WMV Video File Format: Definition, Uses, History

WMV Video File Format

WMV (Windows Media Video) is a video compression format developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Windows Media framework, which includes various multimedia formats and technologies. WMV was designed to handle video and audio content, supporting streaming applications over the internet and playback on personal computers and other devices. It has three variants: Windows Media Video, Windows Media Video Screen, and Windows Media Video Image.

In 1999, Windows released the WMV format to compete with RealVideo, a popular format for internet streaming. Over the years, various developments in the WMV format have created a container format and its adaptation for physical delivery formats like DVD and Blu-Ray Discs. WMV has evolved through several versions, with improved efficiency, quality, and compatibility to deliver high-quality video content over limited bandwidth.

The WMV format is applied in several cases. It is commonly used for online streaming due to its efficient compression techniques, allowing smooth playback over limited bandwidths. Being a  Microsoft-developed format, WMV is used by many Windows-supported devices and media software, such as Windows Media Player, MPlayer, RealPlayer, VLC Media Player, Media Player Classic, and K-Multimedia Player. WMV is also an excellent choice for Digital Rights Management for content creators and distributors to control copying and distribution.

One of the advantages of WMV is its high compression rate, ensuring that file sizes are relatively smaller while maintaining good quality. Another advantage is its compatibility with Windows-based systems, devices, and software. Finally, WMV’s support for Digital Rights Management helps to protect and properly distribute the user’s media content. However, WMV still has its shortcomings in terms of quality due to the efficiency of its codecs. WMV also has limited compatibility as it often struggles outside the Windows ecosystem.


Name File Extension Container Format Video Coding Format Audio Coding Format Year Created Quality Size Common Uses
Windows Media Video .wmv ASF (Advanced Systems Format) VC-1  WMA (Windows Media Audio) 1999 Medium 50-70


Online streaming

Windows-based media players

Video Editing Software

What are WMV Video Files?

WMV video files are video file formats designed by Microsoft primarily for internet streaming and media playback on computers. The media content in WMV video files is encapsulated using Microsoft’s Advanced Systems Format as the container. 

WMV video files are optimized to deliver video content over the internet with minimal buffering, even on low bandwidths. This makes WMV a top choice for online streaming. WMV format also supports Digital Rights Management, which is crucial for content providers who must secure their video content against unauthorized copying and distribution. Additionally, WMV’s origin as part of the Windows framework makes it highly compatible with Windows devices, systems, and software, ensuring smooth playback.

WMV video files utilize various compression techniques, including WMV7, WMV8, and WMV9(commonly known as VC-1). Each codec has improved from the previous one in terms of efficiency and video quality. VC-1 has been adopted for physical delivery in Blu-Ray and HD DVD formats.

WMV video data is stored in the Advanced Systems Format container, an invention of Microsoft. ASF is designed to support scalable media types, including video and audio streams, and to facilitate streaming over networks. It makes WMV files compact yet robust in storing high-quality video content.

What is the Container used with WMV Files?

The container used with WMV files is the Advanced Systems Format container. ASF is a container format designed by Microsoft to contain WMV video, audio, and other multimedia data. ASF’s engineering ensures efficient streaming over the internet. The container format boasts flexibility, allowing it to encapsulate multimedia data, including video, audio, images, and command scripts. It also provides extensive metadata, including title, artist, and genre. This enhances the organization, discovery, and management of multimedia content. One of the hallmark features of ASF is its strong support for streaming media. It allows for the delivery of content in a way that is optimized for the network conditions, adjusting the quality of the stream based on the available bandwidth. ASF is designed to be robust against errors during transmission over networks. It includes features that help in recovering from data corruption, ensuring smoother playback even under less-than-ideal conditions.

What Codecs are used with WMV?

Microsoft developed the codecs used by WMV to compress and decompress digital video. WMV7 was the first codec introduced under the WMV banner, offering good quality and compression efficiency. WMV8 was developed to improve the previous version, delivering higher-quality video at lower bitrates. The improved efficiency of the codec also helped internet streaming. WMV9, later standardized as VC-1 by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), embodied further advancements in compression technology. It offers high-definition video quality and is recognized for its ability to deliver crisp, clear video content at various bitrates. It is also known for its use in HD DVD, Blu-ray Discs, and streaming services.

