How to play wmv video files?

  • Hi, thanks for your suggestion. I agree that could be the best solution. I could run the conversion on my desktop PC which is reasonably fast. I would need to do a trial run on a single file first to make sure I have selected the correct parameters. When I transcoded a wmv file to mp4 previously, I noticed a slight audio/video sync problem which proved to be very irritating. Thanks for your offer of help, but I haven't been able to find any suitable wmv files that I can provide. The only ones I have are the actual lessons which are proprietary and I'd prefer not to make pirate copies.

  • I will test out some ffmpeg commands on some WMV files when I get home and let you know how I get on. Once you have some parameters that work OK for you on a single file setting up an automatic batch script to transcode all files from one folder to another should be easy enough.
    What video resolution do you need the videos in?
    What is the screen resolution of your tablet?
    1280 x 800 - 149 ppi or Full HD 1920 x 1200 - 224 ppi ?

    Using a high bitrate for the audio should be best, but can you tell what the original audio bitrate in those files is?

    You might want to read and follow ffmpeg compilation guide for ubuntu or similar to get the best out of ffmpeg if you decide to use that.

  • Hi again, my tablet is a BQ Aquarius M10 HD. The screen resolution is listed as:

    1280 x 800 - 149 ppi

  • @halucigenia PS What's the recommended way to find the audio bit rate of my wmv files?

  • @halucigenia VLC reports info on my wmv file. Not sure if this will work, but I'll try to paste screenshot:

    file:///home/phablet/Pictures/Screenshot from 2018-01-22 17-55-14.png

  • @halucigenia Epic fail! How do I paste an image?

  • @halucigenia Never mind the screenshot. VLC reports:

    Stream 0
    Codec: Windows Media Audio 2 (WMA2)
    Channels: Stereo
    Sample rate: 44100 Hz
    Bits per sample: 32

    Stream 1
    Codec: Windows Media Video 9 (WMV3)
    Resolution: 720x576
    Display resolution: 720x576
    Frame rate: 25
    Decoded format: 4:2:0 YUV

  • OK, so the video resolution is 720x576, I would not reduce that.

    Something like

    ffmpeg -i [input path/filename.WMV] -c:v libx264 -preset slow -tune film -crf 23 -c:a libfdk_aac -vbr 5 [output path/filename.mp4]

    should do the trick

    -preset slow will give better quality at the expense of speed, trying medium, fast, faster, veryfast, superfast or ultrafast would increase the speed at the expense of quality.
    x264 can seem slow compared to other video codecs but it's quite the standard now.

    -tune film gives good results for most video.

    -crf 23 is actually the default for x264 but higher will reduce the video quality.

    -vbr 5 could be lower 4 or 3 but will reduce the audio quality.

    Other video or audio codecs are available but I find these work OK on UT.

    I am just working on a simple batch script to process a whole directory of videos which I can share if you get ffmpeg working OK for your videos.

  • @halucigenia
    If you get ffmpeg up and running on your device, you might want to try merely playing the original video with ffmpeg's player -- "ffplay".

    Also, you might want to try mplayer/mencoder. It's command line, like ffmpeg, but it likewise has various GUI front-ends.

  • @tupp My explanation is about how to transcode a video to play on a UT device, not about getting ffmpeg to run on a UT device.
    But I get your point, if you could install ffmpeg, mplayer etc. on a UT device then you could play the file from those applications. You would still need have the the codecs on the UT device to play the file though.

  • @halucigenia Many thanks for that advice. (I tried using ffmpeg help but got errors due to aac being experimental. It advised adding "-strict -2" but then said it didn't recognize the "2".) I'll let you know how I get on with your recommended command.

  • @halucigenia I just tried your command and got the following error message:

    Unknown encoder 'libfdk_aac'

    I'm using Ubuntu 16.04 and installed ffmpeg using synaptic. I'll look to see if it's listed in synaptic

  • @halucigenia Seems I need to compile ffmpeg in order to add libfdk_aac. That's going to drag me right out of my comfort zone. I became suspicious when you provided me with a link on how to compile ffmpeg. Enough for tonight, maybe I'll feel braver tomorrow.

  • dtarrant it looks like you are trying to use ffmpeg native AAC vbr so the parameters should be -c:a aac -q:a 2


    ffmpeg -i [input path/filename.WMV] -c:v libx264 -preset slow -tune film -crf 23 -c:a aac -q:a 2 [output path/filename.mp4]

    That should work, it works for me but native AAC vbr is experimental in ffmpeg so may not give good quality audio.

    Try cbr instead if the audio is not good enough:-

    ffmpeg -i [input path/filename.WMV] -c:v libx264 -preset slow -tune film -crf 23 -c:a aac -b:a 160k [output path/filename.mp4]

    You should not need to go to the extent of compiling ffmpeg yourself to get an acceptable result. I just meant that if you wanted to get the best out of ffmpeg you should compile.
    Sorry for originally giving you parameters that would require ffmpeg to be compiled with libfdk_aac, that's just what I regularly use and I didn't think about the fact that you would not be able to use it without compiling it, my bad!

  • @halucigenia Many thanks for your latest input. I will certainly give it a try. In the meantime I found another recommendation with a Google search. I tried it and it appears to have worked fine (no audio/video sync problem). The command line I used was as follows:

    ffmpeg -i input.wmf -c:v libx264 -crf 23 -c:a -strict -2 -q:a 100 output.mp4

    This was from Jeremy Tammik. I've little understanding of what it all means, but I can play the resulting mp4 on my laptop with both videos and VLC. Now I need to try it on my tablet.

  • @halucigenia Good news, the mp4 file mentioned in my previous post plays nicely on my tablet. I'll try your command line tonight and let you know how I get on. Once again, many thanks for all your support.

  • @halucigenia I just tried your command line and got a message to warn aac is experimental. It advised adding "-strict -2". After adding that tweak, the conversion is ticking away nicely. I'll keep you posted.

  • Another tip, while testing you might want to only transcode a portion of the source file to stop it ticking away nicely for too long before you can test it out.
    You can use
    -ss starttime in
    -t endtime in

  • @dtarrant Just seen your remark about using handbrake for transcoding in the other thread.
    Did you know that hanbrake has a command line too - you could use that instead of ffmpeg.
    I am sure that if you prefer the handbrake GUI you could batch up a number of transcodes using the same parameters quite easily too.

  • @halucigenia Well I'm pleased to report that your command line produced an mp4 file that plays fine on my laptop. Many thanks for all your help.

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