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MP4 File Not Playing? How to Play MP4 Videos without Errors?

Can’t you play an MP4 file from the start, or the MP4 video playback stops in the middle? MP4 file not playing is a very common problem happening on Windows 11/10, Mac, iPhone, Android, TV, etc. If you see symptoms like no video/black screen, no sound, audio video out of sync, choppy video playback, etc. when playing MP4 files, you need the following solutions.

MP4 not Playing on Mac or Windows 10? Convert MP4 for QuickTime, Windows Media Player, & More

QuickTime Player can’t play MP4 encoded with some codecs, and also some MP4 files won’t play in Windows Media Player. Therefore, you need to convert MP4 files for QuickTime, Windows Media Player or any other MP4 media player to play. HD Video Converter Deluxe is the right MP4 video converter to help fix (4K UHD) MP4 HEVC video issues like won’t open, not recognizing, can’t play, audio video out of sync, black screen, freezing, choppy playback, etc.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Why Is MP4 Video Not Playing?

Part 2. How to Fix MP4 File Not Playing Error?

Part 3. MP4 Playback FAQs

Are you encountering one of the following errors when playing MP4 videos?

  1. Windows 11/10 can’t play MP4 with Windows Media Player, but receive error code like "0xc00d36c4".
  2. "The file is not compatible with QuickTime Player" pops up when playing MP4 on Mac.
  3. VLC media player can’t play MP4 file but gives you "Unable to open the file" error message.
  4. You can’t play an MP4 video on iPhone, Android, or TV.
  5. After uploading MP4 file to Google Drive, iCloud or OneDrive, the MP4 file cannot be previewed.
  6. Video editor like Premiere Pro won’t play MP4 videos but shows a black screen.
  7. Plex can’t stream MP4 files.
  8. Poor MP4 playback performance: No video, no audio, audio video out of sync, choppy/stuttering/jerky, FPS drop, etc.

To just name a few. MP4 video not playing issue is very common yet easy to tackle with. The below words will explain why and how to solve the issue in detail.

Part 1. Why Is MP4 File Not Playing?

Reason 1. Missing required codecs

Like MKV and AVI, MP4 is also a container format that could include diverse video and audio codecs, which determines the way you play an MP4 file. If your device or media player lacks the required codecs, MP4 not playing error or poor MP4 playback performance happens. Missing necessary codecs is the number 1 culprit to all situations including MP4 won’t play on Windows 11/10, Mac, VLC, QuickTime, iPhone, Android, TV, Google Drive and so on.

Reason 2. MP4 file format is not supported by your media player

Though in theory all media players are designed to support the universal MP4 file format, chances are that your media player is excluded in the list. Under such circumstance, you need convert MP4 video for your media player to play without errors.

Reason 3. The settings of your media player is not set properly

For example, if the settings of your media player are not set properly, there may be video audio synchronization or no HDR effect issue when playing MP4 files.

Reason 4. The video resolution, FPS or bitrate is too high

Choppy video playback is often caused by this factor. If your MP4 video is in 4K with high FPS and bitrate, you are very likely to encountering stuttering/jerky/freezing MP4 video playback, mosaics, drop frames, twisted pictures, etc.

Reason 5. The MP4 file has been corrupted

A damaged or broken MP4 file could not be played properly. Your MP4 video may become corrupted due to malware, improper transferring, incomplete download or loss of battery during recording.

Part 2. How to Fix MP4 Video Not Playing Issue?

Now that you have known the causes, you can use the following ways to solve your MP4 not playing error easily.

Method 1. Install required codecs to play MP4 file

  • Suitable for all online and offline MP4 playback problem, say MP4 won't play on Windows 11/10, QuickTime, VLC, iPhone, TV, Google Drive, Premiere Pro, etc.

Often the case, when your MP4 file is not playing, you will receive an error prompt with an error code like "0xc00d5212" and a button to ask you to install missing codecs. Simply follow the on-screen guide to install the missing codecs, or go to third-party sites like K-Lite Codec Pack and CCCP to download MP4 codecs to beef up your media player to play all MP4 files easily.

However, you should note this is not 100% working as you properly won’t install a newer codec like HEVC or AV1. And codec packs from third-party sites may contain malware that would do harm to your computer.

Method 2. Convert MP4 videos

  • Suitable for media players, cloud services or applications that are not compatible with MP4 format.

MP4 is widely supported indeed. If you need to convert MP4 to other file format, you can make use of an MP4 video converter which can help convert MP4 to any format you need.

Such a tool from WinX is the best choice to help convert videos from/to MP4 fast and in high quality. You can input any types of MP4 video from iPhone, GoPro, DJI, DSLR, etc. and output to over one hundred video formats including MKV, AVI, WMV, H.264, etc. to play, upload, stream, share and store.

Step 1. Download, install and launch the converter on your computer.

Step 2. Drag and drop the MP4 file to the MP4 video converter.

Step 3. When the Output Profile window pops up, choose a format you need. If you don't know which format to choose, you can use the on-screen guide to choose the device you are using.

Step 4. Now, click the Browse button to choose a destination folder to save the converted file.

Step 5. Hit RUN button to start converting the MP4 file.

Convert MP4
Convert MP4

Method 3. Run the troubleshooter on Windows

  • Suitable for solving Windows Media Player can’t play MP4 on Windows 11 or 10 error.
  1. Press Windows Key + I and open Settings.
  2. Go to Update & Security.
  3. Navigate to the Troubleshoot section.
  4. Select Video Playback and click on Run the troubleshooter.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooter.

