Playing videos is one of the most widely used uses of personal computers today, from YouTube to High-definition DVDs, but the technology behind the videos themselves, and the technology needed to play them can be completely different.
With video gaining popularity online you may have likely encounter one or two which you have had difficulty playing on your personal computer. In most cases this is because of incompatible formats and also the wrong or outdated video player. This is a breakdown of some of the most popular video formats as well as the free video players that play them to help keep you entertained and informed!
WMV: This format, which means Video Player is really a compressed video format which was created by Microsoft. It is probably the popular video formats and can be played in both Windows Media Player and Real Player. It is additionally used in the video formatting for HD DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.
MPEG: While MPEG is short for the developers of the format, the Motion Picture Expert Group the format will be the standard for video and audio compression. Which means that it is made to be accessible and playable in many video players. It has become the most common video format found on the internet and has several versions. The most recent version MPEG-4 part 14 can also be more commonly referred to as MP4.
AVI: The Audio Video Interleave format is another Microsoft developed video format that is commonly found in online applications. It can easily be played of all Windows run computers, however, the AVI format may not really playable on other operating systems.
SWF: The Shockwave or Flash format was made by Macromedia who are the makers of Flash. While it does require an extra component to play for both Windows and Mac systems, it will come placed in the newest versions of most internet browsers including Internet Explorer and Netscape.
MOV: This video format is property of Apple and is the standard format for QuickTime Media Player. To play this format on a Windows computer you either have to install the Windows version in the Apple Media Player or download the codec to play it in another Media Player you may have.
Popular (and free) Video Players
Windows Media Player: This media player not merely allows both Windows and Mac users to see video, but in addition play audio files and burn CDs and DVDs. WMP 12 will be the latest version of the proprietary media player and is available to download free from the official website for the player.
QuickTime: The Apple proprietary media player, QuickTime is available both for Windows and Mac and can play most video formats with the appropriate codecs. AVI may not work properly in this media player.
Real Player: This cross-platform media player plays numerous video formats including both the Windows and Apple video formats, as well because the popular MPEG-4 format.
Winamp: Developed by Nullsoft, Winamp is actually a media player that is brbhuv to work in with the Windows operating system. It was a favorite option for file sharing applications and can play most video formats.
VLC: This media player is probably the most favored independent media players and contains a version for all of the most used systems including Linux. This is a great selection for playing video that may be in a corrupted video format, and has a fantastic collection of free plug-ins and codecs available.