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I'm about to encode several videos that will physically distributed to clients running either Windows XP (and upwards) or OS X.

Is there a compressed format that would be playable on both platforms directly without the need to install any codecs. Is this possible or would I need to use WMVs to get any compression on Windows?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 13 '11 at 14:45

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Just to elaborate a little, the file will need to be opened in the filesystem, it won't be played through a browser. –  kungpoo May 13 '11 at 10:53
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I believe h264 (mp4) would work on both, just can't guarantee, that WinXP won't need external codecs, you should check it out.

Edit: I was misleaded by the hype of html5. Windows Media Player 9, which comes with WinXP doesn't support playing mp4 without any external software/updates.

Edit 2: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/245608 - File Formats Supported by Windows Media Player Versions 6.0 and Later

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