How to choose the video format for TV

video format for TV

It seems to many that modern TVs can do almost everything: they establish an Internet connection, broadcast streaming videos from YouTube and other online services, play movies recorded on flashcards and removable disks, and can synchronize with a smartphone. And the more disappointing when it turns out that the movie does not play since the TV does not support the video format. It is helpful to know what to do in such cases and how to change the video format for your TV.

What video formats does the TV support?

There is no universal answer to the question of which video format is best for TV.

Operating systems are installed on modern TVs, many manufacturers develop their own software.

The set of built-in codecs depends on the device manufacturer, model, firmware. The newer the model, the more codecs it supports.

How do I know if my TV supports a specific video format? The easiest way is to read the instructions for your TV. It always indicates the base set of codecs supported by this model. But manufacturers periodically release new firmware for various models. When the firmware is updated, the number of codecs supported by the device may increase.

How to change the video format for watching on TV

Most modern TVs support the most popular codecs:


a family of common codecs used, in particular, for video compression in the YouTube service, Skype messenger.

H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10, or AVC)

A codec that preserves video quality at a high compression rate.

HEVC (H.265)

A video compression format using highly efficient algorithms


DivX is an MPEG4-based codec, with its help you can generate files of the DivX, MKV, MOV, AVI types.

Sony TVs, in addition to the listed formats, support WMV (9 / VC1), Asf, AVC, MP codecs. Philips TVs additionally support the RealMedia format.

The instructions for the TV usually indicate not only codecs but also restrictions. Thus, Samsung TVs support the HEVC codec exclusively for TS, MP4, and MKV files. H.264 UHD codec is only supported up to version 5.1.

What to do if the video format is not supported on the TV?

Even on the most modern TVs, the file may not open due to the fact that one of the codecs used to generate the container is not supported. There are situations when everything is fine with the video codec, but the audio codec is not supported. Problems often arise when opening old container files such as VOB. Files of this type have been used to store DVD videos, which makes it difficult for movie lovers to play their favorite movies at times.

If the file format is not supported by the TV, there are several ways to fix the problem:

  1. Update firmware.
  2. Open video on PC by connecting it to TV with HDMI cable.
  3. Install a third-party player that supports many formats (like VLC).
  4. Re-encode the file to a format supported by the TV.

Updating the firmware is a method available only for advanced users. Unfortunately, the likelihood that the required format will be supported after a firmware update is rather low.

It’s easy to connect a TV to a PC or laptop, but then two devices will be involved in the video playback process instead of one. The consequences are obvious: the cumbersomeness of the entire system, double power consumption, depriving someone of the family of the opportunity to work or play on the computer.

Installing a third-party player (VLC) is not a bad option, but not realizable on Samsung and LG TVs. You can install a third-party player only on TVs with Android TV OS (Sony, Philips). Tizen OS (Samsung) and Open webOS (LG) do not provide this option.

The easiest and safest way to view an unplayable file is to change its format using a converter

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