to lower these cpu figures is using Ares Wizard Advanced Settings where you  will be given preset suggestions based on the Specs of any device you have Kodi installed to increase the cache to reduce buffering.

1080p (dts,5.1)

codecinfo Especially relevant are the CPU loads on the system. As an experiment, disable the Media Codec Acceleration in Video settings. Then return to the same movie and compare the loads before and after. Turning off MediaCodec adds undo loads and will have a direct affect on your Kodi media player's ability to stream files properly.

In Conclusion

The more you know about how your device reacts to different streams will allow you to understand what your device can or can not stream. Many get frustrated and blame Kodi or their Build and it's Add-ons for the reason they can not properly view a stream. When in fact it's just a few settings that need tweaking or the device you have just has limitations. How can these be changed ? Ares Wizard Advanced Settings will preset many of the settings based on your device you have Ares Wizard installed in. Keep in mind each device you may have will reflect a different set of recommendations by Ares Wizard. So don't try to duplicate say the settings you find on your PC to those on your Android Box.

For those of you that feel comfortable with the workings of Kodi and are interested in modifying the keyboard xml, here are two links about keymaps that may be of some help. Link 1, Link 2.  For more information on this and many other topics, please join us in the Ares Project Forum. Free to join and free of drama and bullies.  http://www.best-kodi-guides.eu/disclaimer/ We urge users to check locally applicable laws with regard to use of Kodi 3rd party add-ons and the content provided. Any advice provided by mods or admins is done so research, education or viability purposes only. We do not encourage nor condone piracy in any way shape or form. You use the advice given solely at your own risk.