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Solution to Slow Mp4 Playback on VLC and Other Players

Updated on April 29, 2016
alikhan3 profile image

The Author is an undergrad electrical engineering student continually facing challenging doses of higher engineering mathematics!

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 did experience the same problem when I tried to play 720p mp4 video files on my computer and found a working solution to this problem after 2 hours of searching, which I would like to share with you.

This slow or choppy playback can be solved by changing the render type your player. Instructions for which 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 surely unable to play most HD mp4 videos smoothly on slow computers (those with 1Ghz processor or below).
  • VLC can play almost all media formats but it does not mean that 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 then VLC at playing Mp4 videos. You can easily download 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 then 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.

Did it Work for you ?

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© 2012 StormsHalted


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    • VS 24 hours ago

      It works flawlesslY. Salute amigO!

    • SPMyers 4 months ago

      This worked great! Thanks for posting!

    • ARASH 6 months ago

      Thank you so much mr.alikhan3

      its Completely solved my problem

    • Aarif 6 months ago

      Thank You so much :)

    • Alex 2 years ago

      thank you! really appreciated

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      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 2 years ago


      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 2 years ago

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

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Quick time player is better at playing 3gp videos.

    • priyanka 2 years ago

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

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      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 2 years ago

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

    • Yura 2 years ago

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

    • saad 2 years ago

      to the greatest aikhan: that i have discovered to remove playback issue.today i was watching a 720p HDtv video.as usual i was getting a playback problem at certain scenes.for example at action,fighting,explosions etc.so 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

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • shabaaz 2 years ago

      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?

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • saad 2 years ago

      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

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • saad 2 years ago

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

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • saad 2 years ago

      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 2 years ago

      Hey man thanks a lot

    • doominic77 2 years ago

      worked like a charm

    • 3io 2 years ago

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

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • CeeCee101M 2 years ago

      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!!

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • Tommy 2 years ago

      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?

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      did you try any of the above mentioned solutions ?

    • praveen 2 years ago

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

    • Francisko 2 years ago

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

    • JOnas 2 years ago

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

    • Adam 2 years ago

      thanks bro

      the best way is to simply download km player

      it worked for me

    • Pablo 2 years ago

      Excellent! Media Player Classic + K Lite are perfect

    • jlhannah64 3 years ago

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

    • abie_chan 3 years ago

      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 3 years ago

      Thanks man worked for me

    • Santiago 3 years ago

      Thanks it worked

    • Marija 3 years ago

      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.

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 3 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • Marija 3 years ago

      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.

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 3 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • James 3 years ago

      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 3 years ago

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

    • Eugenia 3 years ago

      Thank you so much!!

    • Rizwan Ahmed 3 years ago

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

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 3 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

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

    • anonymus 3 years ago

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

    • Sally 3 years ago

      Good job.

    • andymack 4 years ago

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

    • Qelvo 4 years ago

      Yo thanx man. It has worked

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      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 4 years ago

      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 4 years ago

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

    • Rahul 4 years ago

      ok everythings settled now,thanks for all ur help.

    • Rahul 4 years ago

      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..

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      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 4 years ago

      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.

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      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 4 years ago

      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 smoothly...so 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 fine....so 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 player...so 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 oldapps.com or just google it

    • Rahul 4 years ago

      thanks a lot..for this post

    • alikhan3 profile image

      StormsHalted 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Thank you sir

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Welcome to HubPages. Very informative article

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