[VLC 4K Playback] How to Play 4K Ultra HD Videos in VLC Media Player Smoothly?

How can I play 4K resolution videos in VLC media player without any annoying hitch? If you’re seeking for the good solutions, follow this instruction in which we will explain the specific requirements for playing 4K videos on a computer, and more importantly, how to deal with these common VLC 4K playback problems for smooth enjoyment.

Vita Vita | Updated on Jul 14, 2023

Part 1: Can VLC Play 4K?

Part 2: The System Requirements for 4K Video Playback

Part 3: Quick Fixes to VLC 4K Playback Issues

Part 1: Can VLC Media Player Play 4K Videos?

Since VLC 3.0 Vetinari, VLC media player allows 4K and even 8K playback via hardware decoding with the default configuration. To play 4K content with this popular media player, normally, users only need to drop the target file into it without further VLC 4K settings, yet during practice many people still have run into different VLC 4K playback problems. In addition to the proper playback settings in VLC media player, you also need to make sure your device system meets the requirements of playing 4K and higher resolution videos. So you may check out whether your computer supports 4K resolution in the first place.

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Part 2: The System Requirements for 4K Video Playback

For Windows:

CPU: 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor equivalent or better

Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 equivalent or better

RAM: 8 GB or more

OS: Windows 7 or later

For macOS:

Besides the indispensable elements of graphics card, processor, and RAM, your devices must meet the following criterion.

Hardware: MacBook – 2013 or newer, 27-inch iMac – late 2015 or newer MacBook – early 2016 or newer, MacBook Pro – 2016 or newer.

OS: OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later, macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later.

Moreover, you need a 4K monitor screen and an HDMI 2.0 cable that can connect your computer to the monitor to fully enjoy the sharp image quality.

If both the hardware and software are compatible with 4K resolution yet you still can’t play 4K videos in VLC media player, the following fixes should work it out.

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Part 3: Quick Fixes to VLC 4K Playback Issues

1. Update to the Latest Version of VLC

Usually, VLC will remind you when there is a new version. Supposing you were not prompted, you can check the version and update VLC.

Step 1. Open VLC, click Help.

Step 2. Click Check for Updates.

Step 3. It will check and tell you the version you’re using.

Tips. You can also go to the official VLC website for the latest version: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html


2. Change the Hardware-accelerated Decoding Feature

Step 1. On the top menu bar, click Tools > Preferences.

Step 2. Go to Input/Codecs tab, click the Hardware-accelerated decoding option, and select Disable.

Step 3. Hit Save.

Now check whether the VLC 4K playback issues go away.

How to play 4k video on pc without lag

3. Turn Off Other Processes in the Background

Too many processes running simultaneously would occupy more system resources, especially when you try to play 4K video that requires more GPU resources for rendering. When the computer suffers from an extremely high CPU usage, you may encounter playback lag issues. Therefore, you can close some unnecessary processes to avoid high CPU usage and restart VLC.

4. Change the Skin H.264 In-loop Deblocking Filter

In order to get smoother playback experience, changing the Skin H.264 In-loop Deblocking Filter is also a good practice.

Step 1. Go to Tools > Preferences.

Step 2. Head to the Input/Codecs tab.

Step 3. Go to the Skin H.264 In-loop Deblocking Filter setting option, and select All.

Step 4. Click Save.

Restart VLC and play your 4K video.

Fix VLC 4K playback issue

5. Adjust the Video Output Setting

Based on the feedback from users, using DirectX DirectDraw or OpenGL video output can resolve parts of the VLC media player 4K issues.

Step 1. Go to Tools > Preferences.

Step 2. Head to the Video tab.

Step 3. Choose DirectX (DirectDraw) video output or OpenGL video output.

Step 4. Click Save.

Re-open VLC media player and play 4K videos. If you find it doesn’t work better even if you have tried the two video output settings respectively, the following method may bring you good luck.

4K video not playing in VLC

6. Reset the Cache Values

Step 1. Go to Tools > Preferences.

Step 2. Switch the Show settings option to All.

Step 3. Head to Input/Codecs, a new setting panel will appear on the right side.

Step 4. Move to the Advanced section and find the File caching(ms) option.

Step 5. Based on the current value, enter a higher one.

Does VLC play 4K

7. Increase the Threads Number

Step 1. Go to Tools > Preferences.

Step 2. Choose All under the Show Setting heading.

Step 3. Go to Input/Codecs > Video codes; choose FFmpeg.

Step 4. On the right FFmpeg audio/video decoder setting panel, locate Threads under the top Decoding section, and enter a higher value, eg. 0 to 3.

VLC can't play 4K

8. Convert the Videos

Here is a compromise when all the foregoing methods don’t work for your VLC 4K playback issue. You can convert the 4K video or downscale 4K to 1080P to make it compatible with VLC, just as you play other common videos in VLC. In order to achieve this purpose, you need a 4K video converter like HD Video Converter Factory Pro. And here is how to use the software to carry out the conversion.

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Step 1. Import Your 4K Videos

Launch HD Video Converter Factory Pro, select Converter on the main interface. Then on the Video Converter window, click on Add Files, select and add your 4K videos into the program.

Enter Converter

Step 2. Convert 4K Videos

Hit the format icon on the right side of the Video Converter window, then choose MP4 under the Video tab. This 4K video converter uses H.264 as the default video compression method for MP4 container and the output file size will be greatly reduced with good quality preserved. What’s more, MP4 H.265 is versatile on major platforms and applications.

Convert 4K to MP4

Step 3. Compress 4K Videos

To further compress the 4k videos, you can go to the Parameter Settings window to change the video resolution, bit rate, aspect ratio and other relevant settings. Meanwhile, HD Video Converter Factory Pro has a batch compression feature that allows you to quickly compress multiple files. Hit the Batch compression button, drag the marker to the right for reducing file size. Since smaller the file size, poorer the output image quality, you have to make a balance.

Compress 4K

Step 4. Finalize the Conversion

Hit the triangle icon on the bottom of the software and choose a path for saving the exports. Finally, click the Run button to activate the process.

Start the 4K Conversion

Sum Up

If you looking for a 4K video player, the VLC 4k player should be a good bet based on a good system configuration. Anyway, if you happen to meet the VLC 4K playback error, all the eight solutions are almost always useful.

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This software is for handling 720P, 1080P, 4K, 8K, and videos in other qualities and enables you to convert, edit, download, capture, and export high definition videos. With the aid of the software, you’re able to create, save and play videos with ease.

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