Update (2009-12-22): New binaries, including mencoder x264 support (hopefully) and a link to the MPlayer Extended frontend.
Update: I’ve overhauled this article to reflect the various changes that have happened since its creation. I’ve also finally re-added the binary downloads (built from the trunk as of 2008-09-08), please leave a comment letting me know if they work for you (or not)!
If you’re a Mac user, like me, at some point you’ll probably have had the misfortune to trying to play Windows Media Videos (WMVs). You’ll have discovered that the options are limited: there’s the “official” choice of Microsoft’s awful Windows Media Player for Mac, which they’ve now stopped developing, or its successor in the limited-but-free Flip4Mac components, which work through Quicktime.
so by default won’t play full-screen thanks to Apple’s cheap-ass decision to cripple its media player. (Seriously, what is up with that? You’ve just spent a large chunk of money on a machine and they won’t let you play a movie full-screen easily without shelling out more cash? Sheesh.)
However, there is a better way…
You can get round Apple’s hamstrung Quicktime Player by using NicePlayer along with the Perian and Flip4Mac components, though Windows Media support is still less than satisfactory as Flip4Mac has to index the entire file before it can seek through it, using plenty of CPU while it’s indexing, so expect jerky video if you’re playing HD content or your Mac’s
over a year old, and forget about skipping forward. Then there’s the lovely VLC media player, which is generally fantastic and comes highly recommended, its only flaw being weak Windows Media support: the Mac version won’t play WM9/VC1 files, for instance.
So all of these still pose the problem of poor WMV playback. Surely there’s something out there that does a half-decent job? Enter, stage right: MPlayer.
Originally written as a Linux commandline movie player and then ported to other systems including Windows and OS X, it supports many different video codecs including 3ivx, DivX, H.263, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Indeo, MJPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, RealVideo, Xvid and others. And WMV, including WMV9. On the audio side it supports AAC, FLAC, MP3, RealAudio, Vorbis, WMA and others.
Some lovely people wrote a native OS X front-end but unfortunately haven’t updated it in several years so it’s well out of date. There’s also an unofficial Mac OS X build at haque.net, which also seems to be rather old, but the one to go for now is MPlayer OSX Extended (the latest version requires Leopard, but the previous revision works under Tiger).
? Downloads ?
The following binaries below are command-line only! They’re provided for advanced usage, and are NOT SUPPORTED. For a front-end, please try MPlayer OSX Extended.
MPlayer dev-SVN-4.2.1 for Intel (2009-12-22):
I also did an MEncoder binary as I couldn’t find an updated one anywhere (this may be useful for FFmpegX users):
MEncoder dev-SVN-4.2.1 for Intel (2009-12-22):
I’m afraid I offer NO SUPPORT for these builds, they were purely done for personal use and distributed here on the off chance that someone else may find it useful. I’m no mplayer expert, I just compiled it (via MacPorts) on my Mac ;) If you need help, try the official MPlayer mailing lists. They’re released under the GPL Licence, code is available from the official MPlayer site or through the MacPorts project.