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Telestream previews Flip4Mac 3.0 utility with public beta

updated 11:00 pm EDT, Fri July 27, 2012

Microsoft will deliver final version; pro edition available as well

Though its official name is Windows Media Components for QuickTime, the product maintained by Telestream and licensed to Microsoft that allows Mac users to view Windows Media-format audio and video files within QuickTime is known nearly universally in the Mac community as Flip4Mac, the product's original name. Telestream is now offering a preview of the next generation of the free video utility, along with a new independent Flip Player for Mac.

Flip4Mac 3.0 has been updated to support the latest version of OS X and the latest QuickTime Player. The program adds more support for 64-bit playback, and also now supports Mountain Lion's Gatekeeper security feature. While most Mac users opt for the free "player only" version of the program, Telestream also makes a "Pro" version that starts at $29. The paid version adds features such as WMV and WMA conversion to QuickTime standard formats. A $49 Studio version also allows exporting media files in Windows Media format using presets, and a $179 Studio Pro HD version adds customizable user configurations.

The new "Flip Player" is a standalone video player for the Mac along the lines of VLC. The company says it will support "a wide range" of popular video and audio formats. A "Pro" upgrade is also available for Flip Player separately, and adds its own video editing along with iPhone ringtone creation capabilities. Pricing on the Flip Player Pro upgrade has not yet been made available.

The public beta is available now from Telestream's website, but no projected release date has been announced. As has been the case for Flip4Mac since Microsoft began distributing it, the Redmond giant will take over formal distribution after Telestream releases a final version. It's expected that MS will continue to offer the basic playback-only version of Flip4Mac for free, allowing the paid Pro versions to subsdize the costs.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. Lebensmuede

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-05-06

    Originally Posted by NewsPosterView Post


    The new "Flip Player" is a standalone video player for the Mac along the lines of VLC. The company says it will support "a wide range" of popular video and audio formats.



    Why would I want this when I already have VLC? :confused:

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    I understand that VLC will not be distributable via the App Store for licensing reasons. it might not get Gatekeeper certification for similar issues?

    This might be the makings of an alternative that is available via "safe" channels.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 07-16-04

    You guys are missing the point. Their player plays all manner of WMV formats and their paid versions even allow export into those formats. The player relies on their codecs for WMV formats to play back and purchasing a license simply unlocks additional functionality in those codecs.

  1. cgc

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 03-25-03

    I've found MPlayerX to be outstanding.

  1. freediverx01

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-13-11

    The only reason for Flip4Mac's existence is to facilitate playback of the occasional downloaded video that was encoded by some fool using WMV. Nobody has any interest in making this useless codec the center of their video work. Any video worth keeping should be immediately converted to h.264.

  1. tightsocks

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 02-09-05

    Wait.
    What exactly does this mean?

    I currently use Snow Leopard and and have the Flip4Mac 2.x Quicktime Plugin which lets me play .wmv in any Quicktime aware application.

    Does this mean that on Lion and Mountain Lion we can only play .wmv from a decicated Flip4Mac 3 app??

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    I'm on Mountain Lion, and I have the "old" Flip4Mac installed.

    At the moment, it works the same way it has for years, as under Snow Leopard.

  1. tightsocks

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 02-09-05

    Originally Posted by Spheric HarlotView Post

    I'm on Mountain Lion, and I have the "old" Flip4Mac installed.
    At the moment, it works the same way it has for years, as under Snow Leopard.



    Glad to hear that.
    Anything to report on Perian?

  1. martinX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-30-08

    The only reason for Flip4Mac's existence is to facilitate playback of the occasional downloaded video that was encoded by some fool using WMV. Nobody has any interest in making this useless codec the center of their video work. Any video worth keeping should be immediately converted to h.264.

    I am that fool.:lol:

    I work for a facility with about 4000 people, in an organisation of 75000. We run PCs (Dells at the moment, IIRC) running a very locked down XP. It's a battle to even get VLC on them individually and would never happen state-wide, even if I did have any sort of influence. I am 'the video guy' in my facility, and one of the few with a position like that anywhere in the organisation. I have one of the few Macs in my facility, and there's probably not many more across the state. With a bit of effort (and JW player) I managed to get things to the point where I can deliver MP4s to the intranet guys instead of WMVs but if something has to play on a PC in the organisation, it's WMV all the way. Depending on the client and the job, I'll sometimes turn out an MP4 ("for any Macs or iDevices your people may have") in addition to the WMV ("to drop in your PowerPoints").

    If I couldn't make WMVs with my Mac (thankyou MPEG Streamclip and Flip4Mac) that would be a serious roadblock in my workflow. My facility would never buy Episode or Squeeze for me. This announcement by Telestream means I can worry about one less thing when I transition to 10.8. I still have to work out playing AVIs embedded in PPT for some of my Camtasia screen caps. Perian is a necessary tool for me and if it doesn't work on 10.8, or if PPT won't play nicely, there'll be trouble ahead for me.

    And I must disagree with the description "useless codec" if by 'useless' you are referring to its quality. Bit for bit, it compares well against MP4 in my experience. I am not a compressionist, but a preset player, and both codecs perform equally well for me.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    My question is whether Flip4Mac 3 will be a paid upgrade. If so, I'll pass unless there is a compelling reason (Retina Display is not since I don't have one of those MacBooks). The 2.x version I have currently works just fine with WMVs. We have a situation like others here in that sometimes we have to export videos to WMV for PC users, especially in PowerPoint presentations.

    I'll add that VLC does not always open WMVs; F4M does. So I see it's worth in that area, especially considering the player is free.

