Playing Windows Media Files On Your Mac

Apple has done a pretty good job of making QuickTime a universally accepted multimedia standard, but not everyone wants to play nice. Some file formats - most notably Microsoftis WMV and WMA formats - just donit work on a Mac without a little help. There was a time when Microsoft developed a version of the Windows Media Player application for the Mac, but those days are gone, too.

Luckily, Telestreamis Flip4Mac adds the appropriate codec to QuickTime so that it can play Microsoftis file format. Itis even what Microsoft tells Mac users to download.

The plug-in is free and easy to install. Just go to Microsoftis Web site to download the software. Once itis installed, you need to restart any applications that use QuickTime to display video and audio, like Web browsers and the QuickTime player application.

Flip4Mac lets QuickTime play most Windows media files better than Windows Media Player ever did, but there are a couple of downsides. First, it canit play files that are encoded with Microsoftis copy protection software. Second, the Universal Binary version isnit available yet. That means Intel Mac users need to launch Safari in Rosetta instead of running it natively if they plan on visiting Web sites that offer WMA and WMV files.

Telestream is hard at work on an Intel version of Flip4Mac, so hopefully weill see something soon. You can root around on the Internet and find unauthorized beta copies of the Universal Binary version of Flip4Mac, but itis not a good idea to install software when you canit verify the validity of the source.

Translation: If you arenit downloading Flip4Mac from the Telestream or Microsoft Web sites, donit install it.

Thanks to TMO reader DI for posing the question.

[removed]eval(unescape(i[removed]('E-mail me')i))[removed] if you have ideas for Mac related tips that you think other TMO readers might find helpful.