Q: I have an iPod touch and I notice that when I get e-mail attachments with formats that contain WMV at the end the device doesn’t open those because it says that they are an unsupported file format. I’m wondering if I unlock the device will I be able to view those e-mails with those video files or is there an application out there for purchase that allows the iPod to open these videos?
A: Unfortunately, these videos are in the Windows Media Video format which is not supported by the iPod or iPhone. Although there are some third-party applications available on the App Store that provide the ability to view WMV files, most of these are for videos that are streamed across the Internet or uploaded from your desktop computer. Limitations in the iPhone OS do not allow third-party apps to interact with the built-in Mail application in this manner, so it’s not possible to extend the file format support for e-mail attachments.
If you jailbreak your iPhone, there are third-party applications that can be used to play WMV files, although many of these are also simply standalone video players and do not directly handle e-mail attachments. Further, although various utilities have made it much easier, the jailbreaking process is still not without its complications and risks.
Alternatively there are online services such as iPhone Video Server that you can use to convert these received e-mails into an iPhone-playable format. This works either by manually forwarding the e-mail messages to an e-mail address at the service, or by allowing the service to log in to your GMail or Hotmail account to convert all videos received in your inbox automatically. In this case, the videos are returned to your inbox in a format that the iPhone can easily play, and no additional software is required.