Perian Review: Increase QuickTime's Capilities with the QuickTime Swiss Army Knife

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Perian, which calls its self the “Swiss Army Knife for QuickTime” is a great little add on for any Mac user. Instead of fumbling around trying to find a bit of software that will play a certain format (and assuming you don’t have a VLC player already), just download Perian and you won’t have to worry about it any more.

Download and Installation (4 out of 5)

Perian can be downloaded at the developer’s website. It’s freeware, but they will accept donations. Perian only works on Mac OS X 10.4.7 or higher. After the file mounts on your disk, open the .dmg file and Perian will ask you if you want to install it. Click ‘yes’ and Perian will install itself. You can access it in your System Preferences.

Features (4 out of 5)

Perian doesn’t really do anything on its own, since it is just a compilation of QuickTime components. But it does allow QuickTime to play a bunch of video formats that it doesn’t come prepared to play. According to Perian’s website they are:

“File formats: AVI, DIVX, FLV, MKV, GVI, VP6, and VFW

Video types: MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, Sorenson H.263, FLV/Sorenson Spark, FSV1, VP6, H263i, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Snow, NuppelVideo, Techsmith Screen Capture, DosBox Capture

Audio types: Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, Flash ADPCM, Xiph Vorbis (in Matroska), and MPEG Layer I & II Audio, True Audio, DTS Coherent Acoustics, Nellymoser ASAO

AVI support for: AAC, AC3 Audio, H.264, MPEG4, and VBR MP3

Subtitle support for SSA/ASS and SRT”

I tried out all of the file formats in QuickTime after I installed Perian and they all work just fine. Some of them take a moment to load, but that is typical with QuickTime.

Usefulness (3 out of 5)

Perian is a great component for anyone to download if they like watching videos in QuickTime. Truthfully, I hardly every use QuickTime because of how few formats it supports, but with Perian I’m rethinking my previous decision. I still prefer the VLC Player for its level of control, but Perian makes QuickTime worth using again. What really did it for me was the MKV support. One word: awesome.

Overall (4 out of 5)

Perian is a great add on to QuickTime. While a VLC Player still gives you more control over what you are watching, Perian will make QuickTime worth using again, as long as you just want to watch videos with it. With all the file formats Perian supports, you can watch almost anything with QuickTime now.

Download Perian.