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Android Lost the Possibility to Play a Video When Screen Is Off

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Update 2018-01-21: MX Player solved my issue

Update 2018-01-22: Correction on VLC

With the latest update of my OnePlus 5 Android smartphone, I lost a feature which was very important to me: While commuting or killing some other waiting period, I use to listen to videos of talks I downloaded from the web to my phone.

Usually, I've got one plug of my headphones in an ear while the video is played on my phone while the LCD is off (device locked). In case there is something mentioned by the speaker which does seem to relate to any visual content, I unlock the device and thus turn on the display to watch this scene. After the visual information is not that important any more, I press the on/off button and the display is black again. It is important to know that this LCD on/off switching is seamlessly: the audio never stops or pauses.

I am using this method for years and I took it for granted. Until I lost it with the recent update.

Now, my (unchanged) video player Meridian stops the playback when the display is turned off. When I turn on the display after unlocking it, the video playback is continued again. At least the playback position within the video is preserved.

I tested three Android video player apps (including VLC) and got the same behavior. I disabled all battery optimizing settings for those apps with no change in behavior.

My favorite video playback app Meridian offers the ability to play back the audio of video files. This works with LCD turned off and on - as usual. However, I still lose the ability to turn on the screen to watch the video content whenever appropriate.

Do you have any idea how I can get my "video playback while LCD is turned off"-feature back?

Solution

Update 2018-01-21: Hurray, a Twitter comment saved the day:

MX Player has the option of playing video in background. This also works when the screen is turned off

— Roland Schwab (@unbehandelt) January 21, 2018

MX Player does offer the possibility to enable "Audio playback will be continued in the background even after the screen turns off" and it brings back the behavior I used to have.

Therefore, the issue must have caused by a combination of Android and Meridian (my old video player).

I'm going to evaluate the MX Player in the next days and if everything is fine, I'll switch my default video player for Android for the first time since many years.

Comments

Update 2018-01-22: Christoph wrote me an email where he found out that inserting a cable headset with buttons for remote controlling enabled his video player to continuous play the audio. I tested this and it did not change the behavior with Meridian.

Update 2018-01-22: Enze Chi added a comment below where he states that VLC is able to play the audio of a video in background. I re-installed the app and indeed found out that the option "Background/PiP mode" set to "Play video in background" does enable VLC to continuous play mode. Thanks for the correction and I am glad to have multiple alternatives to choose from.

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