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I need help and suggestions. I had an iMac that I used for a few years. It recently blew up. I had lots of Movie files that I fortunaltely had backed up on my external hard drive. I also have a Vista PC - I've tried to view those movie files on my PC and the WMP or the VLC or even the Quicktime Pro player does not seem to be able to play them. What is the solution to this??? Please get back to me ASAP
 

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WMP can't natively play MOV files (well it could in Windows XP and older, and only for certain cross-platform (can be in AVI or MOV) codecs such as Indeo or Cinepak, but not for most QuickTime-only codecs such as Sorenson 3, Photo JPEG, Apple MPEG-4, or Apple H.264, among the more popular ones).
The solution is to use an alternate player, or use a splitter. The "official" player for mov files is QuickTime Player, but it doesn't run that well in Windows (Microsoft crippled it - that's been shown at the DOJ trials - QuickTime runs great on Macs). You can try getting QuickTime Alternative, which includes some DirectShow filters and will allow MOV files to be readable in DirectShow applications (including Windows Media Player). It doesn't work perfectly 100% of the time though (I've had trouble reading some 3gp and mp4 files at times).
Media Player Classic is a DirectShow player that resembles WMP a lot. It can parse MOV files, but it doesn't have internal codecs. It's smart however and if it detects that QuickTime (or QuickTime Alternative) is installed, it will use the QuickTime codecs to decode the audio and video streams. It's not perfect either (I sometimes can't render 3gp or mp4 files) but it works most of the time.
VLC is a great player, and it has all its decoders built-in (independent of Windows). People will say it decodes anything, but that's not quite true. There's a few codecs it won't decode (for example samr audio in some 3gp files). I'm not sure how wide its coverage of QuickTime codecs is, but it does cover the more popular ones.

Now, if a specific file is giving you trouble, try using a methodical approach. First see what the file type is. If it's mov, try looking up its properties. For example in QuickTime, go to window, show movie inspector, and find out what codecs the audio and video streams use. In VLC click on tools, codec information.
If the file isn't recognized as any format, try viewing it in a hex editor. If you see all 0's it could be fake or damaged. If you're seeing a lot of errors, do a disk scan to check the integrity of the file system, then a surface scan to make sure there are no bad sectors.

P.S: Some codec packs already have QuickTime Alternative in them, so maybe some of the links above already helped. I wouldn't know which though.


This is in reply to Undocked Windy: Media Player Classic and Windows Media Player are NOT the same. They may have a similar skin, and they're both DirectShow, but that's where the difference stops. MPC can do a LOT of things that the standalone WMP can't do, including decode MPEG-2 and AC3, decode DVD's (try it - get a PC without any DVD player, insert a DVD and use MPC - it can read them without any external decoder - brilliant, but rarely mentioned feature (you can guess why though - the MPEG LA wouldn't like it none to much)). It can also parse tons of containers WMP can't read: mov, mp4 (not perfect), 3gp (not perfect either), mkv, ogm, truncated avi's, rm.
 

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Thanks for the reply. Nice post, very informative!

What I meant is it's the best for everyday use, so if you want to run a .MOV, you can. Maybe not perfectly - but it's free and compact - and NO install. It's perfect in my eyes. The only the thing that even compares is KMPlayer (except - they need for do a lot to make it better).
 

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What I meant to say was... "Media Player Classic" doesn't have "Windows" in front of it. It's not even a Microsoft product. Just don't call it "Windows Media Player Classic". Windows Media Player is WMP, Media Player Classic is MPC. Don't mix and match.
 

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Well Media Player Classic was written by Gabest. It's free and just looks like WMP 6.4 (it's just the skin, a front-end... he could have made it look like VLC or something else but he just stuck to the familiar WMP 6.4 look for convenience). WMP is a Microsoft product.

I have mixed feelings about Microsoft. I think they do a great service by making a platform that makes computer hardware useable. I just don't like their marketing tactics that is intent on eliminating all potential rivals. So many companies in the 90's lost their business because of them once they included their software into Windows.
 
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