  1. freediverx01

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-13-11

    Originally Posted by martinXView Post


    I am that fool.:lol:
    I work for a facility with about 4000 people, in an organisation of 75000. We run PCs (Dells at the moment, IIRC) running a very locked down XP. It's a battle to even get VLC on them individually and would never happen state-wide, even if I did have any sort of influence. I am 'the video guy' in my facility, and one of the few with a position like that anywhere in the organisation. I have one of the few Macs in my facility, and there's probably not many more across the state. With a bit of effort (and JW player) I managed to get things to the point where I can deliver MP4s to the intranet guys instead of WMVs but if something has to play on a PC in the organisation, it's WMV all the way. Depending on the client and the job, I'll sometimes turn out an MP4 ("for any Macs or iDevices your people may have") in addition to the WMV ("to drop in your PowerPoints").
    If I couldn't make WMVs with my Mac (thankyou MPEG Streamclip and Flip4Mac) that would be a serious roadblock in my workflow. My facility would never buy Episode or Squeeze for me. This announcement by Telestream means I can worry about one less thing when I transition to 10.8. I still have to work out playing AVIs embedded in PPT for some of my Camtasia screen caps. Perian is a necessary tool for me and if it doesn't work on 10.8, or if PPT won't play nicely, there'll be trouble ahead for me.
    And I must disagree with the description "useless codec" if by 'useless' you are referring to its quality. Bit for bit, it compares well against MP4 in my experience. I am not a compressionist, but a preset player, and both codecs perform equally well for me.




    Every time I stream or download a video in WMV format I am unable to smoothly skip or skim across different parts of the video clip, and the video often takes a longer time to pre-load before playback can begin. This alone is reason to avoid it - aside from the fact that it was created from day one to protect the interests of content providers (especially MPAA-types) at the expense of convenience and usability for users.

    Additionally Microsoft's video player, as most of their other software, has a crappy and outdated user interface that I don't care to deal with.

    H.264 is the uncontested leader in video compression. It offers the best combination of compression and quality while delivering a friendly user experience that among other things allows users to freely skip to different parts of the video or speed up and slow down the playback as desired. The one drawback is that it's a bit more resource-intensive, so the user experience may be impacted for users with prehistoric hardware. I'd rather sacrifice the experience for those using obsolete hardware than hold back technology for the rest of the computer using world. Otherwise we'd still be using floppy disks.

    In your case, I sympathize. Wouldn't be surprised if your organization is also stuck using IE6 because years ago someone decided to create mission-critical applications using ActiveX controls that depend on the security nightmare that is Internet Explorer 6.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Originally Posted by pairof9sView Post

    My question is whether Flip4Mac 3 will be a paid upgrade..

    The Pro version is a $9 upgrade for paid 2.x Pro users. Which seems pretty reasonable, and the installer says clearly in big, red text. The player remains free, courtesy MS, of course. (How embarrassing is it that a company the size of MS had to license a 3rd party WMV codec because their own native WMV player was such an irredeemable pile?)

    Still no protected WMV support, though. Which kinda sucks, because I still run across somebody selling protected WMV files (usually Japanese companies, where crusty Windows PCs are more common than in the US) that would probably get my business if I didn't have to fire up VMWare and Windows just to view it.

    Originally Posted by tightsocksView Post

    Does this mean that on Lion and Mountain Lion we can only play .wmv from a decicated Flip4Mac 3 app??

    No. People seem to be getting confused by the way this was phrased; the main Flip4Mac component is still a QuickTime component, and therefore makes WMV viewable in all programs that support QuickTIme video.

    Telestream is now adding in "Flip Player," which is more or less a clone of QuickTime Player, as an alternative player to it with a few different features and a slightly different interface. Notably, it appears to actually use QuickTime itself, so not only is it not required to play WMV, it's the other way around--if Flip4Mac didn't add WMV support to QuickTime, Flip Player would't play WMV, either.

    Overall, while I mainly use VLC or MPlayer OSX Extended (currently VLC edged ahead) for most viewing, I'm glad this exists, and there are still a few videos that it will play that the open source alternatives won't. The requirement to scan and index WMVs for playback by Flip4Mac is a real deal-breaker when playing off of a network volume, though; while I can open a 300MB video in VLC and have it playing in two seconds, Flip4Mac needs to scan the entire file first, which can take a minute or more on a wireless connection.

  1. martinX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-30-08

    Originally Posted by freediverx01View Post


    H.264 is the uncontested leader in video compression. It offers the best combination of compression and quality while delivering a friendly user experience that among other things allows users to freely skip to different parts of the video or speed up and slow down the playback as desired.


    Sorry - I meant to make clear that I deliver over an intranet. I can drop in 1 hour videos that people can easily download, "stream" (pseudo-stream) and skip. I avoid using WMV if I can, but I can't and I have a large organisation that can't.

    Wouldn't be surprised if your organization is also stuck using IE6 because years ago someone decided to create mission-critical applications using ActiveX controls that depend on the security nightmare that is Internet Explorer 6.
    Close... I'm not sure if we've migrated away from ActiveX entirely, but scenario you describe was certainly the case for some time. Still, you can't blame them. When XP came out, there was no alternative browser, they had 50 000 desktops to deliver to, and their OS supplier had a browser that would let them implement things easily and quickly using programming knowledge they already had, and if they didn't know how to do it, the vendor had a one week course that showed them how to do it.

    I consider my role to be part subversive, part stainless steel rat. The IT department considers me to be a PITA :lol:

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