WMV File: How to Open and Convert

wmv file logo A WMV file format is a video file based on the Microsoft Advanced Systems Format (ASF) container with Windows Media compression. The encoding of the video is done with WMV codecs and the file itself is a lot like an .ASF file.
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wmv file in adobe premiere pro

What Is WMV File?

If you use Windows, you are probably familiar with the WMV file, because it is the format to store videos in this operating system. It can be opened by many video players, however, Windows Video and Windows Media Player, which are preinstalled on all Windows computers, are the most frequent options.

WMV files have both video and audio Windows formats in them (WMV and WMA). The other reason is that this format is widely recognizable and is only slightly less popular than MPEG-4 or Real Video files. You can see it used in video sales online, on portable media devices, Microsoft Zune, and Xbox 360.

  • This file format is perfect when you need to save space on your hard drive
  • It is great if you need to send a video quickly
  • WMV can be used as web-video
  • It is better for compression than MPEG-4
  • It supports copyright protection
  • It is difficult to find a WMV file player for Mac or Linux
  • It is not a standard format for streaming
  • Video quality is worse than what you get with other formats

How Do You Open a WMV File?

Double-click the .WMV file icon and it will open in a program that is associated with it (if it is customized up the way it should be).

Use the “Open with…” option on your Windows PC and simply choose the app from the list and check the “Always use this application to open .WMV files” box. After you’ve done it, all the WMV files will be opened with the necessary app. I should also mention that programs that support the MP4 format can open WMVs. Below you can find a list of such programs.

  • Perhaps, you will be interested to learn about the RAW file.

Professional Software to Open a WMV File

Adobe Premiere Pro. This professional software can not only open WMV video format, but it also allows you to convert these files into different formats, edit them and apply LUTs to correct color, improve the audio quality and perform other tasks to improve your video.

Movavi Video Editor is a powerful set of tools to work with video that can be used to create presentations and video clips. This is a video editor that can be used even by an absolute beginner to create the first media content in mere hours. The tools and features of this program are quite impressive and allow you to work on a variety of tasks and projects.

Sony Vegas Pro. This software for video editing is quite popular. It is often used by web-developers, creators of short films and TV shows. Sony Vegas Pro has a lot of video effects, allows you to set the sound very precisely, create video clips recorded by multiple cameras, and gives you tips on how to combine and format them. It supports all the video formats (both for creating videos and editing them). Moreover, when you have finished a project, you will be able to record it in the Blu-Ray or DVD formats.

Free Software to Open a WMV File

VLC Media Player. It is a universal and powerful media player that can help you in many situations. You don’t have to look for and install any codecs or plug-ins because this program installs them automatically and plays almost every known file format, like MPG, H.264, MP3, OGG, FLAC (lossless), regular DVDs, VCD discs, etc. This program can also be used to stream in IPv4 or IPv6. Media files, discs, URLs or a capture device can be used as a source. It is absolutely free, supports 70 languages and works on any operating system.

KMPlayer. This is another universal media player that supports a variety of formats, including AVI, VCD, MKV, Ogg Theora, RealMedia, WMV, etc. This program can also recognize titles, record video, audio and images from any part of an opened file. KMPlayer has a lot of settings making it very convenient for users because it takes all their requirements into account.

Windows Player can open almost any video file without you having to look for and download additional codecs (they are preinstalled with this software). It is quite fast and will work with any Windows device. This player comes with a set of standard features like an equalizer, brightness and contrast adjustment, and a possibility to create playlists. The latter is especially useful since it allows you to play videos, which are otherwise scattered all over your device, in a specified order.

Online Services to Open a WMV File

Google Drive. This is probably one of the most convenient online services to view and open WMV files. All you need is to create a Google account and upload the file to Google Drive. Besides that, you can easily share this file with your friends.

How Do You Convert a WMV File

To quickly convert your WMV file, you can not only use professional software but also online and desktop converters. All of them are quite simple and absolutely free.

Wondershare Free Video Converter is the best free WMV converter that allows you to convert WMVs to other formats for free on Windows or Mac computers. You can upload several files at the same time and have them converted in no time without quality loss. You also get a real-time preview, can trim, crop, rotate, add watermarks, apply effects, and edit subtitles with Wondershare. Finally, you can also burn CDs or DVDs, compress and download videos.

  • Learn more about how you can open and convert a PSD file.

Freemake Video Converter is one of the top freeware to perform WMV conversion. This is both a converter with extensive file support and a downloader that can help you get videos from social media or video-sharing platforms. With its multiple device support, sharing files is very quick and easy.

EncodeHD is a convenient free program that helps you convert your WMVs into a variety of other formats. All you need is to upload a file and choose the type of device you are planning to play it on. It has a feature that allows you to cut up your video into 4GB chunks so that you could burn them onto DVDs.


  • When did Microsoft release the WMV Format?

The first release of the WMV video format was in 2003. This file is the implemented MPEG-4 Part 2 standard by the Microsoft Company. In 2006 it became an open standard under the name of VC-1 or SMPTE 421M and since then it has been used as one of the obligatory formats for BD-ROM specification.

  • What Devices Open WMV Format?

Currently, WMV is supported on PlaysForSure devices, Portable Media Center devices, Xbox 360, MS Zune, and all Windows devices that have Windows Media Player.

  • How do you Open WMV Files on Linux?

The only way to do it is to download a third-party app capable of playing WMV. This can be Miro, Boxee, RealPlayer, Mplayer or Helix Player.

  • How do you Open WMV Files on Mac?

There was a brief period in 2003 when Microsoft had Windows Media Player that could work on Mac OS X computers. It didn’t last for long, though. Currently, you can watch WMV files with your QuickTime player and the Flip4Mac WMV component (you will also be able to play WMA files with it). Also, you can watch these videos online via Safari or Firefox.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more