HOW TO: Enable/fix playback of various media formats in Opus

Frequently asked questions.
User avatar
Posts: 36498
Joined: 07 Nov 2004, 01:30
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Opus: Directory Opus 12
Location: London, UK
The information below should help you enable playback of various media formats in Opus, as well as in other Windows programs such as Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, and so on.

  • Formats which should work "out of the box" (MPEG, MP4, MP3, AVI, WAV, WMA, WMV...)

    Opus should be able to play MPEG & AVI (via the Movie plugin in viewer panes), MP3 & WAV (via the File -> File Commands -> Play Sounds built-in music player) out of the box. (Some AVI files will require an additional codec such as FFDShow. See the sections below for how to get it.) MP4 is supported out of the box by Windows 7 and above.

    If any of these formats stop working in Opus it's probably because something has broken the registry settings for them (usually when taking over the file formats in an incorrect way.)

    You can usually repair this by telling Windows Media Player to take back the file formats (temporarily) so that the registry settings are fixed. You only need to do this for the broken formats and you can restore the associations back to your preferred media player (assuming it isn't Windows Media Player) afterwards.

    • Windows XP: Load Windows Media Player, right-click its titlebar and select Tools -> Options; then, on the File Types tab associate Media Player with Movie file (mpeg), Movie file (avi), MP3 audio file (mp3) and so on.

    • Windows Vista/7/8: Go to Control Panel -> Programs -> Default Programs and assign things to Windows Media Player there.

    Assigning the file types to Windows Media Player only needs to be done once, temporarily, to fix the problem. After you've done it once you can assign the types to something else again if you like.

  • MOV (QuickTime)

    (Windows 7: There is some MOV playback built into Windows 7, although it seems to be limited to MPEG4-style MOV files as far as I can tell and thus may not work for older MOV files.)

    If your system can play QuickTime files in Windows Media Player (or other DirectShow players such as Media Player Classic) then they should also work in Opus viewers.

    Sadly, the default QuickTime install from Apple will not enable DirectShow playback on its own and you may need to install the appropriate codecs and splitters to play QuickTime files without needing QuickTime or install a DirectShow wrapper around QuickTime itself.

    You can play most MOV files (some very old ones may not work) just by installing an MP4 Splitter (32-bit | 64-bit) and FFDShow (32-bit & 64-bit) codec. (See the next section for help installing the splitter DLL.) This is because most newer QuickTime files are essentially MPEG4 files with a different extension.

    Installing the Nero CD/DVD-burning software alongside QuickTime is (or at least has been in the past) another way to enable playback. Nero includes (or at least did in the past) a DirectShow wrapper around QuickTime.

    There is also a program called QuickTime Alternative which provides a similar wrapper, although this unfortunately also involves installing an unofficial version of the QuickTime DLLs, which may not be desirable. (QTA is not strictly an alternative to QuickTime; it includes components of QuickTime extracted from the official installer.)

  • MKV (Matroska), FLV (Flash Video), 3GP, etc.

    (This also applies to MP4 on Windows XP and Vista, but not later versions of Windows which have MP4 playback built-in and can be repaired as per the first section.)

    FLV is a popular format for online videos (YouTube, etc.) and can be played in Opus with some additional setup. MKV is becoming a popular container format for high definition encodings.

    The first step is to get these formats playing back in Windows Media Player.

    • 64-bit note: If you're using 64-bit Windows then your system will have both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version of Windows Media Player. Since Opus is a 64-bit program you need to get videos working with the 64-bit version of Windows Media Player. At the time of writing, this is not the version that Windows launches by default. To launch the 64-bit verison, open the Start Menu and type this in, without the quotes:

      Code: Select all

      %Programfiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe

      (That will also launch the 32-bit version if you're using a 32-bit OS, so if you are not sure then just run that.)
    To get things working in Windows Media Player you should install an appropriate splitter. The Media Player Classic Home Cinema project (a development fork of the Media Player Classic project) on SourceForge has many splitters which seem to be well-written and include splitters for FLV, MKV, MP4 and many other formats:

    Some FLV files seem to work better using these alternatives splitters from the Guliverkli2 project (another fork of Media Player Classic and related components) on SourceForge:

    To install the splitters, extract the archives, copy the .ax files inside somewhere safe (e.g. Program Files), then run regsvr32.exe on them to register them. (If you are using Vista you need to run regsvr32.exe from an Administrator command prompt. An Opus button to Register/Unregister via regsvr32 can be used to do this for you, including handle Administrator elevation if you are on Vista.)

