MacMost Now 155: How To Play WMV Windows Media Video

Ever get an email on your Mac with a .wmv video file attachment and have been unable to play it? You need the Windows Media Video component for QuickTime. Here's how to download it and install it.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 155: How To Play WMV Windows Media Video.

Gary Rosenzweig: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today let's look at WMV files. What are they, and how can you play them on your Mac?
OK, so this is a very common problem for Mac users. They get an email from somebody, or they get a link to a file that's supposed to be a video, but they try to play it and it doesn't work. Usually, this file has the extension '.WMV' which stands for Windows Media Video. It's a file kind of like a QuickTime movie that's specifically made for Windows. You can't play them on your Mac unless you download some extra bits of software. Let's take a look at what you need to play these.
So here's a closer look at the problem. Here's an email that I just got with a video file in it. When I double click on the video file, instead of playing it, I get a bunch of gibberish opened up in text edit. Sometimes people get an error message. Sometimes it just doesn't open at all. But clearly it's not working right.
So not too long ago, the way to do this was to download a Windows Media Player for Mac. But now instead, the way to do it is to get an add on from QuickTime that will allow you to play WMV files in QuickTime. You can get that by going to the Microsoft website. You're just going to go to Now once you're there, scroll down on the page and you'll see a 'For Mac' link at the bottom. You go there, and you want to click on the 'Windows Media Components for QuickTime.' Click on the 'Free Download' button. Then scroll down and you can click on the 'Download' button there to start the download.
What's lined up is a DMG disk image file. You want to open that up and run the installer inside of it. You go through a bunch of installation dialog confirming that you want to install it. And once you're done, you'll also be given a little sales pitch for a fuller product that allows you to create WMV files if you're a professional. Otherwise, just ignore that stuff and finish the installation.
Now that it's installed, here we are back at the same email that we got before. But this time I'm going to double click on the video, and it opens in QuickTime Player. I press the play button and it plays just fine.
I actually had to quit the QuickTime Player that was already running in order to get the WMV file recognized. But after that, it worked just fine.
Now I also wanted to mention today, that tomorrow, Thursday, will be the first edition of the MacMost email newsletter. In it, I'm going to include things like a rundown of the videos at least from the last week, some blog posts that I posted recently, a quick tip, and some additional information about this week in Macintosh and Apple news. So be sure to subscribe to it. The way to describe is to go to and sign up right there. I hope you do.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 155: How To Play WMV Windows Media Video”

    10 years ago

    Yes ,I have found a wonderful guide about how to play wmv on mac,you can learn more about

    it :

    10 years ago

    I just watched your video about playing a wmv file on a mac, and it was pretty good…….. The problem I am having is that I am trying to play a wmv file that is an attachement in an email on my iphone 3g. Any Ideas on that one?


    10 years ago

    John: I think you are out of luck unless a 3rd-part developer comes up with a WMV player for the iPhone and then somehow hooks it into the iPhone Mail program — which may not be possible.

    10 years ago

    Nice, I was wondering about that, LOL.

    Anna Brooks
    8 years ago

    You can also use Elmedia Player to play WMV and other video files on Mac (

Comments Closed.