What is AVI? How to Play/Convert AVI Files on Mac?

August 26, 2009 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

What is an AVI?

AVI, is a multimedia container format introduced by Microsoft in November 1992 as part of its Video for Windows technology. AVI files can contain both audio and video data in a file container that allows synchronous audio-with-video playback. Like the DVD video format, AVI files support multiple streaming audio and video, although these features are seldom used. Most AVI files also use the file format extensions developed by the Matrox OpenDML group in February 1996. These files are supported by Microsoft, and are unofficially called “AVI 2.0”.

How to Watch AVI movies on Mac OS X?

There are several ways to view them in Mac OS X.

Third Party Applications
There are 2 programs at present that can open .avi files and both are open source and free to download. Many users prefer to keep both installed to provide compatibility with as many file formats as possible.

VLC Player is a cross platform application with a mac version available for download from the VLC website.

MPlayer has a simpler interface but fewer features. It is available from the MPlayer website.

Any remaining AVIs not compatible with the above two, should be able to be handled by Mac OS 9 QuickTime or QuickTime for Windows, each of which have the older versions of the Intel Indeo codec.

Windows Media Player 9 is an application developed by Microsoft for Mac OS X.

Note: Microsoft has ceased the software’s development for Mac OS X and instead promotes another third party plugin for QuickTime called Flip4Mac (See below).

QuickTime Plug-Ins
Several third party plug-ins are available to allow users to watch .avi files using Apple’s native multimedia media program. These are installed into the QuickTime plug-ins folder and usually require little or no setting up.

1. Perian. Currently the best and most all-encompassing Quicktime plugin that will guarentee to play almost any codec within an AVI file.Includes support for MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivX, H.264, FLV1, FSV1, VP6, H263I, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, Flash ADPCM, Xiph Vorbis (in Matroska), MPEG Layer II Audio, AAC, AC3 Audio, H.264, MPEG4, and VBR MP3, (i.e loads of Codecs), to play windows media (.wma,.wmv) files you will also need Flip4Mac (See below).
2. 3ivX codec. A free version of this MPEG4 codec is available for Mac users on their download page.
3. A52 codec. This codec is very useful for viewing .avi files encoded with A52 audio.
4. DivX for Mac codec. A free version is available for watching DivX movies, a commercial solution for encoding movies is available as a free 15 day demo. Free beta versions (including DivX 6 for Intel based macs) are also available from labs.divx.com
5. Flip4Mac. A free solution, offering playback of AVI, ASF, ASX and non-DRM protected WMA and WMV files. Microsoft site

AVI Converters on Mac

1. To convert DVD to AVI to play on Mac,
You can convert DVD to AVI by using DVD Ripper for Mac, which is a powerful DVD to AVI Mac software that can rip DVDs to AVI format with super high quality.
2. To convert other videos to AVI and convert AVI to other format such as MOV, MP4, MPEG on Mac,
You can use AVI Converter for Mac, which is the best AVI Converter for Mac to convert video to AVI on Mac and to convert AVI to MOV, MP4, etc. on Mac. It also can trim AVI and capture pictures from AVI videos on Mac.
3. To convert the video files from AVI to DVD on Mac,
you need to use AVI to DVD Converter for Mac, here I recommend Wondershare DVD Creator for Mac, this software has everything you would like to see in a Mac DVD burner software. With high quality to burn your AVI Video on Mac, it also supports cropping, trimming, creating dvd menus and applying various effects on the videos!

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