We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, November 22. 2011
Me, I'm not partial to any OS. Hell, given my druthers, I'd be on my Amiga 1200 right now. See, I hold to this wild, unconventional notion that once a program is up, it doesn't matter what the hell the OS is. Not once, in umpteen billion computer articles written over 20 years, have I ever said one OS was "better" than another.
So, now that you don't hate me too much for being one of those prissy, starched-shirt PC users, can I ask a question? I'd normally just do a Google search, but since I wouldn't have a Mac to test it on, it wouldn't do much good.
As I understand it, there's some way Macs can play online WMV video files. They can't normally because WMV is a proprietary streaming format and the prissy, starched-shirt PC users at Microsoft want a bazillion dollars from Apple for the licensing rights to play them. In turn, Apple wants a bazillion dollars from Microsoft so PCs can play streaming Quicktime videos, so it all evens out, neither can play the other, and thankfully the only people hurt are us users.
The solution was mentioned once in the comments here, years ago. I had (innocently, to be sure) posted a link to a clip in Doc's Bag O' Clips, which are WMV files, and one Mac user promptly
I'd like to put the info in the 'tech' section of the 'Clips' area so Mac users can enjoy the videos as well. All of the rest of the videos on the site are in standard FLV format, but for full-screen, knock-your-socks-off, almost-DVD quality online videos, WMV is the only way to go in the streaming world.
Since I won't be able to run it myself, please leave some brief instructions on where to get it and how to install and run it. I'll not only put the info in my 'Clips' area but also make a post of it here for future linkable goodness. I'll even mention you by name in the article so later you can impress the babes by shyly admitting, "Well, yes, I am published."
Update: I think we got it, thanks to MikeNC and 'muleheadedfarmer'.
For you daredevils out there who want to give this a go, try this site. Then click on the above link and test out one of the clips. In theory, Quicktime should open and everything should play just fine. Please let me know in the comments what
Tech note: streaming WMV files are 'activated' by a small WMA text file. I point it out so you won't be confused if you see both extensions mentioned. The actual video is a WMV file, initiated by a WMA file, which is what the link goes to.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
A very good question. Exhaustive research reveals it to either be British term for a raincoat or a high-end piece of McIntosh audio gear. Why some audiophile would want to play videos on his stereo is anybody's guess, but I'm just trying to cover all the bases here.
McIntosh amplifiers rule!! Got a set of six Mac-50 tube amps for the stereo system. All bi-amped and run through two Bozak Concert Grands. A sound system like no other.
Oh wait - am I a little off topic?
My bad. :>)
"Oh wait - am I a little off topic?"
Well, actually, I think the term used when describing tube amps is "off-decade". Or "half-century". :)
Here are 4 choices.
Mike - Not quite. Those are for playing WMV files on the computer. Streaming from the 'Net takes something else. I keep having the feeling that the guy called it a 'plug-in', so maybe something for Safari?
You're right, and my apologies. When I saw the first two were just players, I assumed the rest would be. The main post has been updated, and much thanks.
The good news is that my memory is as sharp as a tack. I kept having the feeling the guy said "plug-in", rather than "program", and that's what it is, although I suppose 'add-on' is the more modern term. Anyway, is that what you use? Have you tried a video in the 'Clips' area?
Strange, I have support for both on linux. I can't tell you how unusual it is for linux to have a multimedia advantage over the big platforms ;) I use gstreamer and the codecs from Fluendo. Gstreamer is available on both the Mac and Windows.
The question is, can a stock Linux play them both? They all can -- with help.
The Fluendo codec pack costs money. That's a dirty word in these quarters. :)
Money, money, money, it's always about money. No wonder you are addicted to freebies like Windows and OSX ;) I thought the price was well worth it to stop feeling like an OWSer dumpster diving for scraps on the internet.
Nah, that's the wrong way to look at it. At least in the video world. There are some great free video programs out there, many of which can do tricks the big boys can't. Some of the authors become 'famous' in video circles, like ol' whats-his-name, the guy who wrote the fabulous VirtualDub. (Avery Lee)
Plus, the hunt is part of the fun. Suddenly, you have a TS or RM or some other weird video file, and, yeah, the Bonanza Galaxy Video Converter ($799) will convert it just fine, but so will the ugly, awkward, takes-forever-to-load -- but free -- 'Super' converter. Then you find out that among its tricks, Super can also reverse a video, flip it horizontally or vertically, slow it down or speed it up, none of which the snazzy program can do.
Again, this might just be in the video world, but "free" doesn't have anything to do with "quality". Like the way OWSers don't have anything to do with 'integrity'. :)
VLC media player from VideoLAN.
"VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols"
While it's hard to decipher the page, their 'streaming' page doesn't indicate it supports WMV. It's listed in some of the 'output' boxes, but not the 'input' boxes.
It works well on my MacBook as the site says:
"Plays most codecs with no codec packs needed:
MPEG-2, H.264, DivX, MPEG-4, WebM, WMV" and "Works on most platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X"
F4M has had more than a few issues. Check the Macforum threads...
Jess - Two questions:
1. Are you talking about online videos?
2. If so, what happens when you click on a link in my 'Clips' area?
If I'm reading this right, while Flip4Mac might enable Quicktime to play WMVs, there still needs to be an intermediary Cut & Paste step. Ideally, the damn player should just open and start playing. Thoughts?
Bingo! I bet that's it. I'll go update the post and see if any other adventurous soul out there wants to take it out for a fresh spin. Does it play the videos on my 'Clips' site?
The plugin Flip4Mac works for me with Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and browsers Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome.
Works fine for me if I extract the link from the text file and use that. Seems like an unnecessary complication...
Chuck - You're right, that rings another old bell. There was something an intermediary step, like what you described. Can you explain it exactly? What text file, and where do you paste the link into?
Stimpy - Do you have to do any kind of 'extraction' like Chuck's talking about?
I just downloaded the link:
And copied the address of the vinny.wmv file to the firefox address bar. I assume that process is done automatically by some browsers/plugins.
And clearly I need a tag to mark the code so it doesn't disappear into the browser's cyberebrum.
Well, it should display anything you can paste into it except code inside of square brackets.
So it didn't actually play the link? You had to scoop the address to the WMV out of the clicked-on WVX file and then paste it into the browser? Hmm. Want to try a small experiment? Go back to the 'Clips' site, 'Action' page, and try out the two 'Mac test' links in the first entry. Let me know what happens.
"of the vinny.wmv file"
Marisa Tomei at her zenith.
Chuck - Well, hum. The two test links went directly to the WMV file, the second one opening a new window. Want to make another experiment? Jess, up above, is recommending Videolan's VLC player, but I'm not sure if he's referring to streaming media or local files. Since it's a free download, want to give it a spin? Click on the 'Other Systems and Versions' link for the Mac version.
VLC, just to note, is one of the oldest and best of the freebie players out there. It's been around for at least a decade. It probably has a number of nice features Quicktime doesn't have, so it should be an improvement even if it doesn't handle streaming files.