I263 QuickTime Codec for Mac


This is the web page for a QuickTime codec (actually just the decoder) for a video format identified as I263.

I wrote it because I had a file in this format but I couldn't find a Mac codec anywhere on the web, only people asking about one or complaining about the lack of one. I couldn't believe there was such a well established format that you couldn't play on your Mac, so now you can.

It is written using the FFMpeg library, as it exists in the linux video tool AVI File. Getting the library compling on the Mac was a breeze; figuring out how to make a QT Component (especially debugging it!) was a nightmare. If you're keen you could get the source that I wrote here.

I263 is apparently an early variation that Intel made on the H.263 format. The data format is the same, it just has a slightly different header format. I263, H263, SVQ1, MP42, IV50, DIVX, 3IVD and a whole lot of other formats identified by four-character codes are not file types in themselves, rather they are video data formats that can live inside any file type. The two most common container file types are QuickTime movie files (.MOV) and AVI files (.AVI).

The I263 format is found in a lot of AVI files captured from Intel video cameras, so if you have an AVI that you can't play, then this codec might solve your problem. However, there are a lot of other file formats, so you may need to install codecs for them instead. There are tons of lists of codecs on the web, such as Pure Mac, video-codec.crosswinds.net, qtcentral.de, Mac DVD Resources, etc. Unfortunately it is not easy to tell which codec you need, because the QuickTime Movie Player doesn't tell you what the four-character format code is when it can't find a codec for it. If you have a hex editor though then it's easy to see at the start of the file. Maybe I'll write a tool.

Download I263 Decoder v1.0 in MacBinary II format* or BinHex format.
* MacBinary II is smaller, but some browsers haven't been set up to handle it properly.

Installation: Put the file into the QuickTime Extensions folder inside the Extensions folder in your System Folder and restart. It'd probably work in just the Extensions folder, but the QuickTime Extensions folder is the proper place for it.
Note: It's PowerPC only, QuickTime about 4 or 5, Mac OS 8.0 or so and up. I have no idea how or if it works on Mac OS X.


This software may not work for everyone, and it may not decode all I263 options. It does however work for all the I263 movies I have, including some codec test ones. If it runs into any errors, it'll spew them out in Notification Manager alerts, but hopefully not crash. If it does crash, or you think it should do something it doesn't, you could try emailing me, but don't hold your breath because I don't intend to spend much time supporting it. Good luck!

John Dalgliesh

Last updated 16/6/2002