How-To Geek

Fix AVI Playback Bug in QuickTime 7.2 on MacOS X

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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Apple recently released a new version of QuickTime (v. 7.2) sporting a number of new features and enhancements.  Among the many enhancements – which include (finally) full screen support in the unregistered version – Apple added generic AVI playback, supporting codecs like Xvid, DivX and an enhanced H.264.

On first blush this is a really good thing, but it causes some serious issues for those of us who have added third party codecs to QuickTime in the past to make such things work.  Put simple, the update wipes out all of these third party codecs, and replaces them with the QuickTime standard components.  These components of course provide the same playback, but they also come with their own set of issues.

Apparently, with QuickTime 7.2, startup to playback an Xvid/MP3 AVI takes almost 15 seconds, pushing the CPU to 50% the whole time.  When you’re used to paging through clips in FrontRow (which fires up QuickTime to play the thumbnails for each film), 15 seconds is a really long time.

The solution is to reinstall the codecs required to playback the AVI(s) separately from the vanilla QuickTime components.  Contrary to what I’ve said previously, I would recommend Perian.  Either I had a buggy install that one time, or it was something weather related.  Either way, I’ve been using it for several months now and it works great.  You can download it here.

Once downloaded, the DMG should prompt you and automatically mount itself.

Picture 1

Double click on the “Perian.prefPane” file.  You will want to select “Install for All Users”, after which you will need to enter your password (twice).  Once Perian is installed, you will be presented with the preference pane.

Picture 2

Unlike previous versions of Perian, which required manual fiddling with .component files, this latest version doesn’t require any more steps to install than what we’ve already outlined.

And that’s all there is to it!  QuickTime should now play any movie file at full quality, doing its little startup dance in record time (with minimal strain on the CPU).

When not writing articles for How-To Geek, Mr Linux is coding in Java, Ruby, Bash, SQL and anything else which comes to mind. Mr Linux unfortunately cannot link to his blog. However, when the time is right he will use it as the means to control all thought and opinion.

  • Published 07/13/07

Comments (10)

  1. Graham

    Glad to see you have changed your mind about Perian.

    BTW, the two password prompts: The first is the System Preferences app installing Perian into the correct place, and the second is the Perian Preference Pane installing the components. There really is no way around it asking twice.

  2. Jon

    Thank you, kind sir, for fixing a problem that was driving me nuts! Kudos to you!

  3. synackle

    Perfect! My testing gave in to google and I hadn’t got as far as codecs yet.
    You’re a star! And yes, perian seems a lot more complete than the last time I tried it (aaages ago)

  4. Kelsey

    It still didn’t work for me. I followed every instruction. Do you have any more suggetions? Do I have to restart?

  5. Mr Linux

    Yeah, that’s a little weird. Try restarting. I didn’t have to, but with QuickTime you never know. :-)

  6. John

    Hey! Thanks! I was having a rough day and wracking my brains trying to figure this out. I used an older version of Perian to get frontrow to play .avi files – but I recently upgraded and was having a world of trouble. Frontrow would take some time to load the files – and then would hang up trying to load the previews or playback. This seems to have fixed it and I can catch up on TV again. ;)



  7. Javan Onguru

    Thanks, man! I had a backlog of movies I could not watch. Thanks to you, I’m in business!

  8. Jake

    hey I had a Macbook pro which wouldn’t play my avi’s in quicktime, downloaded a codec somewhere n it worked fine but i sent the macbook pro back and bought the same one from refurb for less money.

    same problem so i looked for the codec but couldn’t find it again tried a few other things including Perian but still no luck. eventually i downloaded VLC player and I love it, works a dream, downside, I doesn’t work with frontrow :(

    any clues on what my problem may be?

  9. Pud

    Same problem as Kelsey, and I’ve restarted. I’m at a loss. Any ideas?

  10. Ivelisse

    Wohoo Yay for Perian. Now I can dowload any type of Movie.

    Perian works awsome.


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