- Windows Media Video
Infobox file format
name = Windows Media Video
extension = .wmv
mime = video/x-ms-wmv
type code =
uniform type = com.microsoft.windows-?media-wmv
video file format
container for =
contained by =
extended from =
extended to =
Windows Media Video (WMV) is a compressed
video file formatfor several proprietary codecsdeveloped by Microsoft. The original codec, known as "WMV", was originally designed for Internet streaming applications, as a competitor to RealVideo. The other codecs, such as "WMV Screen" and "WMV Image", cater for specialized content. Through standardization from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers(SMPTE), [http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/apr06/04-24VC1PR.mspx SMPTE VC-1 Receiving Industrywide Support] ] [http://www.betanews.com/article/Microsoft_VC1_Codec_Now_a_Standard/1144097224 Microsoft VC-1 Codec Now a Standard] ] WMV has gained adoption for physical-delivery formats such as HD DVDand Blu-ray Disc[http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2004/sep04/09-01BluRayDiscPR.mspx Blu-ray Disc BD-ROM Specification Adds Microsoft's VC-1 Advanced Video Codec] ] [http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2007/jan07/01-08HDDVDMomentumPR.mspx Microsoft Technology Brings HD DVD to the Mainstream] ] .
In 2003, Microsoft drafted a video codec specification based on its WMV 9 codec and submitted it to SMPTE for standardization. The standard was officially approved in March 2006 as SMPTE 421M, better known as
VC-1, thus making the WMV 9 codec an open but still proprietary standard. Since then, VC-1 has become one of the three mandatory video codecs for the BD-ROMspecifications.
A "WMV file" is in most circumstances
encapsulatedin the Advanced Systems Format(ASF) container format. [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/284094 MSDN: The Difference Between ASF and WMV/WMA Files] ] The file extension.WMV typically describes ASF files that use Windows Media Video codecs. The audio codec used in conjunction with Windows Media Video is typically some version of Windows Media Audio, or in rarer cases, the deprecated Sipro ACELP.net audio codec. Microsoft recommends that ASF files containing non-Windows Media codecs use the generic .ASF file extension.
Although WMV is generally packed into the ASF container format, it can also be put into the
AVIor Matroskacontainer format. The resulting files claim the .AVI, or .MKV file extensions, respectively. WMV can be stored in an AVI file when using the WMV 9 Video Compression Manager (VCM) codec implementation. [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/codecs/video.aspx#WindowsMediaVideo9VCM Windows Media Video 9 Series Codecs: Windows Media Video 9 VCM] ] Another common way to store WMV in an AVI file is to use the VirtualDubencoder.
This container can optionally support
digital rights managementusing a combination of elliptic curve cryptographykey exchange, DES block cipher, a custom block cipher, RC4 stream cipher and the SHA-1 hashing function.
Windows Media Video
Windows Media Video (WMV) is the most recognized codec within the WMV family. Usage of the term "WMV" often refers to this codec only. Its main competitors are
MPEG-4 AVC, RealVideo, DivX, and Xvid. The first version of the codec, WMV 7, was introduced in 1999, and was built upon Microsoft's implementation of MPEG-4 Part 2. [http://digitalcontentproducer.com/mag/video_mpeg_makes_scene/ MPEG-4 makes the scene] ] Continued proprietary development led to newer versions of the codec, but the bit streamsyntax was not frozen until WMV 9. [http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/f/c/6fc03c60-5d5b-42c0-bcce-5e184fa56741/2_Audio_Video.ppt Windows Media Audio & Video 9 Series] ] While all versions of WMV support variable bit rate, average bit rate, and constant bit rate, WMV 9 introduced several important features including native support for interlaced video, non-square pixels, and frame interpolation. [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/demos/video_quality_demos.aspx Microsoft Windows Media - Demos Video Quality] ] WMV 9 also introduced a new profile titled "Windows Media Video 9 Professional", [http://www.elims.org/downloads/sample_content/9Series_RevGuide.pdf Windows Media 9 Series Beta Reviewer's Guide] ] which is activated automatically whenever the video resolution and bit rate exceed 300,000 pixels (eg., 512 × 586) and 1000 kbit/s (eg., 1001 kbit/s). It is targeted towards high-definition video content, at resolutions such as 720pand 1080p.
