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I'm often playing videos from my external hard disk, and, well, it has issues. It'll often spin down and it often takes 5-10 seconds to spin back up in order to keep reading files. This is really terrible for video playback, as it'll often completely hang until the drive spins back up.

Is there a way that I can tell VLC to set a larger buffer to at least give me more buffer into the future so the drive will have time to spin up when the buffer runs out?

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Good question! I'd always thought VLC is the best "video player" but seems like the best we have now is still not good enough – Pacerier Sep 16 '11 at 9:18
I've found Media Player Classic to be better at dealing with jittery playback – Matthew Lock Nov 12 '14 at 13:25
up vote 8 down vote accepted

--file-caching seems to be what you're after. Do you start vlc from command line? Then you can add

alias vlc="vlc --file-caching=10000"

to your .bashrc.

Within the GUI you'll find the option at Tools->Preferences->Show settings: "All" -> Input/Codecs, and then scrolling down.

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Awesome, thanks. Is there a way I can set it in the preferences within VLC so I can easily modify it? – Naftuli Tzvi Kay Sep 16 '11 at 17:42
@TK see update on my answer – artistoex Sep 16 '11 at 19:40

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