Could you – a normal computer user like me – list down all the multimedia formats available today? It’s a rhetorical questions and everybody knows the answer. There are tons of formats out there, each with the fanatic followers. And there are also tons of multimedia player designed either for a specific of general formats.
Mac OS X has the share of multimedia players to choose from, and Apple itself has already provide Mac users (as well as Windows users) with Quicktime – a great general formats multimedia player if I may say so. It should be enough to cater our multimedia need. But there are formats still unsupported by Quicktime making it a little less than perfect.
Here are two free add-ons you can use to complete Quicktime.
This little app is said to be the “Swiss army knife” for Quicktime because it adds the ability to play many more previously unsupported multimedia formats such as: AVI, DIVX, FLV, MKV, GVI, VP6, VFW, MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, FSV1, VP6, H263i, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, (still following me?), and many others. The complete list is available at their site, should you be so curious.
Personally, the one ability Perian gives to Quicktime that I like most is the support for SSA/ASS and SRT files. That, my friend, is the ability to show subtitle for a movie. If you have a movie file and compatible SRT file with the exact similar name within the same folder, the subtitle will appear on the screen simultaneously with the movie.
This is very helpful for those with hearing disability, or those whose native language is different from the one used in the movie. Few of my friends use the subtitle ability to learn different languages.
Surely not every movie comes with subtitle file, but you can try finding the SSA/ASS of SRT files on the net. If you find the compatible one, rename the file to match the movie file then put the movie and the subtitle file inside a same folder.
The so called complete – Perian – still have one thing missing: the support for Microsoft’s MWV (video) and WMA (audio) formats. So, in order to make Quicktime really complete, we need one more help from Flip4Mac.
The plugin is available for free from Telestream’s site and after installing it, Quicktime can play WMV and WMA with no problem. But to be able to import those two format, users have to buy the pro version.
3. The alternative – VLC
As an alternative, instead of adding plugins to enable Quicktime to play more formats, Mac users can use VLC (Video Lan Client). This free open source multimedia player always comes up at the top of recommended list. This application has been discussed here several times already.
There are many advantages that VLC has compared to plugin-ized Quicktime, such as the ability to act as multimedia stream server within a speedy network (LAN, WAN, or high speed internet connection), but one that I find most convenient is that users can directly open discs (CD, VCD and DVD). Use File –> Open Disc menu or the shortcut Command + D.
Do you know and use any other plugins for Quicktime, share your experiences and thoughts using the comment below.