Crisp large screens and fast internet speeds make watching movies on your Android device a viable alternative in an age in which we seem to have no time for traditional TV. Subtitles can help in a wide variety of situations, so it’s worth getting to know how they work.
If you can’t get subtitles working on your device, or you’re not entirely sure what to do, here’s a guide to everything you need to know, from downloading subtitles to which media player is best to use.
Which Android Media Players support subtitles?
Which video players allow you to watch videos with subtitles? Most stock video players do come with the option, but it’s advised to download a more robust media player from the Play Store. Let’s go through some of the best options.
One of the best movie players available for Android is the MX Player, and it’s free to download from the Play Store.
As well as hardware acceleration and a child lock, the player comes with subtitle gestures, which allow you to change the size and speed of subtitles with a simple tap. You can move them up and down, and you can also scroll forward and backward across the text in case you miss anything while you’re watching.
The following subtitle formats are supported with MX Player;
- DVD, DVB, SSA/ASS Subtitle tracks.
- SubStation Alpha(.ssa/.ass) with full styling.
- SAMI(.smi) with ruby tag support.
The MX Player can handle all of your subtitling needs. VLC Player is an alternative that supports most of the subtitle types listed above, and it’s one of the best free Android Media Players available online.
If you don’t like the look of MX Player, VLC can handle everything that the MX player can do. I also have a list of the best video players on Android for you to choose from.
1. Downloading movie subtitles to your device
Once you’ve settled on a player, you’ll probably have to download the subtitles to your device. It’s likely that the subs will be fan-made, but you can generally find high-quality work that must have taken reasonable time and effort to put together.
(However, shoddy subtitles that are near unusable often come pre-packaged with the latest shows, such is the effort to get them out as quickly as possible.)
You can use an app like SubLoader to download subtitles for your movies and TV shows in a couple of clicks. (It’s highly recommended, and it’s easier than moving the files across manually.)
It’s easy enough to download subtitles to your device using Subloader, and there is usually a wide range of subtitle options to choose from. You just have to tap the file to download it, and it will automatically install the subtitles to your device. (Subloader can also scan your device to find videos and movies, making it even easier to use.)
You can even open your videos from within the app, and the only price is having to look at the occasional full screen advert now and then. (And yes, they are closable).
Where else can you find subtitles? As with most things, the internet is probably a good place to start. There are numerous websites that offer lots of subtitles, and you can find them via a quick Google search. Look for files that match the supported MX Player file types.
2. Adding Subtitles to a Movie (Embedding) (MX Player)
Now that have the video and the subtitles, how do you get them to work together? If the file names are the same, they will work automatically, but you have to attach them manually if it doesn’t play.
(.srt files are some of the most common subtitle files you will find online).
- Open MX Player on your device.
- Tap the menu option, and tap “Subtitle.”
- Tap “Open” and from here you can choose the subtitle file that you’ve previously downloaded.
- The player will now play the subtitle on your video.
I have an article that discusses this method in-depth if you want more details of adding subtitles in MX Player
3. Adding Downloaded Subtitles to VLC Player
If you’re using VLC for Android and your subtitle file doesn’t seem to be working, renaming it to the same name as your movie file (ending with .srt) will allow it to play automatically. The MX Player and the VLC Player will both work fine when playing videos with subtitles.
I would binge-watch Community when I travelled to college on the train, and subtitles were a lifesaver on those loud, busy commutes. (As long as they weren’t garbled nonsense, which did happen from time to time).
Deaf or otherwise hearing impaired Android owners would also benefit from the clarity of decent subtitles, so there’s a decent audience for quality subs, and you’ll find good ones for most shows and films if you look hard enough.
If I’ve missed an easy way to add subtitles to your videos, or you have questions about one of the steps on this list, let us know in the comments below.