I just looked at the VLC features list and it turns out it doesn't support WMV 3 (only WMV 1/2).
I have downloaded 'essentials' and placed the files under /usr/local/lib/codecs.
Unpack the codecs archives and put the contents in a directory where MPlayer
will find them. The default directory is /usr/local/lib/codecs/ (it used to be
/usr/local/lib/win32 in the past, this also works)
I was never successful in compiling Mplayer from sourcecode when I tried a month or so ago and therefore finally ended up installing it with apt-get (mplayer-586). I uninstalled it and reinstalled it in order for it to recognize the codecs, but it still fails to play the wmv file. Is there a rule that I have to compile it from sourcecode for it to work or should apt-get work just the same? I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't.