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.