How To Play 4K Videos And Other Resolutions From Your SJCAM

Discussion in 'SJ7 Star' started by sjcam_admin, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. sjcam_admin

    sjcam_admin Administrator Staff Member

    Feb 23, 2017
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    How To Play 4K Videos And Other Resolutions From Your SJCAM
    -TF 07-10-2017

    So we’ve been receiving several questions from our users who can’t play 4K videos on their phones.

    There are quite a good number of variables why this is so but let’s get down to the most common ones.
    1. Phone’s display resolution is not capable of playing high resolution videos, let alone Ultra High Definition formats like 4K and 2K.

    2. Phone’s processor is not fast enough to handle large demands of processing power required to display Ultra High Definition videos.

    3. Phone’s processor is powerful enough and has a display capable of Ultra High definition but does not have the right CODECs needed to decode and display the videos.

    4. The SJCAM app was not given permissions by the phone to read videos in any storage, local or mounted.
    Here, we will discuss about number 3 since it is obviously the only one that can truly run 4K (Number 4 is way too easy, just reinstall the app and say yes to all permissions if asked).

    First, the basic concept:
    Video footages are saved on your memory card in MP4 video file format. You must understand that this “MP4 format” is actually just a ‘container’ for the written file.

    Think about MP4 as a box that came in from an IKEA furniture store, and things are organized in there in a very specific way. Some people will know how to unpack it, and build whatever photo is on the label on the box, but for most people, they will need the step-by-step instruction manual on how to unpack the items and build the furniture. That step-by-step instruction in this analogy is the CODEC (which is an abbreviation of Compressor/Decompressor or Coder/Decoder, get it?).

    Yes, CODECs are the instruction manuals for Audio and Video to run properly. Without it, even if you get the box inside your living room or kitchen, there’s just no way to build it to be of any practical use.

    For SJCAM’s 4K files, the camera's internal codec uses these to write the files in:

    Audio : PCM 48KHZ 16bit
    Video : H.264 BP/MP/HP Level 5.1 and MJPEG codecs

    Now, because there is a huge number of phone processor manufacturers with different designs and capabilities, each one has to deal with licensing for these software CODECs to run in their devices, and to include each and every single codec into their phones may not be practical too.

    For Android users, if 4K videos or certain resolutions do not run, just go to the Google Playstore and search for “CODECs” and you will be presented with a good number of results. Look for those that has your media player in it, that’s a big tip. Say for example, MX Player. Although MX Player plays a lot of formats as is, adding CODEC packs will give it more capabilities. Once installed, go back to your SJCAM app and see if you can now run the videos that don’t previously display well. Should work.

    For Apple iOS users, however, because of software licensing with Apple and their partner companies, codec makers have difficulties getting their stuff on the Apple AppStore. Which means several things, 1. App makers can only make apps that conform to a very limited CODEC set that Apple imposes. 2. Hardware manufacturers must have video outputs that conform to these limitations that they set, or otherwise have issues playing certain file formats.

    There are 3rd party workarounds to this: Media File Converters. Media file converters will have the instruction set to change the video encoding to something that iOS devices can readily understand.

    Things you can do with a converter are: change resolutions, switch formats, set aspect ratio, turn audio on or off, target a specific filesize, among other things. Advanced controls let you change bitrate, framerate, switch audio encoding, and others.

    If you have any suggestions, or have experience which converters work best or are practical enough, please join in us in the discussions below.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  2. Troy

    Troy Administrator Staff Member

    Feb 28, 2017
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    I use Media Converter on Android.
    Media Coder, Super, and Handbrake are those I have experience of for Windows. Media Coder is the best for me, I haven't been using Super ever since I used Media Coder. Best of all, it's free!
    I just found out WALTR for iOS, it's a drag'n'drop utility, not available from iTunes or the AppStore.

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