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Solution to Slow MP4 Playback on VLC and Other Players

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Choppy MP4 Playback?

If you are facing problems like tearing, stuttering, slow or choppy playback in playing high definition movies and videos, particularly the MP4 and mkv format, then this article can provide a solution to it.

The cause of this slow or choppy playback is usually slow processor speed and less memory, but you can still solve it. I personally experienced the same problem when I tried to play 720p mp4 video files on my computer and found a working solution to this problem after two hours of searching, which I would like to share with you.

This slow or choppy playback can be solved by changing the render type of your player. Instructions are given below.

1. Get the Correct Media Player

  • If you are using VLC player to play your videos, then stop using it because it takes a lot of memory resources to run. It is unable to play most HD MP4 videos smoothly on slow computers (those with a 1Ghz processor or below).
  • VLC can play almost all media formats, but that doesn't mean its codecs are equally efficient at playing all of them.
  • Instead of VLC, use Media Player Classic and the K-lite codec pack. MPC can also play every video format available and is better than VLC at playing MP4 videos. You can easily download the K-lite codec pack free from the internet.
  • When you download the K-lite codec pack, MPC will be included within it. Do not download MPC separately as it won't include certain codecs the K-lite codec pack has.
  • If using MPC does not solve the problem, proceed to step 2 to change the 'render type' of your player.

2. Change Render Type

  • Open Media Player Classic.
  • Go to view and then select Options from the drop-down menu.
  • Under the playback heading on the left-hand side of the Options dialogue box, click output.
  • A list of render types will be displayed next to it. Select Overlay Mixer from it. Overlay Mixer is the fastest render type as it plays videos without color conversion to RGB and thus consumes the least amount of processor resources. This will greatly improve playback performance. A drawback, however, is that subtitles do not work with overlay mixer.
  • Refer to the image below for help:
Changing render type in the options dialogue box.

Changing render type in the options dialogue box.

3. Other Options

If playback is still not smooth, then you can try using Km player to play MP4 videos; it is even lighter than MPC and can be downloaded free from the internet. You need to play your video in default aspect ratio and in normal size and in the render type 'Overlay Mixer'; otherwise, it may cause further problems.

Even if this does not work, the last option is to finally spend some bucks and upgrade your hardware.

Hope this solved your problem.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 StormsHalted


Johnny Henderson on June 15, 2018:

It may also be caused by an incompatible codec. Just use a video converter like hd video converter factory to fix this problem.

anonymous on May 13, 2018:

Worked perfectly. Thanks :)

Chadhar on April 09, 2018:

thanks alot it really solved my big problem

Gawy on January 11, 2018:

Thanks, MPC worked for me!

equinox747 on October 23, 2017:

worked for me MPC player

Phead on August 13, 2017:

Thank you for k-lite!!

sonymony on June 25, 2017:

thanks StormsHalted 1st option worked on my pc

lachupakabra on March 17, 2017:

not working anymore after 2 hours i find solution...

Strongene CUDA H.265 decoder and LAV filters... now u can play h.265 video without problem

Mateo Bonavento on February 21, 2017:

Thanks, this article really helped me!

DEVINE VEDIO COACH on January 23, 2017:

Thanks for the article, perfectly solved my problem of choppy videos on old windows xp system!

The rest of the site is equally informative, your work is much appreciable, all the very best and thanks once again!

JO on January 22, 2017:

Thanks so much for providing the solution! Very grateful!

VS on January 16, 2017:

It works flawlesslY. Salute amigO!

SPMyers on September 14, 2016:

This worked great! Thanks for posting!

ARASH on July 10, 2016:

Thank you so much mr.alikhan3

its Completely solved my problem

Aarif on July 02, 2016:

Thank You so much :)

Alex on December 28, 2014:

thank you! really appreciated

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on September 12, 2014:

Disable subtitles, remove any volume boost if applied, set volume below 100%, use default aspect ratio, disable background tasks etc

what's the clock speed of your processor?

joe on September 12, 2014:


What program/settings is the best option to play high quality avi or mkv videos on an old computer (with Windows)?

Now I'm using an old laptop. Potplayer, VLC or mediaplayer work well with movies up to 1000kbps.

But if I try to play anything aboce this or 720p all I get is image problems, interruptions, pixelation and desynchronization, no matter the settings I use (even with lav filters or overlay mixer...)

Is there any program able to play 1080p movies in a old computer?

I don't mind not having special effects, perfect image... only need to get a lower resolution image without problems.