What Audio Encoding does WMV Video Use?

WMV (Windows Media Video) files typically use Windows Media Audio (WMA) for audio encoding. WMA is a series of audio codecs and their corresponding audio coding formats developed by Microsoft. It’s designed to handle audio data within WMV files and offers a range of compression options to suit different needs and applications. WMA supports various profiles, such as WMA Standard, WMA Pro, WMA Lossless, and WMA Voice.

  • WMA Standard: Often used with WMV for standard audio compression, providing a good balance between compression and audio quality suitable for most consumer applications.
  • WMA Pro: A more advanced version that supports multi-channel audio (up to 7.1 surround sound) and higher resolution audio. It’s used for professional applications and higher-quality video playback.
  • WMA Lossless: Designed for audiophiles and professional use where the preservation of original audio fidelity is critical. As the name suggests, it compresses audio data without losing quality.
  • WMA Voice: Optimized for low-bitrate applications, focusing on speech. It’s useful for content where voice clarity is more important than high-fidelity music playback, such as audiobooks or podcasts.

What Video Encoding does WMV Video Use?

WMV uses a series of proprietary codecs developed by Microsoft to compress digital video data. These codecs are Windows Media Video 7, Windows Media Video 8, and Windows Media Video 9. WMV7 was the first codec introduced by Microsoft, focused on facilitating video playback and streaming. WMV8 encompassed enhancements over the preceding version, offering improved video quality at lower bitrates. WMV9(also known as VC-1 after being standardized by the SMPTE) significantly advanced the compression efficiency and quality of the codecs. This version introduced several features, such as frame interpolation, native support for interlaced video, and non-square pixels. WMV9 is applied in online streaming, Blu-Ray discs, and HD DVDs.

How are WMV Files Used?

WMV files are widely used in various digital media applications due to their compression efficiency and compatibility with Windows-based systems. They are most commonly applied in online video streaming (for smooth delivery over low bandwidths), digital rights management, and media playback on computers and other Windows devices. 

Various software applications, including major video editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro and video conversion software like Handbrake, also support WMV files. This wide support ensures that users can easily work with WMV files for editing, converting, and playback. They are also used in corporate environments for presentations and training videos, thanks to their compatibility with Microsoft PowerPoint and other Office applications. Due to their DRM support, video-on-demand services and digital libraries often utilize WMV files to distribute copyrighted content securely. Although Microsoft developed the WMV video file format for Windows-based devices, they can be streamed on various platforms through compatible media servers and players.

How to Play WMV Files?

Playing WMV files is straightforward, especially if you’re using a Windows-based device. WMV was designed as a part of the Windows framework; therefore, most Windows devices have built-in software and codecs to support the seamless playback of WMV files. 

Some of the most common built-in software are Windows Media Player and Microsoft Movies & TV. To play WMV files using any of these software, simply locate the WMV file on your device and double-click it. It will immediately start playing if any of the two software are set as the default. Otherwise, right-click on the file, select ‘Open With,’ and choose Windows Media Player or Microsoft Movies & TV to play the file instantaneously.

For devices that are not Windows-based, WMV files can be played using third-party media software, such as VLC Media Player, RealPlayer, KMPlayer, and Media Player Classic. Log on to the software’s official website or download it from the app store, install it, and open the WMV file in the software. Alternatively, you can right-click on the WMV file, select ‘Open With,’ and choose your newly installed software from the list of options.

Some of this software also boasts advanced features that help to execute other tasks, such as conversion and customization. 

How to Play WMV Files on Windows 10

Windows 10 has built-in support for WMV files and can play the files directly using native media players or third-party software. To play WMV files using a native media player (Windows Media Player):

  • Locate your WMV file on your computer or device.
  • Double-click to play the file directly with Windows Media Player set as default.
  • Alternatively, right-click on the WMV file and select ‘Open With.’ Click on Windows Media Player, and the software will instantly play your file.
  • You can also open Windows Media Player and drag and drop your WMV file into the player’s window. 

