Forget Windows Media Player, Here Are 3 Free Ways to Play WMV Video on a Mac

Jul 17, 2012 - 6 Comments

Play WMV Video in Mac OS X

WMV files typically are played in Windows Media Player, but Mac users don’t have that app. Not to worry though, there are plenty of solutions to play WMV video right in Mac OS X and you can go ahead and forget about WMP because the Mac apps are better and more versatile anyway. Without further ado, here are three different ways to play WMV movies on a Mac, each are free downloads:

#1: MPlayerX

MPlayerX closely resembles the Quick Time user interface but that’s about where the similarities end, because MPlayerX will play just about any video thrown at it with flying colors. WMV files are no exception, but because it supports so many other popular (mkv, divx, etc) and obscure formats, MPlayer is debatably one of the best free video players available for the Mac platform.

#2: VLC

VLC is the classic swiss army knife for video files, it will play virtually any video format, it’s cross-platform compatible, it’s quick, and it’s free. VLC’s other benefit is that it works fine with obscure audio formats, and if you’re wanting to stream a video from one computer to another you can easily do that too. If you want the video codec support of MPlayerX but with even more features aimed at advanced users, VLC is a great choice.

#3: FlipForMac Components

Last but not least is Flip4Mac, which is a set of video components that install into OS X that allow Quick Time to play WMV files directly. It’s a perfectly reasonable solution, but because it’s limited to WMV and WMA formats it’s just overall less useful than going with a free app like VLC or MPlayerX. My view is that if you’re going to be downloading a new app to play videos, get one that is multifunctional and that will play everything, that way you won’t have to go hunting around again when you encounter some other video file down the road. One potentially huge bonus that Flip provides though is the ability to convert the wmv videos to .mov format, letting you play them on an iPad, iPod, or iPhone, or any other Mac, without the need for them to download anything.

Not sure which to get? It’s probably safest to go with MPlayerX, it’s dirt simple to use, installs through the Mac App Store, and plays so many different movie formats that you’ll likely never have to download another video player again.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

6 Comments

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  1. inket says:

    MPlayer OSX Extended (http://www.mplayerosx.ch) is really nice, too.

  2. Kr00 says:

    You forgot to mention Perian. I understand it’s being retired shortly, but it was a better option than Flip4Mac. VLC has always been the backstop video player after Quicktime, but since MPlayerX came out, it gets a gold star too.

  3. outket says:

    MPlayerX has a serious issue with its rendering engine that results in blurry image quality. It’s easy to notice if you play the same HD video side by side in MPlayerX and VLC. The developer has been aware of the problem since December 2011.

    http://code.google.com/p/mplayerx/issues/detail?id=703

  4. steelo brown says:

    One word of warning if you decide to upgrade Flip4Mac, there’s several options designed to force you spend more.

    I recently had to convert a video for a client to WMV. After purchasing the “Studio” version we found there were not even basic options for encoding the WMV and the quality was very poor. Upgrading to the Studio Pro HD is 3 times the price. Kind of a con.

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