Washed out colors in VLC Media Player? Try this fix
When you play videos in VLC Media Player on a system with a Nvidia graphics adapter or improperly configured video output settings, you may get washed out colors. Different black levels of the video may appear washed out, and dark regions of the image may appear as gray instead of black.
It may be tough to notice if you never saw a comparison; one option that you have is to play the video in different video players, say VLC Media Player and Windows Media Player, and compare a still image side by side.
If you notice differences in black levels, you may want to make a small change to the system's configuration to address the issue and resolve it.
Making the change
Try the following fix once you have come to the conclusion that black levels may look washed out in VLC Media Player:
- Right-click on the desktop of the computer system and select Nvidia Control Panel from it. If the entry does not appear, tap on the Windows-key, type Nvidia Control Panel, and select the option from the list of search results instead.
- Go to Video > Adjust Video Color Settings.
- Switch to "With the NVIDIA Settings" if the option is not enabled.
- Switch to the Advanced tab.
- Select Full (0-255) instead of Limited (16-235) in the Dynamic Range menu.
- Click on Apply to make the change.
Note that you may want to make the change for all connected monitors. Just click on the other monitors to activate them on the Video Color Settings of the Nvidia Control Panel and enable the Full setting for the dynamic range for them.
You should see a noticeable difference right away when you play videos in VLC Media Player. Check out the following video that highlights the difference the setting can make:
I tested the change on two Windows PC systems with Nvidia cards and the most recent version of VLC Media Player. The level of black improved on one system while I did not notice a difference on the other.
VideoLan suggests that VLC Media Player users make other changes to the system if the Nvidia Control Panel settings change does not result in improvements in this regard.
- Open VLC Media Player.
- Go to Tools > Preferences > Video.
- Select DirectX (DirectDraw) in the output menu instead of automatic.
- If that does not fix the issue, uncheck "Use hardware YUV > RGB Conversion".
- If that does not fix the issue, switch to Windows GDI video output.
Please note that you need to restart VLC Media Player after each change.