The video playback errors may prevent you from playing important videos of your security camera system. An incident or crime happened and you rush to playback the footage, but instead, you’ll be confronted with some video playback errors.
It’s a frustrating situation that defeats the whole purpose of your CCTV security system. Why would you install a CCTV system if the playback is not reliable?
The video playback errors may show up on you the phone app of the CCTV system, on their respective computer software, when you access the cameras via web browsers, on microSD cards, or even on the recorder itself.
In this guide, we will provide possible solutions to fix the security camera system video playback error. Once the troubleshooting is done, you should be able to watch and backup your CCTV videos.
Video Playback Error on Security Camera Systems
Fix Video Playback Error of Phone Apps (for CCTV camera systems)
It’s a common issue, you try to watch the CCTV footage on the phone app and it doesn’t work. You may get a playback failed error or even a simple “failed” message.
If your CCTV phone app doesn’t play the camera’s video, try the following solutions.
Sometimes the videos don’t playback on the phone because there’s no internet connection. Sounds obvious, but many users stumbled upon this problem. They try to playback the footage while there’s no internet connection on the phone.
Make sure that your phone (Android or iPhone) is connected to the internet. Check the WiFi settings, and ensure that no cable is loose at the back of the router.
If you’re using 4G/5G cellular network to access your camera system, double-check that you’re getting the internet for your carrier. To troubleshoot, you can turn off the internet connection on the phone and then turn it on again. Or you can open up something else on the phone and see if the internet works.
Update the security camera phone app to the latest version. These kinds of apps tend to release new versions quite often since they patch bugs all the time.
Go to your phone settings and ensure that the app you use to watch the camera is updated. Additionally, you may need to update the phone operating system as well (iOS, Android).
Use the app made by the camera’s manufacturer. This is not always the case, but third-party apps tend to experience more video playback issues.
On the other hand, the app made by the manufacturers itself works smoother and is generally more reliable. Sometimes the third-party apps are not fully optimized and limit the functionality of your CCTV system.
Sometimes the phone app doesn’t playback any footage because there are no recordings on the recorder or the SD card. You need to check whether the recorder (NVR, DVR) or your security camera microSD has, in fact, any recordings.
It may happen that the system is not set to recordings at all, or the hard drives have gone bad a long time ago, or the microSD card is malfunctioning. So, ensure that the system is recording, you may need to check directly via the recorder or the camera.
Fix CCTV Video Playback Error on Computer (Windows and Mac)
Many users choose to monitor their security camera system on their computers or laptops via their respective (CCTV) software. It can happen that when trying to review the footage, the system displays “playback error”.
Same as with the phone apps, make sure the computer (Windows, Mac) is properly connected to the internet. If there is no internet, you can’t retrieve any videos from your security camera system.
Try to open up something else (for example google anything) and see if the internet works. Or just inspect the WiFi settings.
If you’re using a Camera Management System software to monitor your cameras from a computer, it’s better to utilize the software made by the manufacturer or reliable third-party software. Usually, the CMS made by the same manufacturer as the cameras works smoother.
A third-party monitoring system software, may not be fully compatible with your security camera system. If the playback error persists, then contact the software’s developer for tech support.
Make sure that you’re using the latest version of the monitoring client system. Many video playback issues on CCTV systems are related to bugs in their monitoring software. They release fixes quite often, ensuring that yours is up-to-date.
If you’ve backed up the video from a microSD card (or directly from the NVR/DVR) and it shows a playback error, or no matter what, you can’t see any images, then you can try to view the videos via the VLC player.
VLC is a free media player that can handle most CCTV video types. To playback recordings using the VLC player is quite easy.
Most likely, if your computer can’t play the CCTV files for some reason, they’ll play on VLC. For more information, you can consult this detailed guide: How to play CCTV H.264 files in VLC.
Another tip to consider, check the camera’s settings or the DVR/NVR, and make sure that the system is set to record.
Sometimes it’s disabled and no wonder that the playback fails. Additionally, ensure the microSD cards and hard drives work properly (always use surveillance rated hard drives).
Fix Security Camera Video Playback Error on Web Browsers
Security camera systems can be accessed via the web browser as well. YOu can type the local IP address of the DDNS hostname on the URL bar and then log in using your username/password.
Many functions are available on web browsers, such as watching the cameras live, playing back the footage, back up, adjusting settings, etc. Sometimes the playback doesn’t work and there are a few reasons that cause such issues.
If you’re getting video playback failed while checking your security camera footage on the browser, take a look at the suggestions listed below.
