This is part 2 of my guide about getting HD video to play smoothly on the Nokia N9. Part 1 can be found by clicking here.

In that post, I mentioned using the video converter Handbreak, but would like to start by saying, this isn’t an endorsement for their software, in fact, generally I prefer using MediaCoder, but for this job I have found Handbreak is the easiest, partly because of the simple interface, and the fact you can easily set a default setting for converting videos. Anyway, here goes.

Before I start my guide, I would like to point out that the video which I find plays best, while I say it is HD, it is not 1280*720. I have found the best bet is to convert a 720p video to 854*480, which is of course the Nokia N9’s screen resolution.

Having installed Handbreak, (Download from their site) you need to set some default settings. How I did this was to take one of the original videos found on the N9, as these look very good, and are 854*480. I used the one named Nokia Pure, make sure this is saved to your PC, I put it the “My Videos” file, and, from Handbreak, select this video as the source (top left corner- see screen shot below.)

You can then set this as the default settings for a “New Device”. Look at the bottom right of the interface, and from here you can press Add Device, but first, there are a couple of things you need to change.
In the lower half of the screen, you have a number of headings, first one is Picture, then Video Filters and so on. You need to make adjustments to these before saving it as a default.

The first change is under the Picture heading, click the drop down box next to the word Anamorphic and select Custom. The Width and Height boxes will now become editable. Write the width as 854 and the height as 480.

I didn’t make any changes to any of the other headings except Video. This is where you put the Frame Rate and Bit Rate, both seem very important in order to get the videos to play with out that “This type of file…” message popping up. As you can see from the screen shot below, I set the Peak Frame Rate to 25 and the Average Bit Rate to 875. I did try this one at 900 but the videos would stop at some points through out playback on the N9 before resuming when I pressed play again. Reducing this to 875kpbs has mostly eradicated  this, but it has happened occasionally. You can set it to Constant Quality, but I didn’t understand these RF values.

After you have set these values, you can then press the +ADD button as mentioned earlier. This will bring up a box, as in the first picture in this post, for you to name it. I used the name “Nokia N9” as there were already defaults named after other devices which I assume have the best default settings for saving to those.

From now on, every time you fire up Handbreak you will be able to select Nokia N9 from the list of devices, and convert any 720p video you want for good quality playback on your device.

A couple of things to bare in mind. I have found, for whatever reason, the videos seem to end up 853*480, but what’s a single row of pixels between friends? This is possibly because 1280 doesn’t divide evenly by 854 (note the genius of Symbian’s screen res!)

Also, you can’t upscale videos. Say if you have a 640*360 video, this will not let you convert it to play at the N9’s native resolution.

Should you have any questions or comments about this post, or anything for that matter, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you. I can also be found on Twitter, @Chriswwwright, click here to follow.

Thanks for reading, take care, and remember to follow this blog so as not to miss my future posts.

11 Responses to “HOW TO PLAY HD VIDEO ON THE N9 Part 2”
  1. A. says:

    This did not help me. I had to replace it with MPEG-4 codec and it helped.

    • Sorry to hear that. Have you upgraded your N9’s software to PR1.3. Personally I have found videos which played before no longer do.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      • Riad says:

        Chris thanks for the great blog!!!
        I have a problem with playing a videos that are recorded via mobile i.e iPhone from family and friends when they are sent to me via Wazapp.. I can download them but I get the message, “Sorry You Can’t Play These Types Of Files On This Device.”
        Any idea on how to play them immediately upon receiving the Wazapp message??

      • I have not used the Wazapp app so not too sure about that. Are the videos being streamed online or are you downloading the clip. If so, where is the clip being saved to? And what type of file is it? Also, does the clip start playing, or tries play before getting that message, or is it simply refusing tp even try playing it?
        Unfortunately the N9 wasn’t blessed with a very good GPU, and this causes a lot of problems with video files.

  2. Awesome blog, you must really like the phone. 🙂

    I’m trying to figure out which smartphone to get (my first one) and really feel drawn to the N9. It’s quite possibly the most unique smartphone there is…

    The one big minus is the 720p playback. That is HUGE for me. And I have a question regarding that: Is the gpu not strong enough to play 720p at all? Like in there is NO way that this phone could run 720p video. I mean is this a hardware or a software issue. Could the N9 play 720p video if they made a software update with the right codecs in it even if it would downscale the 720p video, but for some reason they haven’t fixed this issue?

    I mean it’s unlikely that they would ever patch it up as the MeeGo team has left nokia, but in the case that it is only lacking the software means that there is still some hope. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, and yes, I do love the Nokia N9. In regards to your question, is there any way the N9 could ever play a 720p video, well, I have converted a short video clip, with original aspect ratio of 720p, and using HandBreak I lowered the bit rate and FPS to a lower than normal rate, and got it to play, but, this is too much hassle to go through for every video you want to play. Also, it is not only 720p files it struggles with, even clips with lower ratios can be less than smooth, and refuse to play.
      As for can this be fixed with a software uodate, I’m afraid the answer would have to be no, I’m not an expert, but believe it is like saying can a single core processor be updated to dual core with an update. It just isn’t powerful enough.
      Let me know how what you decide, in terms of picking your first smartphone. But, TBH if playing HD video back on your phone is important, you will most likely be disappointed by the N9. Maybe look at a Symbian phone, like the E7, N8 or 808. Those phones handle video play back, even 720p, beautifully. (Even though actual screen res on the device is only 640×360). And lets not overlook the new platform by Jolla, coming in 2013.

  3. KRISTINE says:


  4. Max says:

    I am just tired of this my Nokia N9…….it will not download and install directly, it will not play videos too many issues ah ah!!! I regret buying it.

    • Sorry to hear you are having problems with your N9. Is it still under warranty? There is a chance that you have a problem with your phone and it may need repairing. Try taking it to a Nokia Care point.

  5. Max says:

    Pls i need obvious step by step explanation on how to do it bcos i don’t understand u atall chris! Pls forward wat to do to my email tanx .

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  1. […] soon, will be Part 2, where I will go through the conversion values and stuff which I have found work. Please click the […]

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