Originally Posted by utaeladil
If the file I have is a proper .TS file (which can play audio in one or two video players) but just can't play audio in native windows media player, and since my conversion utils to shrink this .ts file all only see the video and report no audio, wouldn't that indicate that I need some kind of updated codec for mpeg2 to work properly in all apps? And if so, where is a link I can download such a codec from and try it out?
This almost sounds like your system lacks a Dolby Digital decoder, which is quite odd considering you have Nero 7 installed on your system. The Nero suite installs MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital decoders which are available to other Windows programs such as Windows Media Player.
Try opening the .TS file with Nero Showtime. Does it play fine? At the very least you can check what format the audio track is in. Right click in the Nero Showtime video window and choose Options > Show additional info on OSD. When the video plays in Showtime it will now display the format of the video and audio tracks, along with the bitrate.
Assuming it is a problem with a missing Dolby Digital decoder, the reason VLC media player can play the .TS file without problems is because it includes open source decoders for DVD playback. However, these decoders are only accessible to VLC media player.