I'm a little surprised that my fresh install of Ubuntu 21.10 can't play .mp4 files. This seems like a rather basic ability. Anyway, after getting very unhelpful errors in VLC, I installed the default GNOME player, totem, which gave me a more helpful error message: The necessary MPEG-4 AAV codec(s) is missing. But I fail to find any helpful info on where to get this. Not even here on askubuntu. What's going on?


1 Answer 1


When installing Ubuntu, users have the possibility of installing additional third-party drivers, codecs, firmware and other extras:

Image of a previous Ubuntu release; should be the same for Ubuntu 21.10 or not fundamentally different

Codecs can be installed a posteriori if this option isn't selected during the Ubuntu installation.

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • Thank you - this is it. I may have overlooked it because "additional media formats" is bundled with graphics and wi-fi hardware here.
    – OZ1SEJ
    Mar 6, 2022 at 16:48
  • 1
    Indeed. The only thing in common is that some may be proprietary so the reasoning was let's group them all together in this category and let users decide if they want the "package" or not. Mar 6, 2022 at 16:51
  • Ah, well that makes sense.
    – OZ1SEJ
    Mar 7, 2022 at 19:03

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