I have some .mkv 1080p videos but VLC can't play them smoothly.

If I open the Task Manager, I can see that CPU is at 100%, because VLC uses as much as it can (95% or more).

Then, I wonder

  • Is it a CPU problem, because it's slow?
  • Is it a GPU problem because it isn't so good, so the CPU must do all work?
  • Is it a player problem, because it's a VLC bug, or it doesn't use the right codec, or doesn't support hardware acceleration?
  • Is it a OS problem, because XP it's too old?

I have:

  • CPU: DualCore AMD Athlon 64 X2, 2200 MHz (11 x 200) 4200+
  • GPU: nVIDIA nForce 6100-430
  • Player: VLC v2.0.5
  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • Thanks for asking this question, I wouldn't have the below answer without it!! Thanks :) Sep 19, 2014 at 23:28

4 Answers 4


VLC uses the CPU heavily, you can find other players that utilize the GPU better. Daum PotPlayer, SMPlayer, Gom Player. LifeHacker Link

  • PotPlayer uses 100% CPU too, but it plays the video smoothly, thanks
    – Oriol
    Feb 20, 2013 at 0:21
  • 2
    VLC can offload decoding to the GPU where supported by drivers and video card - wiki.videolan.org/VLC_GPU_Decoding. If your video is slow, you probably need to find video acceleration drivers for your Video card (or get a new one if your card does not have GPU acceleration)
    – davidgo
    Feb 20, 2013 at 9:06
  • 1
    Tried the first one - Daum PotPlayer and works amazing! Thanks. Still have to check if it is eating 100% cpu as first comments but still all popular players like vlc, realplayer and many failed to play my youtube downloaded mkv file but this one worked flawless!! Thanks once again :) Sep 19, 2014 at 23:26
  • cpu keeps jumping between 28 to 44 percent. I can always take it considering the quality it gives. Sep 19, 2014 at 23:32

Your GPU doesn't support accelerated HD decoding. More recent GPUs can handle HD decoding and are much more efficient at this than CPUs.

  • 1
    Thanks, I will take it on account when I update my computer. But meanwhile, I prefer Ryan E's answer, it's cheaper :)
    – Oriol
    Feb 20, 2013 at 1:07

Another option relating to changing VLC settings is that you can also try to disable or enable hardware decoding. Enabling it worked for me: Preferences -> Under Show Settings, click 'All' -> Input/Codecs -> Video Codecs -> FFmpeg -> Search for the Hardware decoding checkbox and try checking/unchecking it.

More information related to this issue can be found at: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/fix-for-vlc-skipping-and-lagging-playing-high-def-video-files


I had the same problem. I saw the solution on another site and it worked for me. The 1080p file actually played fine in windows media player, so I knew it wasn't my computer. The solution is to change the file cache to a larger value, say 2000, in vlc player. You can find the setting in tools/preferences with "all" checked in show settings. Then go to Input/Codecs, where near the bottom of the window it says advanced/file caching. Set it to 2000 and save, then restart VLC player. Voilà, it worked for me. It took me a second to find the show settings at the bottom, and then it took a little while longer to find the file caching, but once I found it, it worked perfectly. You might also want to reset VLC player, just in case you messed it up really bad, and then increase the cache value. Good Luck.

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