VLC Player for Intel Macs play WMV3 files!

Well, no more jumping through the hoops now. Hot on the heels of the release of Flip4Mac WMV component 2.1, the first official universal binary version, the latest VLC Player nightly build for both PPC and Intel Macs have the ability to decode WMV3 video codec (a.k.a. Windows Media Video 9). Click on the picture above for the full look.

Previously, I've noted how the Flip4Mac component was finally able to decode AVI files with WMV3 video stream in it, and with the help of Cellulo, subtitles can be overlayed, bringing my anime watching enjoyment on par with Windows counterpart.

But when I got the new Mac mini with Intel chip in it, I was disappointed to be relying on Rosetta technology to watch video, Cellulo and WMV component being PPC binaries. While completely doable, it would mean the CPU would be taxed to decode the video in emulation mode. Unfortunately, Cellulo's developer has been quite slow with the times, as there is still no universal binary version in sight. I'm not holding my breath, since it took more than 8 months after Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger's release for the software to be updated for compatibility. Meanwhile, Flip4Mac had made progress with their component, as their universal binary version entered the semi-public betas since June, and mentioned earlier, finally went official a few days ago.

However, if Cellulo was still a PPC binary, the WMV component would have to revert to PPC mode instead of Intel mode when I wanted to watch something on Cellulo. So at this end, the icky problem was still not solved. And then, all of a sudden, VLC Player came out to rescue. One of their developers made a comment that the playback capability was coming in autumn about a week ago, but it was a pleasant surprise to see this incorporated in the nightly builds so soon. The Intel build was said to be as much as two weeks behind the PPC build, but it only took three days' delay to see this feature pop up on the Intel build.

God bless those VLC folks.


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