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How to play ASF files without Flip4Mac

28 May 2011 9,627 views No Comment

How do you play asx/asf — yup, another form of Windows Media munge — streamed content without installing Flip4Mac? For long-time Mac users, the answer is obvious, an app that plays pretty much any media file type you can throw at it.

According to MediaCollege.com, a useful resource for making sense of the alphabet soup of media file formats, the ASX and ASF file formats respectively are:

— the actual media file, ASX, containing video, audio, etc.
— ASF is a metafile that contains data about another file, a simple text file containing a reference to an ASX file

So how to play streamed content format as an ASF without installing the Flip4Mac plugin? VLC Media Player gets the job done. When you click on an ASF file, it will download and then right (Control) click it and select “Open With” VLC.

And, you can bookmark simply by keeping the file handy or creating a VLC playlist, which is handy for me as the content that set me on the quest in the first place is the live audio broadcast of our local AA minor league team, the Erie Seawolves — the team plays three or five times a week.

Clean living

And, why not just install Flip4Mac? It’s a plugin and, like Adobe Flash, Flip4Mac is a source of browser instability, which is something I’m working hard to eliminate.

Thereupon, if you want to keep Flash at arm’s length, ClickToFlash loads all available H.264 streams and clips while keeping Adobe’s middleware/plugin safely in the background. However, if you really need Flash, it’s still there.

Have a tip for eliminating browser plugins? Share your story and a link in the comments below…

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