How to fix bad video quality in Google Chrome

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Google Chrome is a very popular browser, but it's not without its fair share of complaints.
  • For example, many users have reported issues with YouTube video quality while using Chrome.
  • We've written plenty of other articles on this tool in our dedicated Chrome Hub.
  • We've also included all other browsers in our much bigger Browsers page as well.

Many users watch videos in Google Chrome either via the YouTube website or streaming services such as Netflix. Yet, that browser’s video playback quality isn’t always that great for all users.

Some users have stated that their video picture quality in Chrome is “pixelated and crummy.” In addition, jerky video playback is not entirely uncommon in Chrome.

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Here are a few tips that might enhance bad video quality in Google Chrome.

These solutions will also help with the following issues:

  • Chrome video quality settings
  • Chrome video quality
  • How to change video quality in Chrome
  • How to change video quality on Google Chrome
  • Poor video quality

Quick Tip

Before proceeding with the troubleshooting steps below, we would like to suggest a different approach altogether, one that doesn’t involve Google Chrome at all.

Opera is yet another web browser created using the Chromium engine, and this allows it to run fast and efficiently. More so, the basic version of teh browser is extremely lightweight and has low resource demands.

This allows you to install plenty of extensions and have a lot of tabs opened before you notice any significant us in RAM.

Speaking of extensions, Opera has a lot of them that can help you customize your YouTube experience, including the video quality.

These include extensions like ImproveTube and Magic Actions for YouTube.

Opera

Opera

Watch high-quality YouTube videos and enhance the experience even further with a web browser that supports many Youte-oriented extensions.

How do I fix poor video quality in Google Chrome?

1. Update Google Chrome

First, make sure that you’re watching videos in the most update Chrome version. Update Chrome browsers support the very web tech for multimedia content.

To do that, click the Customize Google Chrome button and select Help > About Google Chrome.

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An About Chrome tab will then open that will check for and install updates. Click Relaunch after the browser update.

2. Check the Resolution Settings for YouTube Videos

In most cases, low quality playback on video websites will often be due to the videos’ resolution settings. YouTube videos usually include at least a few alternative resolution options that users can adjust playback quality with.

However, some YouTube videos automatically play at lower resolutions, such as 480p.

To increase resolutions, users can click the Settings button at the bottom of YouTube videos. Then select Quality to open the menu shown directly below. Select the highest resolution setting for the video on that menu.

To ensure YouTube videos always play at their highest resolution settings, add the Magic Actions extension to Chrome.

Then click the Magic Options button under the video to open the tab in the snapshot directly below. Select the Enable Auto HD setting on that tab. Then select a resolution to play all the videos at, and close the tab.

3. Turn Off Hardware Acceleration

Stuttering videos can often be due to Chrome’s hardware acceleration. Some users have also stated that turning hardware acceleration off enhanced their video picture quality in Chrome.

This is how users can turn off hardware acceleration in Google Chrome.

  • Click the Customize Google Chrome button to open the browser’s menu.
  • Select Settings to open the tab in the snapshot directly below.

  • Click the Advanced button to expand the Settings tab.
  • Then scroll down to the Use hardware acceleration when available option.

  • Toggle the Use hardware acceleration option off.

4. Adjust Data Usage Settings for Streaming Services

Those users who watch streamed videos with Netflix, or other streaming services, in Chrome can usually adjust data usage settings.

If video quality isn’t what is should be, check the data usage settings within your movie-streaming website account.

A lower data usage setting for more basic video playback might be selected. This is how Netflix users can adjust the data usage settings.

  • First, log in to the Netflix account.
  • Then click Account on the menu.
  • Scroll down to My Profile and click Playback settings.
  • Thereafter, select either a High or Medium data usage setting.
  • Select the Save option.

Bear in mind that Netflix’s video quality also depends on the plan subscribed to. Netflix’s cheapest plan will only stream movies at 480p. So, it’s pretty pointless selecting the highest data usage setting for a Basic Netflix plan.

However, those users subscribed to the Premium plan should select the High option so long as their laptops or desktops can play HD and UHD content.

Also note that Chrome’s max streaming resolution is 720p. Edge supports 4K Netflix streaming, but Chrome users can’t watch Netflix movies at the very highest resolution. So, users will need to switch to Edge to watch streamed movies at 4K.

Selecting the 5110 bitrate setting will provide something close to the 1080p resolution video quality.


So, there are various ways users can fix poor quality video playback in Chrome. Users can usually fix bad video quality in Chrome by adjusting playback settings on the video or streaming service websites.

However, some users might also need to turn hardware acceleration off to fix Chrome’s video quality.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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