To play WMV files using a third-party(VLC Media Player):

  • Download the VLC Media player from the app store or the official website www.videolan.org/vlc 
  • The website automatically detects your device specifications and Windows version and provides a compatible software version. Otherwise, select which software version you want from the drop-down menu.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions after downloading to install the software.
  • After installation, right-click on your WMV file and select ‘Open With,’ then choose VLC Media Player from the list of options.
  • You can also drag and drop your WMV file into the VLC player’s window to play the file.

How to Play WMV Files on Windows 11

Playing WMV files on Windows 11 is relatively straightforward, as the operating system provides built-in support for this file format. However, unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 11 does not include Windows Media Player in its standard set of pre-installed apps. Instead, it features the Movies & TV app as the default media player, which is fully capable of handling WMV files.

You can play WMV files on Windows 11 using the native Movies & TV application by following these few steps:

  • Navigate to the folder where your WMV file is located.
  • Right-click on the file and select ‘Open With.’
  • Choose Movies & TV from the options provided, and your file will play immediately.

To play WMV files using third-party software like VLC Media Player:

  • Visit the app store or the official website of VLC Media Player (www.videolan.org/vlc) to download a compatible software version for your device.
  • Install the software by following the pop-up instructions after downloading.
  • Once the software is installed, open the app and click on ‘Media’ at the top-left corner of the player’s window.
  • Click ‘Open File’ (or press Ctrl + O), navigate to the location of your WMV file, select it, and click ‘Open.’
  • Your WMV file will play immediately.

If you frequently work with WMV files, your work will be made easier by setting one of the software as the default app to open WMV files. You can do this in the Windows 11 settings under Apps > Default Apps and choose your preferred software.

For users who prefer the classic Windows Media Player, it’s still available on Windows 11 but might need to be enabled or installed through optional features. Go to Settings > Apps > 

Optional Features > Add a feature, and search for Windows Media Player to install it.

How to Play WMV Files on Mac/iOS

Default media player macOS/iOS devices do not have native support for WMV files. Therefore, third-party software and additional components are needed to play WMV files on these devices. WMV files can be played on macOS/iOS with software like VLC Media Player, Elmedia Player, and QuickTime Player(after downloading the component that allows it to play WMV files).

To play WMV files using Elmedia Player:

  • Go to the Elmedia Player website (https://www.elmedia-video-player.com/) to download the app. You can choose between a free version with basic features and a Pro version offering advanced functionalities.
  • Click the “Download” button to get the installation file.
  • Once the download is complete, open the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to install the software. Then, drag the Elmedia Player icon into your Applications folder.
  • Navigate to your Applications folder and double-click on Elmedia Player to launch it.
  • Add your WMV files to the Player by dragging them from Finder and dropping them in the Elmedia Player window or by clicking the “Open Media” button in the Player window and selecting the WMV file you wish to play.
  • The file will play almost instantly.

WMV files can also be played on macOS devices using QuickTime Player. Usually, QuickTime Player does not support WMV files, but the Flip4Mac component can be downloaded to allow QuickTime Player to play WMV files directly. To do this:

  • Download the Flip4Mac component from www.flip4mac-3.en.softonic.com/mac/download. (Note: Flip4Mac is not free, and its compatibility with the latest macOS versions may vary.) 
  • Follow the installation instructions after downloading.
  • Once installed, you can open WMV files with QuickTime Player just as you would with any other supported video format.

The closed nature of Apple’s ecosystem makes it less easy to play WMV files on iOS devices. However, this can still be achieved using VLC Media Player.

  • Open the App Store on your iOS device, search for VLC for Mobile, and install it.
  • Transfer the WMV file to your device using iTunes File Sharing or upload the file to a cloud storage service (like Dropbox or Google Drive).
  • Open VLC for Mobile, navigate to the location of your WMV file, and tap on it to play.

How to Play WMV Files on iPhone

The operating system on iPhones(iOS) has no built-in support for WMV files. Hence, a third-party software is needed. One of the most suitable apps for playing WMV files on iPhone is VlC Media Player.

