Media Center Extender – Cannot Play Video – The file type is not recognized and cannot be played

I’ve been running Windows Vista Home Premium with Windows Media Center for awhile now with no problems. I have been streaming pictures and music to my Windows Media Center Extender (my Xbox 360) with no problems, but recently, I tried playing an AVI video file that I had on my Media Center PC through my Xbox 360.

The AVI video file plays fine on my Windows Media Center PC, which would lead me to believe that a Microsoft-based Media Center Extender (the Xbox 360) would be able to play the same type of video file that is being played on the Media Center PC, but when I try to stream it to my Media Center Extender, I get the following error:

Cannot Play Video
The file type is not recognized and cannot be played. Either the correct codec (a file that compresses/decompresses audio or video) is not installed or the file is corrupt.

Are their updates that need to be installed on the Xbox 360 if it is being used as a Windows Media Center Extender? I’d think that the video would be processed on the PC where it would then send a recognizable video stream to the Media Center Extender.

Has anyone had any problems with this? Are there any work arounds? I’ve read a couple articles that recommend converting all videos to MPEG2, however, I don’t want to spend the time or the effort to convert videos that I want to watch through my Media Center Extender… that seems like a waste of time.

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94 thoughts on “Media Center Extender – Cannot Play Video – The file type is not recognized and cannot be played”

  1. lol…..if i wanted to watch my porn i’d just watch it on my pc… what i want to watch are all my movies………………….ok maybe a little porn 😛

  2. ok guys listen up.. i can play any type of media from my computer to my xbox 360 wirelessly and with no hacks or anything. the thing is you cant play the movies you downloaded from media center. just go to media then video and go to the folder your music is in through that process. when u try to play it it will say something like “you cant play unprotected media files on your console and update is required”. after it says that it brings you right to the update (which is free) and after u wait 3 seconds for it to download then u just play the movie again and boom your done. no media center needed but who cares.. i mean its the same thing anyway

  3. Been trying to get this to work for ages, echoing what other people have said on here, basically the only way you can watch avi files on your xbox without installing any extra software onto your PC is to watch the videos through the videos section of the dashboard. This is a shame because Media Centre is a nice looking interface and it would have been good if there was a way of linking all of your media together. Fingers crossed Microsoft will release some kind of update in the near future.

  4. People here are saying its microsofts fault. Codecs are designed for Pc use not consoles.. this is why its hard to get it to work with media center.

    Media center trys playing it using the xboxes codecs which are pre-installed

    Using the windows media player setting runs Codecs from your PC to your xbox silently so use this method.

    To set up:

    1. Download windows media player 11 if you don’t already have.

    2. Have the xbox and Pc connected to the same wireless network, alternative you can use an ethernet cable from PC to xbox windows media player 11 click on the library tab then media sharing.
    and tick the share media box and click ok.

    4. an xbox picture with xbox 360 written below it will be listed, click it then click allow.

    Your PC is now set up

    5. go to your xbox dashboard video section and click your PC or change source to your PC and all your windows media player folders such as films movies and pictures.

    If you see no Data there then you may have to change your windows media players library folders to the ones you want to share.

    If you have trouble setting up email me at

  5. Gary is absolutely correct.. it’s odd but it works

    the media center extender does not wor for avi files but like gary said:

    1. install media player 11
    2. right clik library > media sharing
    3. go to video section of 360 dash
    4. play whatever video you want off your pc

    the only trick here is sometimes getting the xbox to recognize the pc.. if help is needed i could post a quick guide.

    it’s a shame that the media centre can’t pick up on the pc codecs.. it’s so pretty! upgraded to media center 2005 (not a vista fan) just to use the extender function lol

    going to toy around with transcode 360 latter in the day…..

  6. For some reason when I do it that way (Comment #55), none of my media shows up on my Xbox360. I see all of the folders, however no media is available (pictures, music or videos).

    Any ideas/suggestions???

