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How to Fix the VLC media player Choppy Lag?

Hiw to Fix the VLC media player Coppy Lag?

Imagine you’re in the middle of watching your favorite movie or catching up on a riveting series. You’ve nestled comfortably into your favorite spot, but then it happens

How to Fix VLC Media Player Choppy Problem?

VLC Media Player, an esteemed name among media players, sometimes becomes a victim of its own popularity, facing the infamous VLC Media Player choppy problem. It’s a hurdle many of us confront, but there’s no need for despair. In this how-to, we’ll unearth the causes behind the choppy playback in VLC and offer practical solutions to smooth out your viewing experience. For Mac users, I’ll also nudge you towards an alternative player after my encounters with VLC’s stuttering performance. Let’s dive in!


Common Scenarios:

Outdated Software and Drivers πŸ”„

  • Using an outdated version of VLC can lead to compatibility issues or missing recent optimizations.
  • Out-of-date graphics drivers may not fully support your video file’s demands, resulting in stuttering playback.

Hardware Acceleration Settings βš™

  • Incorrectly configured or overtaxing hardware acceleration may be the culprit.
  • H.264 codec issues with hardware decoding can also lead to choppy playback.

Media File Concerns πŸ“

  • A corrupt or incomplete media file can mar your video-watching experience.
  • Network issues might cause problems if you’re streaming from a local network or the internet.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Fix Vlc Lag:

Method 1: Update Software and Drivers πŸ”§

  • Ensure that VLC Media Player is updated to the latest version, this can solve compatibility and codec issues.
  • Update your graphics card drivers through your computer’s device manager or the manufacturer’s website.
  • Reboot your system after the updates to make certain the changes take effect.

Note: Updating can not only solve choppy playback but also enhance security and performance.

Conclusion: Keeping software and drivers updated is a basic yet often overlooked step that can clear up many playback issues.

Useful info: List of the best music players for Mac.

Method 2: Tweak Hardware Acceleration Settings βš™

  • Access the VLC settings and navigate to the ‘Input / Codecs’ section.
  • Under Hardware-accelerated decoding, switch between ‘Disable’, ‘Automatic’, or a specific option to see which works best.
  • Save changes and attempt to play your video again to check for improvements.

Note: A wrong hardware acceleration setting can hinder performance. Trial and error may be necessary to determine the optimal configuration.

Conclusion: Adjusting hardware acceleration can yield immediate results if the issue lies with how VLC is processing video data.

Method 3: Examine Media File Integrity πŸ•΅

  • Check the media file on another media player, like Elmedia Player, to see if the choppiness persists.
  • If the video plays smoothly on an alternative player, consider switching to that player for a persistent fix.
  • If the file is corrupt, try downloading it again, or use a video repair tool if it’s a personal recording.

Note: A single corrupt file can be a false alarm, but recurring issues with different files might indicate a deeper problem.

Conclusion: Corrupt files can be singular issues, while alternative players like Elmedia Player may offer more stable playback on Mac.

Method 4: Network Stream Buffering Adjustments 🌐

  • In VLC, go to ‘Tools’ > ‘Preferences’ and toggle ‘All’ under ‘Show settings’ to reveal advanced configurations.
  • In the ‘Input / Codecs’ section, increase the ‘File caching (ms)’ value to give more time for buffering.
  • Apply the changes and restart VLC to see if the playback smoothness improves.

Note: While increasing buffering can help, too high a value might lead to longer waits before playback starts.

Conclusion: Managing network buffering can aid in smoother streaming, especially for high-quality or distant content.

Method 5: Disable Unnecessary VLC Features βœ‚

  • Turn off ‘Video’ > ‘Filters’ and extra audio features in VLC settings that might burden your system.
  • Disable any VLC extensions that you don’t need, which could be using additional resources.
  • Re-test your video playback to assess if there has been an improvement in performance.

Note: Overloading VLC with additional processing demands can negatively impact playback quality.

Conclusion: Stripping down features to the essentials could alleviate the strain on your system and fix choppiness.

