Occasionally, you are likely to bump into a video format that won’t play on your Windows 10 PC’s default video playback apps. Sometimes, when trying to play a video using Windows 10’s default player, Groove music, you may encounter an error below, informing you that the format of the video you are trying to play in unsupported.
So, how do we proceed from here?
The default video playback programs in Windows 10 are Windows Media Player, Groove Music, and the Movies & TV app. The Movies & TV app is alternatively called the ‘Films & TV’ app in some markets, mostly in Australia and the UK. It supports the playback of most Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free video formats including:
.m4v .mov .avi .asf .m2ts .wmv .3g2 .3gp2 .3gpp
Windows Media Player supports playback for a number of video formats but may not be able to play others. To check whether your video will play on Windows 10, simply try opening the video file using the default video playback apps. If you haven’t installed the Movies & TV app for your Windows 10 PC, download it from Microsoft Store.
You may encounter challenges trying to open some videos. Thankfully, there are some workarounds that can come in handy and help you open your favorite movie, documentary or tutorial videos.
Using Specialized third-party video players
While the Movies & TV app in Windows 10 OS only supports a limited number of video formats, Windows Media Player hasn’t been updated in a long time. Thus, your best bet to play an unsupported video on your Windows 10 PC is installing a third-party video player.
Specialized media players are tailored for playback of specific file formats while others feature a range of codecs to support a wide range of file formats. Installing a specialized third-party player will help you view your video file as long as the player supports the video file’s format.
It’s preferable to install a third-party video player that supports several video formats to a specific one so you won’t need to install a new player each time you come across an unsupported video format. Below are some of the most reliable options:
a) VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is arguably the best third-party player and alternative to default players for most Windows 10 PC users. It’s a powerful player that allows playback of almost all audio and video file formats. Besides, it has numerous customization options that enable you to personalize most of its aspects.
To open a video file in VLC media player, click Media > Open File from the top menu, and then browse to your video file’s location. Alternatively, you can go to your video file location and right-click it. From the menu, scroll to ‘Open with’ and select ‘VLC Media Player.
b) MPV player
MPV is a powerful cross-platform alternative video player for Windows 10 PC users. It also works flawlessly in macOS, Android, and Linux operating systems.
MPV, unlike VLC, is simple and straightforward- it lacks the numerous customization options and menus and instead incorporates only the basic playback options. Thus, it’s remarkably portable (you can carry and run it from a USB flash drive).
Opening a video file in MPV is fairly straightforward- simply locate your video file then drag it onto an open MPV player interface to begin playback.
Considered one of the best video players for power users, PotPlayer is also a suitable alternative to default Windows 10 PC default video players. It incorporates an in-built video editor, allows for plenty of customization, and enables hardware acceleration for high-resolution videos. PotPlayer’s default interface is all-black, but you may personalize the display with the various built-in color schemes and themes.
To open a video file in PotPlayer, simply Launch PotPlayer and click on the file you wish to open. The video will then start playing.
How to change the Default Video Player in Windows 10
If you’ve found a suitable third-party video player and would like to use it as your default media player, you need to tweak some Windows 10 settings. Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1: Press Windows key + X and click the ‘Settings‘ option.
Step 2: Next, click on the Apps option.
Step 3: Next, click on ‘Default Apps‘ on the left sidebar.
From the ‘Video’ menu, click on the existing default video player. The Movies & TV app will most likely be the default selection here if it’s installed in your Windows 10 PC
Choose your preferred third-party video player from the drop-down list by selecting it
From here, Windows 10 will open all video files it detects using this third-party player unless you specify otherwise.
Convert the unsupported video file to supported video Format
In case you are adamant in using the default Windows 10 video player apps for your playback, you need to convert the unsupported video files to a format that the default apps can decode. There are a few ways you can achieve.
There are several online sites and offline video format converting software but these carry a considerable risk of malicious programs and bots. One of the most reliable video-format conversion tools is the VLC Media Player. VLC Media Player features a built-in conversion menu for audio and video files to formats whose playback is supported by default Windows 10 players.
Converting your video files to default Windows 10-supported formats enables you to switch them to formats that employ hardware decoding. This improves efficiency and reduces the power requirements for video decoding.
Install Additional Video Codecs
A codec is a piece of software that ‘decodes’ video files into appropriate audio and imagery. The absence of the right video codec in a PC for particular video formats results in playback failure. To solve this issue, you first need to know the specific codecs the unsupported video format uses so you can download appropriate third-party codecs.
Alternatively, you can download a comprehensive codec pack to get around the file format support issue. The K-Lite Codec Pack is the most popular video codecs bundle for Windows 10 PC users as it addresses most media file formats. Though installing this codec pack adds video format support to some third-party media players and Windows Media Player, it doesn’t work for the default Windows 10 Movies & TV app.
Here’s how to install the K-Lite Codec Pack in your Windows 10 PC:
Step 1: Download your preferred K-Lite Codec Pack variant.
Step 2: Run the installer and select the ‘Normal’ (default) installation mode. Select ‘Advanced’ if you want to customize your installation
Step 3: Click “Next” to proceed with the installation
Step 4: Choose your preferred video player. By default, the K-Lite’s Media Player Classic (MPC-HC) option. You may change this selection to your select video player. Note: If you’re using the Movies & TV app or VLC Media Player, the wizard will alert you that the K-Lite Codec Pack won’t work with these players.
Step 5: Select Windows Media Player, the included K-Lite Media Player Classic or any other third-party player. Confirm the other installation options and hit ‘Next’ to continue.
Step 6: The next K-Lite Codec Pack installation steps will appear if you selected ‘Install MPC-HC as a Secondary Player’ in the previous menu. Confirm K-Lite’s Media Player Classic player’s settings and click ‘Next’ to proceed.
Step 7: Click ‘Next’ to continue as the next installation stage is pre-set- unless you intend to change K-Lite Media Player Classic’s hardware acceleration options.
Step 8: Specify your language preferences for captions and subtitles. Choose your preferred primary, secondary, and tertiary languages from the drop-down menus and click ‘Next’ to proceed.
Step 9: Hit ‘Next’ to continue the installation with the pre-set audio configuration settings.
Step 10: Click ‘Decline’ to side-step any extra add-on software options.
Step 11: Double-check your K-Lite installation selections then click the “Install” button to start the installation.
Step 12: Click ‘Finish’ when the installation is complete. From this point, your chosen media player will support the playback of the extra video formats provided for in the codec pack you’ve installed.
The above 3 approaches will come in handy the next time you hit a snag when attempting to play video files whose format is unsupported by the default Windows 10 players. If, however, these solutions fail to work, it could be that the video file is corrupted or has encoding problems.
Hey, this is Margaret, a Windows Systems Administrator who’s in love with everything about tech.