Friday, January 13, 2006

Windows Media Player on the Mac is Dead. Long Live Windows Media Support!

CNET is reporting that Microsoft has officially halted development of Windows Media Player for the Mac. This is no surprise to anyone that has ever used Windows Media Player 9 (the current and last version) on OS X, it's pretty terrible. I would say it works 80% of the time, and it's no media manager like on Windows, it is just a bare bones player. So drag Windows Media Player into the trash and then install Flip4Mac WMV for free, and Microsoft is hawking this on their site which set everyone buzzing the WMP Mac was dead in the water. Flip4Mac WMV installs codecs for QuickTime that allow you to play Windows Media files (nothing DRMed, but everything else) from directly in QuickTime, even QuickTime embedded in Safari (I haven't tried in Firefox yet). I tried this on a bunch of Windows Media Audio and Video files last night, it works, and it works better than WMP Mac ever did. How is it better? Audio and Video actually load in a timely fashion. I would argue that this is the kind of support that everyone wanted to begin with, so we all win, assuming that Flip4Mac (the company name) can keep pace with the latest version of Windows Media formats. The Microsoft site has a link currently to download the 2.0.0 release of Flip4Mac WMV, which has a compatibility problem with the recently release QuickTime 7.0.4. So go to the Flip4Mac site linked above and get 2.0.1. There is also pro upgrades available here for using Apple editing tools with WMV files, which is pretty sweet if you need to that kind of thing.