Windows Phone 7 codecs support: No HD video playback, no DivX either

Remember a few months back I posted the list of media codecs supported in Windows Phone 7 and was really happy to see that things like DivX and VC-1 were natively supported. Well, bad news folks, I’ve just discovered that Microsoft has recently updated the list with more information and the first thing you will notice is that DivX is no longer on the list but there’s even worst; the maximum video playback resolution is 800×600 at 30fps. That’s right, Windows Phone 7 won’t support HD video playback even though the competition does it now without a problem (iPhone, Android, Symbian etc..) and the hardware supports it. What I don’t understand is that you can apparently encode MPEG-4 Part 2 – Simple Profile videos in 720P (if the device’s camera supports it) but can’t playback at 720P (remember that encoding takes more resources than playback, so WTF?). Check out the full list after the break:

Codec Type Decoder Support Container Max Resolution and FPS Supported Scenarios
Audio WAV WAV N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Using XNA sound effects (PCM only)
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Audio MP3 MP3 N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Audio WMA Standard v9 ASF (WMA) N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Audio AAC-LC (Low Complexity) 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4A N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages (MMS does not support M4A)
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Videos captured using the device camera (as an MP4 file) will have their audio stream encoded as this codec type
Audio HE-AAC v1 (AAC+) 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4A N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages (MMS does not support M4A)
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Audio HE-AAC v2 (eAAC+) 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4A N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages (MMS does not support M4A)
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Audio Adaptive Multi-Rate Narrow Band (AMR-NB) 3GP, 3G2, MP4 N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
Video WMV (VC-1) – Simple Profile ASF (WMV) 800 x 600 pixels at 30 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Video WMV (VC-1) – Main Profile ASF (WMV) 800 x 600 pixels at 30 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Video WMV (VC-1) – Advanced Profile ASF (WMV) 800 x 600 pixels at 30 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
Video MPEG-4 Part 2 – Simple Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, AVI 800 x 600 pixels (720p for HD capture devices) at 30 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages (MMS does not support AVI)
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Capturing video using the device camera (as an MP4 file). If the video resolution is 720p, it will be encoded as this codec type
Video MPEG-4 Part 10 (MPEG-4 AVC, H.264) Level 3.0 – Baseline Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4V 720 x 480 pixels at 30 fps720 x 576 pixels at 25 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Capturing video using the device camera (as an MP4 file). If the video resolution is any supported resolution less than 720p, it will be encoded as this codec type
Video MPEG-4 Part 10 (MPEG-4 AVC, H.264) Level 3.0 – Main Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4V 720 x 480 pixels at 30 fps720 x 576 pixels at 25 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Video MPEG-4 Part 10 (MPEG-4 AVC, H.264) Level 3.0 – High Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4V 720 x 480 pixels at 30 fps720 x 576 pixels at 25 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in Email and MMS messages
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Playing media with the MediaElement API
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Video H.263 3GP, 3G2 800 x 480 pixels at 30 fps
  • Receiving files as attachments in Email and MMS messages
  • Playing media in the device Media Player
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Images JPEG JPG N/A
  • Sending and receiving pictures as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Viewing pictures from email or MMS messages
  • Saving pictures from email or MMS messages to the device (saved to the device as JPG)
  • Syncing content from the Zune client to the device MediaLibrary
  • Capturing pictures using the device camera (saved to the device as JPG)
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Use as wallpaper
  • Changing background of Pictures hub
  • Uploading or sharing pictures to social networks
  • Downloading pictures from social networks to the device
Images PNG PNG N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Viewing pictures from email or MMS messages
  • Saving pictures from email or MMS messages to the device (saved to the device as JPG)
  • Enumerating media from the MediaLibrary using the XNA Framework
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Images GIF (both GIF87a and GIF89a) GIF N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Viewing pictures from email or MMS messages
  • Saving pictures from email or MMS messages to the device (saved to the device as JPG)
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Images BMP BMP N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email and MMS messages
  • Viewing pictures from email or MMS messages
  • Saving pictures from email or MMS messages to the device (saved to the device as JPG)
  • Viewing media in Internet Explorer Mobile
Images TIF TIF N/A
  • Receiving files as attachments in email
  • Viewing pictures from email
  • Saving single-page pictures from email to the device (saved to the device as JPG)

What the hell Microsoft? Can you please clarify the situation? How can 720P video encoding be supported and not 720P video playback? Something doesn’t sound right here.

