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nce upon a time I found that our trusty Windows Media Center couldn’t see or playback certain file types. Our Media Center is the center piece of our entertainment setup; we use it to record TV, watch live TV, and playback videos from the network (and occasionally look at photos and listen to music). So, when I found that it couldn’t see or play .rmvb or .mp4 video files, I started googling. Here’s what I found that worked, boiled down for your convenience. All the software referenced here can be found on (among other places on the web).

Enable .rmvb Playback

  1. Install Real Alternative. It contains just the bare basics you need for Windows Media Center to play Real audio and video. You don’t need the full RealPlayer off the official site for two reasons, you’re not going to need the Player, and it’s a bloated piece of junk that tries to take over your PC.
  2. Add these keys to the registry.
  3. [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.rmvb]
    “Content Type”=”video/realmedia-VB”


  4. Enjoy watching .rmvb files in My Videos in Media Center.


Enable .mp4 Playback

  1. Install the Haali Matroska media splitter. This lets Windows Media Center look inside the mp4 container.
  2. Install ffdshow. This is a great little tool. Besides enabling mp4 playback, it replaced three pieces of software I was using: Xvid, Divx4.12, and AC3Filter. During the setup you may also choose to disable the audio support portion (I only left AC3 enabled, to send Dolby to my stereo through S/PDIF.)
  3. Add these keys to the registry.
    “Content Type”=”video/mp4”


  5. Enjoy watching .mp4 files in My Videos in Media Center.


And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZZZZZZZ

Sources: The Green Button for the rmvb info. The Green Button and for the mp4 info.



    • Benny
    • Posted December 28, 2008 at 4:39 PM
    • Permalink

    Hey rotwhiler,

    This works a treat on my old ME 2002 (XP) too!

    Thanks for sharing this! You’ve make my OH very happy indeed!


    • rotwhiler
    • Posted January 2, 2009 at 1:47 PM
    • Permalink

    No problem Benny, glad I could help.

    • soenix
    • Posted January 12, 2009 at 4:26 AM
    • Permalink

    WOW… It works great too for media center in vista home.

    really really thank you.

    • slarti42uk
    • Posted April 16, 2009 at 6:35 AM
    • Permalink

    After much searching this did the trick perfectly on Media Center XP 2005.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Mopeto
    • Posted April 3, 2010 at 5:53 PM
    • Permalink

    THANKS, work like a charm!

  1. Thanks, followed the instructions for .mp4 and it works great.

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