Make sure to have the plug-in installed. When you try to access the security camera system for the first time, it will prompt you to install (a type) of the plug-in which varies depending on the manufacturer. The plug-in is used by the camera system to function properly on the browser.
Sometimes the plug-in is not installed properly. Restart the browser and try again, ensure you click “allow” or “install” when prompted. If not installed properly, you may be able to see the settings but you can’t playback the videos.
Another useful tip, try different browsers to access your system. Start by using Internet Explorer which is supported by most of the manufacturers, then use Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. In some cases the plug-in works on Mozilla Firefox, but not on other browsers or vice versa.
Check the internet connection, try to open up a random website on the browser, and ensure that the internet works. Additionally, you can check if the browser is updated to the latest version.
If it shows “no videos found” or “playback failed”, navigate to the storage settings of the camera or recorder (DVR/NVR) and see if the hard drives or the microSD are listed without any errors. Sometimes the hard drives or the SD cards go bad or get damaged and, obviously, you need to replace them.
Fix: Video Playback Error on the recorder (DVR/NVR)
If you’re trying to playback straight via the recorder (DVR/NVR) and the playback fails, it may be caused by software or hardware-related problems. There are a few things you can do to fix the issue.
First make sure the system is set properly to record. Sometimes, the users forget to set the system to record, and then they can’t playback anything. Most of the time, security camera systems on default record on motion.
In some cases, the user tries to adjust the settings and disables the recording. So, enter the system’s settings and make sure the machine is set to record continuous or motion detection.
Double-check the schedule to ensure the recording is set for all the days of the week.
Next, update the NVR or DVR to the latest firmware. From our experience, some recorders have software bugs that may stop the recording after a while. The solution is to update the firmware and re-do the settings again.
Contact the manufacturer or the seller to get the right firmware. Or you may check their official website, most of the time they’ll provide the firmware on their web page.
Ensure that the recorder is getting Internet and that the connections are not loose (trace the wires). Additionally, check the cables going to the router.
Reboot your DVR/NVR and restart the router as well. In some models, this trick fixes the video playback issue.
The hard drives may have gone bad and nothing is recorded. Or the hard drive may be good but the cables are loose. That’s usually the case if you see the message “no available HDD for recording” on the screen.
Open up the recorder and inspect the internal hard drives, ensure the data and power cables are fully plugged. Listen carefully to any weird noises coming from the hard drives, a damaged disk makes loud and irregular noises.
Additionally, you can check the hard drive status from the recorder’s interface. If there are any issues, it may say “status abnormal”, “No HDD detected”, “HDD damaged”, “HDD error”. In that case, you need to replace the broken disks, make sure to use surveillance rated hard drives.
The cameras are not communicating with the NVR or DVR which means no video feed is being transmitted to the recorder. Nothing will be recorded if the NVR/DVR gets no video feed.
Check the back of the recorder and make sure the cameras are fully plugged in. Inspect the power source of the cameras (if no power, the cameras can’t see anything”.
Another trick, connect the cameras to a different port at the back of the NVR/DVR, just to see if the video feed comes back. For more information, you may check this troubleshooting guide: How to fix Video Loss in security camera systems.
Fix: Video Playback Error on microSD card not working
Many security cameras can work standalone as long as you install a microSD card for storage. However, sometimes you may experience video playback issues when playing back the footage off an SD card.
Most of the time the failed playback issues are related to software or hardware problems. Maybe the software has bugs, is not set properly or the microSD card is damaged. Below we’ve listed a few suggestions for troubleshooting microSD card video playback issues.
First start by making sure the microSD card is fully inserted into the slot, if it’s loose it may not be detected by the camera at all.
Additionally, access the camera’s settings and see if any errors show up in the storage section. Sometimes the microSD cards may get damaged, worn out, or simply end their functionality. In this case, you need to replace it. Always purchase a reliable micro SD card.
Other factors you may need to consider: check if the camera is powered on, restart the camera, reboot the WiFi router, inspect the wires, and ensure there’s damage to them.
Also, you should update the firmware on the camera. Check with the manufacturer or the seller, or via the settings and ensure the unit is updated to the latest firmware.
The troubleshooting process is the same regardless of the manufacturer or the brand of your security camera system. Using the tips in this guide you can quickly solve the video playback issue on CCTV camera systems.
It’s important to have a functioning security camera system. If no recordings on the unit, your whole security is compromised. You need to have footage if any incident happens on your premises.
Follow the suggestions listed here and, hopefully, the playback failed issues will be resolved. If you need to purchase a new security system, take a look at our list of the Best IP Security Systems.