  7. I have a Linksys dma 2100 Media Extender and the same thing happens. .AVI will not play and have to be converted to MPEG.
    Go to the Linksys site and this is what you find:
    The Digital Media Extender only supports the following video file format:

    Video from Disc: DVD-Video / MPEG2 – VOB with AC3 5.1 and down mix to Stereo

    Video from Vista PC:

    MPEG-1 – Up to 352×240(NTSC),352×288(PAL) – Up to 1.856Mb/s – 23.976 & 24F/s, 25F/s(PAL), 29.97 & 30 F/s(NTSC)’ – Audio: MPEG-1 layers I & II (Both program & elementary stream content)
    MPEG-2 – Main Profile @ High Level – Up to 1920x1080x30F/s & 1920x1152x25F/s – CBR & VBR up to 19.39Mb/s- 23.976 & 24F/s, 25F/s(PAL), 29.97 & 30 F/s(NTSC) – Audio: MPEG-1 layers I & II, AC-3 – (Both program & elementary stream content)
    WMV9 (VC-1 Main profile) – @ High Level – Up to 1920x1080x30F/s – CBR & VBR up to 20Mb/s – 24,25,30F/S
    VC-1 Advanced profile – @ Level 2 – 720x480x30 & 1280x720x30 F/S – CBR & VBR unto 20Mb/s – 24,25,30F/S –
    H.264 – High Profile 4.0 – Up to 1920×1080 – Up to 20Mb/s – 30 & 25 F/s – Audio: MPEG-1 Layers I & II, MPEG-2 Layer I & II, AC-3
    HTTP AV Streaming – MPEG-1 & MPEG-2 – play, pause, stop, seek forward 30s (+/- 3s), and seek backwards 7s (+/- 1s).

  8. @ comment 56 the media you want to play has to be in a shared folder. you can rather use windows media settings to set up your shared folders or you can put the media you want shared into the following folders:


    This is where its located on my vista account, the only thing that would change is if your using an opperating system on a second harddrive in which the letter C would be different.

    Not sure if thats where its found on XP computers.

  9. i had same problem an done my ead in, if u have movie saved on own eg. just on desktop and not in a file it will play through media (video) havent triedit through media centre yet, hope this helps

  10. Response to #56
    Pull up Media player 11
    Click On Library Tab
    Select “Add to Library”
    From This window Choose Add if you dont already see your Files
    Then Click OK This should work for Ya

  11. Ok Guys…..One simple question… Can you watch an .avi from your PC on your xbox 360? Whether it may be through the Media Center or the Video folder? Thanks


    First you need an XBOX live membership ($50\yr)
    second you need to be signed in under your membership name (internet required)
    Third You need to download a media update from XBOX Live Marketplace (Free). If you cannot find this download simple attempt to play any .avi (WHILE SIGNED IN), The xbox will inform you of the required update and take you to it.

  13. Follow up on previous comment:

    Even After this update for your 360, you cannot play an .avi file unless you are signed in under your membership name (A.K.A. GamerTag)
    this means the files will not play unless you are hooked to the internet.
    By the way, if you do not want to take the chance with this and pay the $50 then goto an Wal-Mart or BestBuy or GameStop or any other store that sells video games and purches a 1 or 3 month membership for a fraction of this.

  14. Follow up on 66

    This Still will not allow you to play the movie on the “Media Center”
    Just play the movie staight from the XBOX dash board. (MY XBOX -> Video Library)

  15. Everyone needs to justy stop trying to use the extender, jus follow the many replies stating to use the network hook up, if your connected to the internet on your xbox it will dl the codec needed to play the files, ive never had any problems doing it this way. Just enable file sharing with your xbox.

