Windows Media

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See also Windows Media Player

Windows Media is a generic name for the set of proprietary streaming video technologies developed by Microsoft. It includes the Windows Media Video (WMV) and Windows Media Audio codecs

Windows Media Video is not built solely on Microsoft in-house technology. From version 7 (WMV1), Microsoft has used its own non-standard version of MPEG-4 Part 2.

Windows Media is often generated using Microsoft's proprietary Windows Media Video 9 VCM software for Windows.

Microsoft has submitted Version 9 codec to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), for approval as an international standard. The Trial version of standards were published by SMPTE in September 2005. A reference decoder implementation and test sequences are also available. This codec is used to distribute high definition video on standard DVDs in a format Microsoft has branded as WMV HD, which can be played back on computers or compatible DVD players.


Windows Media files use the ASF container. They generally have the file extension .wmv, .wma, .wm or .asf.

Windows Media codecs can also be used inside AVI files.

Codecs used in WMV files

Fourcc Codec Supported by VLC?
MP43 MPEG-4 Up-to-date
MSS2 Windows Media Video 9 screen codec Up-to-date with dmo
WMV3 Windows Media Video 3 Up-to-date


This is a video codec. The name to use at the command line is WMV3, but you can also use WMV....
This codec can be used inside the Windows Media containers.
This is an audio codec. The name to use at the command line is WMA2, but you can also use WMA....
This codec can be used inside the Windows Media containers.

Windows Media often uses special native codecs for Windows Media Video and Windows Media Audio. WMV3 is often called "Windows Media 9".


Protected content

Windows Media files may contain Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) facilities intended to protect intellectual property rights. VLC does not play any DRM'd files.

Windows Media Video 3

WMV3, the Video part of Windows Media 9, is supported in VLC since version 0.8.6. Upgrade to the latest version (3.0.12) to play WMV files.

If you are unable to upgrade, there are still some fixes. If you're using Windows and have Windows Media Player 9/10 installed, VLC should be able to play these files, by using Microsoft's own files. Or, if you're using Linux, see the common problems page for a workarround.

On Windows Media Player (Mac)

Microsoft's Windows Media Player for the Mac does not support all WMV encoded files since it supports only the ASF file container.[Please check this]