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How to Play AVI files on Mac?

Summary: This article consists of 5 methods to fix unplayable AVI files on Mac. You can either use Remo Repair AVI tool as a quick fix or you can try the troubleshooting steps given such as finding the right codecs, installing compatible video players, etc. Read the article and play AVI files on Mac easily.

Playing AVI files is one of the biggest worries for a Mac user. There are four major Indeo codecs that are required to decode AVI files and none of these codecs are integrated into QuickTime, that is the reason why it is hard to play AVI files. In some cases, even if the required codecs are available, the AVI video file still does not play due to corruption of files itself.

quicktime play

Image Source: support.apple.com

Before we get to know how to play AVI files on Mac or how to fix AVI files that are not playing on Mac. Let’s get a quick look at terminologies of video files such as Audio Video Interleave (AVI) format.

User Query: My QuickTime player is not playing .avi files and says I need a codec. I am not able to play any .avi files on QuickTime. How could I fix this because I want to play these files with QuickTime?

As the above user query states the requirement of the right codec to play video. Let’s first know what is a codec and why is it necessary?

What is a Codec?

A codec is short for compressor and decompressor that is responsible for decoding the video and audio tracks that have been encoded or packed in the .avi file.

It is to be noted that an AVI file or any video file does not come with codecs. Codecs are a part of the video player package like QuickTime.

However, if the codec used to encode the AVI file that is not available in the QuickTime player, then your AVI file will not play. Thus, you can expand the codec library of the player by downloading the specific codec required to play the AVI video file.

What is an AVI file?

The full form of AVI is Audio Video Interleave. Like any video file format, AVI is a container format that defines how video data is packed into a file. Unlike other video formats, it does not predefine or specify the protocol or procedure involved while recording or creating a file.

As an AVI file structure has the organizational format of streams and stream data, it is defined by two lists namely List Chunk and Index Chunk.

List Chunk: The list chunk has metadata, the size of the file, frame rates, and audio/video information.
Index Chunk: The index chunk is responsible for saving the locations of data within the container.

Note: If any of these crucial chunks are missing in your AVI video file, then your AVI file will not play.

Why AVI Files don’t Play on Mac?

Just like any other media player, QuickTime on Mac also examines both the audio and video codecs within the video file whenever you open any file on Mac. If the codecs are not used by the media player it won’t play the video.

QuickTime media player does not recognize the Cinepak and ALaw 2:1 codecs used in the AVI video file format. And as a result, when you try to play AVI files in QuickTime, the player doesn’t play the video.

Problems Associated With Running AVI on Mac Using QuickTime

When you try to play  AVI file is using QuickTime player. The QuickTime scans the file to see which codecs have been used to encode the data in the container/AVI file.

The AVI format video will play as expected when the video and audio in the codec are compressed using a codec that exists in the QuickTime package. 

Problems arise while playing AVI files on Mac when the codec does not exist in the library. The file may also refuse to play if the AVI file is corrupt. Try to fix corrupt AVI files on Mac before trying any workaround.

Unplayable AVI Files Return The Following Errors:

  • QuickTime is missing the software needed to perform this operation. Unfortunately, it is not available on the QuickTime server
  • "You may experience problems playing a video track in "file.avi" because the required compressor could not be found

Further, the latest version QuickTime X does not contain a few major codecs like Indeo or native DivX support. Therefore, you might end up with the question “How to play unplayable AVI file on Mac?”.

These are some of the complications associated with AVI files that stand responsible for unplayable videos on Mac. Try the given workarounds mentioned below have been provided to help you fix if Mac or MacBook not playing a video.

5 Methods to Fix Unplayable AVI files on Mac

Method 1: Fix corrupt/unplayable AVI File Using Remo Video Repair Tool for Mac

This is one of the easiest and time-saving methods to fix unplayable or corrupt AVI files. Try this quick fix, if you’re a non-tech-savvy person and you don’t have time to perform the troubleshooting methods given in the later section of the article. 

With the help of a professional AVI video repair tool like Remo AVI Repair, you can easily fix unplayable AVI files on Mac devices in no time.

