How to play WebM files Currently Viewing: Play WebM with VLC Media Player -- Go To

Windows: Play WebM files with VLC Media Player

In the options list for playing WebM files, VLC Media Player is described as the Easiest Option. This is most definitely true, with VLC supporting the WebM multimedia container, the VP8 video format and the OGG Vorbis audio. VLC will play a WebM file for you from installation on, but this option will not make it possible for other programs to play WebM files too in the same way as setting up Windows Media Player for WebM playback will.

Software Requirements

Software you must download and install
VLC Media Player
Required: You can download the installer from VLC Media Player, required for this guide, from AfterDawn. Download

Download VLC Media Player from the link above and run the installer. During Setup, when you come to the option to "Choose Components" to install, wait a second.

File Type Associations in VLC Media Player

Download: VLC Media Player

When you get to the "Choose Components" part of the VLC Media Player installation, as shown above, you will need to make a decision. VLC assumes that you would want it to play all of your multimedia by default. That is all of your AVI, MPEG, MKV, FLV, WMV, MP3, FLAC, DVD etc. content. If this is not the case and you would rather that VLC didn't do that, you will need to scroll down the list as shown in the picture above to the File Type Associations.

Make sure however, as shown above that you keep WebM ticked. The rest of the association choices are entirely up to you.

VLC player first run

VLC Media Player might not look like much when you first run it. Do not underestimate it however, as it is easily one of the most robust multimedia solutions available. It houses all of its own decoders and filters so it does not rely on DirectShow. That means that even if a file cannot be played in Windows Media Player due to your codec setup, VLC probably can still play it.

The main interface is kept as basic as possible for obvious reasons, but just a look around the menus and options reveals an application absolutely oozing useful features and potential.

To open a file, click File -> Open File as shown above.

Open WebM file in VLC

A file browser will pop up like shown above (looks different in different versions of Windows). Navigate to the directory where you have the .webm video you would like to play. Select the file and click Open and VLC should start playing the file.

VLC WebM Playback

VLC will now play the WebM file. Generally speaking, VLC is a great media player. However, I have had it crash while playing WebM once or twice. This could be due to a lot of things ranging from the file itself, to the hardware on my machine or just the fact that WebM is still more or less under development.

If you find any of these problems are effecting your playback, you can try one of the other options for playback (Windows Media Player recommended as it has the side-effect of providing WebM support to DirectShow-based software).

If you have any problems or other questions, you can visit our Discussion Forums and ask for help there.

Options for playing WebM files

Below are the options we have available for playing WebM multimedia files. This list will continually be updated as new software releases are made and more options are available for the emerging format.

Play WebM files on Microsoft Windows

Play WebM files with Windows Media Player on Windows

Recommended Option: You can play WebM content in Windows Media Player by installing the correct filters and other software. This will guide you through it. Read More!

Play WebM files with VLC Media Player on Windows

Easiest Option: VLC Media Player is the easiest and fastest option for playing WebM files because it supports the container, video and audio. Read More!

Play WebM files with Media Player Classic on Windows

Alternative Option: Media Player Classic has some core support for WebM files. This player is an optional alternative to Windows Media Player. Read More!

Other Options for WebM

Find and play WebM content on the Internet

Optional: This page looks at finding WebM content on the Internet that you can play back in a compatible web browser. Read More!

Download WebM videos from YouTube

Optional: YouTube has a large amount of WebM content already available for viewing. This page looks at how to rip WebM files from YouTube. Read More!

Technical Information: What are WebM files?

WebM is a media file format designed for use on the web. It competes with Adobe's Flash format and H.264 and has a major advantage in being an open, royalty-free multimedia format. It defines a matroska-like multimedia container structure consisting of video compressed with the open VP8 codec and audio compressed with the Vorbis audio codec.

The WebM project grew largely out of Google's acquisition of On2 Technologies in 2009. The project distributes WebM related software under a BSD-like license structure.

It was announced at Google's I/O conference in 2010, at which time the support of the Mozilla Firefox browser, Opera browser and Google Chrome browswer was revealed. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 will also support WebM content as long as the necessary codecs are installed. Media players such as the VLC player natively support WebM. Google's Android mobile operating system is also slated to get support for WebM in the fourth quarter of 2010.

As for where to find WebM content, Google's video giant YouTube already offers WebM videos with its HTML 5 experimental player with all video files with a resolution higher than 720p being automatically encoded to WebM (420p + 720p as of August 2010) when uploaded to the site.

The WebM project hopes to acheve the following goals..

  • Low computational footprint to enable playback on any device, including low-power netbooks, handhelds, tablets, etc.
  • Simple container format
  • Highest quality real-time video delivery
  • Click and encode. Minimal codec profiles, sub-options; when possible, let the encoder make the tough choices.

As of August 2010, the developer preview releases of browsers supporting WebM are not optimized thoroughly and therefore, for now, have a higher computational footprint for screen rendering than the project expects for general releases.

How to play WebM files Currently Viewing: Play WebM with VLC Media Player -- Go To
Written by: James Delahunty