In brief, I have created a beamer presentation that contains an embedded WMV file. Acrobat Reader, however, does not recognise the format of the file under Mac OS, and refuses to play it under Windows. Any suggestions on how to resolve this would be appreciated.

To describe the problem in more detail, I recently used the following LaTeX source to create a beamer presentation that embeds a WMV file.



\title{A Tiny Movie Example}
\author{Beamer Author}
\date{Sept 10, 2011}


  \frametitle{Sample Movie Clip}
    \includemovie[poster,text={\includegraphics[width=8cm, height=6cm]


While I had no problem compiling it, I did have a problem presenting it since Adobe Acrobat Reader required to download an additional media player (under Mac OS) in order to play the media file embedded in the PDF file. Under Windows, it got as far as the Windows Media screen, and stopped right there.

When I attempted to download the plug-in that would allow me to play the WMV file on the Mac, I received the following notification stating that the third-party media player required to play the selected media file in my Adobe PDF document isn't available for my system.


To circumvent this problem, I ended up downloading flip4mac, thinking that it will resolve my issue. Acrobat Reader, however, did not recognize the plug-in for QuickTime that allows it to display WMV files.

When I posted a message on the forum for Adobe Reader about this, the reply that I received is as follows:

Putting it bluntly, you shouldn't be embedding WMVs in PDF files anymore -
it's called "legacy media" and it's been discontinued for security reasons.
You can't author it in Acrobat X, and playback is disabled in all current
versions of Acrobat and Adobe Reader unless the user changes their security
options. Authors should be using Rich Media annotations, which embed FLV or
H.264 video and play cross-platform via an internal copy of Flash Player.

The weblink fired by Reader when it encounters legacy media for which the OS has
no registered handler understands that you're on a Mac - and as there are no
primary players for WMV files on OS X, that's what it tells you. Adobe does not
link to third-party add-ons for other software, and even with those installed it
will continue to complain unless the add-on has changed the file type
associations, so that WMV files +automatically+ open in Quicktime.

As I have no idea about Rich Media annotations, or H.264 video for that matter, can somebody please provide me with an example of how this is done under beamer?

  • 1
    This is off-topic but it is really funny to see that WMV is treated as a legacy media but somehow QuickTime and its equally annoying brother RealMedia is still around with their respective "uncompromising" file formats. Anyway, I would simply convert the WMV content to any other stuff that Adobe likes. One example is Miro and ffmpeg if you know your way around. Go SumatraPDF! :P
    – percusse
    Sep 12, 2011 at 2:18
  • @percusse - Thanks for the heads up on this! BTW - I did try to embed an AVI file instead of a WMV, however, I ended up getting compile errors under LaTeX
    – Bill
    Sep 12, 2011 at 3:02
  • That's interesting maybe you can check the page 135 of the beamer package documentation (v. 3.10). It has an example with an avi file .
    – percusse
    Sep 12, 2011 at 13:59
  • @percusse - I ended up downloading ffmpeg like you suggested and used it to convert the WMV to MP4. I initially tried to convert it to F4V, which Adobe Flash Player more readily recognizes, however, LaTeX did not recognize the file format, hence my choice for MP4. Suffice it to say that while I am no longer prompted to search for a suitable plug-in, Adobe Acrobat Reader still does not play the media file. I have reported the problem to the forum for Adobe Acrobat Reader. Awaiting a reply. Will keep you posted.
    – Bill
    Sep 12, 2011 at 14:36
  • @percusse - I only just saw your previous reply. Thanks for the reference.
    – Bill
    Sep 12, 2011 at 14:41

2 Answers 2


I would simply convert the WMV content to any other stuff that Adobe likes (or change my pdf reader to something else and call external viewer during presentation such as VLC portable which virtually plays everything except those ridiculous ones).

Two out of gazillion possible software for multimedia conversion are Miro (which is based on ffmpeg) and ffmpeg if you know your way around.

Addendum : My off-topic personal wish: I hope Quicktime, Real Player, WMV and other super-annoying formats and media players of the cartel-wannabe companies get forgotten soon such that we can obtain cross-platform peace as the original poster obtained simply choosing a mainstream media container.

  • P.S. - I finally got the PDF to play under Windows XP also! Apparently, I had to download QuickTime for Windows in order to do so!!!! The question is, why couldn't Adobe Acrobat Reader do the same for the WMV file under Mac OS X when I installed flip4mac?!? It just doesn't make sense!!!!
    – Bill
    Sep 13, 2011 at 2:58
  • 1
    @Bill : This is related to the container vs. codec difference. The containers (mkv, avi, mov etc.) are really document preambles similar to Latex documents where as codecs(h264,divx,mp4) are related to how to store/reproduce the actual media content in the file. These idiotic softwares and containers don't even read the content even in the cases where they might be able to play the content. Anyway, I am not an expert but you can start from here to get a feeling for it. Nevermind the word benefit in the link, there are none.
    – percusse
    Sep 13, 2011 at 18:00
  • Thanks for that. If you ask me, I think it is a ploy to keep somebody employed....
    – Bill
    Sep 13, 2011 at 22:32

There are four apps u can use for WMVs:

  1. VLC/MPlayer OSX, play most WMVs, quick response, VLC has some masks when seeking
  2. QT+flip4mac, play most WMVs, slow response
  3. Windows media player for Mac (ppc, old), play all, slow, not UB
  4. Macgo Free Mac Media Player, play most .wmvs on Mac, clear interface, quick response

Notice, there are some WMVs (Not DRM protected) can't be played properly in VLC/Mplayer/QT+flip4mac

  • Welcome to TeX.SX! I don't think this is going to help embed the MWV in a beamer presentation. (Maybe I'm wrong, but in that case a more detail is needed for the answer to be fully understood.)
    – moewe
    Nov 5, 2014 at 7:11

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