I am using ubuntu 12.04. I have a .mp4 video for which I want to change default media player to vlc.

When I try to go to properties by right clicking on that video.

enter image description here

I get the following message. How to overcome this.

enter image description here

Output of mediainfo filename.mp4

Complete name                            : Interview with MIT Physics Professor Walter Lewin.mp4
Format                                   : MPEG-4
Format profile                           : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID                                 : mp42
File size                                : 10.7 MiB
Duration                                 : 3mn 41s
Overall bit rate mode                    : Variable
Overall bit rate                         : 407 Kbps
Encoded date                             : UTC 2008-10-16 15:15:29
Tagged date                              : UTC 2008-10-16 15:15:29
gsst                                     : 0
gstd                                     : 221656
gssd                                     : B4A7D0A24HH1345230487367165
gshh                                     : o-o---preferred---hkg05s03---v14---lscache4.c.youtube.com

ID                                       : 2
Format                                   : AVC
Format/Info                              : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile                           : Baseline@L1.1
Format settings, CABAC                   : No
Format settings, ReFrames                : 1 frame
Codec ID                                 : avc1
Codec ID/Info                            : Advanced Video Coding
Duration                                 : 3mn 41s
Bit rate                                 : 280 Kbps
Maximum bit rate                         : 997 Kbps
Width                                    : 352 pixels
Height                                   : 288 pixels
Display aspect ratio                     : 1.222
Frame rate mode                          : Constant
Frame rate                               : 29.970 fps
Standard                                 : PAL
Color space                              : YUV
Chroma subsampling                       : 4:2:0
Bit depth                                : 8 bits
Scan type                                : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)                       : 0.092
Stream size                              : 7.37 MiB (69%)
Title                                    : (C) 2007 Google Inc. v08.13.2007.
Encoded date                             : UTC 2008-10-16 15:15:29
Tagged date                              : UTC 2008-10-16 15:15:29

ID                                       : 1
Format                                   : AAC
Format/Info                              : Advanced Audio Codec
Format profile                           : LC
Codec ID                                 : 40
Duration                                 : 3mn 41s
Bit rate mode                            : Variable
Bit rate                                 : 125 Kbps
Maximum bit rate                         : 280 Kbps
Channel(s)                               : 2 channels
Channel positions                        : Front: L R
Sampling rate                            : 44.1 KHz
Compression mode                         : Lossy
Stream size                              : 3.30 MiB (31%)
Title                                    : (C) 2007 Google Inc. v08.13.2007.
Encoded date                             : UTC 2008-10-16 15:15:29
Tagged date                              : UTC 2008-10-16 15:15:29
| improve this question | | | | |
  • What system do you have (Ubuntu 11.10, 12.04, etc.)? Is 32b or 64b? – Lucio Aug 18 '12 at 1:47
  • I am on ubuntu 12.04 – Chirag Aug 18 '12 at 2:58
  • This is a confirmed bug in the Zeitgeist library which provides file info to Ubuntu Apps (including Nautilus) and seems to occur with MP4 files downloaded from Youtube, which are encoded with the Baseline level 1.1 profile. It does not happen with other MP4 files.
  • The file may play in VLC but that doesn't count since VLC internally includes all codecs.
  • There's no real fix for this until the bug itself is fixed.
  • To change the default player to VLC, simply do it from one of the other MP4 files which work, or follow the directions in this answer.
  • To display thumbnails for these videos, please follow the instructions in this answer.

Above steps effectively makes VLC default player and shows thumbnails properly for all videos (as shown below):

enter image description here

| improve this answer | | | | |
  • This is already installed. – Chirag Aug 18 '12 at 2:57
  • Can you check if this is happening on the 5th "Walter Levin" video, which already has a thumbnail? Also, I would uninstall gxine and reboot once if you installed anything else recently... – ish Aug 18 '12 at 2:58
  • Kindly note, I am able to see file properties for few .mp4 files but not for others. It is important to note further, that videos that DO NOT show preview thumbnails are posing this issue. For fifth "Walter Lewin" video I am able to see the properties. – Chirag Aug 18 '12 at 3:05
  • Can you do sudo apt-get install mediainfo, and pastebin the output of mediainfo xyz.mp4, where xyz is one the problematic files? This most definitely is a codec issue. – ish Aug 18 '12 at 3:10
  • 1
    Thanks, I downloaded it from Youtube too and am now experiencing the same error, so working on it :) – ish Aug 18 '12 at 3:25

This is the result of a known bug in gstreamer that affects many AVC vid's, typically Baseline@L2.1, Baseline@L1.1 though maybe some others. https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gst-plugins-bad0.10/+bug/973014

Answered here on askubuntu Totem not playing certain videos in 12.04

There has been no movement towards applying the upsteam commit in either Ubuntu or Debian, the best self fix is to rebuild the bad plugin with patch I supplied though the moving of libgstvideoparsersbad.so to a .bak will provide some relief

| improve this answer | | | | |
  • I guess, it is better to wait for some official fix for the bug. Moving files may cause some compromise that may not be apparent in short term. – Chirag Aug 19 '12 at 0:29
  • 1
    As I mentioned - the best fix is to rebuild the plugin. The mv was mainly used to find & test for the issue. it provided a 'workaround' till I got an upstream commit to fix. As far as an 'official' fix, well don't hold your breath. When Debian/Ubuntu move to gstreamer1.0 it will be fixed, otherwise neither has shown any interest in fixing in 12.04, 12.10, debian sid – doug Aug 19 '12 at 0:32
  • Agreed. Unfortunately, I cannot accept two answers. :) – Chirag Aug 19 '12 at 0:34
  • Don't care about that - if you're on 12.04 then your only recourse ATM & foreseeable is to self fix either thru mv or build. Unless someone wants to ppa the patched bad plugin. If so i've improved/extended the patch a bit from when orig. posting. – doug Aug 19 '12 at 0:38

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