In the past, we've been able to get codecs for DivX/XviD/MPEG4 and support for containers like AVI, MKV in Mac OS X's Quick Look feature using Perian (as per this question).

As noted on the Perian site, development has ceased, and future versions may or may not continue to work. It seems with the upgrade to OS X 10.9 "Mavericks", the OS or Quick Look API has changed sufficiently that Perian no longer works.

Are there any alternatives? Ideally a one-app-does-all like Perian, but even a list of individual codecs and/or plug-ins for video container files would be useful.

NB: This question isn't about video players—there are many that support more than those playable via the built-in QuickTime player. This question is about codecs/plug-ins for QuickTime on OS X to allow it and Quick Look (and apps which rely on the OS to play videos) to open/play video files/formats lacking native support.

4 Answers 4


I've uploaded QuickLook and Spotlight plugins here: https://github.com/Marginal/QLVideo/wiki . These allow Finder to display thumbnails, static previews, cover art and metadata for most types of video files, including .asf, .avi, .flv, .mkv, .rm, .webm, .wmf etc.

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    Good start, an obvious improvement would be playback of videos rather than just viewing a static poster image in QuickLook.
    – Marcel
    Sep 1, 2014 at 2:22
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    Sadly not possible - the current QuickLook / AVFoundation APIs don't allow it. (See Issue #3 for a discussion).
    – Marginal42
    Sep 1, 2014 at 12:09
  • QLVideo showed thumbnails in Quicklook but it also turned embedded .gifv videos in Safaris into thumbnails (for example, on imgur). I do NOT recommend it Mar 2, 2015 at 11:09
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    @ILiΛSKΛЯiM - Safari doesn't use QuickLook to display videos, so QLVideo is not the cause of your problem. e.g. this page still renders fine in Safari on Mavericks and Yosemite when QLVideo is installed. Check your QuickTime plugin settings in Safari -> Preferences -> Security, or your ClickToPlugin settings if your have that Safari extension installed. If you'd still like to raise a bug report against QLVideo please do so here.
    – Marginal42
    Mar 7, 2015 at 14:19

"QuickTime on Mavericks" is not QuickTime anymore - it is "AV Foundation". QuickLook and QuickTime Player are based on this "new QuickTime".

"AV Foundation" comes from iOS, was implemented for Mac OS X too and does not offer extensions (and will never) like codecs / plugins. As Apple says: anything else than MPEG-4 (H.264) is old stuff and must be converted.

In my opinion, it is confusing for users that Apple is still using the name "QuickTime". Because Mavericks still contains the "old QuickTime".

QTKit is a bridge between the old QuickTime and the new QuickTime. It is not deprecated and contains a video converter. This way incompatible video formats can be converted to MPEG-4.

In other words: follow Apple's plan and convert all your videos. Then QuickLook will be available for you.


This has to be the single most annoying change in Mavericks. From what I Understand the new version of Quicktime is not well enough documented to allow this development yet.

  • Interesting standpoint that the problem is Quicktime documentation. I don't see any indication that the current documentation is preventing development of Quick Look plug in - developer.apple.com/search/… Where did you get your understanding of this being on Apple instead of third party developers finding funding or time to keep the Perian project current? It's clear parts of QTkit were deprecated and all developers using that code needs to re-work things for AVkit per this note: developer.apple.com/library/mac/technotes/tn2300/_index.html
    – bmike
    Jan 7, 2014 at 17:27
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    Also - I hope I don't come across as hostile. It's great to explain why something old no longer runs, but I think the Perian devs knew of the coming change for years before it was put in place and made an informed decision to let the code go unchanged to cope with changes they knew were on the horizon.
    – bmike
    Jan 7, 2014 at 17:57

I highly recommend qlMoviePreview.


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