  • Open the App Store on your mobile device. Enter ‘VLC Media Player’ in the search bar. Click on the first result to download and install the application.
  • After installing, transfer the WMV files to your iPhone by sending them through a computer, uploading to a cloud service, or using the WiFi sharing option in the Player’s window. 
  • Open the VLC Media Player app, navigate to the location of your transferred WMV file, and click on it to play.

You can use the WiFi sharing option on VLC Media Player to transfer files to your iPhone through these simple steps:

  • Open VLC on your iPhone.
  • Tap the VLC icon at the top left to open the side menu.
  • Select “Sharing via WiFi” and toggle it to the ON position.
  • Open a web browser on your computer and enter the IP address and port shown in VLC for Mobile.
  • Drag and drop your WMV files into the browser window, or use the upload button to select files from your computer. The files will automatically transfer to your iPhone.

How to Play WMV Files on Android

Despite the widespread popularity and adoption of the WMV video file format, Android does not support WMV files. Therefore, third-party media software is required to play WMV files on Android devices. One reliable example of this kind of software is MX Player. MX Player is available for all Android devices.

To play WMV files on Android using MX Player:

  • Open the Google Play Store on your device and type ‘MX Player’ in the search bar. Select the official app by J2 Interactive from the search results and download it.
  • After the app has been downloaded and installed, transfer your WMV files to your device (if you haven’t done that already) via cloud storage or a USB cable connection to a computer.
  • Launch the MX Player application and browse the library for your WMV files. If you’re unable to find the files, tap on the menu icon (three vertical dots) in the top-right corner, select “Local Player Settings,” then “Folders,” and make sure the folder containing your WMV files is not hidden or excluded.
  • Once you have located the WMV file you would like to play, click on it to start playback. If MX Player prompts you to download an additional codec pack to support the playback of the WMV file, follow the instructions to download and install it.

MX Player also packs additional features that users will find helpful, such as hardware acceleration, multi-core decoding, subtitle gestures, and kids lock. The media player offers flexibility and a superior viewing experience, making it an excellent choice for playing WMV files on Android devices.

How to Compress WMV Files

WMV files are natively compressed using Microsoft’s proprietary video compression algorithms. The compression can be either lossy or lossless, depending on the specific codec and settings used during the encoding process. The primary codecs used in compressing WMV files are WMV7, WMV8, and WMV9(VC-1). WMV7 was the first compression technique Microsoft deployed, and subsequent improvements were made in the succeeding versions. Most WMV files undergo lossy compression, comprising video quality for reduced file size. However, WMV files still boast an acceptable level of video quality. WMV compression can also be lossless if the Windows Media Video 9 Lossless codec is employed, although that would lead to larger file sizes.

WMV Raw is an uncompressed form of video data within the WMV format. The raw video maintains the original quality but results in significantly larger file sizes, making it impractical for most streaming and storage purposes. It’s primarily used in professional settings where editing and post-production require the highest possible video quality.

Software or Websites for Compressing WMV Files

WMV file compression can be done using an application or online video compressors. Examples include

These web and software solutions can adjust compression settings, choose different codecs, and reduce file size for easier sharing and storage.

How to Edit WMV Files

There are many options when considering an editing solution for WMV files. Many software and websites boast features allowing users to perform tasks ranging from basic editing to professional-grade edits. Users can use these tools to trim, cut, merge, and apply effects to their WMV files, among other editing tasks. Some of these software/platforms are:

