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Digital media file types

Updated: October 4, 2007

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

There are a wide variety of digital media file formats, but not all of them can be streamed by using Windows Media Services. In certain cases, you must first convert your digital media files into a compatible format before they can be streamed.

By default, you can use the following file types with Windows Media Services (The file name extensions of these files are provided in parentheses):

  • Advanced Systems Format files (.asf). These are Windows Media files that can contain several elements, such as video, audio, script commands, HTML, and metadata and can be encoded with any codec.

  • Windows Media Audio files (.wma). These digital media files are formatted using Advanced Systems Format and are encoded using the Windows Media Audio codec. They are generally audio files, although they can also contain scripts, pictures, and metadata.

  • Windows Media Video files (.wmv). These digital media files are formatted using Advanced Systems Format and are encoded using the Windows Media Video codec. They are generally video files, although they can also contain scripts and other instructions.

  • MP3 files (.mp3). These digital media files use the audio format from the Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG). MP3 files cannot use the intelligent streaming feature in Windows Media Services.

  • JPEG files (.jpeg or .jpg). These files are image files that are formatted according the Joint Photographic Expert Group standard.

  • Multicast information files (.nsc). These files are Windows Media metafiles that direct clients to a multicast broadcast. They are used to define the properties of a multicast stream to a player, such as Windows Media Player.

  • Client-side playlist files (.asx, .wax, and .wvx). These are Windows Media metafiles that are used as client-side playlists and as client redirectors by the server. They contain instructions and references for use by a player, such as Windows Media Player.

  • Server-side playlist files (.wsx). These files are a Windows Media metafiles that are used as server-side playlists. They can contain combinations of audio, video and image files.

You can stream other digital media file formats from a Windows Media server if an appropriate media parser plug-in is enabled. A media parser plug-in translates the information contained in the file into a format that is compatible with the Windows Media server and player. You can use the Windows Media Services SDK to create custom media parsers to support additional file types, or contact the digital media format developer to see if there is a media parser available for the format you want to use.

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