Alternatively, you can run the Troubleshooter from Control Panel:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type control panel.
  2. Select Control Panel.
  3. Click on Troubleshooting.
  4. Choose View all.
  5. Select Windows Media Player Settings.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete it.

Method 4. Turn off WMV DirectX video acceleration

  • Suitable for fixing Windows Media Player not playing MP4 and WMV files issue.
  1. Open Windows Media Player.
  2. Click on Organize and got to Options.
  3. Navigate to the Performance tab and disable Turn on DirectX Video Acceleration for WMV files.
  4. Click on Apply and OK to save changes.
  5. Restart Windows Media Player.

Method 5. Change VLC settings

  • Suitable for solving VLC not playing MP4 files issue.
  1. Open VLC Player.
  2. Navigate to Tools and select Preferences.
  3. Now select Input and go to Codecs.
  4. In the Codecs section, locate Hardware-accelerated decoding and change it from Disabled to Automatic.

Method 6. Upgrade your media player

  • Suitable for outdated Windows Media Player, QuickTime, VLC, and so on to play MP4 videos.

If your default MP4 player is out of date, it might can’t play the MP4 video encoded with the newest coding format like HEVC. To solve this, you are suggested to download and install the newest version of your media player.

Method 7. Switch to a more powerful media player

  • Suitable for people who are finding quickest and easiest way to play MP4 videos on Windows and Mac computer.

The default media player on Mac (QuickTime) or Windows 10/11 (Windows Media Player) is not that powerful to play all types of MP4 videos because of lacking necessary codecs. So, if you need the quickest and easiest way, you can turn to a free MP4 player that can play a wide range of media formats without errors.

Good examples are VLC media player, 5KPlayer and PotPlayer that are both designed for Windows 11/10 and Mac computers, and are capable of playing MP4 videos up to 4K smoothly and in crystal clear picture.


Method 8. Change the parameters of your 4K MP4 video

  • Suitable for large 4K MP4 files that need to be uploaded to Google Drive, share via email, stream in Plex, etc.

As mentioned above, high video resolution, FPS and bitrate will cause choppy video playback if the hardware and player application is not highly developed. To make the MP4 file playback smooth and successful in any situations, you can downscale the parameters, e.g. 4K to 1080p and 60fps to 30fps. When the file is tool large in size, you can also choose to compress MP4 with the tool from WinX.

Method 9. Repair corrupted MP4 file

  • Suitable for fixing the rare or one and only MP4 file to the original status.

A few times the MP4 file not playing error occurs because the MP4 video file has been corrupted. If you download it online, you can choose to re-download it. If the file is damaged during transferring or by malware, you can use an MP4 repair tool to repair it to original condition.

Part 3. MP4 Playback FAQs

1. Why is my MP4 file not playing?

The reasons to MP4 file won’t play error may boil down to missing required codecs, the player is not compatible with MP4 format, the MP4 file is too large in size and too high in video resolution/fps/bitrate, and the MP4 file is corrupted. Any one of the reasons will lead to MP4 not playing issue, but they can be tackled with easily by following this guide.

2. Why is Windows Media Player not playing MP4 file?

Due to corrupted MP4 files, codec missing, and the Windows Media Player software issue, there is MP4 video not playing issue with Windows Media Player. To fix this issue, you can check how to fix Windows Media Player not playing MP4 files.

3. Why is VLC not playing MP4?

The reasons are familiar.

  • The MP4 file has been damaged or corrupted so that VLC totally can’t open it.
  • The MP4 file contains codecs that VLC doesn’t support.
  • The MP4 video is high in video resolution, FPS and bitrate so that VLC is always choppy when you play MP4 files in 4K with VLC.
  • The settings of VLC is set improperly.
  • Your VLC media player is out of date.

4. How do I play MP4 files on Windows 10?

Windows Media Player is the default option to play MP4 video files on Windows 10. Simply launch your Windows Media Player on Windows 10, then drag and drop your MP4 file to it to play.

Alternatively, you can download other Windows 10 MP4 player like VLC, 5KPlayer, PotPlayer, etc. to play MP4 videos on Windows 10 easily.

5. Why can’t I play MP4 files on my Mac?

If you see error message "MP4 the file not compatible with QuickTime Player" when playing MP4 on Mac, chances are that your MP4 file is encoded with coding format that QucikTime Player can’t support. MP4 is a container format that could contain different video and audio codecs, however QuickTime only plays MP4 on Mac encoded with MPEG-4 or H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec. That’s why sometimes you can’t play MP4 file on Mac. To solve this problem, you can convert MP4 to QuickTime supported formats.

6. What media player can play MP4?

As MP4 is the most common and used multimedia format, nearly all media players out the market can play MP4 files without hassle. Considering that newer MP4 codecs are not supported by some media players, you can choose the following multimedia player for MP4 video playback.

  • Windows Media Player
  • QuickTime
  • VLC Media Player
  • 5KPlayer
  • PotPlayer
  • KMPlayer
  • GOM Player
  • DivX Player


Donna Peng

Jack Watt is a sought-after editor at Digiarty. He is responsible for digital and multimedia world, delivering definitive video and audio related software reviews, enlightening guides, and incisive analysis. As a fan of Apple, Jack Watt also brings his experience to more readers and focuses on writing of the Apple ecosystem at large.

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