Windows Media Player sometimes plays black screen

Hi Everyone,

A couple of people have reported issues playing some of the videos with Windows Media Player. The sound plays fine, but the video shows a black screen.

I’m afraid I have NO idea what’s causing that.

I’ve not been able to replicate it myself, and I compress all the videos in exactly the same way using the same program on one of the same two Macs each time; it doesn’t seem to correlate with which Mac I prepared the final video on… which was the only thing I could think of that might be different. So I’m at a loss.

I will investigate more, but without being able to identify anything different my end it’s really hard to know where to start.

VLC media player, an open-source player which you can download for free here plays the rogue files just fine (as do our Macs and iPhones etc of course).

So I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with the files, and I have no idea why WMP sometimes throws a fit. If anyone has any ideas please let me know, it’s very perplexing.

In the meantime, if you experience the problem, please let me know and let me know which videos it happens on… and please download VLC media player so you can still watch the films. Apologies.

Cheers, Hywel

About Hywel

Particle physicist turned fetish photographer, producer and director. I run and together with my wife, who is variously known as Ariel Anderssen or Amelia Jane Rutherford, depending on whether she's getting tied up or spanked at the time.

3 thoughts on “Windows Media Player sometimes plays black screen

  1. WMP does several things in weird way – one of it is that it atttempt to decode file no matter what. Due to this sometimes you get audio without video or video without audio. Well sometimes you get completely weirdly loaded data and artefacts on movie or just get crashing in key frames…
    But if you have such issues then you simply lack codecs and in some cases installing specific codec or movie player like VLC (which brings its own codecs) will fix it. If not then do not use WMP as it cannot properly recognize codec used. Anyway because of that it is always good to give information what codec was used for video compression (so they can download it) 🙂

    • Thanks! The problem is that the files all use the same codec- they are compressed using the exact same workflow. Final Cut Pro X -> Export ProRes master MOV -> Compressor -> Export MP4 using the same saved settings.

      We do it on two different Macs but nominally the settings are identical (same software version, and the presets were copied from one machine to the other). It doesn’t seem like it makes a difference which Mac was used to export.

      Which is why it is a mystery why some of the clips play and some of them don’t!

  2. Some years back I latched onto a video player called “pot player.” More recently I’ve tried VLC, but just didn’t like the way it worked, at least under Windows. The proverbial last straw was the way VLC rudely hijacked file types under Windows. (“No, I do not want my .mp4 files changed to type ‘VLC media file (.mp4)’ I want them to remain ‘MP4 – MPEG-4 video files’ that merely have VLC set as the default program to open them.”)

    Apparently the unixcentrism of VLC and its developers means that they don’t grok the Windows distinction between file associations and file types

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