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Improve Windows Media playback for free! Apps
If you, like me, are having trouble with some streaming video content that uses Windows Media Player, then there is a solution. I found that many sites using Windows Media streaming did not function well at all. Sometimes the video would be jerky, or take for ever to start if it started at all. Maybe Microsoft didn't finish WMP 9 for Mac.

I found a solultion that works well for me: Flip4Mac. This is an add-in which allows you to use QuickTime to play this media. It also enables a plug-in for Safari for web content media. You may download a trial which plays half the video and then stops.

[robg adds: Dan Frakes covered Flip4Mac in a semi-recent MacGems article for Macworld, and he had good things to say about it as well.]

Update: As of January 2006, the basic Flip4Mac is now free; I've updated the title of the hint to reflect that...
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Improve Windows Media playback for free! | 28 comments | Create New Account
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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: zadig on Jan 10, '06 06:52:38AM

Their Web site doesn't say whether this plugin will allow iTunes to play back Windows media streaming audio (mms, etc.) that a lot of radio stations use to stream their broadcasts. I thought that iTunes uses QuickTime for playback, but I may be wrong.

Can anyone confirm whether this works or not?



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: derrickbass on Jan 10, '06 03:59:40PM

In theory, it should work. But in practice it takes some doing, because iTunes won't recognize WMA files as files QuickTime knows how to read. (Flip4Mac makes QuickTime start recognizing the Windows file types, and most other programs that play QuickTime will also start recognizing them, but iTunes apparently does not).

One thing that can be done is is to open the WMA in QT Pro (there are also free solutions for this sort of thing (like the command-line QTCoffee tools that my company created)) and save it as a QT Movie. iTunes will recognize that. Still, that's a pain. (Also, you'll need one of the more expensive licenses in order to convert the audio to AAC or some other iPod friendly format.)

It might be possible to hack iTunes so that it recognizes WMA files automatically when Flip4Mac WMV is installed; you could suggest such functionality to Flip4Mac; they'd probably be interested in implementing it if it can be done.



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: rmiller021 on Jan 10, '06 07:21:57AM

After installing the Free Trial
It seems to play WMV9 Videos although it is very choppy on my TI-Book 867.
I would not consider it usable.

---
I have no clue what i am doing



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: aramis on Jan 10, '06 08:05:59AM
I'm afraid I have to agree with rmiller021. I tried this out on my 1GHz/512MB AlBook, and the performance was actually worse than Microsoft's Windows Media Player which is quite an accomplishment in my book...

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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: rspress on Jan 10, '06 08:16:03AM

I installed Flip4Mac before and while it did do some nice things, improved playback was not one of them. There were also a few drawbacks to having Safari always play the windows media files.....so much so that I did not like it and uninstalled and have not used the full version since. It was very nice for converting Windows media to quicktime content however.

I do wish Quicktime would play windows streaming media files like many radio stations use to rebroadcast their transmissions. Most are Mpeg4 streams which quicktime supports.



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Removing Windows Media Player
Authored by: zpjet on Jan 10, '06 08:25:48AM

be aware that Windows Media Plugin stays in /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ after you trash your short-loved wmp.



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: raider on Jan 10, '06 09:22:11AM
I have been using Flip4Mac WMV player for a long time now, and It is pretty good. Nothing fantastic, and I don't really know why this is a "hint". It is not really even worth a pick of the week.

But it is absolutely worth the $10 price tag. At least to me - cause I can now play most of everything that my buddies send me.

It even plays more WMV codecs than the Microsoft player for OSX. (Which is why I bought it.)

Microsofts player does not play the latest WMV formats, and Flip4Mac does.

Flip4Mac however does not handle streaming very well....

For anyone looking for more codec support, DivX now has a current Mac codec player, and there is of course VLC and MPlayer too.

DivX 6 for Mac
VLC
MPlayerOSX

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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: mpress25 on Jan 10, '06 09:25:07AM

I just paid for Flip4Mac after testing it for awhile. I was frustrated with not being able to play videos that were only available for Windows Media Player. And, for me, Windows Media Player NEVER worked. Whenever I tried playing a video that required it I would either receive an error message or it would just quit out.

Flip4Mac works very well in this capacity. It was worth my $10.



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: mozart11 on Jan 10, '06 09:57:17AM

I read that review originally and bought three licenses. And I've posted on the flip4mac forums how this plugin is really so in beta stage. I told Chris at flip4mac I feel like I'm paying him to be his beta tester.

Do waste your money yhet. As I told Chris, and read the forums for yourself, http://www.flip4mac.com/fusetalk/forum/default.aspx?NoCookies=Yes

Microsoft's WMP plugin works better than flip4mac. WMP works on most sites and f4m doesn't. Chris's answer is to move his two plugins in and out of the internet Plugins Folder. But he doesn't respond that this necessitates the browser to be relaunched.

Save your money X Hints fans. Wait until f4m is working. Chris keeps saying an update is coming, but this has been months already. I'm out $30 bucks. And I have no confidence f4m will ever be updated.



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: Mike Dillingham on Jan 10, '06 11:34:56AM

I have flip4mac and have been very happy with it. As stated it has more codecs than wmp and it does a decent job on my computer. I have never had any problems with it. It is definitely worth the $10. And if you want to convert wmp formats to other formats, the $50 version is excellent.



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Happy Customer
Authored by: bedouin on Jan 10, '06 12:27:43PM

I'd be happier if I could play the Daily Show clips on Comedy Central's site but . . .

