Windows RT vs. Windows 8 video and audio file format native support list

Microsoft added better video and audio file format support in Windows 8. Most common media formats are supported and some are limited in Windows RT — for devices like the new Microsoft’s Surface tablet.

So far Windows 8 is promising to be a pretty amazing operating system with a hand full of new features, new immersive and beautiful UI, and simple to use. But there is one thing that has been constantly an issue in all OSs, which is file format compatibility out of the box. Since Windows 7 video and audio file format support has increased and in Windows 8, Microsoft’s goal is to include as much native media format support as it is possible to ensure great playback experience on all Windows PCs in different scenarios like:

  • HTML5-based entertainment on the web
  • Home movies captured using popular smartphones, point-and-shoot cameras, or AVC-HD cameras
  • Streaming music, movies, and TV shows from popular services

Of course, this doesn’t include anymore support of DVDs playback, because according to the company, it is to costly for the small percentage of people who make use of it.

Windows 8 have the following built-in native support for audio and video format playback with hardware acceleration for playback, capture, streaming, and transcoding:

Media TypeFile & stream formatsCodecs or componentsCodec supported on Windows RTHardware-accelerated on Windows 8 Certified PCs
VideoMPEG-4 **H.264 **YesYes
ASF **H.263YesHardware-dependent
MPEG-2 PSMotion JPEGYesHardware-dependent
MPEG-2 TSMPEG-1 *NoYes
3GPPMPEG-2 *NoYes
3GPP2MPEG-4 (Part 2)YesHardware-dependent
AVIVC-1 **YesYes
WMV 7,8,9YesYes
DVNoNo
RAW (NV12, YUY2, RGB32)NoN/A
AudioMPEG-4 **AAC **YesHardware-dependent
MP3 **HE-AAC **YesHardware-dependent
ASF **Dolby Digital (no-disc)YesHardware-dependent
AAC LATMDolby Digital Plus (no-disc)YesHardware-dependent
AAC LOASMP3**YesHardware-dependent
ADTSWMA** Standard, Pro, LosslessYesHardware-dependent
WAVMPEG-1 Layer I, Layer IIYesHardware-dependent
MPEG-2YesHardware-dependent
ULAWYesHardware-dependent
PCMYesHardware-dependent
ADMPCMYesHardware-dependent

* Requires Windows 8 Media Center Pack of Windows 8 Pro Pack

** Recommended for use by Windows Store apps

Info: Keep in mind that devices from different manufactures can have this basic support, but specific Windows devices may have more codecs.

Furthermore, Microsoft has been working to make Windows 8 handle the type of real-time video and audio features that are enabled in applications like Skype, to run apps in low-latency mode. At the same time, Windows 8 also comes with great supports for HD cameras and for MPEG-4, which typically consist of H.264 video and ACC audio. Other common codecs, including Divx, Xvid, MOV, are part of Windows, so these kind of files will just work.

Source Building Windows 8 blog

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.