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Video Codec Works Differently for Different Formats and Players

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 27, 2024 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions

Today, new technologies are driving digital video into our lives in a more immersive manner. Whether you are looking to project it on a big screen or want it to upload on YouTube, you need to pick the best coder-decoder. Its format should cater to your needs. We will dig deeper to help you understand the meaning of codec, codec players, and formats.

Part 1: How to Find Video Codec?

When you download any file online, sometimes you get an error. Like the video won't play properly or won't play at all. It may occur because of a slow internet connection, or its owner did not properly upload it. Another reason for this might be the lack of essential coder-decoders to play this file on your PC.

What is Video Codec?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's begin by understanding the basics. A codec is a software or hardware that compresses and decompresses digital video.

A codec is a compressor-decompressor that is used for file compression and playback. It works by compressing and decompressing digital media files. Its main purpose is to get them stored and played back on a device.

what is video codec

What is its Need?

Video files can be large-sized. To lower the size, you need to use a compression technology called coder-decoder. These are built to make them easier to share and store.

It helps you to:

How to Find the Codec?

The simple method to determine it is to download a VLC program and use its tools. Here is how to check if the file has the right coder-decoder:

Step 1: Download the VLC player. Open your file with it and play. For this, just right-click the file title and choose to play with VLC Media Player.

Step 2: Now, pick Tools and then Codec Information to get data about the VLC codec.

how to tell if video has a codec

If there is an codec, you can upload it to PowerDMS.

information about codec

Part 2: Different Types of Video Codec

There are plenty of types of codecs, and each has its advantages. They are mainly classified into two main categories:

Let's take a closer look at few the most common codecs:

H2 64 codec is one of the new coder-decoder. It helps users get high-quality films associated with low bitrates.

The biggest benefit of this Codec download is that it plays on every device. It is typically incorporated with the AAC audio codec. AVC codec can be packaged into .mov, .mp4, .f4v, .ts and .3gp containers.


AV1 codec is AOMedia Video 1 coder-decoder. It is open-source friendly and royalty-free with tons of big names supporting it. Google, Netflix, Adobe, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Cisco are some of them.

Moreover, AV1 carries no usage fee, so the licensing will be a lot simpler. It also uses minimal data and provides similar quality for RK UHD video.

MKV Codec

MKV is a standard for video container formats. It is used for compressing and decompressing the information of the file. This is necessary for speedy transmissions and allows media players to play MKV files.

MP4 Codec

These types allow MP4 files to play on the device. MP4 Codec for Windows 10 includes Media Player Pack, VLC Media Player, and CCCP (Combined Community Pack).


To play .mov files properly in your media player, you need MOV codec. MOV files may contain video, time code, audio, and text tracks, which can store and synchronize diverse media types.

FFmpeg Codec

FFmpeg coder-decoder is used to play FFmpeg files. It stands for Fast Forward Motion Picture Experts Group.


XVID codec is a coder-decoder that compresses and decompresses films to MPEG-4 ASP. Users can use it to compress a full movie to get the DVD quality while making it a suitable fit for CD. Almost every DVD and Blu-ray player support XVID files.

MPEG 2 Codec

MPEG is the acronym for Moving Pictures Experts Group. This type works for DVD and a specific kind of Blu- Ray discs.


MPEG-4 is a coder-decoder with the potential to crunch big video files small enough to transport over mobile networks.

High-Efficiency Video Coding is a compression standard built to offer. It provides 50% better compression in comparison to in the video-on-demand applications.

Users can also play higher resolution movies, whether 2K, Blueray, or 4K using coder-decoder. The only downside is that every media device or software does not support it.

Part 3: How to Select Video File Format?

Have you ever had to pick the format to encode a video? Sometimes you may be prompted to choose a format after you record or edit the file. Any clip you see on your phone, TV, tablet, or laptop has a particular file format.

If you want your media to play glitch-free on any platform, you must understand how each format works and select the best one. Video file formats are the containers for the coder-decoder. It stores video, subtitles, and audio or other metadata.

Different video file formats

The most common digital video formats include MP4, WMV, AVCHD, AVI, MKV, MPEG-2, WEBM or HTML5, FLV, F4V, and SWF.

Which is the Best Video Codec?

HVEC is the best coder-decoder as it allows more efficient compression and produces small-sized files. This allows more people to see high-end films on slow internet connections.

(High-Efficiency Video Coding) is a more advanced compression standard. However, they are only necessary for applications like a TV video player and Microsoft's Movies. Moreover, they support 8K resolution.

How to Choose a Video File Format?

Remember, not every program, browser, and the device can play a specific format. You must pick a file format depending on your film quality requirements. Before picking a format, consider the following cases:

Part 4: Fix the Incompatible Video Codec Error

Are you not able to watch videos on your phone or computer due to an error message codec not supported? Check out the best solutions listed below to fix the error in Android, Mac, and Windows.

