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How Do I Watch a DAV File On My iMac?

I have been sent a DAV file from a CCTV system. I need to review the video and my Mac will not open the file. Even VLC media player doesn’t recognise it? Which program can I use to watch the video?
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Ian Oultram

Comments: 3 Responses to “How Do I Watch a DAV File On My iMac?”

    5 months ago

    So looking it up, it seems a DAV file is some sort of special encrypted video file, perhaps proprietary in nature. It seems that you need specific software, built only for Windows, to open it and play it because of the encryption. Something like VLC probably can’t handle it because of that encryption.

    A quick search (Mac DAV video converter) turns up a few pieces of software you can download for the Mac to convert these files so you can view them. I assume it decrypts the files and then outputs something in a regular format. I’ve never heard of any of these pieces of software so I have no idea how legitimate they are or if any of them would contain malware. Nothing came up in the Mac App Store.

    Another option would be to get the person sending you those files to give you decrypted versions in a more universal format. Or explain to them that you’ll need them to buy you equipment if this is part of your job as you’ll need a PC to view the files and it isn’t possible on your personal equipment.

    Another way to go would be to get a virtualization environment (Parallels) and a Windows license and install Windows on your Mac to run that software. But that’s a big expense and a lot of work (and hard drive space). I don’t know if this is something you need to do every day for work or this is a one-time thing. Boot Camp is another option, but that is even more drive space and work to set up.

    Ian Oultram
    5 months ago

    I have found out a little more, it seems they contain large amounts of information regarding timings on the video and are required in legal cases. You are correct about the Windows aspect, in fact when the files are created they also output a program to the disk called ‘SmartPlayer.exe’ that allows files to be viewed but only for Windows. The CCTV recorder can output files directly in MP4 format but these lack the timings information if used in court.

    5 months ago

    Ian: I would then think there is no substitute for using that Windows player that comes with the file. So your options are: get a cheap Windows PC just for this task, get Parallels (or equivalent) + Windows for a virtual PC on your Mac, or use Bootcamp (+ Windows) to divide your Mac’s drive into Mac and Windows partitions and boot to Windows when you need to do this.

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