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Unable to Play .MP4 Files in Windows Media Player

Posted on 2008-10-01
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
When I try to play an mp4 video file that I encoded it won't play in Windows Media Player.  I just get a generic error message "windows media player encountered a problem while playing the file.  What is strange is I can rename the mp4 file to have an avi exension and works fine.  What I don't understand is why it won't just play the mp4 file.  

My ultimate goal is to be able to play these files on my XBox 360 which currently I can watch the mp4 files that I have renamed to avi files.  The mp4 files do not even show up on the 360.  The mp4 files will also play on the 360 but I have to use Zune to stream them.  The problem is Zune can not stream avi files.  I am trying to make it so I can use one program to stream to my XBOX.  

I have Windows Vista 64 Bit.  Any help would be appreciated.  This is just strange.
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Question by:kmcbrearty
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by:ArtieG
ID: 22618484
I'm afraid that .MP4 files are not supported in Windows Media Player. There are conversion tools that can be used to get them to a format that is supported. Here is a link to the Microsoft KB article that discusses this. Hopefully this helps.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/316992
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by:Andres Perales
ID: 22618562
you should be using .wmv files, all microsoft products will read .wmv files, reencode to .wmv
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by:kmcbrearty
ID: 22618806
peralesa:

The problem is that I can't find a decent program that can encode to wmv.  Every program that I have tried either has the video out of sync or suffers from what looks like digital distortion.

ArtieG:

I have already found and read that article.  My take on it was that mp4 files were supported aka "Microsoft has chosen to implement the video compression portion of the MPEG-4 standard. Microsoft has currently produced the following MPEG-4-based video codecs"

Also as I mentioned I can watch the file after renaming it to an avi file.  It just doesn't like the mp4 extension for some reason because I am not change the contents fo the file.
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by:Andres Perales
ID: 22619233
What are you using ot encode now, and from what source?  
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by:kmcbrearty
ID: 22619299
DVDFab from DVD
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by:Jstncase
ID: 22619626
Try using Video9 to encode some of your video files to see if this will work. There is also Windows Media Encoder available. As for MP4 files, Microsoft does support them as they have the Zune product. One method to get your MP4s to work on your XBOX is install the Zune Player. It supports streaming like WMP11. It does not support all media files so there is no 1 solution there. If your Vista is Vista Ultimate you can use MC to show the files, but this requires a few 3rd party programs to display.
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by:Andres Perales
ID: 22624016
Agree with Jstncase...to from dvd to avi then avi to wmv using the media encoder from microsoft...this will get you the best quality, time consuming though.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/default.mspx
 
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by:kmcbrearty
ID: 22624114
I have been using Media Center.  Media Center won't play an mp4 file though.  What 3rd party programs are you referring to?

As for WMV files with all the time I have spent on this I feel that the mpeg formats have better quality than the wmv format.  Another significant point is that they don't take as long to encode  (2 Hours vs 4 Hours).  I would rather stick with an MPEG format.
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by:Jstncase
ID: 22625527
http://www.ditii.com/2007/09/09/windows-vista-media-center-how-to-play-xvid-and-avi-files/
It requires you to install two different programs on the PC, then it does allow you to play MPG, MP4, DIVX. I had some laggyness. I didn't have time to bother with trying to configure it to my needs but I did see that it worked and I was able to watch my other shows from one of my bedrooms.
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by:kmcbrearty
ID: 22638905
I tried to install the programs you mentioned but it still doesn't play the file.  I get a message:

Cannot Play Video

Windows Media Center Cannot open the file
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vincentwolff earned 180 total points
ID: 22657047
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by:kmcbrearty
ID: 22665273
I had already downloaded and installed k-lite which is what allowed me to read the avi files.  I needed to download and install Codec Installation Package for Windows Media Player 6.4 from the microsoft link that you provided and then windows media player would play the file correctly.  The last hurdle to this was to get WMP to add the mp4 file to the library under video.  This required modifications to the registry.  

I have attached the registry file that I used for a Windows Vista 64-bit machine.  Anyone reading this in the future should be careful making changes to the registry.  The file should be saved as a .reg file.

I found this registry information at http://85.17.184.130/forums/index.php?s=8f51e8b5cabd08153219bd6173963d00&showtopic=49617&pid=1054721&st=0&

mp4Recognition.txt
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