Top 3 Ways to Play AVI files on Mac

If you have lots of AVI files and a Mac, chances are you want to play AVI files with QuickTime on Mac. When you try to do this, you’ll find it’s very difficult to do the job. These are common problems Mac users will encounter. Apple, unfortunately only plays a couple types of seldom-used AVI file: “Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ULAW, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format”. But AVI is just a container format like MKV, which is not a specific type of file and there is no single codec for videos with .avi externsions. This is the reason why you can’t play AVI or MKV movies on Mac with QuickTime. Frankly, apart from QuickTime, there are a lot of options to help you play an AVI file in the Mac OS X (EI Capitan & Yosemite Included). Here are 3 solutions:

Solution 1: Convert AVI in Mac OS X with a desktop video converter
Solution 2: Play AVI in QuickTime – Install Perian Plugin
Solution 3: Switch to another AVI Player for Mac – VLC

Solution 1: Convert AVI in Mac OS X with a desktop video converter

If you have a lot of AVI files and want to play them on more players like the iPhone, iPad or iPod, you’d better convert the AVI to other formats like the MP4, MOV, M4V or etc. Here, I’ll recommend Brorsoft Video Converter for Mac (EI Capitan & Yosemite Included), which enables you to convert an AVI to any popular video format for various players, devices and applications. For QuickTime, you can convert the AVI to an MOV file that is associated with QuickTime. See more tips below.

Step 1: Drag the AVI files onto the interface.
Step 2: Choose any format or device you want (most popular format or devices are also supported here).
Step 3: Simply hit Convert at the lower-right corner of its interface.

This software also exports professional encoders like Apple Intermediate Codec, ProRes, DNxHD and more – ensuring maximum editing quality and efficiency when working with iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere and more. What’s more, the additional video editor enables you to personalize AVI videos on Mac before conversion.

Solution 2: Play AVI in QuickTime – Install Perian Plugin

Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats like the AVI, MKV, etc. When you’ve had Perian installed, you have to quit QuickTime completely and then restart it. Note that you don’t just close the QuickTime Window; in fact, it’s still running in the background. To do this, QuickTime can update its format and encoding library. However, this solutioin doesn’t guarantee 100% work.

If you have QuickTime 7, you may be glad to discover that it can actually play AVI files without needing any additional plug-ins and codecs.

What you need to know before downloading Perian:

  • The latest version 1.2.3 of Perian doesn’t work on Mac OS X Mavericks and Yosemite let alone EI Capitan 10.11 because Perian requires installation of quicktime 7, which doesn’t exist for Mavericks. It also doesn’t work on Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
  • With a Mac running Mac OS X 10.7, say, Lion, you have to downgrade to the previous version, say 1.2.2. The version of 1.2.3 of Perian does not support QuickTime 10 in Lion and fails to fix the loss of audio after one second in xvid files with ac3.
  • Before installing Perian, you need to remove all QuickTime Components installed on your Mac, like FFusion, Xvid Delegate, 3ivX, DivX, DivX Decoder, XviD, msmpeg4v1, msmpeg4v2, AviImporter, EX_M4S2, Casio AVI Importer, AC3 Codec, and MatroskaQT.
  • For a Mac running Lion or Mountain Lion, converting AVI video to QuickTime is highly recommended.

Solution 3: Switch to another AVI Player for Mac – VLC

The VLC media player, is an excellent open-source media player that is known for supporting a wide range of audio and video files. Unlike other media players which have limited format-support, you will be surprised that VLC can play a video or audio file that you didn’t even know existed. If your OS is Snow Leopard or higher, installing VLC is definitely a good choice especially if you only plan on watching AVI files on your computer.

Cons of this AVI player (VLC media player):

  • VLC player doesn’t play AVI videos with high qualities.
  • VLC player doesn’t support EI Capitan.

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