Convert WMV to AVI

WMV is a Windows Media Video compression format that uses proprietary codecs developed by Microsoft and can be watched on every Windows system. The WMV 9 is the latest version of the format and is distributed as a standardized format that allows distribution on HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. AVI is an acronym for Audio Video Interleave, a multimedia format developed by Microsoft and released in 1992.

If you ended up on this website you clearly know the winner of the wmv vs avi format battle, however you have to know this: WMV has the advantage (over avi) that it compresses the video more than the AVI does, saving storage space - on the other hand WMV has a slightly lower video quality than AVI. The choice is yours, if you want a better quality, converting the WMV to AVI is a good decision, otherwise leave your video as is.

In order to convert wmv to avi you need a program, luckily enough there are a lot of freeware programs that let you do a conversion. Windows Movie Maker is one of those, but since that has been changed with Windows Live Movie Maker on Windows Vista/7, you cannot do wmv to avi using it anymore (if you have Windows XP though, try the conversion with Windows Movie Maker). If not, just follow these steps to install a freeware WMV to AVI converter and do an actual conversion:

  • Download and install (if you haven't already) Freemake Video Converter
  • Be careful when installing it to choose Advanced setup (with customization) because by default it will install a toolbar. But if you choose advanced customization you can uncheck the option to install a toolbar.
  • When the installation is finished, simply open Freemake and click on File -> Add Video.
  • Having one of the most intuitive interface ever, after you've added the WMV file see the lower toolbar and click on the To AVI button to convert your video to AVI
  • That's it, really it was that simple to do the conversion.

WMV to AVI online conversion

Given the development of online services in the past years, it was inevitable not to have an online service that converts WMV to AVI. The most popular conversion service is :

  • Zamzar. They have a plethora of conversion formats available. From image formats, to doc formats and video formats, whenever you need to do a conversion you can do it on their website at http://zamzar.com/
  • Youconvertit. Even if it sounds fairly similar to the yousendit brand, youconverit can be used to convert a wmv video to an avi one online. To do so simply visit youconvertit.com and try not to click on any ads until you actually manage to upload and convert your file.
  • Online-Convert. This website has a lot of conversion tools available, and wmv to avi is one of them. The difference between it and others mentioned here, is the fact that it lets you modify some of the resulting video settings (quality, size, bitrate). You can check their conversion site here http://video.online-convert.com/convert-to-avi.
  • ConvertFiles. Another conversion service, in this one the ads are at the bottom so not very annoying, but since it's a free service why complain. They do wmv to avi conversions too, you can check them at http://www.convertfiles.com/.


There are advantages and disadvantages for each of these video formats, AVI and WMV. In choosing which one to go with you have to be sure from the begining what is your focus, a smaller file or a better quality one. These are the main differences between AVI and WMV:

  • The same video will have a larger size as an AVI format than the WMV one (so WMV is better compressed).
  • The same video in AVI format will have a signficantly better video playback quality and performance when compared to the same video but in WMV format.
  • One of the best usages for WMV is when trying to do online streaming, so if you have to stream a video from your website (without embedding it on YouTube) you better use WMV instead of AVI. AVI as mentioned earlier is better quality so when you need it for editing purposes or simply because you want a better quality video use it instead.
  • AVI is an open format so there are a lot of codecs available not to mention derrived file extensions, while WMV is a proprietary standard developed by Microsoft.
So in the end you have to remember this, same video will have a smaller size in WMV format than AVI, but again it will have a better quality in AVI vs WMV.

WMV to AVI software

Believe it or not, RealPlayer is a free video converter that will allow you to do wmv to avi: http://www.real.com/realplayer/convert-video

Freemake is a free video converter too, though it does include a toolbar if you're not paying attention when installing it. That's why you have to be sure you read through the installation process and install only the program, not the toolbar. Read more at www.freemake.com/free_video_converter/

Leave your comments

If you have a question, suggestion or any news regarding wmv to avi please post a comment via the form below: