For instance, in MS Windows when you bring your mouse pointer towards a MP3 file, then even without you having to go for its properties the OS displays information such as Album/Artist/Year, etc. But this does not work with all the codecs and container formats.
Say that you have a .mkv multimedia container format with H.264 video codec and AAC audio files are in it, then even after installing the proper codecs Windows is unable to display advanced information such as with MP3 files, etc. But once you install the handy utility called MediaInfo, even if you don't have the codecs installed, MediaInfo has the ability to read the Tags of almost all the multimedia container formats and display advanced information such as...
*. Playback duration.
*. Video/Audio codec names and - resolution/bitrate/fps/sample-rate/channels/language, etc.
*. Writing library - For instance, with this you can know the tool which was used to put the audio/video files into the container format.
*. Aspect ratio.
*. Compression mode - whether its lossey or lossless.
*. It support a huge list of codecs/containers such as MKV, OGM, AVI, DivX, WMV, QuickTime, Real, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DVD (VOB)... (Codecs: DivX, XviD, MSMPEG4, ASP, H.264, AVC...), OGG, MP3, WAV, RA, AC3, DTS, AAC, M4A, AU, AIFF... and subtitle formats such as SRT, SSA, ASS, SAMI..
Although these are few of its features... you can easily save all these information into a text or HTML format with it as well. It automatically integrates with Windows Explorer. So, whenever you want to see these information in a file, just right click on it and choose "MediaInfo" which should bring something similar as shown above.
You can try it out (its completely free) from this download page. To be honest, I haven't tried it in my GNU/Linux Laptop because unlike with Windows, it is a bit of a hassle to install and I don't think it integrate as well as with Windows either (supports 2000/XP/Vista and 7). Good luck.