Prepare for Apple Dropping Old Media Formats with the IINA Video Player

(Josh Centers) #1

Originally published at:

In the next major release of macOS, Apple will be eliminating native support for many old video codecs. With the open-source IINA, you’ll have a Mac-native video player that can handle whatever you throw at it.

(William Bayne) #2

This past week my Video Downloader Firefox extension ceased to “just work” purportedly because of an expired certificate of some kind. This may or may not be relate to this subject.

Insofar as I can determine, IINA does NOT capture video files. There is a lot of current discussion on Firefox groups, mostly expecting an imminent “fix” by Mozilla(?) to make the ongoing problem, yet it is not yet mentioned in TIDBITS).

I get REALLY tired of Apple/Mozilla/etc. deciding for me that software I already have that works fine on my current computer is no longer “acceptable” in some manner and is disabled without so much as a “by your leave”. I’m open to any similarly convenient free-standing video capture software compatible with Mojave.

(John Burt) #3

Thanks for the info about IINA. - I will try it. Two mandatory features are proportional zoom and playback speed adjustment.

The only two file format names I even recognized were Flash (long gone) and MPEG-4. I did not include the 3ivx because I have never seen it before. The only file type I save is MP4 generated from the EyeTV editor. Will they be safe?

(John Burt) #4

Does not seem to have either in an acceptable format. Oh well, my needs are not average.

(jimthing) #5

Yes h264 codec’d MP4 container content is perfectly safe. As the article states, it’s an industry standard almost as PDF is to text, so will likely be maintained forever.

It’s generally only quite obscure formats that are on the cut list. And you have to realise that it’s only Apple’s native apps that are cutting ties with these formats. Hence stand-alone players like VLC/IINA, along with more elaborate media database and playback systems like Plex/Kodi, will remain supporting them for the foreseeable future.

Although, if you are a video editor who has stock in one of these obscure or out-dated formats, you may or may not want to convert it into something more viable over the long term for archival usage. It really depends on whether said stock is likely to be reused in future finished work, as to how much time & effort doing so affords you.
If it’s old stuff of little to no future use, then why bother.

(Jeff Swart) #6

re: William Bayne’s Video Downloader Firefox extension ceased to “just work” -
mine too - FYI Firefox has been updated, fixing that issue

(G. Douglas Eddy) #7

I’m not a video person at all but some time ago Apple seemed to drop support for “chapters” on videos which really made me mad. I used those for both watching videos I had backed up and, using concert videos, would use selected parts of the concerts during my workouts. Will that feature be available? Or am I in the wrong ballpark in this question. Thanks.

(David Ross) #8
  • This past week my Video Downloader Firefox extension ceased to “just work” purportedly because of an expired certificate of some kind. This may or may not be relate
    to this subject.*

Not related. Mozilla just screwed up big time. I think the fix is out.

I get REALLY tired of Apple/Mozilla/etc. deciding for me that software I already have that works fine on my current computer is no longer “acceptable” in some manner
and is disabled without so much as a “by your leave”. I’m open to any similarly convenient free-standing video capture software compatible with Mojave

A big issue many times is that the person who wrote the code do be dropped way back in olden days, (who is maybe a native speaker of a non top 5 language), moved on years ago. And now they have decided to just give up trying to figure
out the logic and comments when they need to do a major overhaul to incorporate the code into the new code base. Been there. Got the hat and the shirt.

WriteNow (which I loved) died because it was written in 68K assembly and the company decided there was just no way to re-write it and keep the doors open when the Mac transitioned to PPC.

Then you have things like the other article here about IE 6. People in many businesses were using it because they had orphaned apps that were coded to IE 6 that would not work on a standards compliant browser. Ugh.

(William Bayne) #9

If the fix is out, it isn’t automatic, and I know of no Firefox update. Same for Nightly. Have quit, restarted both. Have Video Downloader in my Dock, won’t open.

Yes, like you, I loved MacWrite, MacWrite II and WriteNow. In the changeover to OSX I lost my browser, email program and word processor! Tried Word for three months, decided NOTHING was worth that; found Panther and Pages acceptable.

My database is still Helix, but keep a PPC Mini to work in it. Working in OSX version for a while required learning Applescript, comparable to learning Greek (Geek?).

