Error message when you use Media Center Extender to play a video file of an unsupported format on a Windows Vista-based computer: "Cannot Play Video"

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Article ID: 929535 - View products that this article applies to.
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On a Windows Vista-based computer, you try to play a video file of a certain format by using Media Center Extender for Windows Media Center. However, the file does not play. Additionally, you receive the following error message in the thumbnail preview:
Cannot Play Video
Note You do not receive this error message in a standard error message dialog box.


This issue occurs if Media Center Extender does not support a particular video file format. Media Center Extender supports video file formats that are a subset of the video file formats that are supported by Windows Vista. Therefore, although certain video files may play correctly in Windows Media Center, these files may not play at all in Media Center Extender.


To work around this issue, use a video-editing program to convert the file into a format that is supported by Media Center Extender.

In Windows Vista, Media Center Extender for Windows Media Center supports the following video file formats:
  • Windows Media Video 9 main profile (.wmv)
  • WMA standard audio
  • Max resolution 720 by 480
  • Max bit-rate 4 Mbps
  • WMV content may be Windows Media DRM-protected
  • MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 standard definition (.mpg)
  • MPEG-1 layers I and II audio
  • Standard Definition DVR-MS (Recorded TV) at all quality settings (Fair through Best)


You can use Windows Media Encoder to re-encode affected videos into the Windows Media Video 9 format together with WMA 9 standard audio. This format will play correctly in Media Center Extender. To obtain Windows Media Encoder, visit the following Microsoft Web site:


Article ID: 929535 - Last Review: December 29, 2006 - Revision: 1.3
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
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