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Video for Windows

Video for Windows is similar to QuickTime. Its main (perhaps only) advantage is that it is built into Windows 95. However, it is limited in many ways. It runs on Windows only, doesn't handle audio/video synchronization as well as QuickTime, and doesn't support variable-length frames.

Video for Windows is no longer supported by Microsoft, and is being replaced by DirectShow/ActiveMovie (one of the DirectX technologies).

Video for Windows is often referred to as "AVI" after the .AVI extensions specified by its file format. Its codecs are implemented as drivers for ACM (Audio Compression Manager) and VCM (Video Compression Manager), and also may be used by some other architectures, including DirectShow and NetShow.

Media Types Supported

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Text
  • MIDI

Video for Windows Codecs

(Primary Use)
Pros Cons Availability
CD-ROM video
Plays on wide range of machines ('486/'040 or better), generally gives acceptable image quality Doesn't work well under about 30 KBps, compression takes significantly longer, image quality not great Included in Video for Windows 1.1e
Eidos Escape
CD-ROM video (4x)
High video quality, fast compression (Note: This has not been tested by Terran) High data rates, requires fast computers for playback Available from Eidos Technologies
Indeo 3.2
CD-ROM video
Superior to Cinepak when compressing "talking heads" video, compression is a bit faster Not well suited to Web data rates, has color artifacting, higher CPU requirements than Cinepak Included in Video for Windows 1.1e
Microsoft Run Length Encoding - Not as good compression/quality ratio as Cinepak Included in Video for Windows 1.1e
Microsoft Video 1 - Low quality Included in Video for Windows 1.1e
standards-based; decent WWW image quality Often not as good as H.263 Included in Windows 95
Indeo Video Interactive 4, 5
CD-ROM video
Very good image quality, additional interactive features Only playable on high-end Pentiums; not cross-platform Available from Intel
Well suited to the Web, good at data rates between 2 and 30 KBps Needs at least a mid-range Pentium for optimal playback Available from Iterated Systems
Video editing
At 100% quality, image degradation is minimal Requires large amounts of CPU power, large image and/or high frame rate movies don't play smoothly without special hardware Available from Paradigm Matrix

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