    In addition to the splitters for the container formats you will also need a codec which can decode the actual video inside them. FFDShow is a single-install codec which can play almost anything:

    After confirming that FLV plays in Windows Media Player you may then need to either create a simple registry entry or explicitly add any missing extensions to the Movie plugin to enable FLV playback in Opus. The easiest way is to download this zip and double-click this registry (.reg) file inside of it:

    The registry file creates the required entries to enable playback of the following formats in Opus, Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center (assuming the appropriate splitters and codecs are also installed):

    • .ogg
    • .ogm
    • .mka
    • .mkv
    • .mp4 (Vista version only; Win7 has it already)
    • .flv
    If you don't care about Media Center and would rather configure things manually then you only need to create the PerceivedType = Video values in the registry, as shown in this screenshot:


    If you don't want the registry settings then you can instead go to Preferences - Plugins - Viewers, configure the Movie plugin and add any missing extensions to its list. Of course, this will only make the formats work in Opus and the registry file is best if you also care about Media Center.

    (You may find you don't need to change the registry or the Movie plugin config with newer versions of Opus.)

  • Other video formats

    If a video format, e.g. Real Media, works in Windows Media Player but not in Opus then you probably just need to create a PerceivedType registry entry similar to the ones shown above.

    If a video format doesn't play in Windows Media Player then it is unlikely to work in Opus and you will need to seek out the appropriate codecs/splitters/filters. Be careful as some codecs will make your system unstable and combinations of lots of different codecs can result in conflicts which are difficult to resolve. If in doubt, ask in the forums here or, even better, at a site that is dedicated to video playback.

  • How to make MP3, WMA and WAV play in the viewer pane

    For WAV files there is an option Preferences / File Operations / Double-click on Files: Use internal sound player for WAV files. (In versions prior to Directory Opus 9 the option is in a slightly different place: Preferences / Double-Click / Files.) When the option is enabled double-clicking WAV files in Opus will play them in a little sound player window. (The option has no effect on files double-clicked outside of Opus.) You can also access this player with the Play command which can be assigned to the Left double-click events of MP3 and WMA file types, if you like.

    If you select a WMA or WAV file and open the viewer pane then Opus will, by default, probably show you a hex view of the file rather than play it. To make these music formats play in the viewer pane go to Preferences / Plugins / Viewers and configure the ActiveX plugin, adding .WMA and .WAV to its list of extensions. Those file formats will now be played in the viewer pane via Windows Media Player.

    If you select an MP3 file and open the viewer pane then you will normally see a tag editor. This has a play button inside of it that lets you hear the file. (Click the down-pointing arrow to expand the top section if you don't see the play button.) You can also add .MP3 to the ActiveX plugin if you want to play MP3 files in the same way as WMA and WAV files.
Last edited by leo on 06 Sep 2009, 04:00, edited 7 times in total.

User avatar
Posts: 36498
Joined: 07 Nov 2004, 01:30
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Opus: Directory Opus 12
Location: London, UK

Postby leo » 15 Jan 2009, 06:34

I've updated this FAQ to include info & links for 64-bit splitters and codecs.

I also updated the Splitter links to point to the newer Media Player Classic Home Cinema versions which I have found to be better than the old ones (for FLV in particular).

User avatar
Posts: 36498
Joined: 07 Nov 2004, 01:30
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Opus: Directory Opus 12
Location: London, UK

Postby leo » 12 Aug 2009, 00:21

I've updated the file linked above so that it now includes registry files suitable for:

  • Windows Vista 32-bit (the old version of the file)
  • Windows 7 32-bit (new)
  • Windows 7 64-bit (new)

About video playback on 64-bit systems:

Remember that, on 64-bit versions of Windows, Opus is a 64-bit program so it's the 64-bit codecs and splitters/filters which Opus will use.

On the other hand, Windows Media Player is a 32-bit program, even on 64-bit Windows, so it's the 32-bit codecs and splitters/filters which WMP will use.

Since the two programs require different components to be installed it can be confusing when video works in one but not the other.

You can get video working in both; to do so you need to install both 32-bit and 64-bit codecs and splitters/filters.

Confused? Yeah. Video playback was complex enough with 32-bit... With 64-bit it's even worse. :) A good codec pack should take care of all this but I don't personally know which to recommend as I still like to do it all by hand so I know exactly what has been done. Check out the forums at some video-related sites if you need advice.

At some point I want to write a plugin for Opus which lets you hook into VLC to avoid all of this codec nonsense. Hopefully not too long away...

Return to “Directory Opus FAQs”