  16. Wtf. I have read all the comments here and have a comment of my own.
    I networked my xbox to my vista media center based pc. Using the media center from my xbox I got the same message as was posted in the original post. I went in through the dashboard video library and everything worked fine to watch avi files streaming straight from the pc.
    Then the 3 red light ring of death. Sent in for repairs. Sent back a different xbox with different serial number. In the meantime I had change Internet providers and then tried to set up new xbox again to do the same thing. After a few frustraiting days fighting with firewall, new router issues, tech support from both my Internet provider and xbox support I was finally successful in connecting to my pc. Using media center I get the same message. Going to dashboard / video library, it sees my computer but when trying to get in it says I need to set up xbox for the of. But I already did. Media center works fine to view pictures.
    Well back I go to xbox support. After an hour trying different things, he tells me because I can play same videos ( avi ) with my flashdrive in the usb port and not in the media center, and the fact I can’t connect to my pc in the dashboard / video library, he says I need to send it in for repairs.
    Frickin, I just got it back. Xbox support guy tells me they do support avi and I should be able to play them in the media center.
    Can anyone here tell me if in fact I do need to send it invfor repairs again? Or should I just be happy amd just play my videos with my flashdrive.
    I will try a few of the suggestions above and if they work for me I will update you all.


    Media Center uses Media Player to play all its formats. So w/e doesn’t work for media player doesn’t work for media center! When it asks for codec obviously not the xbox, for the computer dummies. I haven’t looked into updating media player with codecs yet, could be possible?, but not sure because alot of legal issues with pirated movies and such

  18. For you guys saying “use the network connection”, be aware, that ONLY works if Xboxlive is up, if its down, then you CANT watch ANY media via that option.

  19. Windows Media Center is not the way to go! Download the latest version of Windows Media Player. When you start Windows Media Player it should have six buttons at the top. From left to right they read Now Playing, Library, Rip, Burn, Sync, Media Guide. Click the little down pointing arrow under Now Playing when that button is highlighted > Click More Options.. > Library > Configure Sharing. Under Configure Sharing click on the symbol of the xbox 360, then click allow. If there is no xbox symbol there, then go onto your Xbox 360 > System Settings > Computers, and then set up the connection. Good luck

  20. Davo

    February 26th, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    All i did to play AVI files was in the XBOX dash board goto media, instead of clicking on windows media centre click on video’s, you can play them through there assuming you have media player 11 and have media sharing enabled on it.. All i had to do then was signinto Xbox live and download a 2.43Mb optional media file that allows you to play unprotected files…. enjoy


  21. where did u find that 2.43mb optional media file on xbox live? i searched everywhere for it but couldnt find it..

  22. p 72.
    you are the moron. they are *NOT* talking about media center on the PC, but media center extender for xbox. which you can’t install codecs on, MS needs to do that, but they haven’t. which really really sucks btw. I’d like to use the extender because i want to create my own interface, which i have created and looks very cool, but i can’t use it because all my files are avi. I refuse to use wmv. my only other option is to throw together a cheap pc and have it running in the living room. which kind of sucks.

  23. I have tried many times to play everything on my xbox extendern:( . Fucking pricks they wont do to create the specials codes for your xbox so you can play everythings , everytime those fucking issues about hardware or software of xbox and then i have to hear Xbox is family device and you can do everything what you want ? yeah grow some balls microsoft because you meant to say ( what we want )
    but the oppertunities about menu of libarary video ? maybe you noticed it is almost the same when you watch on your pc or with inputtv(( cabel)between your pc and tv ( Hd tv )
    My opinion about xbox it can be very good console but they wont upgrade stuff for it , so it sounded for me ? like a very nice car but from inside it is reall shit

    i agree with fuckmicrosoft and the others ?

    buy pxs 3 or buy an extern device where you can put lots of different video`s no shit anymore

    goodluck you all^^

  24. ok heres the work around …. since microsoft wont let you stream anything but what that want you to stream download tversity. its a nice program and streams anything and it uses the fddshow codec ……… works great enjoy

  25. This is stupid we already get that you can stream .avi’s through the dashboard but the whole point of this is trying to get a work around so we can play EVERYTHING through the MEDIA CENTER EXTENDER. We know it works the other way but it would be really nice to just have it all work on the one interface without having to convert to .mpeg…… I mean if it’s gonna work with a conversion anyway, why can’t Microsoft just make life that little bit easier for us by making a codec update considering they push the Media Center Extender side of the 360 for sales.

