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AVIs don't play or don't play all the way through

Thanks to Adam Crowley for this info in response to a newsgroup user's problems with large AVI files:

AVIs generally have a limit of 2GB even for editing purposes.

While some software manufacturers have found ways of getting around it, their added functionality is usually
restricted to their own editing programs, so if the size of the AVI is over 2gb (gigabytes) then there will likely be problems with it.

So the question is: Why is the AVI so large?

How long is the clip?

Is it created at full NTSC or PAL resolution (720x486, 720x576 or similar)?

Encoding the clip as an MPEG2 at these resolutions will certainly reduce its size and make it more manageable by more machines (my guess is you've got specific video hardware to be able to play video at these resolutions).

Encoding as MPEG1 at 352x288 will make it much smaller and playable on many more machines still, but the image quality will suffer.

If the AVI is not full video resolution then my guess is that it is, say, 320x240, but uncompressed, which is asking for trouble.

Again converting to MPEG will significantly reduce file size, or, failing that, keeping it as an AVI but compressing it with a familiar codec such as Cinepak.

And thanks to PPT MVP Austin Myers for this addendum:

Actually, the limit of 2 gig was present in Win 3.1x and Win 95 as both used
the FAT-16 file system. (See Q193656) Hence the largest file possible was
2GB minus 1 byte. That limitation was increased with the advent of FAT-32
and NTFS file systems. IE Win98, 98SE, ME, WinNT, Win2000, WinXP.

To complicate things just a bit, "Video for Windows" had this same
limitation. I suppose the thinking was that as the OS couldn't address
anything larger than 2 gig there was no reason for Video for Windows to go
any higher either.

The real problem was/is that Video for Windows is still part of Windows.
(Even included in WinXP for legacy support.) If this is used to either
create or playback a video file you are still limited to the 2 gig size
limitation. This is the reason the user is able to play the file with
Windows Media Player. (6.x, 7.x) It doesn't have this limitation.

So, what's the solution? Remove "Video for Windows" and "Active Movie" from
the system and install the latest version of DirectX for her operating
system. Should clear the problem up...

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AVIs don't play or don't play all the way through
Last update 07 June, 2011