If you are noticing choppy playback in VLC Media Player when playing high resolution video files, you may under certain circumstances benefit from gpu accelerated decoding in the media player to smooth things out. The feature in theory uses the processing power of the graphic card to lighten the load on the processor of the system.
There are a couple misconceptions about this though that need to be addressed first before you can make an educated decision about it.
First, according to VLC's GPU Decoding page, it is only available for H.264 streams. Second, the data is decoded in the GPU at the decoding stage and then transferred back to the player so that the other stages, filtering and streaming for instance, can be processed. This means that it can under circumstances be slower than without gpu acceleration enabled.
Last but not least, GPU decoding is only available for select operating systems. While Windows Vista and newer versions of the Microsoft operating system are supported, Windows XP is not at this point in time. The majority of graphic cards should support hardware acceleration just fine. Make sure you have installed the latest drivers though.
Open VLC Media Player and click on Tools > Preferences or press Ctrl-P to open the settings window of the program. If you are using the simple settings interface, click on Input & Codecs on the left sidebar and check the Use GPU accelerated decoding box there.
If you are using the "all" interface select Input/Codecs > Video Codecs > FFmpeg > Hardware decoding instead to enable acceleration this way.
Click on the save button afterwards and restart the media player to work with the new setting. Try playing several video files to see if hardware acceleration makes a difference in terms of playback. If it does, keep the setting enabled. If it does not, just go back to the settings to uncheck the option again.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.