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I still cannot answer the question why, but I found a workaround which helps at least for now:

Download mplayer. This package contains also the program mencoder. Now take a video file (in.avi), and run this command:

mencoder.exe in.avi -nosound -ovc raw -vf format=i420 -o out.avi

out.avi will have no sound. If you need it, you can omit -nosound, but you will probably have to give another command line argument.

out.avi will be very large, but at least you can open it with OpenCV on Windows.