Usually, today’s televisions come with a more or less decent media player that supports multiple formats. But there are times when they give us a strange problem, especially when we play content in an “unusual” format or use an unsupported codec. In this article, we show some alternatives to improve compatibility and enjoy all the content without a hitch.

The decisive point in finding a wider range of alternatives is whether or not our TV has Android TV. This is because the Google operating system offers a simpler way to install applications externally on our TV. If it is manufacturer-specific software, the compatibility will be more limited.

If our TV is Android TV

If we have this operating system on our TV, we will have the option of installing third-party applications to use them as a player. The best known is in the Play Store, but if we want to install external applications, we must activate the option that gives us permission to install applications from unknown sources. We leave you here a few examples:

MX player

It is a powerful player compatible with a large number of formats. Its design is quite simple, and it offers a good number of very useful options for our television.

Among its features, we find its compatibility with formats like .3gp .avi .divx, .f4v .flv .mkv .mp4 .mpeg .mov .vob .wmv .webm, and many others. We can increase the playback volume to 200%, the subtitles can be changed without stopping playback, and we can even increase the speed at which content is displayed. And since we have talked about the subtitles, it is also worth mentioning that they can be changed at will.

The app is available in the Google Play Store. The player also has an ad-free version called MX Pro, although it does come with a fee.

VLC player

The classic among the classics. This open source player has accompanied many of us on a multitude of devices, and we have it available on TVs with Android TV as well.

Here, in addition to playing virtually all available audio and video formats, we can also play streaming content. It should be noted that VLC does not have any advertising of any kind, being completely free software.

You can download this player through the Google Play Store.


From Xataka Home, we have already mentioned the benefits of Kodi every now and then. In addition to serving as a media center for our television, it also allows us to create a local server through a PC and play all kinds of streaming content. In addition, the application is compatible with several addons with which to extend the experience.

As for its player, it is much more complete than most that are included by default in televisions, with a wide range of options both in the picture part, as well as for audio and subtitles. .

Kodi is available for download through the same Google Play Store.

Smart TVs without Android TV

Smart TVs that don’t have Android TV as their operating system will be more limited by the manufacturer’s software. Compatibility with apps is much lower, as they have an app store with more restrictions than the Play Store. However, there are some easy ways to fix this problem.


It could also easily enter as one of the best apps for TVs with Android TV, but we wanted to mention it here as it is also compatible with smart TVs with their own software, be it from Samsung, LG, Hisense, Panasonic , etc. You can find all models compatible with Plex via this link.

This application is very useful, especially since besides being a gamer, it also allows us to create a local server in the style of Kodi, being its main function. However, the only way to play content through your application for smart TVs is based on creating this local server, depending on an external PC for it.

Plex allows you to stream content and even change its quality in case we have a bit of a bad connection. You can find this app in a plethora of smart TV app stores.

Play content via dongle or decoder

This option is not an alternative to playing “free” content, as it will be necessary to purchase an external device such as Chromecast, Fire TV and others. However, it is the best solution for those who are limited by the standard operating system of their televisions.

Google Chromecast, Charcoal, Play streaming content

If we opt for this option, we will have at our disposal a much more complete application store and the possibility of installing applications more easily from external sources, without even mentioning all the options we have to send any type of content via mobile devices, tablets, etc.

Recommendations to avoid problems when playing movies and series

In case we find ourselves in the position of having to endure the limitations of the player provided by default, it is advisable to take a look at the format and codecs used by the video we wish to play in question.

Formats outside of the classic mp4 and mkv, or some audio codecs like DTS, which, for example, are no longer compatible with Samsung TVs since 2018, can give us another problem in this regard. Also, if necessary, it would be good to take a look at the synchronization between the subtitles and the video file, because although there are now partially acceptable solutions from the manufacturers, it would not hurt. use a program like VLC to correct these errors before playing the content on the TV.