  1. Windows Movie Maker: Although Windows discontinued it in 2017, the legacy software remains one of the best solutions for editing WMV files. The application was primarily designed for beginners and contained features that allowed them to add text to the video, change video speed, trim video, merge videos, split video, apply transition effects, stabilize shaky videos, apply visual effects, rotate videos, add music or narrations to the video. Since its discontinuation, it has been unavailable for installation, but users with the software can still enjoy its full features.
  2. VLC Media Player: VLC Media Player is a video playback software that also offers basic features for editing video files, including WMV files. VLC can be downloaded from the official website videolan.org/vlc. VLC offers simple cutting and conversion features for video files, including WMV. It is mainly for users looking for a quick edit rather than more advanced features.
  3. Adobe Premiere Pro: Adobe Premiere Pro is a professional-grade editing software that can be used to adjust WMV files. Premiere Pro is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, which requires a subscription. Subscription and download details are available on the Adobe official website, www.adobe.com. Premier Pro offers professional-grade editing tools, comprehensive format support, advanced color grading, integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud apps, VR editing support, and multi-cam editing. It is ideal for professional video editors and content creators seeking top-tier editing capabilities.
  4. Final Cut Pro: Final Cut Pro is an editing app optimized for Mac and iOS devices. It can be downloaded from the Mac App Store or the official website www.apple.com/final-cut-pro. It offers advanced features, such as a magnetic timeline, advanced color grading, 360° video editing, HDR support, and built-in audio editing. Final Cut Pro is suited for professional video editors who prefer a macOS environment and seek a powerful, intuitive editing tool.
  5. Avid Media Composer: This software is designed for professional film and TV editors needing a robust, industry-standard editing suite. The application can be downloaded from the official website www.avid.com/media-composer. It offers professional-grade features, such as a non-linear editing system, high-resolution and HDR support, comprehensive media management, extensive audio editing tools, and script syncing for film editing.

History of WMV Video

WMV Video format is a series of codecs developed by Microsoft in 1999 as part of the Windows Media framework, including the WMA format and other digital media. WMV Video was developed to provide high-quality videos for internet streaming, rivaling the then-trending RealVideo format. The primary motivation behind the development of WMV was to create a suite of digital media codecs and formats that could efficiently compress and distribute video content on the internet and through various digital media platforms. The format was also integrated into Windows devices to provide seamless media playback across all supported devices.

The introduction of WMV came at a time when the internet was experiencing rapid growth, and there was a burgeoning demand for digital multimedia content. However, bandwidth limitations of the era posed significant challenges to video streaming and distribution. Microsoft recognized the need for efficient video compression to facilitate the delivery of video content over the internet, leading to the development of WMV. The history of WMV is intertwined with the evolution of digital video and the internet, marking significant milestones in the multimedia domain.

Since its inception, the WMV Video format has seen a couple of improvements, leading to more efficient codecs like WMV8 and WMV9(VC-1), which were standardized by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). This standardization highlighted the format’s significance and adoption in various applications, including Blu-ray Discs and streaming services. The invention of WMV Video also led to the subsequent development of the Windows Media Player, Microsoft’s native application for media playback with built-in support for WMV Video.

The creation of the WMV Video format has influenced several technologies and advancements in the digital media world.

WMV played a crucial role in the early days of digital video, providing a means to compress and distribute video content efficiently. Its development catalyzed advancements in video compression technology, influencing the broader multimedia and streaming industries. 

WMV’s efficiency in compression paved the way for more sophisticated codecs and streaming technologies, influencing the development of subsequent video formats and compression standards.

WMV and its associated technologies are widely used in professional broadcasting and consumer media markets. Its integration into Windows operating systems and other Microsoft products helped establish WMV as a key player in digital video. 

WMV incorporated DRM capabilities, reflecting the growing importance of content protection in the digital age. This aspect of WMV influenced the development of DRM technologies in other digital media formats.

WMV Compared to Other Formats

Since the invention of WMV, various video formats have been developed to address its shortcomings. Concurrently, WMV also edges out some of these formats in certain aspects, leaving a potential user spoiled for choice when making a decision.

One of the advantages of WMV is its efficient compression, which helps the format encapsulate decent video quality in small file sizes. This makes WMV suitable for streaming over limited bandwidth. Integrating WMV codecs into Windows OS and Microsoft devices gives it an advantage over other formats. Users with such devices enjoy full native support and seamless playback of WMV videos. Lastly, the WMV format supports Digital Rights Management (DRM), which is crucial for content creators looking to protect their work.

One of the disadvantages of the WMV video format is compatibility. WMV files might require additional software or conversion to be playable outside Windows environments. Also, WMV’s high compression efficiency limits its quality compared to newer and more advanced formats, especially at lower bitrates.

However, WMV video has several use cases and applications. WMV files are well-suited for streaming video content on Windows-based systems due to their compression efficiency. WMV videos are also preferred in content management and distribution because of the support of Digital Rights Management.

