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A codec is a device or computer program capable of encoding or decoding a digital data stream or signal. the word codec is a portmanteau of "coder-decoder" or, less commonly, "compressor-decompressor". a codec (the program) should not be confused with a coding or compression format or standard – a format is a document (the standard), a way of storing data, while a codec is a program (an implementation) which can read or write such files.