How to Use .AVI Files on OS X

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Matt Ryan is one of the bloggers on LockerGnome. He is an expert at being a Frugal Geek – he also has great tips and tricks in many areas of technology. A community member recently emailed to ask him how to play .AVI files on QuickTime within OS X. Luckily, Matt had the answer – as usual!

There are many different applications which can be used to play back these particular files on your Mac. However, many of them are convoluted and confusing. While some of you may be uber geeks, not everyone is. What the masses need is something simple which allows them to play their files without fuss and muss.

Perian is the “Swiss Army Knife for QuickTime.” It’s an open-source (free!) project which adds support for several different file types to your installation of QuickTime:

  • File formats – AVI, DIVX, FLV, MKV, GVI, VP6, and VFW
  • Video types – MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, Sorenson H.263, FLV/Sorenson Spark, FSV1, VP6, H263i, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Snow, NuppelVideo, Techsmith Screen Capture, DosBox Capture
  • Audio types – Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, Flash ADPCM, Xiph Vorbis (in Matroska), and MPEG Layer I & II Audio, True Audio, DTS Coherent Acoustics, Nellymoser ASAO
  • AVI support – for AAC, AC3 Audio, H.264, MPEG4, VBR MP3 and more
  • Subtitle support – for SSA/ASS, SRT, SAMI

Once you arrive on the Perian site, click on the Download tab and download the file. A click on that saved file will mount it very quickly to begin the installation process. Click “Perian.prefpane” on the left and your system preferences page will be pulled up.

After choosing whether to allow access for only yourself or all users, you’ll be asked to enter your administrator password twice. The first entry allows the program to install and the second gives permission to make changes to the system. Once you’ve stepped through this process, Perian is now installed – you never have to deal with it again.

Your video files will now play seamlessly within OS X without having to grab extra codecs or software. Matt has proven once again that you don’t have to be rich to enjoy technology.