WMV’s Competing Formats

  1. MP4: Perhaps the most universally compatible format, MP4 offers a good balance between quality and compression, supporting various codecs like H.264. It’s ideal for various applications across all platforms, from online streaming to video editing.
  2. AVI: Known for less compression, AVI files are larger but maintain higher quality, making them suitable for editing and archiving when space is not an issue.
  3. MKV (Matroska): MKV supports multiple audio and subtitle tracks in one file and offers high-quality video storage. It’s a preferred format for HD videos and movies, especially where file size isn’t a primary concern.
  4. MOV: Developed by Apple, MOV files are optimized for QuickTime Player and offer high-quality video. They are commonly used in professional video editing and production environments, particularly on Mac devices.

WMV files offer specific advantages, particularly in Windows environments where their integration, DRM support, and compression efficiency are valuable. However, their compatibility limitations and the potential for quality trade-offs at lower bitrates make other formats like MP4 or MKV more suitable for universal use and high-quality video storage, respectively. The choice of video format ultimately depends on the project’s specific needs, including the target audience’s platform and quality versus file size considerations.

WMV vs. MP4

WMV and MP4 are popular video formats but have different characteristics and are suited to different uses. If you’re a user looking to choose between the two, both formats should be compared based on their features.

WMV was initially designed for streaming applications. The quality of WMV files can vary significantly depending on the codec used (WMV7, WMV8, WMV9/VC-1). Higher versions like WMV9/VC-1 can offer high-quality videos suitable for HD content. However, the compression techniques used can sometimes lead to a compromise of file size or quality. 

MP4, meanwhile, utilizes codecs like MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, which is known for its high compression efficiency and ability to maintain video quality at lower bit rates. This results in MP4 files often having better quality at comparable or smaller file sizes than WMV, especially for HD and higher-resolution videos.

WMV video files are relatively smaller due to the efficiency of the compression techniques it employs. This efficiency facilitates seamless web streaming but can sometimes come at the expense of video quality. MP4 files use advanced algorithms and can achieve a high level of compression without compromising video quality. Hence, MP4 files are more effective at providing a balance of quality to file size than WMV.

WMV and MP4 also differ in compatibility and use cases. WMV video, developed as a part of the Windows framework, is widely supported on Windows devices, but non-Windows devices may require additional software to play WMV files. WMV Video is ideal for streaming video content in environments where bandwidth is limited and for content distribution within the Windows ecosystem. On the other hand, MP4 is universally compatible with almost all video players, operating systems, and devices, including smartphones, tablets, and TVs. MP4’s broad compatibility makes it the preferred format for distributing video online, including streaming services, social media, and mobile apps. It’s also widely used for editing and storing video content due to its balance of compression and quality.

While WMV may be preferred in specific Windows-centric or bandwidth-limited cases, MP4’s more advanced compression algorithms, broader compatibility, and balance of quality and file size make it the more versatile format for a wide range of applications. MP4’s universal support across platforms and devices and its ability to maintain high video quality edge out WMV Video for both professional and consumer video content creation and distribution.

For more information, see our full guide on MP4 File Format.

How to Convert WMV to MP4

The process of converting WMV files to MP4 can be done using either online converters or software tools, such as VLC Media Player or Cloudconvert.com.

How to Convert MP4 to WMV

MP4 files can be converted to WMV using either online converters or software tools. One of the software tools that can be used to facilitate this process is the Freemake Video Converter. www.zamzar.com is an alternative online solution for converting MP4 files to WMV.


WMV (Windows Media Video) and AVI (Audio Video Interleave) are both video formats developed by Microsoft, but they serve different purposes and exhibit distinct characteristics in terms of quality, file size, and compatibility. 

WMV is designed to deliver good-quality video even at lower bitrates, which benefits streaming and online playback. However, its compression techniques prioritize smaller file sizes, often affecting video quality compared to more modern techniques. Though WMV’s more advanced codec – WMV9(VC-1) – supports high-definition video content, AVI can maintain higher video quality because it supports less compression. AVI can employ different codecs, most of which are newer and more advanced than WMV’s. WMV codecs have better compression efficiency, but AVI files store higher-quality video content.

