Windows isn't very smart when it comes to handling various media file formats. It has an extensible property system for viewing their properties and embedded metadata but it leaves end users high and dry by shipping with support for very few media formats and their properties. A third party free app called MediaTab solves this problem for good by exposing all possible details about media files in their Properties.
If you are not an experienced Windows user, sometimes, you may not know which codec and player you need installed in order to play a video file. At other times, you just need more information about the file. Video professionals also need access to a media file's detailed properties.
Windows actually has a built-in system to view technical properties and tags/metadata. It shows this info in various places - on the Details tab in the file's Properties, in Explorer's Details pane, in the tooltip etc. However, this information is quite limited and for less common formats, Windows shows no information at all. If you install property handlers for various formats, then you get extended support for reading these details. However, property handlers are rare and still don't display as much information as one might need.
MediaTab shows all the information you need. Similar to the Windows 'Details' tab, MediaTab shows its information in the file's Properties. MediaTab itself is based off another free, open source project called MediaInfo. However, MediaInfo is a standalone program which can display this information and it isn't tightly integrated with Explorer. Its user interface is ugly and it only ships with infotips (tooltips) for Explorer. Luckily, MediaInfo also has its own open source library (DLL) which other apps can use to implement MediaInfo's capabilities in their own apps. MediaTab precisely does this. It uses MediaInfo's capabilities and wraps them in a neat, integrated UI in Explorer's properties.
- Download MediaTab from this page and install it.
- Right click any media file(s) whose details you want to see and click Properties. Alternatively, you can also select one or more files and press Alt+Enter to open the Properties and press Ctrl+Tab to quickly view the info. You can also hold down Alt and double click a file to open the Properties.
- When the Properties window opens, switch to the tab called MediaTab.
- If you don't like the font and layout shown on the "Text" tab, I recommend you switch to the "Tree" tab which presents it in a much more readable and organized way.
- Click the Advanced button if you want to see all possible details (not recommended unless you are doing a forensic investigation of the media file :P )
Audio formats: MP3, AAC/MP4 AC3, AMR, APE, ASF, DTS, FLAC, MKA, MOD, MP2, MPC, OGA/OGG/OGM, RA/RM/RMVB, TTA, W64, WAV, WMA, WV and many others
Video formats: 3GP/3GPP, ASF, AVI, BDMV, DIVX, DVR-MS, F4V, FLV, M2T/M2TS, MPG/MPEG/M4V (and related formats), MKV, MOV/QT, MP4, OGV/OGG, RM/RMVB, SWF, VOB, WMV and many other container formats
Because it is based on MediaInfo, it exceeds any other tool at displaying such comprehensive details about media files. You can see basic info such as format, duration, bit rate and all of the metadata that's stored inside the file such as copyright, album/film name, genre, keywords, comments, album, artist, track info, composers, and tons of other format specific metadata. The video section (for video files) shows all the technical details such as the compression used, codec FourCC, bitrate mode, dimensions, resolution, aspect ratio, frame rate, color space, bit depth, scan type, stream size and lots more. The audio section displays the number of channels, sampling rate, and all audio related properties. For formats like Matroska, it can even display menu and chapter information.
In fact, MediaTab is capable of showing so many details that to avoid clutter, it has a Basic mode and an Advanced mode. You can export all the details it shows to an HTML file, plain text or copy it to the clipboard.
If you have a Start Menu such as Classic Shell installed, or Everything, both of which let you quickly locate any file, you can press Alt+Enter on any media file in the search results to open its Properties and then Ctrl+Tab to view its detailed information.
MediaTab is free, but the developer requests a donation. It supports both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP and later, and is implemented as a property sheet shell extension (addon to Explorer). It got recently got updated to save the last used settings and Unicode file name compatibility. We recommend that you try it.