MP4 is widely considered one of the most compatible digital video formats. However, the problem of not being able to play an MP4 video with Windows Media Player is not rare at all. Why can’t the default player on Windows play one of the most compatible video formats? Can Windows Media Player play MP4 anyway? And how to deal with an MP4 file to make it literally more compatible? Keep reading because all the answer you need can be found in today’s article.

Part 1: Why Can’t My MP4 Files Play on Windows Media Player

The reason why Windows Media Player won’t play MP4 video could be various. Leave the possibilities of the video file being corrupted and the software being damaged aside, one of the most likely causes is that you are playing a specific MP4 video file that cannot be recognized by Windows Media Player.

In fact, there is more than one kind of MP4 video file. MP4 file format, or more accurately, MPEG-4 file format, is a container format holding digitally encoded video and audio content. Although the “.mp4” file extension is the only official file extension, some other file extensions could also belong to the “MP4 file” category. Those files include “.m4v”, “.mp4v”, “.3g2”, “.3gp2”, “.3gp”, “.3gpp” and “.m4a”. Some of those MP4 files are even in a protected and encrypted format. When you play these MP4 files with Windows Media Player, there are great chances that you can’t play the MP4 file successfully.


Part 2: Disadvantage of MP4

Besides having many different types of file extensions, there are actually more reasons why you should not consider MP4 as the best video format in every scenario. Yes, the regular “.mp4” file is very compatible, but MP4 files also have many disadvantages comparing to other digital video formats, making the video format a less optimal option in various situations.

One of the most important disadvantages of MP4 is that the file format is not very friendly for video editing and movie making tasks. Because MP4 files save video content as well as audio content and other data separately, when you import an MP4 video into a video editing program, the audio can sometimes drift out of sync with the video. Also the video can be distorted as well. In more extreme cases, importing an MP4 video could directly cause the video editing software to crash. These problems are often caused by various kinds of codec issues or it could be the software being unable to recognize the MP4 file at all. Generally speaking, the incompatibility for video editing programs makes MP4 format a bad choice for video editing or movie making tasks.

So MP4 videos are not as compatible as we though after all. But how to make MP4 videos more compatible? If Windows Media Player cannot play an MP4 video, then what we can do to the video to make it playable?


Part 3: Convert Your MP4 Files to WMV

One of the best options to deal with an MP4 video and make it more compatible with Windows Media Player or other video editing tools, is to convert the MP4 to WMV. If you are not very familiar with the WMV video format, it’s a very common video format based on the Microsoft Advanced Systems Format (ASF) container format and compressed with Windows Media compression. To be short, it’s a video file format that developed by the same developer who developed Windows Media Player: Microsoft. Being encoded with one of Microsoft’s Windows Media Video (WMV) proprietary codecs, WMV may not be the best compressed video format, but it’s certainly the most compatible video format for Windows Media Player. If you can convert your MP4 video to an WMV video, then you almost certainly can fix the problem of being not able to play the video with Windows Media Player.

But how to convert MP4 file to Windows Media Player? Well, to convert MP4 to WMV, you usually need a video converter to help you. Among all of the video converter applications, I would recommend Leawo Video Converter the most. Leawo Video Converter is a multi-functional video converter tool. It supports the conversion for 180+ kinds of video formats, and has a powerful built-in video editor integrated allowing you to trim, crop, add watermark to video, adjust video effects, turn 2D video to 3D and remove noise in the background. Besides that, what really make Leawo Video Converter outstanding is the 6X higher converting speed than other programs, and the ability to keep the original video quality even for 1080P and 4K videos.

With Leawo Video Converter, I believe you can easily convert your MP4 video to an WMV video and successfully play it with Windows Media Player. If you are not sure about how to use this program, here is a guide about the video converter program, I’m sure it’ll help.


Step 1: Open Leawo Video Converter. In the first page of the program, navigate to the ‘Video Converter’ function module by clicking the “Video Converter” button in the main window or the “Convert” button in the toolbar above.


Step 2: Once you are in the video converter function module, you can import your MP4 file by clicking the “Add Video” button or directly dragging and dropping the file to the center of the main interface. If you have more than one file imported, you can click the blue “merge” button to merge them into one. You can also leave them separated as well.


Step 3: When the video is imported, you need to set an output format for the conversion task. The section next to the “Convert” button is the output format section. To change an output format, click on it, choose “Change”, and then select “WMV Video” in the newly popped out window.


Step 4: Leawo Video Converter also provides a built-in video editor. You can click the ‘edit’ icon on the right to do some further editing on the video. All of the editing options are listed at the left bar, click on any option and you will have detailed parameters shown on the right, along with a preview window for you to preview the final output video. Once you are finished the editing, click the “OK” button.


Step 5: To start the conversion, just click the green ‘Convert’ button. In the popped-out panel, select an output directory and click the “Convert” icon below.


Part 4: More MP4-supporting Player Alternative

To be honest, converting a video from one format to another is the ultimate solution to video playback problems. It can give your video better compatibility and make it fit your player, but it also inevitably changes the structure and quality of the video file. The method does solve the problem sometimes, but it also comes with some compromises in the video quality. However, sometimes, to successfully play a video file, you don’t need to go that far. Because in most cases, a powerful video player could just fix the problems once and for all, without hurting the video file itself.

Leawo Blu-ray Player is a strongly recommended video player if you are looking for a nice Windows Media Player alternative. Not only because Leawo Blu-ray Player is a free 6-in-1 media player, but also because of its powerful media processing functions. With Leawo Blu-ray Player, you can easily play all kinds of videos that you couldn’t open with Windows Media Player, including various MP4 video files of course. In fact, there are many more brilliant things that Leawo Blu-ray Player can do besides playing all kinds of MP4 videos. Playing Blu-ray across region, playing all kinds of DVD materials, playing lossless 4K digital videos, and even converting a Blu-ray or DVD to a high-quality MKV digital video. All of these features add up, Making Leawo Video Player the ultimate choice for a perfect media player application to replace Windows Media Player when necessary.

Part 5: Conclusion

In today’s article, we had an in-depth discussion on the MP4 video file and the reason why sometimes you can’t play an MP4 file with Windows Media Player. MP4 could indicate a wide range of file formats. Each of those formats has different compatibilities, and some of them are not supported by Windows Media Player. Also, MP4 has various disadvantages, making it hard to use video editing programs to edit the video. All of these facts raise an argument, which is sometimes it’s important to convert the MP4 file to another format or to have a video player that is more powerful than Windows Media Player.

To convert MP4 videos to another format, you can use Leawo Video Converter. It’s a professional video converter that comes with a lot of practical additional functions, and it’s guaranteed that you can use this program to convert your MP4 videos to a more compatible WMV video format. If you don’t want to compromise the video file even a little bit, then a powerful video player like Leawo Blu-ray Player may be more suitable for you. Either way, with the tools introduced in this article, I believe you can successfully play your MP4 videos without any problem now.