Many of us have been faced with “can’t open file” or “unsupported audio codec” when trying to play audio or video files, and this can be frustrating indeed. So how do you fix Unsupported file error? Read on and I will guide you through the solution quickly.
Why won’t my video play?
In most cases, the reason why you’re getting an error message when you try to play a video file on your Android device is because the codec of your media file is different than that of your video player, or the fact that your video player doesn’t support the (audio) codec. You might think that your media player arbitrarily decides to play and not play the same container type (aka file type), but a container can contain multiple types of codecs, and your phone might not support all of them.
What is a codec?
First things first, codec is actually the abbreviation of compressor-decompressor. The name actually says it all: it’s a method for encoding and decoding data, specifically for compressed data. Codecs take data (in this case video data) and either compress them so they can be sent or stored or decompress them so they can be viewed.
What is a container?
Usually a container is also referred to as a file format. It takes care of packaging, transport and presentation (while the codec prepares the file for these actions). Containers take care of synchronizing the audio and video. A container is part of the file that determines the file type. In simple terms – if you have a video like example.mp4 file, MP4 is the container.
files” on my smartphone?
As mentioned above, one of the most likely reasons you’re getting the “can’t open file”, “unsupported audio codec” or “unsupported video file error” is because your current media player doesn’t support the codec of your video file. The easiest solution is to switch from the default video player and download a new media player. I highly recommend the fantastic MX player or VLC Player. You can use any of the two players, but i recommended MX Player pro, cos its light and supports virtually every file format, can handle multiple audio tracks, subtitles, auto-rotation of the display and corrections to the aspect ratio. Volume and brightness can be controlled by gestures and there are widgets available too.
There are a bunch of other video players in the Play Store that can also playback most of the video files like VLC or VPlayer. However, don’t expect your phone to playback all those full HD videos if it has a single core processor. You need a decently powerful dual-core Android device to playback videos in S/W decoding mode.
The S/W decoding mode is much more CPU intensive that H/W decoding to playback videos so it is always recommended to use H/W decoding mode whenever possible. On the other hand, S/W decoding can playback nearly all kind of video files while H/W decoding will playback only those videos whose codecs are supported by your device. Do keep in mind that S/W decoding is CPU intensive and so it drains your Android device battery pretty quickly as well.