Miguel Sauer on August 11, 2014:

Worked nicely with Android videos...10.6.5 has a new menu view

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on August 11, 2014:

Quick time player is better at playing 3gp videos.

priyanka on August 11, 2014:

hey ali.when i tried to download a MP4 video its only plying black out...i only 3Gp videos could download....

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on August 04, 2014:

Install with minimum drivers and let windows update install the rest, it will automatically install new drivers else get a drivers cd (easily available).

Salman on August 04, 2014:

I have formated my windows xp ,I want to update all the drivers of my computer.tell me how as Microsoft ended support

Yura on July 20, 2014:

Thank you very much! Media Player Classic and the K-lite codec pack solved the problem! :)

saad on July 02, 2014:

to the greatest aikhan: that i have discovered to remove playback i was watching a 720p HDtv usual i was getting a playback problem at certain scenes.for example at action,fighting,explosions suddenly an idea pop in my mind.that"i forgot to mention that i am using mpc as a default player"that i went to settings then i want to pan and scan then i switch to widescreen.then suddenly all the issues were gone.remember to keep ratio at default

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on July 01, 2014:

Did you try some of the solutions that I have mentioned?

shabaaz on July 01, 2014:

i am using window 7 32 bit os with 1 gb ram and intel(R)pentium(R) 4 2.40 ghz 2.41ghz processor and no graphic card and the movie playback is too slow and blurry and sometimes stops at a point .what should i do?

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on June 28, 2014:

Get a new PC, core 2 duo will cost around 11,000 and quad core 14,000 with sata hardisk.

saad on June 28, 2014:

i have 40 gb ata hard disk.please help ali khan.and also tell me any site where i can check pc prices in karachi.where i can add config of pc and the recommended price appears

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on June 27, 2014:

It might be the Hard disk which is causing trouble I guess?

saad on June 27, 2014:

i am currently using MPC and i am using the default ratio.please help me.i am finding a solution for over 2 years

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on June 26, 2014:

Use default aspect ratio, some times vlc imposes its own aspect ration on videos.

saad on June 26, 2014:

i have 3.0 ghz and 2 gb of ram and nvidia 5200 card.but i still have a playback issue on mpc and vlc.please help.i am playing a movie resolution is 1280*720 and its format is mp4.and title is 720p HDTV

Niel on June 18, 2014:

Hey man thanks a lot

doominic77 on June 10, 2014:

worked like a charm

3io on May 20, 2014:

You can also try to use zoom player. Basic version is free and plays mp4 even on old hardware properly and smooth unlike vlc

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on May 12, 2014:

Try re installing your windows and format your hard drive ....... generally old hard disk and corrupt system registry also slow down your pc.

CeeCee101M on May 11, 2014:

I have 1.60GHz and 1.50Mo RAM and I tired both Media Player Classic and KM Player and it still the same, either KM Player didn't even show the picture it was the sound only!! Don't know what to do!!

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on April 25, 2014:

Try using two different players one on vlc and other on MPC, also try it after disabling any subtitles or volume boosting.

Tommy on April 22, 2014:

I am having the same issue with all videos. Thing Is I am trying to use Multi Monitors so I am Unsing a Windowed Mode. I would Like To allow more resources to be able to make the play back smoother, Im using a i5-4600K + HD7870 there is plenty resources, not even 50% is being used when I have adjusted it to play across all three monitors. It like VLC has opted just to optimise with a set resource CAP. I Have had No luck getting a playback yet with out dropped frames. Any suggestions?

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on April 14, 2014:

did you try any of the above mentioned solutions ?

praveen on April 12, 2014:

hd and mp4 mkv format videos running very slowly.........wht can i do????????

Francisko on March 23, 2014:

Cool info I downloaded both players and worked just fine. Thank you

JOnas on February 14, 2014:

I am using km player, it play hd videos smoothly.My processor is intel atom 1.6ghz dual core.

Adam on February 12, 2014:

thanks bro

the best way is to simply download km player

it worked for me

Pablo on January 22, 2014:

Excellent! Media Player Classic + K Lite are perfect

jlhannah64 on January 04, 2014:

Great article. Changing the video rendering in Daum Pot Player did the job.

abie_chan on December 29, 2013:

Thank goodness I saw this article! Thank you so much for sharing! Downloading K-lite codec pack with MPC and changing render type really worked for me! Thank you sooo much! ^^

Jack on December 01, 2013:

Thanks man worked for me

Santiago on November 04, 2013:

Thanks it worked

Marija on October 19, 2013:

You're welcome Alikhan.

I was a bit frustrated cause I couldn't find solution on the net and than I saw your page but when I read "no subtitles" and installing new stuff I tried this out out of despair :) and because I read somewhere that lav sometimes is no good for mp4.

Hope it'll help someone else too.

