Alternative to mp4 video for android phone clients?

Hi everyone. I’m working on a project in Limpopo province, South Africa wherein 900 low-income students have been given basic Android handsets. We’d love to be able to provide KA Lite at their schools (which have no computers) by setting up KA Lite servers on old hardware running linux with wifi access points. The trouble is that Android phones don’t like the mp4 format.

Is there a non-mp4 version of KA Lite?
If not, has anyone tried re-encoding - perhaps via a script that walks the db, executes a re-encoder, and updates video filenames?
Does anyone have better ideas?

Josh Merrow

Update - the problem isn’t the videos, which play on the phones when linked to directly. I suspect it’s the javascript player implementation, not working on android 5.1. Short of updating the 900 phones, which I’m not sure is technically or logistically possible, anyone have any ideas?


Hello Josh,

I am also working on a project using KA Lite.

I believe we have experienced a similar problem to yours. Was the video frame just black when accessing the video page? We also noticed that the video would play in the same browser if a direct link to the mp4 file was given. Is this what happens to you?

In our case, a few Android devices were playing the videos (Android 4.4.1 and older versions of chrome and firefox), while newer devices wouldn’t (Android 7, latest versions of chrome and firefox available from the google play store).

So far I haven’t been able to determine the problem in the Android tablets, as I still don’t know how to use browser developer tools in them, and I don’t have access to the devices at the moment.

On a side note: I was testing with different browsers from a Linux desktop (Firefox ESR 52.2.0 (64-bit)), and I noticed that I got a JS error similar to this (it was in portuguese, so I translated it):

Specified attribute “type video/mp4” is not supported. Loading /content/kTiLMIrBWfU.mp4 failed

It is not possible to reproduce this media. There are no decoders for the required format: video/mp4

Perhaps my firefox browser error is similar to what is happening to the Android devices?

Hi Josh & Felipe,

I confirmed the issue you are reporting on 3 Android devices I have available, and filled an issue on our GitHub. If you can, update the issue with the models that you are using so we can keep track of where it fails.

Did you try on Chrome browser? It worked for me on Android 4.4.4 and 6.0.1.


Hi all,

We have a similar report from a Rachel update. In their case, they updated from 0.16 to 0.17 and with this update comes a newer version of video-js, the library used for the video player in the browser. While we had good reasons for the update, it seems to have broken some backwards compatibility.

@remolacha would you be able to try out 0.16 on one of these devices and report back about whether video playback is fixed this way? Thanks!

They fixed their issue, but it’s totally understandable that this may not be possible for all!

Hi guys - just a quick update, we were able to deliver the latest versions of android 4.x compatible Firefox and Chrome APKs to RACHEL in the field where the tablets could then side load the APKs when connected to RACHEL. The latest Firefox did not fix the video playing issue but the latest Chrome did. Oh happy days. Oh happy days. Thank you immensely for the pointers which helped us narrow our scope of focus for solutions.

Hi Benjamin

We haven’t installed KA Lite yet, as we’re not sure it’s going to work with our phones. Is there a .16 install anywhere that’s accessible from outside?

(This isn’t laziness, I’m not at the site now and don’t have one of these phones on me)


@remolacha You can try viewing the KA Lite demo server, it’s still on version 0.16.9:

Ah. That’s what we’ve been using. I didn’t realize it wasn’t the latest version.

We did try both FF and Chrome, neither worked.

I’ll try to get more information about android and browser versions soon, as I don’t have those devices with me. I’ll update the github issue then.



Okay - just to be clear: You tried the demo server (which confusing as it is runs 0.16.9) and you haven’t tried the latest 0.17, right?

I will get a 0.17 version up and running publicly tomorrow, and you can try that one…

That’s correct. Thanks for setting up 0.17, very kind of you.

Hi @remolacha - made a demo server available here… running on a Raspberry Pi:

Update: Videos available, running 0.17.1 now (which also contains the video-js update)

Very kind of you! Thanks. Will test.

We tested with a fresh local install and the videos play with firefox, but not chrome, which is good enough for us. Thanks everyone for all your help!

We have been using windows computers as the Kalite server. We have several locations running Kalite in remote areas.

We have hundreds of Android tablets and phones as well as computers for the students to view videos and solve problems. The phones and tablets have all been cheap and cost less than $75. We have been successful and the students are able to view the videos. We have found several browsers will work but Google Chrome is the most reliable.

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Hi @fhenson1, thank you very much for the update!
We are very happy KA Lite is working well for you.

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