.WMV File Extension

Windows Media Video

Developer Microsoft
3.7  |  393 Votes

What is a WMV file?

A WMV file is a video saved in the Microsoft Advanced Systems Format (ASF) and compressed with Windows Media Video (WMV) compression. It may store an animation, video clip, TV episode, or movie and supports high-definition (HD) video. WMV files also support encryption for use with Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems.

More Information

Screenshot of a .wmv file in VideoLAN VLC media player
WMV file open in VideoLAN VLC media player

In 1999, Microsoft introduced the WMV video codec (along with the WMV Screen and WMV Image codecs) as part of the Windows Media framework. The WMV codec is the most well-known codec of the three and is utilized to compress .ASF videos, transforming them into WMV files.

Due to the popularity of Windows, the WMV format became one of the most common video formats in the 2000s. It could be streamed over the Internet and played with various media players, commonly those bundled with Windows.

In addition, YouTube allows users to upload WMV videos, and Windows Media Player's default video file format is WMV. Also, some users may encounter DRM-enabled WMV files downloaded via a commercial video service that they can only play on the device that downloaded it.

However, as Windows Media Player's popularity has waned, and as developers have created cross-platform video file formats that rival WMV files' compression ratio, WMV files have fallen out of favor. As a result, MPEG-4 Video (.MP4) files are now much more popular than WMV files.

How to open a WMV file

You can open a WMV file with various media players. In Windows, you can play a WMV video with the bundled Microsoft Media Player and Microsoft Movies & TV players.

Other applications that open WMV files in Windows, macOS, and Linux include VideoLAN VLC media player, Eltima Elmedia Player, and Kodi.

If you do not want to download a program to open a WMV file, you can upload it to Google Drive and view the video in a web browser. If you are a mobile user, you can open WMV files with J2 Interactive MX Player (Android), Videolabs VLC (Android), olimsoft OPlayer (iOS), and VideoLAN VLC for Mobile (iOS).

How to convert a WMV file

Several video conversion tools, including VideoLAN VLC media player, HandBrake, and Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate, can convert WMV files to other formats.

For example, VLC media player can convert WMV files to the following video formats:

  • .MP4 - MPEG-4 Video
  • .WEBM - WebM Video
  • .TS - Video Transport Stream
  • .ASF - Advanced Systems Format
Open and view .WMV files with File Viewer Plus.Free Download

Programs that open WMV files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Windows Media Video file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

If you would like to suggest any additions or updates to this page, please let us know.