Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WMV Format


A WMV file is a video in the Windows Media Video format created by Microsoft. A WMV file format comprises both audio and video data, compressed to be broadcast in streaming, like MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. There are several versions of the WMV format such as WMV HD or VC-1, recognized as a de facto standard for the audiovisual industry. To play a video in WMV format, simply use a media player such as Windows Media Player, or its equivalent free VLC Player. However, for files that are not in WMV format, it will be necessary to convert first before being able to read.

Convert video to WMV format
In fact, there are two solutions:
Solution A: Use Windows MovieMaker to open your video clip and do the necessary installations (where applicable). MovieMaker comes with Windows XP, so no download is required. Once assembling is complete, you will then export the sequence. MovieMaker will not ask you the export format as it can only export WMV.

Solution B: Use Super. This is free software that converts video formats. It is very effective, simple and complete.

Personally, I recommend option 2 since we will be using a Mac to read the newly converted video. Now its time to play that video;

Play WMV files on your Mac

Many people always ask me how to play WMV files, i.e. the video format of Windows on a Mac running Mac OS X. So far, the only possible way was to use Windows Media Player for the Mac version of Microsoft's video player, which is pretty damn bad. Different software from the free software world offer a more efficient alternative. Among them, the Mplayer reader which is quite common under Linux, and available in multiple versions among which there is an excellent version for Mac OS X. This software reads Mpeg, Avi, Quicktime, Real, DivX, 3ivx, Ogg, and of course, WMV.
Lots of people may prefer VLC (VideoLan), it is more ergonomic, and also available for different platforms and compatible with multiple audio and video formats, including WMV. Finally, another program, the fantabulous Flip4Mac, once installed, allows you to play WMV files on Quicktime Player. It is now being distributed by Microsoft.

Only problem is, these programs are unable to read WMV3 encoded files with the latest version of Windows Media. In this case, it is better to try with a Windows Media Player for Mac; or, if you are often confronted with this problem, install a Windows emulator such as VirtualPC for Mac, Wintel, Q (adapted from QEMU) or iEmulator. Then and only then will it be possible for you to use your Mac as a Windows PC.

Finally, do not expect miracles with WMV files that are protected by a certificate: they simply can not be played. It is only possible to read when you use a Windows emulator (or a PC with Windows) and accept the proposed certificate.

To take advantage of other video formats, the solution is to install Perian, which presents itself as the "Swiss knife" of codecs for Quicktime. It is a component that, once installed in the Quicktime, Quicktime Player can read AVI, FLV, 3ivx, DivX, Flash Screen Video, MS-MPEG4, Sorenson H.263, VP6 Truemotion and Xvid files. Combined with Filp4Mac, Perian is expected to support a lot of video formats.

NB: you will need to sort out the old components, as shown on the home page of Perian. Finally, some users report compatibility problems when opening a video in Safari. There are online shops that propose excellent software solutions.

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