Overview of ASX Metafiles

Microsoft's ASX is a type of Windows Media metafile that can redirect streaming media content away from a browser to Windows Media Player. Unlike Real System's metafiles (RAM or RPM), ASX, which contains Extensible Markup Language (XML) scripts, refers to sequential play lists of video, audio, and text files, so that the referred files can be played in succession with the Windows Media player.

In order to play SAMI captions with ASF, WMV, WMA, or MPG files through ASX (WVX or WAX), a caption file should have the same file name as the corresponding media file. One of the advantages of using ASX over original media files is flexibility in the server location of files. That is, Windows Media files listed in ASX can reside on different server types: Windows Media Services Server, HTTP Server, and Local or network drive. Another great benefit from ASX will be to make a list of media to be played in an order.

  1. Windows Media metafile extensions

  2. The basic structure of ASX

  3. The ASX syntaxes

  4. An example of ASX

  5. ASX authoring tools

  6. Other resources

Windows Media Metafile Extensions

  • Save a metafile as an .asx file if it refers to .ASF files.

  • Save a metafile with the file extension of .wvx if it refers to .WMV files.

  • Save a metafile with the file extension of .wax if it refers to .WMA files.

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The Basic Structure of ASX

ASX files need to include the following items:

<ASX version = "3.0">

     <Ref href = "path" />


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The ASX Syntaxes

  • <ASX> : Indicates an ASX metafile.

  • <Abstract> : Provides a brief description of the media file.

  • <Title> : Title of the media file.

  • <Author> : The author's name .

  • <Copyright> : Detailed copyright information (e.g., company name and copyright year).

  • <MoreInfo href = " path of the source " / > : Adds hyperlinks to the Windows Media Player interface in order to provide additional resources on the content.

  • <Entry> : Serves a play list of media by inserting multiple "Entry" elements in succession.

  • <Duration value = " 00:00:00 "> : Sets the value attribute for the length of time a streaming media file is to be played.

  • <Logo href = " path of the logo source " Style = " a style " / > : Adds custom graphics to the Windows Media player by choosing either a watermark or icon style. The image formats that Windows Media Player supports are GIF, BMP, and JPEG.

    • MARK : The logo appears in the lower right corner of the video area while Windows Media Player is connecting to a server and opening a piece of content.

    • ICON : The logo appears as an icon on the display panel, next to the title of the show or clip.

  • <Banner href = " path of the banner source "> : Places a banner (82 pixels × 30 pixels) image at the bottom of the video display area.

  • <Ref href = " path of the source " / > : Specifies a URL for a content stream.

  • How to define the path of source:

    • Windows Media Services Server: File names will start with mms:// .

    • HTTP Server: File names will start with http:// .

    • Local or network drive: File names will start with file:// .

    • ASX files, on the other hand, are small text files that can always sit on an HTTP server. When the browser interprets the ASX file, it access the streaming media file that is specified inside the ASX file, from the proper HTTP, mms, or file server.

  • ?sami=" path of the source " : Defines the path of a SAMI caption file within the <ref href> tag for media source.

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An Example of ASX

You can create an ASX file that embeds links to ASF and SAMI files by using a text editor or other authoring tools. However, if you have a SAMI file with the same file name in the same folder as an ASF file, it's not necessary to define the path of the caption file to be played with the media clip. Employing ASX features, you can also provide detailed information on the video or audio clips that you include in the ASX file: titles, author names, copyright information, and so on.

<ASX version = "3.0">

   <Abstract>: This text will show up as a Tooltip and in the Properties dialog box
   <Title> Global title of the show </Title>
   <Author> The name of the author </Author>
   <Copyright> 2000 by Your COmpany </Copyright>
   <MoreInfo href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowmedia" />

     <Ref href="MMS://netshow.microsoft.com/ms/sbnasfs/wtoc.asf" />
     <Banner href="http://Servername/Path/Banner1.gif">
       <MoreInfo href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia" />
       <Abstract> This is the description for this clip. </Abstract>

     <Title> Markers Discussion </Title>
     <Copyright> 2000 Microsoft Corporation </Copyright>
     <Logo href="http://servername/path/banner2.gif" Style="ICON" />
     <MoreInfo href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia" />
     <Ref href="MMS://netshow.microsoft.com/ms/sbnasfs/wcc.asf" />
     <Ref href="http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/mediaplayer/mediasmaple.asf"
     ?sami="http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/mediaplayer/samisample.smi" />


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