WMV stands for Windows Media Video. It is a compressed video file format developed by Microsoft Corporation for a number of proprietary codecs (coders/encoders).

A WMV file is normally included in the ASF (Advanced Systems Format) type of container formats. This means files with the extension .wmv are ASF files which use codecs of Windows Media Video. The audio codec used by WMV files is usually any of the Windows Media Audio versions.

WMV developers claim that WMV9, the format’s latest version, has a compression ratio two times better than other video file formats such as MPEG. In terms of video clarity, WMV is also said to be 20-50% better than other video file formats. All WMV versions support constant bit rate, average bit rate, and variable bit rate.

WMV uses Windows Media DRM to support digital rights management facilities. This makes WMV file services available for a limited time.

WMV is supported by many applications, such as:

  • Windows Media Player, the most common of these programs;
  • Zoom Player;
  • RealPlayer;
  • PowerDVD; and
  • Media Player Classic.

Mac users who wish to play WMV files can install the Flip4Mac WMV. This is a QuickTime component that allows MacIntosh computers to play WMV files.

There are a number of software applications that can export video files in WMV format. These include:

  • Microsoft Expression Encoder;
  • Windows Movie Maker; and
  • Windows Media Encoder.

Additional Reading on WMV Files