How to play MSS2 codec (Windows Media Video 9 Screen) .wmv files in 64-bit Linux
July 13, 2011 15 Comments
One type of legacy .wmv file uses the ‘Windows Media Video 9 Screen’ MSS2 codec (“DMO-based codec, optimized for low-bitrate sequential screen captures or screencasts”, according to Wikipedia). Now, it is not possible to use win32codecs with the 64-bit versions of Linux multimedia players, so they cannot play .wmv files that use the MSS2 codec. However, there is a way around this: use the Windows version of SMPlayer in WINE. Below I explain the procedure I used to enable me to play .wmv files that use the MSS2 codec.
1. I surfed over to the download page of the MPlayer Web site and downloaded to
~/Desktop/ the installer for the latest version of SMPlayer for Windows (smplayer-0.6.9-win32.exe at the time of writing).
2. I configured WINE and installed SMPlayer for Windows:
$ export WINEPREFIX=$HOME/.wine-smplayer
$ export WINEARCH="win32"
$ cd .wine-smplayer/drive_c/
$ cp ~/Desktop/smplayer-0.6.9-win32.exe .
$ wine smplayer-0.6.9-win32.exe
3. I launched SMPlayer for Windows:
As I had opted to use a WINEPREFIX, to launch SMPlayer (Windows version) from the command line I would need to enter the following command under my normal user account:
env WINEPREFIX="/home/fitzcarraldo/.wine-smplayer" WINEARCH="win32" wine /home/fitzcarraldo/.wine-smplayer/drive_c/Program\ Files/SMPlayer/smplayer.exe
Instead it was easier for me to edit the Desktop Configuration File that was created on the Desktop, and also edit the menu entry that was created in the Kickoff menu, to execute the above command for me. Now all I need to do to launch SMPlayer for Windows is either to select it from Kickoff > Applications > Wine > Programs > SMPlayer > SMPlayer or to double-cick on the SMPlayer for Windows icon on my Desktop.
EDIT (December 11, 2012): OK, for those of you having trouble seeing the video component and only hearing the audio component of a .wmv file using MSS2, you need to do the following:
When you launch the SMPlayer 0.6.9 Setup program (wine smplayer-0.6.9-win32.exe) and click on Next and accept the Licence Agreement, make sure Binary Codecs (under MPlayer Components) is ticked.
When you launch SMPlayer for Windows and open the .wmv file, click on Options > Preferences to open the Preferences window. Click on General in the left pane, then click on the Video tab in the main pane and select “directx (fast)” or “directx(slow)” as the Output driver. I have just done this again (I’m currently using WINE 1.5.18) and I’m watching a MSS2-encoded .wmv file ‘Kai_Software2.wmv’ as I type this, as shown in the information listed by SMPlayer for Windows:
Size 3193 KB (3 MB)
Resolution 883 x 720
Aspect ratio 1.22639
Bitrate 100 kbps
Frames per second 1000.000
Selected codec wmsdmod
Initial Audio Stream
Bitrate 16 kbps
Rate 22050 Hz
Selected codec ffwmav2
Just to recap:
$ export WINEPREFIX="/home/fitzcarraldo/.wine-smplayer"
$ export WINEARCH="win32"
$ cd /home/fitzcarraldo/.wine-smplayer/drive_c/
$ cp ~/Downloads/smplayer-0.6.9-win32.exe ~/.wine-smplayer/drive_c/
$ wget http://winetricks.org/winetricks
$ chmod +x ./winetricks
$ ./winetricks # 'Select the default wineprefix' + OK first then 'Install a Windows DLL or component' + OK and tick 'allcodecs' and OK.
$ wine smplayer-0.6.9-win32.exe # Make sure Binary Codecs is ticked.