I downloaded some videos (both mp4 and avi) and I am unable to play them both in Movie Player and VLC.

In Movie Player, it displays error message saying "Could not determine type of stream".

When I see the properties of those video files, there is no information on 'Audio/Video' tab. There should be information about audio and video codec, bitrate, etc.

Are these videos corrupt? Or, am I missing some codecs?

6 Answers 6


My solution was to go to Tools > Preferences in VLC and, in the Video tab:

  • Check the box for Enable video (if it's unchecked).
  • Check the box for Window decorations (if it's unchecked).
  • Set the Output drop-down menu to X11 video output (XCB).

Then Save your changes. That may fix the problem.

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You are probably missing the codecs, which may be patented and are not included in Ubuntu by default.

Installing ubuntu-restricted-extras, via sudo apt-get or via the Software Center by clicking this link should solve your problem.

  • Codecs are prepacked with vlc , so the possible reason is videos are corrupted
    – Tachyons
    Jul 21, 2012 at 10:35
  • 2
    Didn't work for me. Jul 12, 2016 at 17:10
  • "The address wasn’t understood" Sep 10, 2019 at 1:07

Didn't mention that I was downloading the video files from torrent. Didn't feel to mention it over here because my torrent client shows that it has been downloaded 100%.

I was using qBittorrent Bittorrent client to download the video files. It shows 100% completed. But I was not able to play those video files.

Then I tried to open the torrent file (putting the download location same as that of qBittorrent download location) with Transmission Bittorrent client, the default Bittorrent client in Ubuntu.

To my surprise, Transmission shows that the video file is downloaded 99.8% only. It then downloaded the rest 0.2% and now I am able to play those video files.

Never thought that the torrent client can also be a reason for video files not being played. Hope this issue will help others having similar kind of problem.

  • 2
    Thank you so much for this. I suspected this was the problem, but would not have tried this otherwise. I was using Flud to download on a tablet. Will be switching for that. Sep 4, 2015 at 23:17
  • I am using transmission but having same problem, maybe i try soem other torrent downloader Jun 5, 2016 at 19:12
  • My file was downloaded by torrent. It downloaded 100%. It could be played perfectly. The torrent was shut down. Now my files doesn't work.... Jul 12, 2016 at 17:09

Codecs are prepacked with vlc , so the possible reason is videos are corrupted , If you wanna try your luck ,try to play the video using mplayer


For some reason VLC was crashing on start when opening .mp4 files on Ubutuntu 14.04.

This may not work for others but it worked for me:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get remove --purge vlc
sudo apt-get install vlc

I would try upgrading before doing this and seeing if you need to updateVLC. I didn't need to update it, just had to reinstall because VLC became currupt somehow. Could have possibly been my preferences in VLC got messed up some how (I never touched them).


uninstalling VLC with softwaremanager and then reinstall it from getdeb.net. It works fine now on .mov and .mp4 and the .avi etc. files


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