How to Fix “This Video File Cannot Be Played” Error?

Summary: When playing videos online, you may encounter an error, "This video file cannot be played.” In this post, we’ve mentioned the reasons that may result in this error. Also, we’ve discussed various ways to fix the error.


How to Fix “This Video File Cannot Be Played” Error? How to Fix “This Video File Cannot Be Played” Error?

“When I attempted to play a video clip on Google Chrome recently, I received an error that said, “This video file cannot be played”. Is there a problem with the video file or my browser? Do I require a media player extension?”

This is a query posted on an online forum by a user who couldn’t play video files in Google’s Chrome web browser on his system. But not just Chrome, such an error can also occur in Mozilla, Safari, and any other browser. When streaming content through platforms, like Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime, you can also face the “video file cannot be played” error. Before discussing the solutions to fix this error, let’s take a look at the reasons that may cause it.

You can face the “video can’t be played” error because of the following reasons:

  • The video you’re trying to watch is corrupted. 
  • The video player on your device is malfunctioning.
  • You’re using an outdated or corrupt web browser.
  • Server errors caused at the backend of the service providers.
  • The browser lacks the necessary extensions or add-on player.
  • The file isn’t uploaded properly or has suffered damage during the process.
  • You may be attempting to view a video that’s restricted in your location.
  • The video could have been banned by a VPN or a third-party firewall.

How to Fix “This video file cannot be played” Error?

When trying to play a video, if you see a message that says “this video cannot be played”, “this video is unavailable in your country,” or “this video is inaccessible on this device,” here’s what you should do.

1. Refresh the website and reopen your browser

The first thing to do is refresh the website and reopen your browser. If the problem persists, try exiting your web browser and then re-launch it. Now try to play the same video again to see if the warning still appears.

2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Using a VPN is the best approach to access video files that aren’t available in your region. Such software eliminates the barrier created by your IP address and allows you to view videos that aren’t accessible in your area. It shields your device’s IP address while assigning you a new one from another country.

3. Disable Hardware Acceleration Settings

Most machines have Hardware Acceleration functions that use Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) to render videos on your device. It lowers the percentage of Central Processing Unit (CPU) used by your browser. Although it is generally useful, it may create issues such as the “video cannot be played”. Turning this function off might be a good way to get rid of the error.

Here’s how to disable the Hardware Acceleration features:

  • Go to your Google Chrome web browser’s settings by clicking on the three dots icon on the top-right corner and then navigate to the Settings option.
Open browser preferences and click on Settings
Image 1 – Open browser preferences and click on Settings
  • Scroll down and expand the Advanced options. Thereafter, find the System section. In it, toggle off the Use hardware acceleration when available option.
Disable the hardware acceleration option
Image 2 – Disable the hardware acceleration option

4. Clear the Cache

A cache is a component in computing that saves data in order to serve new requests for that data more quickly. If your browser or computer’s cache has become damaged, your device may display the “video cannot be played” error.

You can resolve the problem by clearing the cache as follows:

  • Go to your Google Chrome web browser’s settings by clicking on the three dots icon on the top-right corner. Scroll down to find the Privacy and Security section. In it, click on the Clear Browsing Data option.
Navigate to the Clear Browsing Data option in your browser's settings
Image 3 – Navigate to the Clear Browsing Data option in your browser’s settings
  • In the pop-up that opens, from the drop-down adjacent to Time range, select the All time option. Make sure all other checkboxes are selected. Click on the Clear Data button at the bottom right.
Select the appropriate options and click on the Clear Data button
Image 4 – Select the appropriate options and click on the Clear Data button

5. Change the video quality

In some circumstances, changing the selected video quality may result in the “this video cannot be played in Chrome” error. If your internet speed isn’t good enough for a high definition (HD) movie or your hardware isn’t compatible, you won’t be able to play the video file. Thus, it is recommended to change the video quality to a lower resolution.

This is how you can do it:

  • Go to your web browser and play the video file that is causing the issue.
  • Click on the gear icon in the bottom right corner of the video and select Quality.
  • Change the video quality to a lower level, maybe 360p or 480p, and see if the problem is resolved.
Change the video quality
Image 5 – Change the video quality

6. Disable web browser extensions to improve performance

Often, users install web browser extensions to augment their web surfing experience. For instance, you might be using extensions for checking word count, internet speed, emoticons, etc. While most extensions work fine, sometimes a couple of them may cause errors while trying to stream videos online.

You can resolve this by disabling all extensions in your web browser. Follow these steps:

  • In your Google Chrome web browser’s top-right corner, click on the three dots icon. From the dropdown that appears, click on More tools -> Extensions.
Navigate to More tools and then Extensions in your web browser
Image 6 – Navigate to More tools and then Extensions in your web browser
  • In the tab that opens, you’ll see a list of all the extensions that you’ve already installed. To disable an extension, toggle off the switch next to its name. Repeat the process to disable all the extensions.
Remove unwanted extensions
Image 7 – Remove unwanted extensions
  • After deactivating all the extensions, restart your browser and check if the problem still persists. To identify the problematic extension, try activating the extensions one at a time and look for issues. Once you’ve identified the faulty extension, replace it with an alternative one.

7. Reset your web browser to default settings

Your web browser’s settings or configuration may affect the video’s visibility too. Try resetting it to its default settings.

Note: Resetting it this way will delete all your previously installed extensions, bookmarks, history, and other data. You can use the sync feature to prevent these settings from being lost or you can take a backup.

To restore your browser’s default settings, simply follow these simple steps:

  • Open Google Chrome’s settings by clicking on the three dots icon on the top-right corner. Then navigate to Settings -> Advanced.
  • Locate and press the Reset button.
Reset browser default settings
Image 8 – Reset browser default settings

What to do if none of these fixes work?

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If you have tried everything mentioned above but still not overcome “this video cannot be played” error, it indicates there’s an issue with the video itself. In such a case, you can switch to another source for watching the video or download it on your system and then try watching it.

If after downloading it too it doesn’t play, we recommend using a professional video repair tool, such as Stellar Repair for Video to fix the errors within the file. Equipped with an intuitive interface and broad compatibility, this software can fix severely corrupted or damaged videos in just a few clicks. This is how you can repair a video using Stellar Repair for Video.

  • Download the software from Stellar’s official website and install it.
  • Launch the software. On the home screen, click on the Add File button to add the video to be repaired. You may add multiple files here.
Add files to be repaired
Image 9 – Add files to be repaired
  • Once the video is added, the repair process will begin. It could take a few minutes depending on the CPU power.
  • After the repair process finishes, you will see a window with a list of all the repaired videos. Click on any video here to preview it before saving to a desired location.
Save repaired files to desired location
Image 10 – Save repaired files to desired location

Conclusion

The error “this video file cannot be played” may occur when watching geographically restricted content online or when trying to access videos that haven’t been uploaded correctly. By implementing the methods outlined above, you can easily solve such errors.

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