VLC lagging, skipping or stuttering [Full Fix]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Affiliate Disclosure
Share this article:

  • VLC media player is one of the best media players in the world, but it too can present the occasional issue.
  • The guide below will show you what needs to be done if you are experiencing lag during video playback in VLC.
  • To read more about this amazing video player, visit our dedicated VLC Hub.
  • If you need more help with third-party software, check out our PC Software Fix page.
fix VLC media player is lagging in Windows 10

VLC media player is one of the best media players in the world. This payer is available on wide range of platforms, but Windows 10 users reported some issues with it.

According to them, VLC media player is lagging during video playback.

What can I do if VLC media player is lagging?

  1. VLC media player lagging video
    1. Change caching value
    2. Consider using an alternative to VLC
    3. Change Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding
    4. Disable Hardware decoding
    5. Change the video output module
  2. VLC media player lagging 1080p
    1. Change the power settings
    2. Assign the proper GPU to VLC
  3. VLC media player lagging MKV
    1. Change FFmpeg threads to 2
    2. Make sure that your drivers are properly installed
    3. Convert to a different format

VLC media player lagging video

1. Change caching value

If the VLC media player is lagging while playing video, you can fix this problem by changing the caching value. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open VLC player and go to Tools > Preferences. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + P shortcut.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-tools-1
  2. When Preferences window opens, go to the bottom of the page and under Show settings select All. The look of your Preferences window will now change.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-tools-2
  3. Go to Input / Codes section and locate File caching (ms) option. Change the value from 300 to 600 or 1000 and click Save.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-tools-3

The aforementioned solution works for local files on your PC, but if you’re trying to view a file that is shared on the network, you need to do the following:

  1. Repeat all steps above.
  2. Locate Network caching (ms) value and increase it.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-tools-4
  3. Click Save to apply changes.

To be sure that your problems are not caused by an outdated version of the program, download and install the latest VLC version from here.

2. Consider using an alternative to VLC

If not of the following solutions manage to fix your issue, then maybe it would be a good time to consider using an alternative to VLC Media Player.

One solution that can perfectly fit the shoes of this classic tool is GOM Media Player, a video player that has been around for quite sometimes.

It Supports various file formats including AVI, MP4, MKV, FLV, WMV, MOV, DVD, and Audio CD, and for the format that it doesn’t have files by default, it searches codecs and even plays a damaged file or a file being downloaded.

As far as video playback is concerned, GOM Player is perfectly capable of running 4K videos at 60 FPS, the only limitation being your hardware, of course.

GOM Player

GOM Player

Enjoy lag-free video playback even in 4K with the help of this amazing video player.
Get it free Visit Website

3. Change Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding

Users reported that you can fix lagging video issues in VLC by changing the Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding option. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open all Preferences window in VLC.
  2. Go to Input / Codecs > Video codecs > FFmpeg.
  3. Locate Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding option and set it to All.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-loop-1
  4. Click the Save button.

Keep in mind that this option will slightly degrade the quality of the video in order to improve your playback. If you want to keep the quality of your video, be sure to try different options first.

Some users are also suggesting to check Allow speed tricks option in FFmpeg settings menu, so you might want to try that as well.


Your video quality is getting the best of you? Enhance it now with these awesome tools!


4. Disable Hardware decoding

  1. Open Preferences window.
  2. Go to Input / Codecs.
  3. In Codecs section locate Hardware-accelerated decoding and set it to Disable.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-decoding-1
  4. Click Save.

Users reported that in some cases turning on Hardware decoding can fix this issue, so you might want to try turning it on.

Interested in some more codec options? Read this article to find out how to download more codecs and install them properly.


5. Change the video output module

  1. Open all Preferences.
  2. Go to Video > Output modules.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-output-1
  3. Experiment with different output modules until you find the one that works for you.

If you’re having problems with video lagging in VLC player, you can fix that issue simply by changing the output module.


VLC media player lagging 1080p

1. Change the power settings

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter power options. Select Power Options from the menu.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-power-1
  2. Select High performance profile.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-power-2

Sometimes your power settings can cause this issue to appear especially if you’re using Battery Saver or Power Saver profile on your laptop.

These two profiles are designed to lower the power consumption by reducing the performance of your hardware. HD video is demanding and it requires hardware power in order to play smoothly.

