How to Stop HD Video from Freezing while Playing in VLC

When high definition videos of large sizes are opened in VLC Media Player—the HD video doesn’t play perfectly at all times. The HD video freezes and skips a few frames while the audio plays perfectly. The video might hang a few seconds and loop around the same point again. This is an error that is not so rare to the users of VLC. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can try to fix the video lag.

There isn’t a single or perfect solution to fixing the choppy videos. If you have to play movie files that take up large GBs of space there are a couple of things we can do. The basic idea is to increase the number of seconds videos are cached. It doesn’t matter whether the videos are being played locally from a hard drive or from a network location. VLC needs to cache the video in the player itself while playing. We can increase the cache to ensure that the videos play smoothly. The other thing that improves HD video frame rate is switching the video output to DirectX DirectDraw or OpenGL. Make some changes in the video FFmpeg codec also seems to help.

So, to fix this video freezing issue try a combination of these methods till the video plays smoothly:

Increase Cache Values

Even when playing an offline video, VLC needs to cache it. It preloads a certain portion of the video from the hard drive to your computer’s main memory or RAM. From there, the player accesses it and plays it. It happens constantly as a video is being played. For HD videos, buffering larger portions to the memory helps with the constant lag.

Here’s how to increase file caching

  • Open Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
    VLC Tools Preferences
  • In Show settings select the All
    Switch to Full Preferences
  • In Advanced settings, click on the parent option that says Input / Codecs.
  • In Input / Codecs scroll down to the options under the heading Advanced.
  • Change the values for File caching (ms) from 300 to a higher value like 1000 or 2000. The value is in milliseconds.
    Inputs / Codecs Advanced Preferences

Note: You can also change the values for Network caching (ms) and Disc caching (ms) to see whether it improves your playback performance. Network caching is for files that are stored on a network but are being played in your current system.

Change Video Output Settings

  • In the menu bar, click on Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
  • From the options present, click on Video.
  • In Video Settings, under Output change the value from Automatic to DirectX (DirecDraw) video output. Try OpenGL video output as well.
    DirectX (DirectDraw) Video Output
  • Click Save.

FFmpeg Loop Filter Skipping

  • Open up Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
  • Under Show settings click the radio button that says All to switch from Simple to Advanced Preferences.
  • Navigate to Input / Codecs > Video Codecs > FFmpeg.
  • Under FFmpeg audio/video decoder find the option that says Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding.
  • Change it from None to All.
    Video Codec FFmpeg

Additional and Optional Step

  • In the same FFmpeg audio/video decoder settings, find Hardware decoding and ensure the value is Disable.

Click Save at the end.

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40 thoughts to “How to Stop HD Video from Freezing while Playing in VLC”

  1. A’m using Ace stream in football streaming especially night match,the issue is i’run much data 3gb for 90 minutes,yes video are in hd please help me setting to reduce data consumption(ace vlc streaming combined).

  2. My problem was that the vlc would keep playing (sound and all) , but the picture was paused when I was playing a fullscreen game. The problem was that the game was set to another resolution compared to my monitor. Changing the resolution in-game to the same as the monitor worked.

  3. VLC worked for my DJI phantom3 pro, 4k video.

    Launch VLC Player > Tools > Preferences > Input/Codecs > Hardware-accelerated decoding -> select from dropdown “DirectX Video Acceleration” (DXVA) 2.0.

    It worked for me right away! 🙂

  4. Ok. I admit it…Schoolboy error! But in hindesight, I realised that VLC were actually at fault.
    I had the same issues as mentioned above, video freezing (pixelating grey) and the seeming to cache slowly every ten seconds.
    I knew it wasnt the pc as it was a fresh install on a monster spec pc with liquid cooling…
    So what could I do since none of the settings changes had made a difference.

    Uninstall…Then I twigged it!
    When I had originally installed the player only a week or so ago, I remembered that it was the 32bit version I had installed. THIS WAS THE ONLY ONE OFFERED WHEN I HIT THE DOWNLOAD BUTTON and at the time I assumed that the 32bit version should work no differently in Windows…

    HOW WRONG I WAS….

    You get laggy video dependant on the original compression/codecs etc., that is unwatchable as a video..

    Please offer both versions of the worlds best Video Player on the website CLEARLY!, VLC.

    1. Thank you. This worked for me as well. I had the 64 bit version installed and after I had done the settings mentioned in the article above the screen still froze. I uninstalled the VLC 64 bit version and installed the VLC 32 bit version on Windows 10 64 bit. Problem solved!!!

  5. Thank you so much yaar,it really worked, earliar in the 5 min video song it use to freeze videos at least 30 times but now not even once,thank you so much.

  6. I tried all these steps, the only thing that worked was increasing the Cache value, but then it only extended the time before the video still froze and then stopped. It doesn’t seem to effect all TS files, but most.

  7. This method works perfectly. I tried a few other guides that missed the Input/Codecs input caching. Once I upped the network cache, my slow wifi connection problem disappeared. This was the one and only guide that helped me solve the stutter problem. I set my cache to 10000 (for 10 seconds).

  8. I just got an SJ4000 action cam and cannot get the camera to work via USB on the VLC media player. When I open capture device and select play I get nothing or perhaps a single frame shot. Any suggestions on settings that will help me see the live camera video on VLC?

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