What is VFW?

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What is VFW?
VFW stands for “Video for Windows” and it refers to Microsoft’s multi-media framework that is designed to handle or process digital video data. Through VFW, Microsoft’s operating system – Windows is able to play and/or display video files.

“Video for Windows” is sometimes referred to as VCM or Video Compression Manager and was originally introduced back in 1992 as Microsoft’s answer to the launch of “QuickTime”, a digital video technology from rival Apple Computers. The VFW application came as a free software for Windows OS versions 3.1 and 3.11. Later it became an important component for Windows 95 and later versions of the operating system. Originally, VFW is a feature in 16-bit versions of Windows software, but since the release of Windows 95, it is now compatible with 32-bit applications.

Just like QuickTime, Video for Windows has three main components. The first component of this application is the introduction of the AVI or Audio Video Interleave file format for video files. VFW also features an API or application programming interface that made it open for developers to use VFW and manipulate video files to run on their own applications and software. VFW also contains a software suite that allows users to play and/or do some editing on video files. The software suite included Windows Media Player, VidCap, WaveEdit, PalEdit, and VidEdit among many others. Because of its similar features to QuickTime, Apple actually sued Microsoft over some source codes which were allegedly stolen from them to improve the functionality of VFW. But this lawsuit was eventually settled later by both parties.

Besides Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 also had Video for Windows (VFW), specifically the 32-bit version. By 1996, Video for Windows was replaced with a new application called “Active Movie version 1.0”. This particular video software is able to support MPEG1 video files and even QuickTime files. A year later, ActiveMovie was included in a new software suite called DirectX5 and was later renamed to DirectShow.

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