With the increase in CPU power and the availability of high speed Internet connections, watching movies on PCs has become the norm. These videos can come in different formats, but one of the most widely recognized is WMV.
What WMV is
WMV stands for Windows Media Video, and it is the name of the video encoder that was created by software giant Microsoft. A video encoder is the file that makes it possible to watch videos on computers.
WMV is part of Microsoft’s Windows Media, a series of files, formats and encoders aimed at integrating sound and video. These include the Advanced Systems Format (ASP), High Definition Photo (HDP), and Windows Media Audio (WMA), which is used for playing music files (similar to the mp3 format).
WMV uses several technologies, but mainly it serves as Microsoft’s own version of the popular MPEG – 4 encoder.
History and Development
WMV was developed by Microsoft in the 1990s and made its debut in 1999. It has undergone several version upgrades and changes, and today it functions mostly to distribute video on the Internet and also in some CDs and DVDs. This codec (as video encoders are called), while popular, has also faced competition from others, notably DivX, Xvid, MPEG-4 AVC, and Real Video.
How to Play WMV Files
To play WMV files you need to have Windows Media Player version 7 or higher (there are also several other media players on the Internet that you can download that plays this format). Among the more popular alternative WMV players are WinAMP. BSPlayer and MPlayer.
Other third party applications that can view WMV files include Zoom, KMPlayer, and Power DVD. There are also some portable music players that support this file format.
There are also several programs, from full blown to shareware to freeware, that allow for the export of video into the WMV format. They include Windows Movie Maker, Sorenson Squeeze, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Microsoft Expression Encoder.
WMV Specifications and Features
All these files end in the .wmv extension. There are several components in each one, and some of them include ASF files, Sipro ACELP.net audio codes. Most versions of .wmv can also be converted to avi files.
With each new upgrade and release, Windows Media Video increases its features and capabilities. Among them is the ability to process the data with a wide range of network protocols. WMV can also be played locally, and you can also download updates and components from the Internet.
WMV files can also be scaled, and offers support for several languages. It also supports constant bit rate, variable bit rate and average bit rate, frame interpolation, interlaced video high definition video content resolutions, and non square pixels.
Another advantage of WMV files is that it is supported by a large variety of applications and systems. The Xbox 360 and Windows Mobile can run WMV files.
For users of the Macintosh, there are currently several software programs that allow viewing of WMV files, one of the most popular being Flipmac WMV, which is part of the QuickTime application.
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