My Format Factory
My Format Factory


WMV, or Windows Media Video, is a compressed video file format developed by Microsoft when MPEG-4 did not have a standard version. Now that MPEG-4 has a standard and independent SMPTE, WMV is considered a unique format.

The most important aspect of a WMV file is that its format allows large video files to be compressed while retaining their high quality. They may be of any size and may be compressed to match any bandwidth (connection speed).

Most often a WMV file is encapsulated in an ASF (Advanced Systems Format) container format. It is then given the file name ‘.wmv’ or ‘.asf’. In other cases, a WMV file may also be stored in an AVI or Matroska container format, giving the file names of ‘.avi’ and ‘.mkv’ respectively. When a WMV file is encapsulated in an ASF container format, it becomes capable of supporting digital rights management facilities for protecting intellectual property rights.

In order to play a WMV file, a codec is needed. A codec is a software that can easily read a file format and then convert it to video images and audio from the data provided. These codecs, also developed by Microsoft, are easily available and are free. The original codec, also named WMV, was originally designed for low-bitrate Internet streaming applications. The later codecs – WMV Screen and WMV Image – cater for specialized content. The technology used for each of these codecs is different. For example, since Version 7 of WMV, the codecs allow streaming, playing, and downloading of content via the Internet. Another important feature of a WMV codec is that it is close sourced. In other words, it cannot be manipulated or edited.

WMV files may be played on the Microsoft Windows Media Player (they already have the codec required to view WMV video and audio files), which is available for both the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh systems. They may also be played on the two systems through web browsers that have Windows Media Player plugins. Nullsoft Winamp for Windows can also opem WMV files. Various othe platforms, like Linux, use FFmpeg to implement WMV codecs.

Video Formats For Beginners