Remo Repair AVI fixes and works on a duplicate version of your original AVI file to prevent modification on the original file. The self-explanatory interface helps you to fix the video in just 3 clicks. Download the Remo Repair AVI tool now to fix your unplayable video and preview it for free before saving.

download the software to repair avi files on Mac

Steps to Repair Corrupt AVI File:

Download and Instal Remo Repair AVI software, then launch the application and follow the steps mentioned below:

  •  Click on Select File and choose the AVI, Xvid or DivX file that needs to be repaired.

Step _1

  • Click on the Repair button to start the AVI file repairing process.

Step_2

  • After the AVI File repairing process is completed, click on the Save option to save the repaired AVI file.

Step_3

Remo Repair AVI Can Also:

  • Repair the AVI files that are corrupted
  • It can Repair AVI files if their index is corrupted
  • Repairs AVI files if there is no audio or playing only audio in the video file

Method 2: Find the Right Codec to Play the AVI File on QuickTime:

Find the codec used to encode the file using QuickTime by opening the file using QuickTime and selecting the “Show Movie Info” option from the Window menu.

The video file information is listed, and you will be able to find codec information after format properties. Check if the QuickTime version supports the codec that is listed in the video properties.

Check on the QuickTime support site whether the codec is supported by the player, you couldn't find the codec pre-installed with QuickTime. If you don’t find the respective codec or it turns out to be an unsupportive codec, then your AVI video won’t play. In case it is supported then you can go ahead and install the codec after downloading it from the author or the publisher’s site.

Note: Download the codec from genuine and trusted sources to avoid compromising your system security.

Method 3: Download and Install Standardized Video Encoders

There are two major industry-standard codecs for Mac that can extend the playback capabilities. The following codecs are the most preferred codecs that will enable you to open .avi files on Mac:

  • Install 3ivx D4 codec:

This codec enables greater video quality at lower file size values up to fifty percent when compared to the MPEG-4 standard designed by Apple. This decoder increases the efficiency of the video storage and transmission of files that are rendered too large. 

It is an integration of a huge set of video and audio codecs, this allows playback of almost all the AVI files with AAC audio and video of MPEG-4. You can fix your unplayable AVI file by installing 3ivx D4 on your Mac.

Note: There is no need to download any plug-ins to play the AVI file unless a proprietary codec is used to encode the file.

  • Install DivX for Mac free codec to fix AVI files in Quick time:

While you can play the majority of AVI files after you install this free codec for Mac. The major disadvantage is that the audio might be distorted or only the video might be played without audio. For this reason, the DivX codec for Mac is a secondary option when compared to 3ivx D4 codec.

Note: Only one among the above two codecs are to be used at once, as they share the same set of library files to decode the video. To avoid malfunction of the QuickTime player it is recommended to install only one codec.

Method 4: Use an Alternate player to Play AVI files on Mac:

VLC or Video LAN Client is a cross-platform media player that supports a wide variety of AVI video and audio codecs. Therefore, choosing VLC as an alternative media player to play videos on Mac is one of the easiest ways. Because of its large library of free encoding and decoding libraries, you will no longer need any additional codec or proprietary plug-ins.

Method 5: Play AVI Files By Converting Into QuickTime Supported MOV Files:

Another workaround to fix the unplayable AVI files is to convert it into a QuickTime supported file format like MOV. Post conversion, the file will be playable on Mac.

Some of the converters can break the index of the AVI file while conversion, hence this method is least recommended. Lastly, if the converted video file stops playing halfway try AVI index repair on Mac.

Note: Keep a copy of your AVI files, before you convert them to any other compatible format. As your AVI file might get corrupt due to improper conversion and leads to permanent inaccessible AVI files.

Conclusion:

With the above stated methods, you must have fixed your unplayable AVI videos on Mac. However, you can always make use of Remo Software’s technical assistance team as they will guide you with the repairing process of the software if needed.

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Tony Landry

Tony Landry is a Web Content Editor at Remo Software. He loves to write, edit, and manage content for users trying to troubleshoot and fix problems on Windows, Outlook, storage drives and Cloud storage networks.

He has published more than 200 articles in Remo Software blog. He actively engages in research and problem-solving techniques to consistently generate great web content. Fixing various hardware problems on computer and storage devices along with a great knack for fixing Outlook errors, Tony is also the fun-time IT guy for all his work friends. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys cycling.

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