How can I play .asf files on my Mac?
July 13, 2004 5:50 PM   Subscribe

I recently went to a concert and bought a special package that included digital recordings of a few songs. The format is .asf but I run a Mac, 10.2.8. Windows Media Player isn't playing the files. What's my option now?
posted by BlueTrain to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
I wouldn't be surprised to find that mplayer could play an .asf file. Try that.
posted by majick at 6:06 PM on July 13, 2004

I've used MPlayer to play ASF, so it should work if you have the right codecs. You may need the freely available (from the mplayer website) win32 dlls, but I'm not on OS X, so I'm not sure.
posted by thebabelfish at 6:12 PM on July 13, 2004

Response by poster: I can't seem to find an mplayer with a front-end that works. (Hell, I don't even know what that means) Anyone with a direct link?
posted by BlueTrain at 6:45 PM on July 13, 2004

Have you tried MPlayer for OS X?
posted by thebabelfish at 6:54 PM on July 13, 2004

Response by poster: Yes. Downloaded, opened the file, but nothing happened.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:00 PM on July 13, 2004

VLC seems to be able to open every media format under the sun, and ASF is listed as a supported format.
posted by revgeorge at 7:15 PM on July 13, 2004

Like thebabelfish mentions, though, you don't always have the right codecs. ASF, like WMV and AVI and Quicktime, is a container format -- inside that container could be data encoded using just about any codec under the sun. And unfortunately, on OSX you don't have the option of using the win32 DLL packages since obviously x86 DLLs aren't going to be runnable on a PPC.

Add to that the fact that some Windows Media files can be "protected" from playing using DRM -- which doesn't work for squat on anything but Windows -- and it's a near certainty that a certain number of media files out there won't ever play on your Mac.

If mplayer, vlc, and Windows Media Player for Macintosh won't play it, chances are you're screwed.
posted by majick at 7:24 PM on July 13, 2004

Hey, why not just go to goodwill and drop a fiver on any PC faster than a 486?

It's easier than just about any of the other suggestions. :-)
posted by shepd at 7:27 PM on July 13, 2004

Also, I'm pretty sure that recent builds of mplayer for OSX -- those with broader codec support -- only run on OSX version 10.3 and above. There might be an older version out there that supports the older OS, but it's very likely it doesn't have the same feature set.

I'm under the impression there are recent vlc builds for older OSes, though (but my recall has been known to be pretty faulty at times.)
posted by majick at 7:28 PM on July 13, 2004

Response by poster: VLC didn't work either. I have one other option. I still run Virtual PC. The reason I didn't mention that yet was because I recently reformatted and I never bothered to reinstall because I'll be upgrading to Panther shortly. Will VPC work, or does the Direct X aspect screw me?
posted by BlueTrain at 7:31 PM on July 13, 2004

Was this a Gomez concert? A friend of mine is having trouble getting the files to work even in Windows. Something about license management.
posted by tss at 5:29 AM on July 14, 2004

Yeah, I'd guess that even if they're Windows media files, which VLC ought to run, they probably have some sort of DRM attached to them, which would prevent anything but WMP on Windows from playing them. Virtual PC will probably be able to play them, but you're unlikely to be able to convert them into a usable format.
posted by mkultra at 7:09 AM on July 14, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, it was indeed the Gomez concert. I had a great time...

I'll give VPC a go in a week or so. I don't have time right now to upgrade to Panther and reinstall XP.
posted by BlueTrain at 2:32 PM on July 14, 2004

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