  • JagTechie

    well, if there’s something to deter people’s thoughts away from the lack of copy and paste and multi-tasking, this should do it. I think we should prepare for the engadgets and gizmodos of the world to have a field day on this one. It is unacceptable. I’ll be VERY curious to hear Microsoft’s side of the story on this one.

  • JagTechie

    well, if there’s something to deter people’s thoughts away from the lack of copy and paste and multi-tasking, this should do it. I think we should prepare for the engadgets and gizmodos of the world to have a field day on this one. It is unacceptable. I’ll be VERY curious to hear Microsoft’s side of the story on this one.

  • Ed

    Unbelievable

    Even the iPhone is not that restrictive with its media support.

  • Ed

    Unbelievable

    Even the iPhone is not that restrictive with its media support.

  • Fabian

    [Note: This topic contains pre-release information and is subject to change in future releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders. References to "Beta" refer to the current version of Windows Phone Developer Tools and references to "Technical Preview" refer to the current version of Windows Phone OS 7.0 and Windows Phone 7.]

    … so please dont judge before devices will hit the market. I am sure we will see all important codecs in real devices later this year.

  • Fabian

    [Note: This topic contains pre-release information and is subject to change in future releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders. References to "Beta" refer to the current version of Windows Phone Developer Tools and references to "Technical Preview" refer to the current version of Windows Phone OS 7.0 and Windows Phone 7.]

    … so please dont judge before devices will hit the market. I am sure we will see all important codecs in real devices later this year.

  • Matt

    History shows that it has gone backwards: DivX in CTP -> No DivX in Beta. Also Beta means that they are now feature locked before RTM. So things aren’t going to really change before the launch this fall. And Microsoft isn’t going to allow OEMs to add codecs support on their own. The main gripe is that it doesn’t make sense anyway, why enable HD encoding and not HD decoding too?

  • Matt

    History shows that it has gone backwards: DivX in CTP -> No DivX in Beta. Also Beta means that they are now feature locked before RTM. So things aren’t going to really change before the launch this fall. And Microsoft isn’t going to allow OEMs to add codecs support on their own. The main gripe is that it doesn’t make sense anyway, why enable HD encoding and not HD decoding too?

  • Le Chiffre

    This is Disheartening Folks – I am really interested to hear Microsoft’s side of this story…

  • Le Chiffre

    This is Disheartening Folks – I am really interested to hear Microsoft’s side of this story…

  • Rille

    Windows Phone will probably flop as hard as Windows Phone Kin and previously 5 and 6. There will be no flash and they will no cut and paste and miltitasking and that there is a system that costs money which the consumer will pay in the end. It is closed and inflexible and no apps. a flop

  • Rille

    Windows Phone will probably flop as hard as Windows Phone Kin and previously 5 and 6. There will be no flash and they will no cut and paste and miltitasking and that there is a system that costs money which the consumer will pay in the end. It is closed and inflexible and no apps. a flop

  • arash

    Oh Rille i just read exact same comment of you in engadget, Its so funny you get paid to copy paste same thing everywhere.

  • arash

    Oh Rille i just read exact same comment of you in engadget, Its so funny you get paid to copy paste same thing everywhere.

  • arash

    Actually thats why wp7 don’t have copy paste!

  • JagTechie

    that’s because Rille is “miltitasking.” :)

  • arash

    Actually thats why wp7 don’t have copy paste!

  • JagTechie

    that’s because Rille is “miltitasking.” :)

  • esjayrockz

    Rille i think you are mistaken, wp7 handsets will have flash

  • esjayrockz

    Rille i think you are mistaken, wp7 handsets will have flash

  • bkwmiata

    Ok, stop me if I’m wrong but why have HD playback if the screen isn’t HD?

  • bkwmiata

    Ok, stop me if I’m wrong but why have HD playback if the screen isn’t HD?

  • nn

    This exactly. When are you going to have a screen on a phone with enough pixels for it to make a difference?

  • nn

    This exactly. When are you going to have a screen on a phone with enough pixels for it to make a difference?

  • BlackJacqueShellaque

    There must be DRM issues involved, no?

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Involved with what ?Lack of DivX ? IT has more to do with the fact that the QSD8250 chipset powering every WP7 handset doesn’t HW accelerated Dvix decoding (among other issues..)

  • http://profiles.google.com/igor.makar Igor Makar

    installed recently WP7 on HTC HD2 and was able to play 1280×720 Wildlife.wmv from Sample videos. So, no problem. WTH, author!?