Anytime I encountered a WMP stream exceeding say, one minute, the stream would stall in Windows Media Player. This happened on so many different connections, and on different machines. Ever try scanning a WMP file in Windows Media Player? It's pretty bad.

This was well worth the $10 to me. I use it on a 1.4ghz PowerMac and 800mhz iBook and can't say it's jerkier than Microsoft's player. I noticed it helps to have Safari's window in focus while a movie is playing. As others have mentioned, it supports far more codecs than Microsoft's own player.



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Happy Customer
Authored by: raider on Jan 10, '06 01:48:00PM
As far as the daily show is concerned, I know this is not a perfect solition - but OneGoodMove has a LOT of daily show clips in Quicktime..

They don't get all, but a lot of the good ones...

OneGoodMove.org

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Free Now?
Authored by: joshuajabbour on Jan 10, '06 02:05:47PM

Is it just bad marketing on their website, or has this product been released in a free version for playback?

I see no sign of a $10 cost...



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Free Now?
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 11, '06 09:11:08AM

Boy thats a kick in the nads...paid the 10 bucks yesterday after reading the hint. Refund perhaps?



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Free Now?
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 11, '06 09:19:29AM

2.0 seems to break break.com, try loading a video and watching it in Safari, then hit the back button, Poof. Oh well.



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Free Now?
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 11, '06 01:34:11PM

Got a Refund :)



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: rbrough on Jan 10, '06 02:28:49PM

I tested it, and it seemed to work... sort of!

Please note that if you use Firefox or Camino as you browser, you are stuffed, as the plugin does not work. Maybe one day...

R



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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: 010111 on Jan 10, '06 03:45:10PM

the hint title should be changed. as of a few hours ago... Flip4Mac WMV *playback* module is now FREE. and distributed through Microsoft.

http://www.macnn.com/articles/06/01/10/wmv.components.2.0/

this probably signals the end of the standalone WMP on OSX. which is probably a good thing.

the upgrades to Flip4Mac still apply however. for instance you will not be able to export from QuickTime Pro using the free version. you have to upgrade to the "Studio" version to do that.



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Filp4Mac
Authored by: sjk on Jan 12, '06 03:47:52PM
for instance you will not be able to export from QuickTime Pro using the free version. you have to upgrade to the "Studio" version to do that.

That's not entirely correct; you can do limited conversions with WMV Import, which Flip4Mac WMV Upgrades describes.

Yesterday I upgraded to WMV Import for free using from the preferences update and a previous customer coupon, then successfully converted a WMV video to MPEG-4.

I'm a satisfied Flip4Mac customer, especially having only paid $10 for Player then unexpectedly getting the free Import upgrade. Maybe you jumped the gun with that refund, MakGeek? :-)

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Improve Windows Media playback for $10
Authored by: andreas999 on Jan 11, '06 05:31:11AM

Here is a link to MS download page for the free Flip4Mac:

http://xrl.us/jiqc



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Improve Windows Media playback for free!
Authored by: tetsuo_ on Jan 12, '06 07:03:55AM

It's crashing very reliably on 10.4.4 with newest QT :-P



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Improve Windows Media playback for free!
Authored by: xcgr on Jan 12, '06 08:15:35AM

Great idea. Unfortunately it crashes QuickTime Player whenever I close a WMV file.



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Improve Windows Media playback for free!
Authored by: smanzo on Jan 12, '06 12:48:21PM

Version 2.0 had a problem with QT 7.0.4. Upgrade to 2.0.1 and you should be ok (available at least as of Noon Pacific time today.)



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Improve Windows Media playback for free!
Authored by: kyderdog on Jan 15, '06 08:24:25AM

Where is can I find 2.0.1? Microsoft is still only offering 2.0



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Improve Windows Media playback for free!
Authored by: revolution1965 on Jan 15, '06 08:44:59AM

You can download it here - http://www.flip4mac.com/wmv_download.htm



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Improve Windows Media playback for free!
Authored by: richard_k_smith on Feb 05, '06 10:26:09AM

Upgrading to 2.0.1 *does* solve the "crash on close" problem that flip4mac introduced with Quicktime 7.

However, there is a more insidious problem. It seems to be invoked for file types/media types where it is not necessary. The type that I am concerned about are the ".avi" files that my digital camera creates (a Canon S2IS, and a Canon A85).

What happens is that flip4Mac first of all caused the "crash on close" bug and then, more annoyingly, blocked export of these formats - that formerly worked just fine (Flip4Mac was never required before). Even more annoying, it just gives a "Fail" error message with nothing indicating that Flip4Mac was the culprit. I spent quite a bit of time yesterday figuring this out.

Presumably the higher priced "includes export" version of Flip4Mac would allow me to export things that I used to be able to export just fine, but for now the only solution seems to be to uninstall Flip4Mac. I have done that and an export from AVI to M4V is running right now.

I think flip4mac needs to a) generate a more sensible error message if you aren't allowed to do something in its licence, and b) not intervene in functions that quicktime can do all on it's own - like export from .avi to .mov.

Hope this helps someone else who experiences these errors and can't figure out what is going on.

...r



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Improve Windows Media playback for free!
Authored by: e235 on Apr 11, '06 04:48:53AM

2.0.2 is out, and seems to solve a lot of the problems of earlier versions. Make sure all files from previous installs are deleted.

With 2.0.2 and QT 7.0.4 you can finally play wmv content in an avi wrapper (most of the time anyway), but QT takes a long time to load the files, so it will seem to have hung.



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Flip4Mac 2.0.2
Authored by: sjk on Apr 11, '06 11:13:53PM

v2.0.2.10 was released over a month ago.



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