The efficiency of WMV’s native codecs helps to achieve smaller file sizes, making the files ideal for web streaming and sharing over limited bandwidth connections. AVI files tend to be larger due to their support for less compression or uncompressed video. This can make AVI less ideal for streaming but more suitable for editing, as quality is not compromised.

Both video formats have different applications due to their distinctive features. WMV is optimized for the Windows Media framework, including Windows Media Player. It is primarily used for streaming video on the internet and downloadable video content and in scenarios where file size and bandwidth are concerns. It’s also used for HD DVD and Blu-ray Discs. AVI is highly compatible with various operating systems and devices, especially within the Windows ecosystem. Non-Windows platforms can play AVI files with appropriate codecs or media players. It’s commonly used in storing and archiving high-quality video, video editing, and playback where preservation of the original quality is important.

How to Convert WMV to AVI

Any Video Converter (AVC) is a versatile software that converts videos between various formats, including WMV to AVI. Alternatively, online converters such as www.freeconvert.com can be used for a quicker conversion.

How to Convert AVI to WMV

Converting AVI files to WMV can be done using the Any Video Converter free software or paid software like the Adobe Media Encoder(a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite).


WMV (Windows Media Video) and MKV (Matroska Video) are popular video formats that serve different purposes and exhibit various characteristics across quality, file size, and compatibility.

WMV, developed by Microsoft, is primarily designed for streaming applications and is highly integrated with Windows environments. It utilizes efficient compression algorithms to deliver decent video quality at lower bitrates, making it suitable for online streaming and playback on devices with limited bandwidth or storage. The format’s compatibility is strongest within the Windows ecosystem, thanks to native support in Windows Media Player and other Microsoft software. However, playing WMV files on non-Windows platforms might require additional software or conversion. WMV’s support for Digital Rights Management (DRM) makes it a preferred choice for content distributors concerned about copyright protection.

On the other hand, MKV is an open-source container format that can hold unlimited video, audio, and subtitle tracks in a single file, making it incredibly versatile. MKV is favored for its ability to store high-quality video content, including H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) video codecs, without significant compression, leading to larger file sizes than WMV. This format is popular among enthusiasts for storing movies and television shows, as it can include multiple audio tracks and subtitles, offering a comprehensive viewing experience. MKV files are well-supported on various platforms, including PCs, Macs, and some standalone media players. However, compatibility with default media players on mobile devices and specific streaming platforms may be limited without additional apps.

MKV generally supports higher-quality video and audio codecs, making it the better choice for archiving and sharing high-definition content without worrying about file size. While still capable of delivering good quality video, WMV leans towards more efficient compression and smaller file sizes, sacrificing some quality for convenience in streaming and downloading.

Consider the intended use and platform compatibility when choosing between WMV and MKV. WMV is an excellent choice for Windows users who need efficient streaming and file sizes, along with DRM support. Meanwhile, MKV stands out for media enthusiasts prioritizing video quality and versatility, needing a format that supports multiple audio and subtitle tracks within a single file. 

How to Convert WMV files to MKV

Handbrake is a free, open-source software widely used for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs, including converting WMV to MKV. 

You can also opt for a quick conversion by using an online converter like www.cloudconvert.com.

How to Convert MKV to WMV

FreeMake Video Converter software (available for Windows and Mac devices) can be used to convert MKV files to WMV. Online converters like www.freeconvert.com can also execute this task.


WMV (Windows Media Video) and MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) formats have key differences in compression techniques, quality, file size, and compatibility, catering to varied applications across digital media.

WMV, developed by Microsoft, is optimized for the Windows environment. It is known for its high compression capabilities, allowing for smaller file sizes at a given quality level. This makes WMV an excellent choice for streaming over the internet or for use in environments with limited storage and bandwidth. However, this efficiency sometimes comes at the cost of quality, especially at very low bitrates or in complex video scenes. WMV’s compatibility is primarily centered around Windows-based platforms, though it can be played on other systems with the appropriate software. Its integration with Windows Media DRM also makes it suitable for content that requires digital rights management.

