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DIY multimedia center - video codecs under Windows

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I plan on making a multimedia center as a sideproject and get some experience with real-time video editting and playback. I'm looking for a way to use Windows' video codecs to decode/encode video streams, but I'm kind of lost in all the bogus information that is returned by google. In essence I want to capture every frame of a DivX, Xvid, Mpeg, you name it, to a texture and do some trickage like picture-in-picture and blending. But instead of implementing all codecs myself (or using opensource variants) I am more in favour of using the codecs that are kept by Windows. Does anyone have some information or pointers as to how to get access to these installed codecs and how to use them? Thank you!

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