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How to Play any Unsupported Video Format in Windows

by Jayant

From time to time, you will probably run into video formats that are unsupported. It will be obvious when you do, as either an error will pop up that lets you know the video format isn’t supported, or it simply won’t play. In some specific cases, the video may seem to play but only the audio will actually play and a black screen will be displayed.

The good news is that just because a video format is unsupported that doesn’t mean that you will never be able to watch it. Instead, there are two main ways in which you can play any unsupported video format if you need to.

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Here are two things that you can try to play the Unsupported video formats. Both work pretty well and you can opt any of them at your convenience.

Install Windows 10 Codec Pack

Installing the codec pack on Windows 10 that is needed to play the video will help to make the video format supported so that it can be played without any issues. While you could identify the video codec that you need and download then install it specifically, an easier option is to download some of the more comprehensive codec packs that are out there – such as the K-Lite Codec Pack.


Once the codec is installed, you will be able to play the video on any media player. The only caveat is that typically the video will be decoded using software – which will be processor-intensive. Slower PCs may struggle with high-quality videos when using software decoding.

Instead of installing codecs or a codec pack, another similar option is to install media players that have built-in additional codecs. The most popular one right now is VLC Media Player, due to the fact that it can play practically any video format you throw its way.

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Use Video Format Converter

The other way that you can play unsupported video formats is by converting them to a format that is supported instead. For example, if you can’t seem to play MP4 with H.265 videos, you could convert them to MP4 with H.264 instead. For this method to work you need to identify a viable video format that is supported. In most cases, MP4 with H.264 is a ‘safe’ option, as it is widely supported by most devices and platforms so you should have no issues playing it.

On top of that, you will need a movie converter that supports both the existing format of the video and the format that you want to convert it to. It is best to have a converter that supports a wide range of both input and output formats, and for example, you could try using Movavi Video Converter.


The main advantage of converting the video format is you can ensure the video is in an optimal format – one that does have hardware support. Additionally, you could convert your videos to formats that are supported by any other devices or platforms that you want them to be viewed on.

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Download Codec Pack for Windows 10, 11, 8.1, 7

At the end of the day being able to convert video formats is definitely the more versatile option, and it will provide you with advantages outside of simply playing unsupported video formats.

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That being said if all you’re interested in is making sure you’re able to watch videos from any format – both of the options described above can help you to do that. It is up to you to figure out which you prefer, or possibly even take advantage of both.

The one thing that is certain is that between both of the options listed above, you should never run into a video format that you aren’t able to watch at all – one way or the other.

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1 comment

Jason William July 16, 2020 - 2:26 pm

Awesome information sharing! I had couple of videos different file format such as mp4, mov, 3 gp all won’t play on Windows Media Player . I think they are corrupted. I try to download codec but the issue is same then I try Stellar Repair for Video software on Windows 10 which help me to fix this error. Thanks!


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