QuickTime Can't Open WMV: Easy Troubleshooting Methods

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One of the most popular video formats on the internet is Windows Media Video, or .wmv. However, for those who own Mac computers, the default video program QuickTime can return an error when attempting to play a .wmv file. Since WMV is a proprietary Windows file, it’s encoded with Microsoft-exclusive codecs that cannot be played through stock versions of macOS and its programs. That’s why when you open WMV on Mac, you get an error message telling you that "the file is not compatible with QuickTime Player."

To make things easy for you, we present the solutions that will make your QuickTime Player WMV issues a thing of the past.

Solution 1: QuickTime Player alternatives

Even though QuickTime player can’t open WMV, there are a bunch of workarounds and alternatives to open WMV on Mac. While there are many solutions out there, we’ve painstakingly picked out the top three media players that can play WMV files on your Mac.

1. Elmedia Player - the best way to play WMV on macOS

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Elmedia Player

55.36MB free space. Version 7.10(2005). (6 Apr, 2020). 4.8 Rank based on 463+ users

Starting with the best, Elmedia Player is your ideal solution for opening WMV on Mac. It has both free and paid versions, but either one can play WMV files with no problems whatsoever, as well as other formats like MKV, AVI, FLV, and dozens more. It also comes with very adjustable subtitle settings, so no matter what video format you find on the Internet, you can enjoy smooth and seamless playback.

Elmedia WMV Player

Advanced features of Elmedia Player PRO

If you decide to upgrade to Elmedia Player PRO, you’re rewarded with a bevy of other awesome features for a small one-time charge. Download video or audio files from popular video sites like YouTube, DailyMotion or Vimeo. Get effortless streaming from your iMac, Mac mini, or Macbook directly to bigger screens like Smart TVs or any other Airplay or DLNA-enabled devices via Apple TV or Chromecast. Tweak your playback settings, take screenshots of a perfect moment in your favorite movie, or even make a video clip from said favorite movie, with the ability to save it in TIFF, PNG, or GIF formats.

How to play WMV on Mac for free with Elmedia Player

  1. 1. Download Elmedia Player for free and install it.

  2. 2. Locate the files you want to play and add them to Elmedia Player’s library in one of three ways:

    • - Drag the WMV file to the app window or onto its icon in the dock.
    • - Right-click a WMV file in Finder and select the "Open With" option, then choose Elmedia Player from the list of apps presented to open the file.
    • - Choose "File" from Elmedia Player’s menu and click "Open".
  3. 3. Enjoy your movie!

    Elmedia Player

2. IINA - a second free alternative player to open WMV files on Mac without QuickTime

If you’re looking for a non-QuickTime dedicated macOS video player, IINA gives you the power you’re looking for. With the ability to play pretty much any file you may want, making it a great alternative to QuickTime. And while IINA comes with standard cascading menu features like all apps, IINA has been designed for the digital age, with interactive UI components, even gesture support. You get full control over your video’s playback, as well as support for a myriad of other media types like audio, visual, and GIFs. Finally, IINA has been optimized for Retina screens, making anything you’re looking at visually stunning.

Made for Mac users by Mac users, IINA can handle anything you may need, from something as simple as watching a DVD to utilizing the features found in typical professional video players.

How to open WMV files on macOS with IINA

1. Download and install IINA for free from their website and open it.

2. Play the WMV file in any of the following ways:

  • Drag the WMV file to the app window or onto its icon in the dock.
  • Right-click a WMV file in Finder and select the "Open With" option, then choose IINA from the list of apps presented to open the file.
  • Choose "File" from IINA’s menu and click "Open".
Open WMV file with IINA

3. Enjoy.

3. VLC - an alternative for when QuickTime Player can’t open WMV

If the world of video players was like the world of academia, then VLC Media Player is the tenured professor of media apps. It’s free and always has been, making it an alternative to QuickTime that can play pretty much every video file under the sun - MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, MKV, WebM, and so many more. And if you end up using several different operating systems, VLC will work on anything - macOS, Windows, Linux, and more. It’s completely free and has been open-source since it started, so it’s always free of spyware and malware. If everything else isn’t for you, then VLC will be.

VLC Media Player

How to watch WMV files with VLC

1. Download VLC Media Player for free on the website and install it.

2. Play the WMV file in any of the following ways:

  • Drag the WMV file to the app window or onto its icon in the dock.
  • Right-click a WMV file in Finder and select the "Open With" option, then choose VLC from the list of apps presented to open the file.
  • Choose "File" from VLC’s menu and click “Open.” An Open File dialog box will appear. Select the WMV file you want to open and click the "Open" button.
Open WMV file with VLC

3. Enjoy your movie!

H2: Solution 2: Converting WMV to QuickTime formats

If you don’t want to get a media player to play your WMV format file, then you can always change the WMV format to something that your Mac can play. Thankfully, there’s a ton of apps out there that can switch things up so you can play your videos with QuickTime Player. What happens is that these apps convert WMV for Mac players, which transforms it into file types like AVI, FLV, MKV, MOV, and MPEG-4 among others, so you can watch your videos simply and easily.

