Playing Windows Media video under OSX
November 30, 2004 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Best way to play the latest Windows Media movies under OS X?

I've tried the latest version of MPlayer, but it only plays the sound, not the video, of WMV movies.

I don't even know if playing Daily Show WMVs embedded into is in the cards...but I'd just like to be able to play downloaded Windows Media movies reliably, at least, since it seems to be such a hot format.

Can it be done without some fancy open source re-compile of my Mplayer?
posted by inksyndicate to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Can you use Windows Media Player for Mac OS X?
posted by paulychamp at 12:56 PM on November 30, 2004

No, and WMP for Mac OSX just complains and won't recognize several types of codecs...just older movies.
posted by inksyndicate at 1:07 PM on November 30, 2004

The embedded Daily Show videos work for me, although I had to upgrade to the latest version of WMP for OS X. I checked it in Firefox and Safari, both worked. I've got Windows Media Player 9.0.0 (3307)

If all else fails, there's always VLC.
posted by revgeorge at 1:20 PM on November 30, 2004

Maybe my iBook computer is just freaky or something. I just reformatted and reinstalled my system and WMP just gives me these "couldn't create unique tmp file" errors.
posted by inksyndicate at 1:26 PM on November 30, 2004

The only application I've found that will play WMPs on a mac with any sort of regularity is the craptastic Windows Media Player. The open-source apps, while great for viewing the huge number of mp4s out there (DiVX, xvid, ogg, cinepack blahblah lbhadferjlfdh), generally are way behind the curve on WMV codecs.

Why bother with comedy central's website when you've got Daily Show Clips from "On Lisa Rein's Radar," in easy-to-digest .mov format? And torrents.
posted by LimePi at 1:53 PM on November 30, 2004

I try Windows Media Player for OS X first, and if that fails, VLC.
posted by robbie01 at 1:55 PM on November 30, 2004

Hmm, it's claimed that WMV3 files don't play on any Mac anywhere. Can this be?
posted by inksyndicate at 2:08 PM on November 30, 2004

I'm not sure, but "couldn't create unique tmp file" sounds like a permissions issue. Have you tried repairing permisions (using Disk Utility)?
posted by willnot at 2:15 PM on November 30, 2004

Hmm, they will play only if I run Windows Media Player through Internet Explorer.

Yeah, it's not a permissions problem.
posted by inksyndicate at 2:51 PM on November 30, 2004

The tmp file problem is one I have. It's irritating, but you can resolve it by closing the browser and relaunching, using a different browser, or copying and pasting the URL directly into Windows Media Player.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:54 PM on November 30, 2004

I have yet to meet a WMV file I can't play on OSX, and I run into just about all the codecs, including WMV3. Here's how I do it:

First, I try to play the movie with MPlayerOSX -- mostly because I prefer the user interface. Occasionally mplayer chokes on corrupted files or files with bad indexes, and doesn't handle WMV3, so...

Then I fall back on VLC. VLC will play everything I throw at it with the exception of WMV3. I'd try it first if I didn't dislike the UI quite so much. It does, however, state very clearly when it runs into a WMV3 file, so...

WMV3 files get played in Microsoft Windows Media Player for Mac. The player is an unmitigated piece of junk, but it does handle WMV3 without the slightest complaint.

Using this regime, I have never failed to open a WMV file. One handy aspect of taking this "fall through" approach is that Microsoft Media Player assumes ownership of any file it opens -- so the next time I come back to a WMV3 file, it'll be associated with that application. But since I try my favored players which don't molest the file association, first, anything that can be opened without resorting to Microsoft's player will never be touched by it.

I avoid Quicktime Player as much as possible, although it does show up embedded in the browser (buggily) from time to time.

I've never experienced temp file problems, so anything that goes wrong there is likely to be brokenness specific to a particular system.
posted by majick at 8:07 PM on November 30, 2004

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