The "Simple" and "Main" profile levels in WMV 9 are compliant with the same profile levels in the
VC-1specification. [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/howto/articles/codecadvancedsettings.aspx Using the Advanced Settings of the Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile Codec] ] The "Advanced Profile" in VC-1 is implemented in a new WMV codec called "Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile". It improves compressions efficiency for interlaced content and is made transport-independent, making it able to be encapsulated in an MPEG transport streamor RTP packet format. The codec is not compatible with previous WMV 9 codecs, however. [http://www.streamingmedia.com/article.asp?id=9510&page=2&c=4 streamingmedia.com Best Practices for Windows Media Encoding] ]
WMV is a mandatory video codec for
PlaysForSure-certified online stores and devices, as well as Portable Media Centerdevices. The Microsoft Zune, Xbox 360, Windows Mobile-powered devices with Windows Media Player, as well as many uncertified devices, support the codec. [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/windowsmobile/faq.aspx Windows Media Player Mobile FAQ] ] WMV HDmandates the use of WMV 9 for its certification program, at quality levels specified by Microsoft. [http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=41932 WMV HD DVD Encoding Profile Guidelines] ] WMV is also the only supported video codec for the Microsoft Silverlightplatform. [http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/faq.aspx Microsoft Silverlight Developer Server Audio Video Streaming FAQ] ]
Windows Media Video Screen
Windows Media Video Screen (WMV Screen) is a
screencastcodec. It can capture live screen content, or convert video from third-party screen-capture programs into WMV 9 Screen files. It works best when the source material is mainly static and contains a small color palette. [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/codecs/video.aspx#WindowsMediaVideo9Screen Windows Media Video 9 Series Codecs: Windows Media Video 9 Screen] ] Depending on the complexity of the source material, the codec may switch between lossy and lossless encoding to enhance compression efficiency.
One of the uses for the codec is computer step-by-step demonstration videos. The first version of the codec was WMV 7 Screen, The second and current version, WMV 9 Screen, supports VBR encoding in addition to CBR.
=Windows Media Video
Windows Media Video Image (WMV Image) is a video
slideshowcodec. The codec works by applying timing, panningand transition effects to a series of images during playback. [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/codecs/video.aspx#WindowsMediaVideo9ImageVersion2 Windows Media Video 9 Series Codecs: Windows Media Video 9 Image Version 2] ] The codec achieves a higher compression ratio and image quality than WMV 9 for still images as files encoded with WMV Image store static images rather than full-motion video.
Since the codec relies on the decoder (player) to generate video frames in real-time, playing WMV Image files even at moderate resolutions (eg., 30
frames per secondat 1024 × 768 resolution) requires heavy computer processing. The latest version of the codec, WMV 9.1 Image, used by Photo Story3, features additional transformation effects, but is not compatible with the original WMV 9 Image codec.
Microsoft claims that WMV 9 provides a compression ratio that is two times better than MPEG-4 , and three times better than MPEG-2; [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/codecs/video.aspx#WindowsMediaVideo9AdvancedProfile Windows Media Video 9 Series Codecs: Advanced Profile] ] Microsoft also claims that WMV 9 is 15-50% better than WMV 8 in terms of compression efficiency. One test report published in January 2005, however, showed that WMV 9 had worse compression efficiency than WMV 8. [http://www.ebu.ch/en/technical/trev/trev_301-samviq.pdf Subjective quality of internet video codecs - Phase 2 evaluations using SAMVIQ] ]
Software that can play WMV files include
Windows Media Player, The KMPlayer, PowerDVD, RealPlayer, MPlayer, VLC Media Player, Zoom Playerand Media Player Classic. The Microsoft Zune media management software supports the WMV codec, but uses a Zune-specific variation of Windows Media DRMwhich is used by PlaysForSure. Many third-party players exist for various platforms such as Linuxthat use the FFmpegimplementation of the WMV codecs.
