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How to Deal with the QuickTime WMV Issue?

Playing WMV in QuickTime isn’t reliable enough and you can anytime get "The document *filename.wmv could not be opened" error message.

This happens because WMV is a Microsoft proprietary codec and even its name indicates that - Windows Media Video. And since QuickTime is a Mac proprietary media player, you get compatibility issues when trying to bring QuickTime WMV together. Microsoft also stopped development for macOS development of Windows Media Player in 2006. However, you don’t have to worry since there are several solutions available and we’ve gathered the best of them in this article.

WMV file format

Users situation:

Have created a movie in Windows movie maker on a pc but have to be able to play it on a Mac. I was told to save in Quicktime however Quicktime says it doesn't recognise .wmv files. Any easy solutions? — Apple Support Community

1. Elmedia Player - The best solution to open WMV on Mac

Unlike QuickTime, Elmedia Player is perfectly suited to watching .wmv on Mac. It plays MP4, FLV, AVI, MKV, MOV and more, so you can view and listen to other formats that are hard to use on macOS. With audio and subtitle sync, the ability to add external tracks and save playlists, it’s our Mac WMV player of choice.

Elmedia PRO adds more functionality, like easy streaming over DLNA, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, video tuning and audio equalization. $19.99 is well worth it for this significant upgrade.

Quicktime Alternative to Open WMV on Mac

Steps to Play WMV on Mac

1. Download Elmedia Player from the official website.

Open WMV File on Mac with Elmedia Player

2. Choose one of the multiple ways to start viewing .wmv files in Elmedia Player:

  • Drag and drop the WMV onto the Elmedia icon on the Dock or directly in its window.
  • Use Finder to locate the file, then right-click on it. Choose "Open With" from the list and then click on Elmedia Player.
  • From the Elmedia Player menu select "File" and then "Open", find the .wmv file on your Mac and play it!
How to open WMV files on Mac

Go Around the Quicktime Player WMV Issue by Converting It

If you don’t want to install a different application to watch .wmv files on Mac, the other solution is to change the format into one that can be played by QuickTime. Movavi Video Converter is one of the best converters for macOS users. It’s versatile and enables you to easily convert to FLV, WMV, MPEG, MOV or more.

Convert WMV to QuickTime

How to Convert WMV Files QuickTime Supported Format

  1. Download and install Movavi Video Converter on your Mac and open it.
  2. Select the .wmv file you want to convert by clicking the "Add Video" button
  3. Select the output format from the list. A series of popular conversion presets are available.
  4. Hit "Convert" to start the process.
  5. Play the file with QuickTime Player - 100% free and without stress

Convert WMV Files Online

If you’re not comfortable with installing another app to solve the QuickTime player can’t open WMV issue, you can convert the files 100% online. Our recommended online solution is Here are the steps to rapidly convert:

The steps are relatively similar to software tools and are also really simple:

  1. Access the website and click "Open" to upload the WMV file you want to convert
  2. In the output format box, select "Apple" and you’ll be able to select the exact device to create a perfectly-compatible video.
  3. Click "Convert".
  4. Once the conversion is over, download the final file
  5. Click on the downloaded file and it will run in QuickTime Player
Convert WMV online


It’s likely that you don’t have the right software for the task. You need a video player with universal format support - for example, Elmedia Player.

MP4 format has better compatibility with different operating systems and platforms than WMV format. As for quality, WMV is also behind MP4. Of course, it all depends on the encoding method and settings like bitrate, but if comparing these two formats with the same bitrate, MP4 will provide higher quality.
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