Using UniConverter for converting WMV
to QuickTime formats

If you’re looking to take Windows Media Video to QuickTime-friendly formats, the one software we recommend the most is UniConverter by Wondershare. This easy-to-use encoding program can convert WMV to a variety of other formats simply and easily.

Follow these steps to convert WMV files on Mac:

1. Download and install UniConverter for macOS.

2. Add the file you want to convert:

  • Click the "Add Files" button and choose a file.
  • Choose your preferred output format.

3. Convert the file by clicking "Convert" and UniConverter will do the rest.

Convert WMV with Uniconverter

4. Play your newly-converted video file with QuickTime Player!

Use an Online Video Converter to open a WMV file on Mac

If you don’t want to download an app to convert your WMV files, then you can visit a free online video converter website to do the heavy lifting for you! Convert Video Online from 123Apps provides you with a spam-free WMV file converter for Mac without needing to download anything but your newly-converted video file.

Online Video Converter
  1. From the website, click the "Open" button to search for the file you want converted.
  2. Choose "MOV" as the output format. MOV is the default video format for macOS.
  3. Click "Convert" to begin the conversion process.
  4. Download and play your newly-converted MOV file!

Disclaimer: WMV Playback Solutions that Don’t Work Anymore

Believe it or not, Windows Media Player was once supported for macOS-powered devices, which meant that WMV files could be played on Mac without any hassle. However, Microsoft ended development on WMP for Mac in 2006, instead releasing a third-party plugin called WMV Player that was developed by a company called Telestream, Inc using the name Flip4Mac. WMV Player worked like a band-aid, giving WMV support to QuickTime directly, and for a time, was the only QuickTime component that supported Windows Media Video files. Unfortunately, Flip4Mac from Telestream, Inc. is no longer supported by macOS devices currently running OS X El Capitan (10.11) or higher.

What is WMV?

Short for Windows Media Video, this Microsoft-developed video codec is built from a non-standard version of MPEG-4 that was given its own SMPTE standard, making it distinct at least in technical and legal terms as its own unique format. It’s often combined with an audio stream known as Windows Media Audio and can compress relatively large video files while keeping a very high level of quality, making it a favorite of online radio stations that continuously deliver a constant stream of data via ASF or some other streaming media format. Due to its similarity, WMV can be packed into both ASF (also developed by Microsoft) and AVI container formats.

What is WMV


There are a lot of questions when it comes to QuickTime WMV compatibility, so we’ve rounded up some of the most frequently-asked ones right here to help you out. Hopefully this answers your most common issues with the problem of opening WMV on Mac. If we still didn’t address your issue, let us know in the comments below and we will do our best to answer your problem.

Yes! With Elmedia Player, you can play WMV files on Mac for free and with no problems at all. Download it today to solve your problem and get a great video player app at the same time!

As the default media player for macOS, Quicktime does not natively support the WMV format. Your best bet is to use other video players like Elmedia Player, 5K Player or VLC to open WMV files on Mac.Conversion of the WMV file format itself is also an option thanks to converter apps or special websites like Convert Video Online, which will turn your WMV file into something QuickTime can play, such as .MOV format.

First, you’ll need a third-party video player app, like Elmedia, IINA, 5Kplayer or VLC to do so. Here are the steps to open WMV on Mac with Elmedia Player:

1. Download Elmedia Player for free from either our website or the iTunes Store and open it.

2. Play the file in one of three ways:

  • Drag the WMV file to the app window or onto its icon in the dock.
  • Right-click a WMV file in Finder and select the "Open With" option, then choose Elmedia Player from the list of apps presented to open the file.
  • Choose "File" from Elmedia Player’s menu and click "Open."

3. Enjoy.

If your Mac is running OS X El Capitan (version 10.11) or higher, then Flip4Mac is no longer supported by QuickTime. You will need to use Elmedia Player to play your WMV files on Mac.

Flip4Mac is a QuickTime component created by Telestream, Inc that allowed WMV files to be playable in QuickTime, and was the only one that did so. As of OS X El Capitan (version 10.11), Flip4Mac is no longer supported by QuickTime.
This is because WMV files have been created by Microsoft and encoded with a proprietary codec by Microsoft, to be used on Windows-powered apps and devices. Due to the competition between Microsoft and Apple, it’s not a format supported by the Mac ecosystem, but there are many ways around it.

Elmedia Player

Requirements: OS X 10.9+ , 55.36MB free space
Version 7.10(2005) (6 Apr, 2020) Release notes