Method 6: Adjust Video Output Settings ⚑

  • Go to ‘Tools’ > ‘Preferences’ in VLC, and under ‘Video’, alter the ‘Output’ module to another option.
  • Test different video outputs such as ‘OpenGL’ or ‘DirectX’ to see which offers better performance.
  • Remember to save your settings and restart VLC for any changes to take effect.

Note: Compatibility between video output methods and your system’s hardware can vary greatly.

Conclusion: Picking the right video output that meshes well with your system can provide a significant playback boost.


Precautions and Tips:

Maintain Your System 🧹

  • Regularly update your operating system and clean unnecessary files to keep your system running smoothly.
  • Use disk cleanup tools and anti-virus scans to prevent software conflicts and malware that could affect playback.
  • Consider adding more RAM or upgrading your graphics card if your hardware is struggling with media playback.

Quality Over Quantity 🎬

  • Stick to media files that match your system’s capabilities. Ultra-high-definition videos may require a more powerful setup.
  • Use media conversion tools to downsize video resolution without compromising quality too much.
  • Ensure your storage devices, like HDDs or SSDs, are not nearly full, as this can impede performance.

Seamless Playback

As someone who has endured the frustration of choppy playback in VLC Media Player more times than I care to count, delving into understanding why these glitches occur has made a world of difference. From my missteps and discoveries, I’ve rounded up key points to help others troubleshoot their playback woes.

Firstly, it’s crucial to acknowledge the demands of video codecs. Some formats like HEVC are notorious for being resource-intensive. Players like VLC might use CPU decoding as default for HEVC, which can be taxing if your processor isn’t up to snuff. It’s also worth mentioning that VLC has many advanced settings, some of which could interfere with smooth playback if not properly configured. Exploring VLC’s preferences might uncover a setting that needs adjusting.

Another aspect to consider is the source of your media files. If you frequently download content from online sources, there’s a chance you could end up with a poorly encoded file. Opting for reputable streaming services or verified downloads can alleviate this risk.

Lastly, the state of your hardware is a critical factor. Old or failing components, especially hard drives, can dramatically slow down the reading speed, thus affecting playback. Additionally, overburdening your system with multitasking can lead to stuttering. This is where upgrading your hardware, or at the very least, closing unnecessary applications, can provide a stable viewing experience.

For times when no amount of troubleshooting with VLC seems to work, I found that switching to a different media player often did the trick. On my Mac, Elmedia Player has been a reliable ally in combating choppy playback. It offers smooth performance, an intuitive interface, and compatibility with a wide range of formats.

Furthermore, considering the download source of your media files is important, too. There are many download managers that allow for a more stable file download, which could prevent corruption of files that leads to playback issues.

Finally, keep an eye on the latest advancements in video technology, such as new encoding standards and hardware innovations. These can change the landscape of video playback, meaning what was once a demanding file may become effortlessly playable on future devices.


In conclusion, smooth video playback on VLC can be a reality with the right approach. The methods outlined here, from updating drivers to tinkering with settings and confirming file integrity, are all steps I’ve taken myself to resolve the VLC Media Player choppy problem. Should those options not suffice, I found success with Elmedia Player on my Mac, a robust alternative that offers the seamless, uninterrupted viewing experience we all crave. Remember to stay vigilant about updates and maintenance, whether it’s your software, hardware, or the media files you choose to enjoy.


Lag in VLC Media Player can stem from outdated software, insufficient system resources, corrupted media files, or incorrect settings.

To reduce lag, download the latest version of VLC from the official website, VideoLAN, and install it.

Yes, increasing caching values in VLC's preferences can improve lag. Access 'Input / Codecs' settings to adjust.

Switching the output module in VLC's preferences can improve playback by better matching your hardware capabilities.

Disabling hardware acceleration in VLC's settings can fix lag, especially if your hardware is incompatible or drivers are outdated.

Altering video output settings to a less intensive protocol, like OpenGL or DirectX, can remedy lag in VLC.

In Windows Task Manager, right-click on VLC under the 'Processes' tab, set priority to 'High' to allocate more system resources.

Turning off network synchronization features in VLC's preferences can fix lag related to network-based playback issues.

Converting media files to a format with less compression can reduce VLC lag, as it lessens the processing required during playback.

Yes, resetting VLC to its default settings can fix lag issues that may be caused by misconfigured preferences.