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An .avi file is a container. It contains an audio stream interleaved with a video stream. No specification exists for how either stream is to be encoded, so there are many different ways which are mostly incompatible with each other. Encoding matters. If the video stream is encoded with DivX, or its FOSS counterpart XVid, then that's the important thing to know. If the audio stream is unencoded PCM, or encoded with MP3, that's important to know.

However the streams are encoded, you need installed filters for that encoding.

If your movie is encoded some other way, you will need filters and a player that can handle it. There are many different ways to digitally encode audio and video. You will have to become aware of what you're trying to view/listen to.

This isn't like buying a DVD, where you can expect some standard. if you're going to download movies, you will need to learn to use your head, and to educate yourself about how digital video and digital audio work. It's a difficult and technical subject, which you will need to plunge into in order to figure out what you're doing. Most of all you need the initiative to teach yourself, to use the net to find out answers for yourself.

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