If there is one really big trend regarding computer users and the internet it’s video. Video on the web has exploded. Video is everywhere these days. Little digital cameras shoot video. Cell phones shoot video.
Video is a big deal. So big, that there must be twenty eleven different video standards. Mac users need worry only about three. One comes from Microsoft and Windows.
For the most part, Mac and PC users should only worry about the big three video standards. Flash, which runs, more or less, on most PCs and most Macs, but not on most cell phones.
Included in my big three list is Apple’s QuickTime, which is a player and a browser plugin that plays most other kinds of popular video standards other than Flash.
Finally, Microsoft’s defacto standard in Windows Media Player, or, more commonly known as Windows Media Video. Flash is everywhere. So is Windows. To a lesser extent, QuickTime is highly available.
So, how do Mac users get Windows Media Video on their Macs? Flip4Mac.
When you want to play Windows Media Video on your Mac, Flip4Mac is pretty much it.
Flip4Mac is an interesting product which ranges from free and simple to complex and expensive, depending on the version you want and need. Most Mac users need to see WMV in a browser window, so the free Flip4Mac WMV plugin works fine.
Flip4Mac WMV Player uses Apple’s QuickTime to play WMV videos, in a browser or as a standalone video player using QuickTime Player. WMV Player is free and installs in a minute. Generally, it works well, and my experience shows that it plays most WMV videos quite well and crashes less than Flash.
Other versions of the Flip4Mac WMV components do different things and at differing prices. For example, for $29, Player Pro will import WMV files and convert them to various QuickTime video and audio formats.
$20 more gets you the ability to use fixed preset encoding profiles to enhance the video. $50 more gets you the ability to create custom encoding profiles. And, another $80 gets you the ability to export HD video with 2-pass encoding.
If your head is spinning at this point then you don’t need all the expensive add-ons.
Suffice it to say that if you want to view Windows Media Video on a Mac you’re going to need Flip4Mac’s video plugin and player, and don’t fret—it’s free.
This brings up an interesting question. Why so many different, totally different video formats for computer users and internet web sites? It isn’t just money. Control. Power. Greed. Ego. All enter into the equation.
QuickTime is free on any Mac. Flash players are free, but the applications needed to create Flash movies usually are not. Windows Media Player is free, but applications to create movies may cost real money.
In other words, viewing video online or on your Mac is free. Creating videos in all the popular standards will cost money. Flip4Mac helps to ease the viewing pain.