Keep in mind that using High performance power profile will consume more power and drain your battery faster, but the issues with 1080p video should be fixed.


Power Plans are missing? Check out this guide to find out how to get them back.


2. Assign the proper GPU to VLC

If you have a laptop that has both integrated and dedicated graphic card, be sure to assign the right card to VLC. To do that, simply open your graphic card configuration tool such as Nvidia Control Panel or Catalyst Control Center and assign the appropriate card to VLC.

If you can’t open the GPU configuration tools, check this guide for Nvidia Control Panel or this guide for Catalyst Control Center. Follow the easy steps mentioned there and solve your issues in no time.

Although assigning dedicated graphic card to VLC is usually better, several users reported that using integrated graphics card with VLC fixed the problem for them, so you might want to try that.


Can’t select the graphics processor on Windows 10? Don’t worry, we’ve got the ideal solution.


VLC media player lagging mkv

1. Change FFmpeg threads to 2

If VLC is lagging while playing mkv files, you might want to try changing the number of FFmpeg threads. According to users, you can do that by following these steps:

  1. Open all Preferences window in VLC.
  2. Go to Input / Codecs section > Video codecs > FFmpeg.
  3. Locate Threads setting and change its value to 2.
    vlc-media-player-lagging-threads-1
  4. Click Save and restart VLC to apply changes.

If you’re having trouble playing mkv files on Windows 10, you may want to take a look at this article.


2. Make sure that your drivers are properly installed

VLC uses your GPU for video processing and if you want to properly view mkv videos without any lag, you should install complete driver package.

Some drivers allow you to choose between full installation or the minimal installation, therefore be sure to download and install full version of graphic card drivers.

In addition, some users recommend that you download ATI Avivo tool in order to fix mkv lagging issues in VLC.


Bookmark this page and always download the latest GPU drivers for your PC.


3. Convert to a different format

Sometimes the best solution is to convert the .mkv file to a different format. Mkv files can be demanding, therefore you might want to use video converter and convert them to any other less demanding format.

Problems with VLC media player and lagging can somewhat ruin your multimedia experience, but you should be able to fix this problem by changing VLC settings.

We strongly recommend you to switch your player in case VLC is still lagging as it can cause possible malfunction to your system.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2016 and was revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Was this page helpful?
Thanks for letting us know! You can also help us by leaving a review on MyWOT or Trustpillot.
Get the most from your tech with our daily tips
Tell us why!
  • I had the problem with built-in windows video driver, despite the fact it recognized the actually gpu. After I installed the proper driver from nvidia the seeking issue has vanished away.

  • Hello,

    My guess is that it has some problems rendering a lower-quality ratio. Try to reset/reinstall VLC Media Player. maybe the latest version can help you get rid of these issues.

    Cheers!

  • Hi, maybe someone can help me:

    After going through several posts, videos, blogs, forum threads I still can’t find a solution: VLC is not playing back well, only audio works, initial image is frozen and remains so from onset (or pink, squared, gray if you play with options)

    Data:

    – hp dv2322la 32bit on new Windows 10 (I had Win10 before, VLC had no problems then)
    VLC 2.2.6 32bit (64bit was suggested but can’t be installed)

    – The same videos files (e.g. mp4 720p) are played perfectly in other apps (Microsoft’s “Movies & TV” and “Windows Media Player”). Two other apps have the same playback problem (MPC and 5kPlayer) as VLC (For those who wonder, I want to watch DVDs, hence MS-apps don’t work)

    – I tried uninstalling/reinstalling and restoring preferences many times.

    – I also tried all those internet suggestions (“all” for h.264 filter, “discard” for output form, “placebo”, “baseline” for x264 level, “uncheck” for accelerated video output, “DirectDraw?” or “OpenGL” for output”. Some made screen pink, others made it gray, others some squared imagee, but mostly none fixed the problem.

    – I updated drivers and codecs several times. (I even disabled/enabled the screen adapter, no progress)

    – The only way in which works halfway but with bad, squared video quality (but flowing well) is changing Video > Output Modules > to “Windows GDI video output”

    I have used VLC for like 10 years, I never had this problem.

  • COULD YOU PLEASE ELABORATE A LITTLE ON “ASSIGN THE PROPER GPU TO VLC”

    I have Intel 945 and don´t know what to do to follow this direction.