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Codec refers to an internal computer component which processes analog information (like a video or audio signal) into a digital format such as MJPEG, MPEG-4, etc. for electronic storage on device. Without a codec in place to compress and digitize video, digital video recording to a hard disk drive would not be possible.

Different video players such as VLC, QuickTime, or Windows Media Player support a different variety of codecs.

Definition taken from Video Surveillance Glossary