Macintoshplatform, Microsoft released a PowerPCversion of Windows Media Player for Mac OS Xin 2003, [http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.aspx?pid=download&location=/mac/download/misc/winmp_osx.xml&secid=80&ssid=8&flgnosysreq=True Windows Media Player 9 for Mac OS X ] ] but further development of the software has ceased. Microsoft currently endorses the 3rd party Flip4MacWMV, a QuickTimeComponent which allows Macintosh users to play WMV files in any player that uses the QuickTime framework. [http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherproducts/otherproducts.aspx?pid=windowsmedia Important information for Windows Media Player for Mac users] ]
Software that exports video in WMV format include
Avid(PC Version), Windows Movie Maker, Windows Media Encoder, Microsoft Expression Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze[http://sorensonmedia.com Sorenson Media ] ] , Sony Vegas Pro[http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/products/product.asp?PID=457&PageID=107 Sony Creative Software - Vegas Pro 8 - Technical Specifications ] ] . and Adobe Premiere Pro[http://kb.adobe.com/selfservice/viewContent.do?externalId=332612 Supported file formats in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0] ] . Programs that encode using the WMV Image codec include Windows Media Encoderand Photo Story. For Mac users who wish to convert WMV to MP4, iSquint is "freeware" that will do the job.
Digital rights management
While none of the WMV codecs themselves contain any
digital rights managementfacilities, the ASF container format, in which a WMV stream may be encapsulated, can. Windows Media DRM, which can be used in conjunction with WMV, supports time-limited subscription video services such as those offered by CinemaNow[http://www.playsforsure.com/ItemDetail.aspx?id=26 PlaysForSure: CinemaNow] ] . Windows Media DRM, a component of PlaysForSure and Windows Media Connect, is supported on many modern portable video devices and streaming media clients such as the Xbox 360.
WMV has been the subject of numerous complaints from users and the press. Users dislike the digital rights management system which is sometimes attached to WMV files [http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=34523 Microsoft Media Player shreds your rights] ] The loss of the ability to restore licenses for WMV files in the Windows Media Player 11 was not positively received. In addition, the Microsoft Zune does not support the standard Windows Media DRM system, rendering protected WMV files unplayable. [http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=34478 Zune won't play MS DRM infected files] ]
Codec– The technical term for compressor and decompressor
VC-1– The SMPTE codec standard based on WMV 9 that supports additional broadcast industry requirements
WMV HD– The marketing name for high definition videos encoded using WMV 9 codecs
Windows Media DRM– A digital rights management component of Windows Media that controls how content can be used
Windows Media Audio– An audio file format and codec developed by Microsoft
*JPEG XR / HD Photo – An image file format and codec developed by Microsoft
Windows Movie Maker– A video editing tool included with the Microsoft Windows operating system
MPlayer– A third-party, open source, cross-platform media player capable of playing many WMV files using FFmpeg
FFmpeg– A third-party cross-platform free software codec library which implements WMV and VC-1 among other formats
WMV Player– A third-party, commercial codec which allows viewing of WMV files in QuickTime for Mac OS X
Flip4Mac– QuickTime component to play and encode Windows Media files in QuickTime
Lossy data compression– Data compression with loss of information
Lossless data compression– Data compression without loss of information
Comparison of video codecs
* [http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ Windows Media Homepage at Microsoft]
* [http://www.spinnaker.com/crypt/drm/freeme/Technical Description of the algorithm used for Windows Media encryption]
* [http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/musicandvideo/hdvideo/contentshowcase.aspx WMV HD Content Showcase]
* [http://on10.net/Blogs/benwagg/elephants-dream-720p--2-mbps/ Demonstration of WMV 9 delivering 720p video at 1.8 mbit/s ABR]
* [http://on10.net/Blogs/benwagg/elephants-dream-sample/ Demonstration of WMV 9 delivering 1080p video at 10 mbit/s ABR]
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