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Updated 08/11/2012Home » Video Glossary » ASF

ASF

Advanced Streaming Format: This file format stores audio and video information, and is specially designed to run on networks like the Internet. This file format is very flexible and compressed. Contains streaming audio, video, slide shows and synchronized events. When used, the content is delivered in a continuous flow of data.

The format does not specify how (i.e. with which codec) the video or audio should be encoded; it just specifies the structure of the video/audio stream. This is similar to the function performed by the QuickTime, AVI, or Ogg container formats. One of the objectives of ASF was to support playback from digital media servers, HTTP servers, and local storage devices such as hard disk drives.

The most common file types contained within an ASF file are Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV). Note that the file extension abbreviations are different from the codecs which have the same name. Files containing only WMA audio can be named using a .WMA extension, and files of audio and video content may have the extension .WMV. Both may use the .ASF extension if desired.

Codecs

Although the ASF container format can technically include any codec, Microsoft's encoding tools (including Windows Media Encoder and Windows Movie Maker) produce ASF/WMA/WMV files using the DirectX Media Objects (DMO) framework. So far, third-party DMO-based codecs remain extremely rare.