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What formats can my Xbox 360 play? When I try to play a movie off my USB on the xbox, often it works and sometimes it just comes up with a error saying that Xbox can't read this format.

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According to Microsoft's support page, you can use the following codecs when streaming from USB: WMV(Unprotected), Mpeg4, H.264, AVI.

Further investigation of that same page reveals that that means you can use the following file formats: avi, .divx, .mp4, .m4v, mp4v, .mov, .wmv

Also, when playing something from USB, the file can be no larger than 4 GB. It also cannot play DivX files older than DivX 5.0.

  • 1
    God you ninja'd me! – Cole Busby Sep 23 '13 at 16:54
  • Weirdly for me I can play mkv files as long as they are on a shared folder, only one mkv in the folder on my PC fine, they cannot be read off a USB key or the HDD on the 360. It makes, NO SENSE at all to me. I can play anything under 1080p from USB in the formats given above. – RossC Dec 24 '13 at 13:58
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A general rule of thumb is that it will almost ALWAYS play a wmv file, but I've had some luck with avi files that have MP3 audio, some mp4 files and even more files listed after the jump to Support

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From a guide on how to play MKV on Xbox, i know:

Xbox 360 has strict requirement for the input formats and only WMV, AVI, H.264 and MPEG-4 are compatible with Xbox 360.

This guide also introduces more tips about Xbox 360.

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