Android: how to fix unsupported video format error

Android: how to fix unsupported video format error

There is nothing more frustrating than downloading or transferring a video to your Android phone, only to be greeted with audio codecs and video codec related errors. Some of the common error messages include “unable to open file” or “unsupported video format”. So, how to fix these above error messages? Read on and we’ll walk you through a solution.

Why is my video not playing?

The most likely reason why you are getting a “unable to open file”, “unsupported audio codec” or “unsupported video format” error is because your current media player does not support the codec of your video file. Another possible reason is that the audio codec is not supported Below, we discuss the various possible means of solving this rather annoying problem.

How to fix unsupported video format error on your smartphone?

Install a third party media player app

The simplest solution to this problem is to switch from the default video player and download a new one. Here are some of the more versatile Android media players we recommend:

VLC for Android

If you have ever used VLC on your PC, you would know that it is one of the most affordable and reliable media players around. The same goes for the app VLC for Android . Includes all codecs without the need for additional downloads. It provides support for DivX and XviD compressed videos, as well as a variety of formats: MKV, MP4, AVI, MOV, Ogg, FLAC, TS, M2TS, Wav and AAC.

For those who enjoy watching foreign movies or anime, you’d be happy to know that VLC also supports multi-track audio and subtitles. Not only that: the app is light, free and has no annoying ads. It is one of the best, if not the best, Android media players. Installing VLC for Android is usually the complete solution for one of the most frequently asked questions related to this topic. – ‘How to play mp4 on Android’.


This is another lightweight and easy to use Android media player. Just like VLC, MX Player supports multiple files (.avi, mpeg, mp4, wmv, DivX, Xvid and others) but also a variety of subtitle formats, including .txt, .sub, .srt, .idx and others. It also offers gesture controls, such as swipe down to reduce brightness, swipe back and forth to move subtitle text, and more.

Unfortunately, the app’s interface is pretty basic, but it might be interesting for some. The free version of MX Player also has advertisements, but if you can live with it, it’s a great player that supports most video file formats and codecs for Android. If not, an ad-free version is also available for $ 5.99.

Note: Indian users will notice that MX Player is now also an OTT platform. In case you find MX Player a little too cluttered for this reason, we recommend that you check out our dedicated article which talks about the best media players for Android.

Screenshot 20190211 171452 MX player

Convert the video file to a supported format

In most cases, downloading and installing a compatible Media Player app should resolve the annoying unsupported video format error. But in case you are not interested in downloading and installing an app, the other way around this problem is to “convert” the video to a format your phone understands. And there are several apps that allow you to do this on your smartphone itself. Let’s take one of the most popular apps out there, called Video Transcoder.

The best thing about Video Transcoder is that it’s free and it’s also open source. There are also no annoying ads. Second: The product supports a wide variety of file formats and codecs. The user interface is a bit simple, but it’s functional and easy to understand.

video converter

In case you happen to have access to a computer, there are several free video converters that can easily convert your video file to a format your phone understands.

Now that you know how to fix the unsupported video format error on Android, let’s explore the reasons why the message appeared in the first place. To understand this, you need to understand some basic facts about codecs and video containers.

What is a codec?

Codec is actually short for coder-decoder. The name actually says it all: it is a method of encoding and decoding data, especially compressed data. As you may have guessed by now, like.mp4, which is a popular video format for Android, there are video codecs for Android and audio codecs for Android. Usually, a codec’s job is to compress a set of data (video or audio) for storage and then decompress it for playback or display.

Codecs are different from containers and file formats. AVI, for example, is often mistaken for one when it is simply the video file type and one of the most popular Android video formats.

What is a container?

Usually, a container is also called a file format. It takes care of packaging, transport and presentation (while the codec prepares the file for these actions). Containers take care of synchronizing audio and video. A container is part of the file that determines the type of file. Put simply: if you have a nextpit.mp4 file, MP4 is the container.

You just learned the reasons why some video files may not play on your Android phone. You also know the various methods by which you can easily solve this problem. In case these solutions have helped you, let us know in the comments section below.

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