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. Were you ever able to resovle this? I have the same issue – are there codecs that need to be installed? If so, how does one intstall them onto the XBox 360? Are you using Vista or XP?

  2. I have not yet found a solution for this… in fact, my Xbox360 recently stopped working as a Media Center Extender all together. I don’t know what happened, I didn’t change any settings.

    I’m running Windows Vista Ultimate.

  3. Out of interest have you tried turning of the firewall on your pc and trying it?
    As i was having similar problems until i disabled avast.

  4. there are no codecs for the 360, it only plays mpeg-2 format .wmv files. with transcode 360 you can get it to play anything else but you cant fast forward or rewind really as its a stream coming from the pc that can be paused or played, it works 9 out of 10 times. i use it because i dont have a modded xbox original which is easily 100 times better.

  5. microsoft are not goin to support a video format on there products like xbox 360 that isnt from there own company thats why you cannot use like divx and shiz on yah 360 and im 15 and i know that :L

  6. At first I had the problem of the xbox not finding any media on the computer at all. I then reformatted vista over my xp and finally got it to find music/pics/vidoes but then it would only play more mainstream microsoft videos only. Just yesterday I was using the media center and for one day only it played every divx file; it was truly a miracle. Today it doesn’t work and I have no idea what made it recognize it last night. Guess I just got lucky.

  7. Subscribed to see if anyone finds a fix for this. I have tried disabling virus protection on the PC and installing the software.



  8. i bought a hard drive with my xbox thinkin i would b able to transfer media from my pc to the 360 hard drive.. then was told that it aint possible.. so purchasing the hard drive for the 360 was a complete waste of money.. tried streaming videoz from my laptop.. and am getting same problem as the rest of you.. so my suggestion is, FUK OFF ur 360 and get a PS3.. which i will b doin very soon.. by the way, sorry, i know this comment didnt help.. just felt like expressing my opinion on how gay microsoft is..

  9. I have my xbox networked to an xp pc which has media player 11, all you do is enable media sharing on the media player and the pc will find the xbox. you can then watch any file. MSenabled the xbox to play AVI files also. I am however experiencing the same problem as above on my new laptop which is running vista premium. I cannot watch any of my files on the xbox from the laptop now on media centre although I can watch the same files streamed via media player 11 on my xp desktop. I have to admit that I have every codec possible on my desktop and am now tracking them all down for my laptop as I feel that is the root problem.

  10. and I thought, I did something wrong with my installation. After reinstaling my Vista Media Center maschine one month ago, playing AVI files on my XBOX 360 Media Center worked fine for a while. But know it dosen’t work anymore, It seems I’m not alone. I uninstalled all software which could have an impact with no success. AVI MPeg-4 files run on the Vista Media Player 11 and the XBOX 360 Video player, but not on the XBOX media center. I’ll give the XBOX support a try before I switch to a none none Microsoft system…

  11. Yeah, I still haven’t found a workaround other than Transcode360, but that seems a bit intensive to have to convert video files on the fly. Microsoft needs to cut the bullshit and get this fixed.

  12. Why not just install TVersity, I use this to stream all my films and music and pictures to my xbox. Its not quite the same as Media Centre, but who gives a shit, as long as im watching all my sweet movies off the Xbox I couldnt care about shitty Media Centre. Try it out and let me know what you think. All you gotta do is install TVersity, follow the instructions and instead of going to Media Centre on the Xbox go to the Videos section and choose TVersity section and your sorted, all your films and no hassle.


  13. 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

  14. I had the same problem with .avi files playing on my vista pc but got the error message when trying to play throught media extender. My only solution so far was to convert files to .mpeg then they work finew. I am going to try to turn off my windows firewall and see what happens. You are right…it is a pain!

  15. I stream loads of videos from my laptop to my 360 elite in DiVX format but i dont use Media Center Extender as i found that to be the problem. I set up a file sharing network between the two and in the media page of the dashboard i go to videos and all the videos in the same folder on my laptop are there. When you first load one up it downloads a codec but since then its been great.

    I don’t know if it plays AVI or others but DiVX is fine.

    Dont know if thats anything new to anyone?

  16. I set up Media Player to share with my 360, then was prompted to d/l an update from xbox live, now I’m watching the movie on my 360 that media center just told me was not supported. Jerks.

  17. HAS any 1 got this sorted yet?????
    playing avi in media center from pc to xbox 360???
    please somebody must know

  18. Hey, I found that if you get the latest version of TVersity couples with FFDshow you can stream any file through to your xbox 360. It does take a while to get the setting just right from the xbox to tversity and playing around with the streaming settings. The only problem is that your pc does have to encode the video to your extender so it does take massive processing if you want good quality… which you do otherwise you would just watch it on the pc.

  19. I could stream .avi fine with MCE 2005. I went to Vista to fix some other compatibility problems, (with a Tvtuner card) and have now sacrificed being able to stream this type of media directly through my 360/extender. Must be related to the DRM copyright protection built into Vista that prevents this. I’d be interested if anyone discovers a direct patch for this to work with Vista. I would prefer to stick with MCE as things work ok otherwise, but if I cant find a fix this it defeats the purpose of why I am trying to use MCE; I want to access all of my media from one interface, not part of it!