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on October 19, 2013:

Thank you Marija for your contribution......... the readers will definitely appreciate your solution.

Marija on October 19, 2013:

My solution:

I had k-lite full installed with default settings and mp4 was stuttering in mpc-hc. Lav spliter and lav video were active for mp4 (avc) 1080p video.

In lav video/formats I unchecked h264 and in ffshow video decoder/codecs I checked (libavcodec instead of disabled) H.264/AVC.

Now it works just fine.

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on October 05, 2013:

Looks like then you have to definitely go for a hardware upgrade.

James on October 05, 2013:

KM Player is full of ad ware, it installed a number of things without my permission or option to avoid. Performance was extremely bad despite the tweaks mentioned.

Allen Lo on September 23, 2013:

Thanks.... solve my problem.........

Eugenia on July 29, 2013:

Thank you so much!!

Rizwan Ahmed on April 12, 2013:

Thanks for great article and thanks Rahul for good help too. you rock guyz...

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on March 25, 2013:

Tried all solutions stated above ? I mean changing player and stuff ?

anonymus on March 24, 2013:

Still not working for me i have intel atom processor and videos run slow still.

Sally on February 07, 2013:

Good job.

andymack on November 14, 2012:

Excellent article, it solved my problem which i have been trying to fix for days. Many, many, thanks.

Qelvo on September 28, 2012:

Yo thanx man. It has worked

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on September 26, 2012:

Thanks ......... ( I had to pull my hairs for whole 2 hours before I could figure out a solution for this........bcos I had the same problem and when it was solved I thought it was worth sharing.)

Singaporean on September 23, 2012:

You, alikhan3...deserves a Nobel prize for this article. Not only is your article at the top of the heap on Google search results for this particular problem, it is also the most straightforward one with the most effective solution.

You have no idea how men you have helped to save from becoming bald from hair-pulling! Good job!

dragon on August 05, 2012:

hi, worked fine for me. great work, thx for sharing.

Rahul on July 25, 2012:

ok everythings settled now,thanks for all ur help.

Rahul on July 23, 2012:

hey i found out the solution,the problem was with the renderer...overlay mixer couldn't render it properly..when i changed the renderer to evr(enhanced video render) the playback was fine without any problems...i even came to know online that it is one of the most common renderers used...btw do u know of any such setting in vlc...cuz i can't find it at all..the problem which overlay mixer or evr solved still exists in vlc..

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on July 22, 2012:

when u start your video in mpc ....right click and go to video frame ...... un check the aspect ratio button and try other options there such e.g normal size e.t.c

Rahul on July 21, 2012:

well,its not like mpc is not playing at all,its just not playing it properly,the audio works fine,but the video looks like...all mixed up and i have only 1 mkv file in my pc,so i can't be sure if this problem applies for all of the mkv videos...btw i have the full version of klite codec pack as u clearly mentioned above...and also thanks for the video overlay setting,it somehow did help me,can't explain it though..and also about the km players error,it doesn't seem that im the only one whos facing it..found a few discussions about it and also cuz of the klite codec pack,even windows media player plays all the formats,as it consumes the lowest cpu and also considering the fact that a laptop requires maintenance both internally and externally,im looking forward to use it most of the time...thanks for the quick reply and sorry for the late reply..have a nice day.

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on July 17, 2012:

if you downloaded only mpc your videos wont work ...... you need to download the K lite codec pack....which carries mpc alongwith all necessary codecs.....from your explanation it seems that you separately downloaded mpc and not the k lite codec pack......because I have never encountered a video which k lite codec pack is unable to play

Rahul on July 17, 2012:

ok so this is how it went for me...i was having the latest version of vlc,i have windows 7,4 GB Ram and 2.3 GHz processor,still vlc wont play that's y i decided to first try out km player and i followed ur instruction,but i found an error in km player,well this may sound odd but...whenever i paused a video and then changed the audio source and tried to resume it,the video would hang and wont play unless i closed and opened it again,tried many times,still the same error and i have many videos in dual audio,so then i uninstalled km played and tried mpc,but again,in some mkv videos,i would just see a green and red video with the audio working then i had to think of something else,then finally settled with vlc 1.1.2,an older version of vlc,the video played very smooth in it just like it played on windows media atlast..relief,i don't think the older versions use as much cpu as the new ones and its quite easy to find it too,can download it from or just google it

Rahul on July 17, 2012:

thanks a lot..for this post

StormsHalted (author) from Pullman, Washington, United States on January 19, 2012:

Thank you sir

Luis E Gonzalez from Miami, Florida on January 18, 2012:

Welcome to HubPages. Very informative article