How to Deal With the “The selected movie won’t play on your display” Error on Your Mac

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The Apple TV app first debuted on iOS, but Mac users finally got to have this streaming app when macOS Catalina was released last year. The TV app has replaced the old iTunes as the default media player for Macs. Now, you can watch your favorite shows and movies on both iOS and macOS devices, and your progress will be synced across all devices using your Apple account. This means you can pick up where you left using any Apple device. Even though the Apple TV has been a great addition to Catalina’s lineup of features, a lot of Mac users are still using iTunes with their older versions of macOS. Both the iTunes and Apple TV apps allow Mac users to stream video content on Mac.

Unfortunately, streaming content using these apps can lead to errors. This could be because of the app’s incompatibility with the content or the content you want to access has been corrupted. One of the playback errors commonly encountered by Mac users when streaming content is the “The selected movie won’t play on your display” error in Mac. This error prevents the users from accessing the content that they want to watch on Apple TV or iTunes.

Getting this error can be frustrating, especially if you paid for the content that triggered the error. When this error pops up, don’t worry because this guide was made to help Mac users who are bugged down by this issue. This article discusses what the “The selected movie won’t play on your display” error in Mac is, what causes it, and what to do when this error appears.

What is “The selected movie won’t play on your display” Error?

The “The selected movie won’t play on your display” error is a playback issue that plagues Mac users, regardless of the operating version they are running. This happens when a user tries to play a video or stream content using the Apple TV app or iTunes. Some users have also experienced this error using other media streaming apps on macOS.

The error message usually reads like this:

The selected movie won’t play on your display.

This movie can be played only on displays that support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).

When the user clicks the OK button on the pop-up message, either the media player stays open with no video playing or the app automatically closes after delivering the error message. Most of the users who complained about getting this error on Apple TV noted that it only appeared when trying to access purchased content via the app. The free content plays just fine. Although the purchased content can be accessed using other devices, watching it on a smaller screen affects the streaming experience of the users.

What Causes the “The selected movie won’t play on your display” Error?

There are a lot of possible reasons why this error appears on your Mac. If the error appeared just once, it could be caused by a temporary glitch in the streaming app you are using. If the error occurred when accessing a specific content only while the others work just fine, the content you downloaded might be corrupted and incomplete. An outdated Apple TV or iTunes app can also cause this error, especially if you’ve recently upgraded to macOS Catalina or you have installed a major update.

Aside from looking at the software side of things, you need to make sure that your hardware supports HDCP content. If you’re using an HDMI cable, make sure that the ports and the cable are working fine.

If everything looks good and you can’t find any problem with your software or hardware components, you need to consider a malware infection and implement the necessary steps to resolve this.

How to Fix the “The selected movie won’t play on your display” Error on Mac

As mentioned above, the “The selected movie won’t play on your display” error can be caused by several factors, both software and hardware. You need to rule out these factors one by one to be able to arrive at the solution that would work for your problem.

Here are the steps you need to implement when faced with the “The selected movie won’t play on your display” error in Mac:

Step 1: Restart Your Mac.

If the error you encountered was caused by a temporary bug or system glitch, refreshing the app and your operating system should do the trick. Close the Apple TV app or whatever streaming app you are using. Restart your Mac by pressing the power button.

Step 2: Check Your Hardware.

If restarting your Mac does not help, check your hardware. If you’re using an HDMI cable, make sure that it is working by trying it on another computer. Or you can use another HDMI cable for testing. You should also look at your ports to see if dirt and dust have accumulated, preventing your cable from working properly. Clean the ports, reconnect your HDMI cable, then try playing the content again. If this does not work, proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Clean Up Your System.

Aside from cleaning up your hardware to make sure they are working; you also need to optimize your system to prevent issues like this from happening. Get rid of apps that you no longer use and delete files that you don’t need. Use a Mac cleaning tool to remove junk files that might be causing trouble for your computer. Just like dust and dirt, these system junks can also hinder your Mac from functioning properly.

Step 4: Update Your Streaming App.

Whether you’re using the Apple TV, iTunes, or other streaming apps, make sure that the app you are using is updated. You can update these apps using the App Store on your Mac. Just click the App Store icon on the Dock, then click on the Updates tab to update your streaming app.

If the app you are using came pre-installed with your Mac but is not a part of macOS, you might need to accept the app first before being able to use the Updates tab. Just click on the Accept button beside the app to have it included in the Updates tab. While you’re at it, you should also install all system updates available to see if it helps.

Step 5: Reset the Apple TV App Preferences.

If you’re using the Apple TV app on your Mac when the error happened, resetting the app’s preferences and clearing the cache should help resolve this issue. To do this:

  1. Open the Apple TV app, choose TV > Preferences.
  2. Click on Advanced.
  3. Click Reset Warning to reset the warning dialogs of the app.
  4. Click Clear Play History to delete all information about the content that you’ve watched.
  5. Click Reset TV Store cache to clear the TV store pages you visited.

Once done, close the app and launch it again. Try playing the file you were having problems with to see if the error has disappeared.

Step 6: Redownload the Content.

If you’re getting this error when trying to play a specific title, you can try redownloading the content in case your file is incomplete or corrupted. Or you can try downloading it on another device to see if the title would play fine on another device.

Step 7: Run a Scan.

If you’ve done all of the above and still the error persists, run a scan of your Mac to check for the presence of malware. A robust anti-malware program should be able to detect and remove most error-causing malware on macOS.

What’s Next?

If the above steps don’t help, you can uninstall then reinstall a fresh copy of the streaming app you are using. Once you’ve reinstalled the app, you can then redownload all your purchased content. This should get rid of the error completely, but it is time-consuming and troublesome so you should consider this as a last resort.

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