Common Errors for Incompatible Video Codec

Before proceeding to the solutions, first take a look at some of the common errors.

Missing codec video not playing

Fix the Incompatible Video Codec Error?

Now you know the common errors that users usually face. Let us proceed towards the solutions.

Solution 1: Play in a Different Player

Do your videos show coder-decoder error in media player? Try it with another player like VLC. You may be getting this because the default media player does not support the file format.

Windows Media Player fails to play FLV or FLAC files due to the absence of their corresponding coder-decoder. But VLC Player is compatible with almost every format, including AVI, MKV, MP4, MOV, etc.

open video with VLC player

There are also tons of open-source and free multimedia players that you can try. It includes Winamp, 5K Player, PotPlayer, Popcorn, KMPlayer, etc.

If you are getting an unsupported windows media player codec error on Mac, perform the following steps:

Right-click on the file. Hit the 'Open With' option. Mac will recommend all the installed applications that can play the file.

Solution 2: Download Missing Codec

Another solution to fix the video codec is not supported error on Windows or Mac is to download the missing coder-decoder.

For example, if you face a PowerPoint codec unavailable error, perform Google search to find the supported coder-decoder of your file type.

Alternatively, install a complete coder-decoder pack like Perian (for Mac) and K-Lite (for Windows) from a trustworthy source. It will include coder-decoder for nearly all file formats.

Steps to download coder-decoder in VLC Player:

Step 1: Open VLC Media Player. Now hit Help and then Check for Updates.

VLC check for updates

Step 2: Click yes to download the coder decoder automatically.

VLC update available

Steps to fix coder-decoder not supported error in Windows Media Player:

Fix Windows media player cannot play the file

Step 1: Open Windows Media Player and head to Tools > Options.

options windows media player

Step 2: Now hit the player tab and tick the checkbox saying "Download codecs automatically."

download codec automatically in Windows Media Player

Step 3: Now click, OK. Finally, play a file in the media player. Now you will see a message asking you to install it. Click "Next" and install it.

Windows media codec pack

Solution 3: Convert file format in VLC

You can also convert the file format into the one that is compatible with your media player.

Typically, all media players and editing software can play MOV, MP4, and AVI files. For conversion, you can use any secure online video converter program or open-source VLC Media Player.

Steps to convert format in VLC:

Step 1: Head to Media and choose Convert/Save. Now hit add and choose the file you want to repair.

add file in VLC

Step 2: Click Convert/Save again. Pick a new format from the Profile options in the Convert window. You can also hit Edit Selected Profile. Finally, hit Start to convert the file.

VLC profile options

Solution 4: Convert File on Your Android

If you're getting an error like unsupported codec on your Android phone, try converting H.263 videos of MP4 and 3GP format.

If you're still facing the error, you may need to turn the codec to play them on every android device.

Step 1: Download and install an Android video converter on your mobile device using the Google Play Store.

Step 2: Now open the application and follow the recommended steps.

It will turn the files in your Android phone to 3GP or MP4 format.

Solution 5: Fix the Codec Error Using Smart TV

Plenty of smart TV retailers list supported formats on their official sites. For Samsung smart TV models, you can find the list of supported formats and codecs here.

If you're receiving the error on your LG or Samsung Smart TV, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Move the file to your laptop.

Step 2: Converting the file to a supported format by your Smart TV.

Fix the Codec Error Using Smart TV

Solution 6: Repair Corrupted Video Using Wondershare Video Repair

Wondershare Video Repair is one of the excellent recovery tools. It helps you quickly repair corrupted video files or those with unsupported video codec on your Mac or Windows.

It supports file repair in diverse formats like MP4, M4V, MOV, M2TS, MKV, 3GP, AVI, MTS and FLV. Use this tool to repair multiple files at the same time.

Steps to use Wondershare tool to repair corrupted files:

Step 1: Add corrupted files to begin the repair

Install and launch the Wondershare Video Repair tool on your device. Now drag the files to the tool and choose Quick Repair Mode.

Step 2: Begin Repairing

Once you made the selection, click on "Repair" to begin repairing the added file.

Step 3: Preview the repaired file

Preview the repairable files to ensure that the video is repaired appropriately.

preview videos recoverit

With most of the world shifting towards online media, online video use is rising for both users and marketers. A coder-decoder encodes the digital signals so that media players can play videos correctly.

So while trying to play MP4 file, if the needed codec is missing, your media players will pop-up the error message windows media player mp4 codec missing. We have discussed various methods to fix the issue. We hope you will be able to resolve the issue now. However, if your film gets corrupted, you can repair it with the Wondershare Video Repair.

Note: * Some of the above codec formats may need to be supported by system.

Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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