Supported Formats in DirectShow

[The feature associated with this page, DirectShow, is a legacy feature. It has been superseded by MediaPlayer, IMFMediaEngine, and Audio/Video Capture in Media Foundation. Those features have been optimized for Windows 10 and Windows 11. Microsoft strongly recommends that new code use MediaPlayer, IMFMediaEngine and Audio/Video Capture in Media Foundation instead of DirectShow, when possible. Microsoft suggests that existing code that uses the legacy APIs be rewritten to use the new APIs if possible.]

DirectShow is an open architecture, which means that it can support any format as long as there are filters to parse and decode it. The filters provided by Microsoft, either as redistributables through DirectShow or as Windows operating system components, provide default support for the following file and compression formats.

File types:

File Type More Information
Advanced Systems Format (ASF), including Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV) WM ASF Reader Filter
WM ASF Writer Filter
AIFF WAVE Parser Filter
AU WAVE Parser Filter
Audio-Video Interleaved (AVI) AVI Mux Filter
AVI Splitter Filter
MIDI MIDI Parser Filter
MIDI Renderer Filter
WAV WAVE Parser Filter


Compression formats:

Format More Information
AAC Microsoft MPEG-1/DD/AAC Audio Decoder
Digital Video (DV) DV Video Decoder Filter
DV Video Encoder Filter
H.264 Microsoft MPEG-2 Video Decoder
ISO MPEG-4 video version 1.0
Microsoft MPEG-4 version 3
MJPEG MJPEG Compressor Filter
MJPEG Decompressor Filter
MPEG Audio Layer-3 (MP3) (decompression only)
MPEG-1 layer I and layer II audio Microsoft MPEG-1/DD/AAC Audio Decoder
MPEG-1 Audio Decoder Filter
MPEG-1 video MPEG-1 Video Decoder Filter
Microsoft MPEG-2 Video Decoder
MPEG-2 audio Microsoft MPEG-2 Audio Encoder
Microsoft MPEG-2 Encoder
MPEG-2 video Microsoft MPEG-2 Encoder
Microsoft MPEG-2 Video Decoder
Microsoft MPEG-2 Video Encoder


For information on the availability of particular third-party codecs for redistribution with DirectShow applications, contact the codec manufacturer.