• Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

  • Perian
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: Nov 9, 2013

Review Summary:

Pros: Provides a multitude of additional codec support that breathes new life into QuickTime, Does not take up a lot of space once installed, you hardly even notice it is there, it is free.
Cons: Some MKV files may take a while to load completely.

PerianQuickTime is Apple’s proprietary video player capable of handling formats ranging from digital video, pictures, audio, panoramic images and the like.  Unfortunately out of the box, QuickTime offers a rather limited codec support in relation to a typical user’s vast media collection.  A few of the codecs it supports are as follows:

– Advanced Audio Coding ( AAC )
– Apple Lossless
– MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 ( MP3 )
–  Waveform Audio File Format ( WAV )

– 3GP
– H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
– Motion JPEG
– QuickTime Movie

– Graphics Interchange Format ( GIF )
– Portable Network Graphics ( PNG )

Now, most people would suggest that as a workaround to these limitations, all one needs to do is simply download VLC Media Player to play file types that are not natively supported by QuickTime.  Still, there are a few people who prefer to remain purists and stick with what came with their Mac right off the box.

This is where Perian comes along.  Perian is an open source QuickTime component that enables the latter to play video formats not supported natively by QuickTime on Mac OS X. Listed below is a partial list of the additional codecs supported by QuickTime through Perian:

File formats

Audio types
– Windows Media
– MPEG Layer I and II Audio
– True Audio
– Xiph Vorbis ( in Matroska )

AVI support
– AC3 Audio


Indeed, by virtue of the additional capabilities that Perian provides, it has rightfully earned its claim as the swiss army knife of QuickTime components.  Installing Perian is fairly easy.  Simply download it from the developer’s website at no cost since it is freeware.  As far as compatibility is concerned, Perian only works on Mac OS X 10.4.7 or higher.  As soon as the downloaded file mounts to disk, double click the .dmg file, and you will be asked if you would like to go ahead with installing Perian.  The file will then install itself after you click “yes.”  As soon as the installation finishes, you will then find Perian listed under Other inside System Preferences.  Thus, it is a preference pane rather than an application hence that being the reason why you will not see it in your Applications folder.

Take note that Perian does not really do anything all by its lonesome since it is simply a compilation of QuickTime components.  It does however allow QuickTime to play a myriad of video formats which it would not have been able to play otherwise straight out of the box. To be honest, I seldom utilize QuickTime given the fact that it only offers support for a few formats, but given the additional codec support it gains through Perian, I will reconsider using it as one of my main media players to go along with VLC. Verdict:

Perian is definitely a must have add-on for QuickTime.  It will make QuickTime worth using once more.  You can watch and listen to pretty much anything on QuickTime now through the support that Perian provides.


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