Playing Videos in Windows 8
29 november 2012 

Playing Videos in Windows 8

Did you upgraded yet to Windows 8? Not really necessary if you didn’t get a brand new touch screen computer though. But if so, you probably wondered: Why can’t I play video files in Windows 8? The good news is: you still can!

So, time for me to show you what options you have on playing videos in Windows 8!

Windows 8 Video File Support

Window 8 is a multimedia platform, despite the fact that playing video files is a big hassle.

The only video files Windows Media Player 12 supports are *.mp4, *.avi, *.wmv and *.mov files, coded with the avc-, mpeg4 vidual, dv, xvid or divx codec. So no standard playback anymore for *.mpeg2 files anymore, nor *.flv, *.iso, *.webm and *.mkv files.

Besides that it is not even possible to play back DVDs in Windows 8 if you don’t have the Media Center Pack, which is not standard included in Windows 8 Pro, which is the version you will get if you upgrade.

In short, installing extra software is a bare necessity if you want to be able to play all kind of video files on your PC.

The good news is that everything you need is available for free on the internet. Let me set up a number of options for you below.

Windows Media Player

If you are wedded to Windows Media Player and you want to keep using that for playing most types of video files, you can surf to:

Windows 8 media center

There you can download the K-lite codec pack for free.

After installation you can play mkv, webm, flv, mov prores and vob files without any problems in Windows Media Player.

Besides that, the K-lite offers you a Codec Tweak Tool to detect broken codecs and delete them.

Alternatives For Windows Media Player

If you aren’t that happy with the functionalities Windows Media Player offers, than I can assure you that there are enough free alternatives that are way better.

You could try Daum Potplayer. This wonderful player installs immediately all necessary codecs, so you will be able to play almost all kinds of file formats. Also DVDs will play in your Potplayer.

Another media player that can also play DVD’s and Blu-ray discs in your Windows 8, at least the one you burned yourself, is the VLC Media Player. You can download this player here:

The VLC Media Player plays most video file types, even iso files. At the same time it is possible in Windows 8 to mount iso files, as being a DVD player, so you can also play them like that.

If you have a lot of DVDs and you would want to convert them to ISO files, then you can do that with the free program: BurnAware Free.

Another option which is quite pleasant to use is the SMPlayer. The SMPlayer plays all common file types, DVDs and ISO files. Besides that, the SMPlayer also has a YouTube browser which allows you to watch all YouTube videos and also videos from other websites by entering  a URL.

Although Quicktime is an Apple program, it remains a necessary video player as always, so be sure to install it as well.

Windows 8 in Japan

Video Apps For Windows 8

Windows 8 has a Metro interface where you can run applications. Standard a few apps are installed including the Video app.

You might expect that this app is a piece of high innovativeness and interactivity.

Unfortunately this is not true. It is a very limited app, primary meant to buy videos. Although there is an option to watch your own video files, it is very primitive and only works if your videos are located on your C drive. You can’t arrange your videos and you can’t search them.

Just as Windows Media Player, it only plays a limited number of files and t doesn’t help to install extra codecs.

A good idea is to open the Windows 8 App Store and look for some alternatives. At the moment the alternatives are quite limited, although I’m sure that the next few months will bring plenty of new exciting apps and hopefully some good video stuff.

There is already the Multimedia 8 app which allows you to play videos and music, make playlists and open video clips through a URL. The supported file types are the same as Windows Media Player though.

You can also search for the YouTube Player app for Windows 8 in Google. This app shows you Top Rated, Trends and Most Viewed. You can watch these videso and rate them. It is not possible (at the time I’m writing this) to search on YouTube, upload videos or visit your own channel.

I expected a bit more from Windows 8, as regards to playing videos. Maybe what not is, can still come, but the best thing is to install these free programs for now and start watching those videos as they deserve to be watched!

I hope this post was helpful. Please leave a comment!



About the author
Rebekka Deforce is the owner of Working over 18 years in the audiovisual sector and developed a great passion for internet marketing, she now helps on- and offline businesses to get magnificent conversion results through video marketing and social media marketing. She also loves to help people with the technical aspect of the video production process.
Aaron James

Aaron James

on 01 May 2013

thanks for this helpful article

Rebekka Deforce

Rebekka Deforce

on 02 May 2013

You're very welcome Aaron!

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