  26. I used the transcode360 app mentioned above and it works very very well. I got the dl from softpedia as the original site is down. For me, this is a much better solution than using the shared feature – as stated above I want all media thru the MCE interface.

  27. Hi there all,i had the same problem back when i was using win vista ULT..never able to play anything from my based PC..but all that changed when i Installed my Win 7 Ult 64Bit work’s fine..Try it.

  28. The way around it is simple just share videos through wireless video library just instead use a ethernet cable and WALLA whaddya know it’s working

  29. this will fix your problem. i have vista x64 connected to xbox 360 wmc extender. i couldn’t play back live Tv, or recorded TV, until i did this and it fixed it :)
    if it works for you, let me know at

    1. On the Media Center computer, click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start button
    , and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
    2. In the Programs list, right-click cmd, and then click Run as administrator.
    3. At the command prompt, type cd %windir%\system32, and then press ENTER.
    4. Type Lodctr /R, and then press ENTER.
    5. Wait until you receive the following message, and then type exit:
    Info: Successfully rebuilt performance counter setting from system backup store
    6. Restart the computer, and then reconnect the Extender.

    after a restart, it will work for you :) it worked for me :)

  30. Hi guys i was having the same issue the easy fix for this is to allow file sharing with your xbox then going to your videos blade on the xbox and selecting your pc all avi’s and divx works fine

  31. I was wondering if anyone else has problems streaming stuff from external harddrives through the Video Library in the My Xbox menu?

    Thing is, even tho Media Centre cant play anything, it shows all the files from my HD, whereas the Video Library only shows folders on my computer.

    I shared all the files on my HD through Media Player, like I did with everything else on my computer… :/ please help anyone, god its annoying.

  32. I had this problem acctually happen to me at 2:30am last night while i was watching a movie… my PC recieved some type of updates (windows7ultimate) and for some reason i then got that file error everytime i tryed a movie… just click windows button type sharing goto “Manage Advanced Sharing” and then you will see Manage media sharing… somehow it moved 360 to blocked… so unblock and watch

  33. To stream DVD’s or any media to the XBOX 360 as an extender from the MCE you need to convert the file to DVR-MS. So this is how I archive a DVD. First rip with DVDFAB then DVSSHRINK if you want to reduce the size then VIDEOREDO to convert to DVR-MS.

  34. I have to laugh at Brad up there…yeah, just open your Xbox, and dribble solder everywhere, and your Xbox 360 will suddenly get up and walk around and speak any language you want it to (and some you don’t)…it’ll solve world hunger AND… play pirated games, even off PS3! In fact, if you smash hard enough to make a new hole, it’ll play old cartridge type games too! It will give you a daily trip to the moon, wash your socks and play fetch with your dog. Just open it up and dribble some solder somewhere. Oh, and apparently it will fly too!!!

    Theres should be an age limit of at least 30 for the internet…..or some sort of intelligence test…

    To quote, “well what u do is take it apart and theirs a chip that u solder and it allows u to fly witht he 360”

    Would you let this guy perform brain surgery on your favorite grandmother?

  35. It’s 2010. The XBOX Slim is on the market. Well it is now a real XXXBOX. Log onto Xbox Live, get your updates, plug in your USB oversized 350GB to 2TB harddrive and off you go into HD 50″ Big screen porn land. Be sure to clean off your controller when finished. I guess Kinect solved that problem. Be careful of Kinect and turn it away because you never know if they can activate that thing. And leave your xbox game party before clicking on a flick because it definitely leaves the mic on for everyone to hear after the game is over. GOOD LUCK and USE SOME LUBE to AVOID BRUISING.

  36. For People that are trying to stream movies from the pc via media center extenders you do need these programs for the right codex.

    You may need to install some programs, like real player, Divx Player and K-Lite mega pack, AC3 Filter, Open AL, try installing these in THIS order to get the codex set right.

    Im a Computer & Networking Engineer (also I Tested Windows7 (32 & 64 Bit) for Microsoft & have been running it ever since its launch).

    Post me back if you still got problems

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