  20. I want to access all of my media from one interface, not part of it!
    couldnt agree more, but still havnt found away to get this to work, iam able to stream from the video section of the xbox 360 dashboard it works fine but would like to have one interface like the above post says

  21. Do the active sharing from Media Center 11. That’s how I got all my AVI files to work. Don’t go into Media Center, instead choose Video and change the video source to your computer.

  22. ya that works but it would be nice to have it running from the media center so you could see the video covers, and it would look better

  23. “So from my Xbox360 dashboard, I just go to Videos? I don’t have to set anything on my computer?”

    You have to place your video files in you public video folder, or you shared video folders. Then in Media Player 11, go to Library, media sharing and click the share my media to:. You should see your xbox listed.

  24. does any1 know why some films i have will not play sound on the xbox but does on laptop?

  25. “does any1 know why some films i have will not play sound on the xbox but does on laptop?”

    maybe the xbox doesnt recognise the audio codec, try using another audio codec, maybe mp3 or something else, im not sure cuz i havnt done it yet
    hope it helps

  26. Thanks Davo! davo had the right idea by going to the xbox360 dashboard then go to the media tab. (don’t sign into media center) then go to videos the press change video source. You should see the name of your pc. go to your pc running windows media player 11. then you will see a list of shared folders/drives. You will be asked to download an update on your xbos360 in order for it to play the avi files. This worked great for me.

  27. For anyone who might find this helpful, i had a problem with my media center not connecting, turns out it was the finger print reader that i was preventing it to do that, it was a verisoft finger print reader on a hp dv2000 laptop, to solve the problem i disable the “Use VeriSoft to log on to Windows”in general options.

    im haveing the same problem with my xbob not playing avi files thou, quite anoying!!!

  28. Same problem with MCE, and yeah it would look “cooler” but going through Video tab through normal dashboard works flawlessly, and faster too. Now…, they should include sub-titles support. Going to give support a try, they´ve been helpfull.

  29. Ok guys i had the same problem with my XBOX 360. what i do is put my AVI files and everything else into windows media player and stream it right of the XBOX 360(blue blade, videos). It works for almost all AVI’s.
    And personally i think that streaming music is easier this way as well.

  30. Man, after a couple hours I finally find something very easy to do. Going to VIDEO and setting up your video folder to public was easy. Once it’s all set up. Go to VIDEO and play it. It will ask for an update (if need be), download there and you’re done. Wow!

  31. How do you do “active sharing” in Media Center? I’m having the same problem (unable to play .avi files). I have Media Center in Vista and Xbox 360. When I go into the “Video” tab in my xbox under media, I don’t see my computer?

  32. I don’t see my computer in the Videos tab either. Nor do I see my computer in Media Player’s sharing window.

  33. I am having the same problem as most people here. The thing is that I have an external hard drive with all my movies on it and I am unsure on how to stream them through the Xbox 360. I have one .avi movie under videos on my actual computers hard drive and it plays fine…..i just need to know how to stream from my external hard drive. thanks

  34. @ gre

    make sure the xternal hd u’re using is fat32 formatted or has a fat32 partition on it. cuz the 360 doesnt recognise ntfs.
    try creatin a fat32 partition. easy 2 do. u can do it by using disk management under computer management in windows. but for a full fat32 partition, i recommend fat32 formatter.
    remember that u cant store an avi file or other codecs’ file more than 4gb in fat32.
    also, the 360 has playback issues with 1080p mp4 files (from my xperience)

    hope it helps.

  35. @dereck

    I have been using a 400 gig external drive now for over a year formatted as NTFS and all my avi’s play flawlessly AND you dont have to worry about the 4gb limit. I dont know what issue your having or why yours wouldnt work with NTFS but mine is fine.

  36. i can play films through the xbox as i use windows media player 11, but i downlaoded a copy a spanish horror film, and had to download subtitles seperate, but the xbox wont show the subs, any ideas on how to get them to play together, the subtitles work on my laptop as they are in the same file togetehr, media player and VLC have no problem with it, hmmmmm

    any ideas?

  37. Hi,
    I am using Vista Ultimate and have an 360 that used to work fine playing from the dashboard but not thru media centre. The files played fine on the media centre on my desktop… but not through the extender.

    Then they stopped working in the dash too. I get the “wrong file type message”.

    If I disable the windows firewall they play no problem in both dash and MC.

    I have allowed all the services/apps i can think of through the firewall but it still wont work >:(

    I can play the music and look at the images from the same drive (an external USB on my desktop that i’ve shared with WMP11 media sharing) on my 360 so its not a permissions or sharing issue.

    This is kinda annoying. I have to boot my fricking laptop and play movies on that now. It basically lives under my TV like a 360 anyway.

    But whats the point of MCE if I can’t play my legally downloaded movies without disabling the firewall? There must be something I can allow through the firewall that is currently blocked to enabled this…

    What else needs to be added to the exceptions list? At the moment the following apps are allowed through:

    Media Centre Extenders
    Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service


  38. I’ve been having this same problem and I really hope a solution is found….Anyone have any ideas?

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