Every now and then I come across a Mac app that I once used extensively then forgot about. This week I noticed an upgrade to Flip4Mac Player. Honestly, I thought this once must-have utility had been discontinued.
Not only is Flip4Mac still around now it has a price tag where once it was a free utility Mac users needed; but not so much these days. The world has moved on even if Microsoft’s lame Windows Media file format has not, and that’s the claim to fame for Flip4Mac.
Back in the day, perhaps a decade or so ago, Windows Media video files were all the rage, coming in second to Flash for video on the web. Mac users were somewhat left out when Microsoft discontinued Internet Explorer for the Mac and Windows Media Player for Mac, but Flip4Mac hung around for years as about the only way to play a Windows Media file on a Mac, working as both a standalone app and a browser plugin.
Thankfully, HTML5 is here, Flash is dying, and most websites have little trouble delivering modern video and audio files without plugins or add-on apps. Yet, here we are, 2016 and Flip4Mac Player is still around because Windows Media files are still around. I had to laugh because the User Guide PDF took more than 20 pages just to get to the installation portion, and, yes, in the day and age where Flash is dangerous, and Mac’s don’t even ship with Flash installed, Flip4Mac still has a browser plug-in.
To be fair, Flip4Mac Player doesn’t do much more than it ever did, despite the price tag. If you need Windows Media on your Mac, this is where you go. Spend $29 and you get an option to import WMV and WMA (video and audio respectively) to edit or convert to QuickTime formats to use the files on the Mac or iOS devices. More money lets you create standard definition video files with preset templates, and spend more than three times the $49 Flip4Mac Studio price and get full-on HD with variable bit rate encoding and two-pass HD for higher quality.
Obviously, most Mac users don’t have a need for Flip4Mac Player, but again, if you do and Windows Media files are your thing, your choices of thin to none with this add-on tool being the only option I know.
The reality we have to deal with is simple. The rest of the world has moved quickly toward HTML 5, and finally we see Flash being left in the past where it belongs. Even Adobe has changed the name of its Flash Professional suite because the name has very negative connotations of trouble. Yet, when was the last time you ran into a website that displayed Windows Media video?