Sooo much lost time in the transition. Always seems like everyone else is getting paid (well?) but my time is without value. Sigh.

But I must admit to using Photos, iTunes, Preview, Superduper and Messages. My backups typically run just over 150GB!

(Al Varnell) #10

I’m not aware of Firefox updates ever being automatic, but perhaps I have them disabled somewhere. I always do an “About Firefox…” to see if one is available, sometimes finding it already downloaded but not yet installed.

I got the update early yesterday.


(William Bayne) #11

Hi Al,

There was an update not yet downloaded.

I Googled “About Firefox”, link told me specifically what to do.

Restarted, both Download Helper and Ghostery are now back.

Maybe TIDBITS will mention this situation next issue.

It was a lively Firefox discussion subject for a while.

Many thanks!


(Charles Maurer) #12

IINA lacks one feature for watching movies that we use routinely in VLC: audio compression. With most digital soundtracks, if quiet dialogue is loud enough to be audible, music blasts out deafeningly loud. Audio compression ameliorates that.

(Luc Saint-Elie) #13


What does IINA do that VLC don’t ?

(Al Varnell) #14

Probably nothing yet. It’s in the early stages and the developers seem to be more focused right now, so expect it to be superior as features are added and time goes on. macOS seems to be the last thing VLC gets around to updating these days.

(Enrico Franconi) #15

Still, an elegant, more modern GUI is a plus by itself.

1 Like
(Erik Mueller-Harder) #16

At this point I don’t remember the details, but when I switched from VLC to IINA, I was thrilled with:

  1. The ability easily to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, and — especially! — gamma;
  2. Considerably lower CPU use on my machine.

Those plus a much nicer user interface make a huge difference to my video-watching experience. I now use IINA daily; I don’t think I’ve opened VLC this year.

(Josh Centers) #17

Basically, assume it’ll play whatever you throw at it. I listed some of the more obscure formats that I recall encountering in the past, but here’s a full list of everything it should support.

(Josh Centers) #18

This is totally off-topic, but to address that point, we haven’t written about it because we don’t know what to say. I’m guessing you’re using the pre-Quantum Firefox that supported more robust extensions. I miss DownThemAll and am frustrated with Firefox’s general direction, but you can’t expect them to support old software forever. I do know of some utilities for downloading videos and entire Web pages, and we might cover them if there’s enough reader interest. I will say IINA uses the command-line utility youtube-dl to stream YouTube videos, and that little utility powers a lot of GUI YouTube-downloading software.

(David Ross) #19

There was a certificate related to extension signing that is embedded in the Firefox distribution that was allowed to expire. Thus all extensions just quit working.


(William Bayne) #20

Hi Josh,

My apologies. I’m not sufficiently computer-savvy to KNOW is I was off-topic,

I’ve been on a Mac since purchasing a 512KE and 20MB HD back in 1985, and replaced a 2010 Mini running Snow Leopard on Black Friday last November running Mojave. To the best of my knowledge, I was downloading and installing the “latest and greatest” Firefox.

I have used Video Downloader to capture YouTube “How to” installation videos for pocket doors, etc. In the process of having my house built, my Mennonite framer isn’t allowed by church leaders complete internet access. It was thus necessary for me to locate, download and play for him necessary installation information.

Also, ad my email address suggests, I am a historian and expert on the Ercoupe aircraft. Vimeo has video on the JATO experiments run by the USAAF back in December of 1941 with Ercoupe Serial no. 11 that I downloaded for my archives. Tube also has numerous videos of Ercoupe model and Ercoupe flight videos that I archive, so I installed Download Helper on my new Mini. I also installed Ghostery, an ad blocker.

Both of these were suddenly gone (and I was being inundated by ads) by an arbitrary and unannounced programing action/inaction by Mozilla. I was quite open to using IINA to resolve my problem, if it had been permanent, or going to another browser; but I’m a Mac layman user, not an expert.

As to your comment about “enough reader interest”, if Gutenberg had run a market analysis Ito determine demand for his new printing press he would have never built it (or gone bankrupt). I have also noticed when Walmart runs out of something I use due to some ordering or supply glitch, their software notices it isn’t selling anymore and frequently tries to discontinue it…just one more example of the unintended consequences of normal life interruptions.