Once in a while I’ll have Mac users ask why they can’t view a particular video sent to them by a friend. With most videos posted on YouTube or Vimeo today, it’s not a problem that occurs very often but older files may still it require a solution.
If you need to play a WMV (Windows Media Video) or WMA (Windows Media Audio) on your Mac, the answer is simple. Go to Microsoft’s web site then download and install the free Windows Media Components for QuickTime (orginally called Flip4Mac). Check out Telestream‘s website for more info. A couple of other free options are VLC Player or MPlayerX.
One other important software tool is Perian the “swiss-army knife for QuickTime” which adds several capabilities to playing video formats. The team behind the open-source project Perian has announced that it will be retiring Perian after one final release. Times have changed and it is not nearly as necessary as it was at one time as more and more videos are released in standardized formats that work on mobile iPhones/iPad as well as the Mac.
I believe the best way to send video is to upload the video to a YouTube account and send a link to it. You can make the videos private and only allow certain people to view them. Some others have chosen to use Vimeo instead.
Playing back videos requires up-to-date versions of software…especially if the videos came from Windows. Some Mac users have seen issues where they can playback the sound on a video but the video itself is blank or displays a black screen. The problem is likely that there are old QuickTime video codecs on your system. The Perion site suggests removing obsolete QuickTime Components. To do this follow these steps:
- In the Finder, from the Go menu choose Go To Folder…
- Enter ~/Library/QuickTime that will go you your user Library folder.
- Drag the following files out of that folder onto the desktop: FFusion, Xvid Delegate, 3ivX, DivX, DivX Decoder, XviD, msmpeg4v1, msmpeg4v2, AviImporter, EX_M4S2, Casio AVI Importer, AC3 Codec, and MatroskaQ (You may see the date modified on these files as very old…or pre 2007…which would give away the fact that they may not be compatible with the latest operating system versions.)
- Put those files into a new folder and save them in case you find you may need to reenable one or more of these older files in the future.
- Repeat the same procedure from step 1-5 for the /Library/QuickTime folder.