In contrast, MPEG is a set of standards established by the Moving Picture Experts Group, covering various aspects of digital video and audio compression and transmission. MPEG standards include MPEG-1, used for VCDs and MP3 audio; MPEG-2, used for DVDs and television broadcasting; and MPEG-4, which encompasses a broad range of internet and mobile applications, including the MP4 file format. MPEG formats generally offer good quality and are designed to be more universally compatible across various devices and platforms, including DVD players, digital televisions, and smartphones. The MPEG-4 (MP4) format, in particular, balances high quality with efficient compression, making it a favored choice for both professional content creation and consumer media distribution.

When considering file size, MPEG formats, particularly MPEG-4/MP4, can provide a better balance between quality and compression than WMV, enabling higher-quality video at comparable or slightly larger file sizes. This versatility has made MPEG-4/MP4 the format of choice for various uses, from streaming video services and HD content distribution to video playback on mobile devices.


Ultimately, the choice between WMV and MPEG formats depends on specific use cases and platform requirements. WMV may be preferred in Windows-centric environments or where DRM is a concern. In contrast, MPEG, especially the MPEG-4/MP4 format, offers broader compatibility and a better quality-to-size ratio. It is well-suited for a wide range of multimedia applications, from professional broadcasting to personal media consumption across various devices.

How to Convert WMV to MPEG

Freemake Video Converter is a user-friendly tool that supports various video formats, including WMV to MPEG conversion.

How to Convert MPEG to WMV

This conversion can be done by using the reliable and efficient playback and conversion software VLC Media Player. Follow these steps:


WMV (Windows Media Video) and MOV (QuickTime File Format) cater differently to different ecosystems and usage scenarios, each with its peculiar advantages and disadvantages in terms of quality, file size, and compatibility.

WMV, developed by Microsoft, is designed with a focus on high compression rates to facilitate streaming and downloading over the internet. This efficiency makes it possible to achieve smaller file sizes at a given level of quality compared to many other video formats.

However, this can sometimes result in a trade-off between file size and video quality, particularly at lower bitrates or when encoding complex video content. WMV is optimized for the Windows platform and integrates seamlessly with Windows-based applications and devices, making it a popular choice for Windows users. Despite its Windows-centric design, WMV files can still be played on non-Windows platforms by implementing additional software or conversion.

On the other hand, MOV was developed by Apple and is natively supported by the QuickTime framework. MOV files are known for their high-quality video and audio components, making them a preferred choice in professional video editing and production environments.

The format supports various codecs, allowing excellent flexibility in balancing quality and file size. This flexibility, however, means that MOV files can often be larger than similarly encoded WMV files, especially when using high-quality codecs or when minimal compression is applied. MOV files are well-supported on macOS and iOS devices. Still, they can also be played on Windows and other platforms using QuickTime Player, VLC Media Player, or other compatible media players.


When it comes to usage scenarios, WMV is particularly well-suited for delivering content over the internet where bandwidth may be limited, including streaming video services or downloadable video content.

Its efficient compression helps keep file sizes manageable without significantly compromising on quality for most standard viewing conditions. With its support for a wide array of high-quality codecs and container features, MOV is better suited for video editing, post-production, and archiving, where maintaining the highest possible quality is often more important than minimizing file size. It’s a common format for editing raw footage and is frequently used as a source format in professional video production before the final output to more compressed formats for distribution.

The choice between WMV and MOV largely depends on the intended use case, required video quality, compatibility needs, and the specific ecosystems (Windows vs. Apple) in which the files will be used. WMV offers advantages in efficient compression and platform integration for Windows users, making it suitable for widespread distribution and streaming. In contrast, MOV caters to the needs of video professionals and Apple users, providing high fidelity and flexibility in video editing and production environments.

How to Convert WMV to MOV

FFmpeg is a powerful, open-source command-line tool that can convert multimedia files between formats. It’s highly versatile but requires using the command line, making it ideal for more advanced users. 

How to Convert MOV to WMV

FFmpeg can also be used to convert MOV files to WMV. Alternative online solutions include www.zamzar.com and www.cloudconvert.com

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