How to Fix: Unable to Play Video File Error in GNOME Videos

1 min

This quick tip helps you to fix the unable to play video file error in GNOME desktop.

GNOME desktop environment comes with default video player – Videos. When you first install Linux distribution e.g. vanilla Ubuntu with GNOME desktop, you might have seen the Videos application is unable to play most of the videos mostly mp4 or mkv formats.

GNOME Videos - Unable to play mp4
GNOME Videos – Unable to play mp4

This is due to lack of proprietary codecs installed by default in your Linux OS. However, while installing the OS you can always get it installed, but if you have not done already, you can do it via the below steps.

How to fix Unable to play video file error

  1. You need to install ubuntu-restricted-extras to make some of the important codecs available for GNOME Videos. This package contains essential media codecs and fonts and the package is not included by default due to copyright reasons. To install ubuntu-restricted-extras, open terminal and run below commands:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
  1. The installer would ask you to agree on certain license terms, make sure to accept for a successful installation.
Agreement for restricted software
Agreement for restricted software
  1. After installing, try playing the video file which gave you the error.


  • If installing ubuntu-restricted-extras do not work, then try installing some more packages by running below command from the terminal.
sudo apt-get install libdvdnav4 libdvdread4 gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly libdvd-pkg
  • These are some of the packages which help to play non-free media formats including DVD, MP3, QuickTime, and Windows Media formats.
  • If all fails, try restarting your system.

Let us know if this solves your problem related to video play in GNOME Videos in Ubuntu or other Linux distributions.


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