How do I Fix an Unsupported Video Codec?

Summary: Are you unable to watch videos on computer or phone due to unsupported video codec error? Learn the best ways to fix unsupported video format or codec error on your Windows, Mac or Android.


How do I Fix an Unsupported Video Codec? How do I Fix an Unsupported Video Codec?
Missing codec error in Films & TV app
Figure: Missing codec error in Films & TV app

It’s annoying to receive unsupported video codec or format errors as they don’t let you play videos.

Missing codec. An item was encoded in a format that’s not supported.’

‘Windows Media Player cannot play the file because the required video codec is not installed on your computer.’

 ‘A codec is required to play this file.’

‘Invalid File Format.’

An error occurred. Unsupported file format.’

You can get such error messages when trying to play a video on PC, Mac, Smart TV, Android or other devices. Unsupported format errors are also reported while trying to open a file in video editing tools.

Why does unsupported codec or format error occur?

The error as obvious with the messages, appears due to absence of a codec that is required to play the video file on your computer or smartphone.

Technically, a video file comprises a codec and a container. A container is the file format that contains the file metadata while codec is required to encode or decode the video data.

So if your media player or device doesn’t support the video format or codec, it won’t play the video file.

Other than lack of supporting codec, the invalid file format error may also appear when the video file is corrupt.

How to fix an unsupported video codec error?

There are various ways to deal with the unsupported format problem in videos.

Either convert the file format to one that is supported by your media player or change the player itself. You can also consider installing the supporting codec on your system to play the video s.

Below are the methods to fix unsupported codec error and play the videos on your device in any media player:

Method 1: Play video in another media player

Method 2: Download the missing codecs

  • How to download codec in Windows Media Player
  • How to download codec in VLC Player
  • Get codec pack for your PC or Mac

Method 3: Convert the video file format

  • Online video converters
  • Desktop video converters
  • Convert file format using VLC Player

Method 4: Repair video codec error using Stellar Repair for Video

Method 1: Play video in a different media player

Not every media player supports all video file formats. For instance, QuickTime Player only supports MOV, MPEG, some AVI, and WAV files. It cannot play other formats such as AVCHD, MKV or WEBM, etc.

Similarly, Windows Media Player won’t play FLV or FLAC files due to absence of their codecs.

If videos are giving codec error in one media player, try with another. May be the default media player of your device doesn’t support the video file format.

Get VLC Media Player to fix video codec error on Android, Mac or Windows. The player is compatible with most file formats including MP4, AVI, MKV, MOV, AVCHD, etc. You can even watch DVD movies on VLC Player.

There are many free open source multimedia players. Try 5K Player, PotPlayer, Winamp, KMPlayer, Roxio Popcorn, and others.

Also, you can search online, which media players support your video file format and install that on your system.

If video file gives unsupported codec error on Mac, right-click on the file. Click on ‘Open With’ option. Mac may suggest all the installed apps that can play the video.

Mac suggests installed apps to open video
Figure: Mac suggests installed apps to open video

Method 2: Download the missing video codecs

If the ‘video codec is not supported’ error appears on Windows or Mac, then download the codec.

Search the web for the supported codec of your video file type to install the right codec.

Another option is to install a complete codec pack such as K-Lite for Windows and Perian for Mac. A codec pack extends support for the default media player on your system. A pack would contain codec for almost all file formats.

However, be aware that there may be malicious ads for codec downloads. This can put your computer at risk. Make sure you download codecs from a trusted source, preferably from the manufacturer’s site.

Some players such as Windows Media player and VLC also have the provision for automatic download of codecs. You can try that as well.

Steps to fix video codec not supported in Windows Media Player:

  • Open Windows Media Player.
  • Go to Tools > Options.
  • Click on Player tab.
  • Select the Download codecs automatically check box and make sure you have a continuous internet connection.
  • Click OK.
  • Next, play your video file in the player. A message will prompt to install codec.
  • Click Install.

Steps to download codec in VLC Player

  • Open VLC Media Player.
  • Click Help >> Check for Updates.
Check for Updates in VLC
Figure: Check for Updates in VLC
VLC message when new version is available
Figure: VLC message when new version is available.
  • Click Yes. This will automatically download the new codecs also.

Method 3: Convert the video file format

If you don’t want to install a new codec or codec pack, there is another option.

Convert the file format of your video that is showing unsupported codec error. Choose a different format that is compatible with your player. Usually MP4, MOV, and AVI files are playable in all media players and video editing software.

You can convert a video file format using a desktop converter such as Stellar Converter for Audio Video or via any secure online video converter program.

The open source VLC Media Player can also convert video files to different format.

Steps to convert video in VLC to fix unsupported codec problems:

  • Go to Media.
  • Select Convert/Save.
  • Click Add and select the video to be repaired.
Open Media window in VLC
Figure: Open Media window in VLC
  • Click Convert/Save.
Video profile options in VLC Player
Figure: Video profile options in VLC Player
  • In the Convert window, select new video file format from the Profile options. You can also click on Edit Selected Profile (wrench icon) to edit a specific profile.
  • Once done, click Start to convert the video file.

Convert video file to fix unsupported codec error on Android

Android phones can usually play MP4 and 3GP videos of H.263 or H.264 format. So you can convert videos to either one to play on your smartphone.

Convert file to fix codec not supported error on Smart TV

If you are receiving the codec error on Smart TV when trying to play a video, first transfer the file to your laptop. Next, fix codec issue by converting the video file to a format supported by your Smart TV. You can use any of the above conversion method.

Method 4: Repair video codec error using Stellar Repair for Video

When converting or getting the compatible codecs don’t solve the problem, chances are your video file is giving error due to corruption.

In such a situation, try a video repair software – Stellar Repair for Video.

It can fix unsupported video format error on Windows and Mac computer by fixing the file corruption issues. The DIY software can repair popular video file formats like MP4, MOV, ASF, WMV, MKV, M4V, DIVX, WEBM, AVI, FLV, and others. It’s easy to use and can repair multiple videos in one go.

Steps to repair corrupt videos with Stellar Repair for Video:

  • Download and launch Stellar Repair for Video on PC or Mac.
  • Click Add file to upload corrupt videos.
Stellar Repair for Video- Add Files
Figure: Add files to Stellar Repair for Video
  • Click Repair to start the repair process.
Stellar Repair for Video- Click repair button
Figure: Repair button in software
  • Preview the repaired video and click Save Repaired Files. You can save the repaired videos at a desired location on your computer or external media.
Stellar Repair for Video- Preview Videos
Figure: Preview video after repair  

Video RepairVideo Repair Mac

Wrapping up

Playing a video in another media player, downloading supporting codecs or converting the file format can help to fix ‘unsupported video format’ error on Windows, Mac or Android.

But if the codec error is appearing because of some corruption in the file, these methods won’t work. You have to go for a video repair software. It is recommended to use a free trial version of the video repair tool. In the trial, you get to preview and play the repaired video.