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Why Do 4K Videos Lag?

As an avid 4K video enthusiast, I’ve had my fair share of frustration trying to get my videos to play without lag. It’s all too common for videos to stutter and buffer, leaving me unable to enjoy my content. After some research, I’ve uncovered the reasons why 4K videos lag, and I’m here to share my findings with you. In this post, I’ll discuss the causes of lagging 4K videos and provide some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your 4K videos.

If you’re asking, “Why do 4K videos lag?” there’s no definitive answer. The issue can be related to your device’s software, hardware, internet connection, or the 4K video itself.

Outdated HardwareOlder devices may struggle to keep up with the processing demands of 4K videosUpgrade to a device with a powerful CPU, GPU, sufficient RAM, and a compatible OS
Incompatible SoftwareOutdated GPU drivers or video players with compatibility issuesUpdate GPU drivers, use updated video players like VLC, KM Player
Internet IssuesSlow network connection causing lag or stutter in 4K videos1. Use a faster internet connection (25 Mbps or higher)
2. Connect via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi
3. Reduce the number of connected devices
4. Contact your internet service provider for assistance

Why Is My 4K Video Lagging?

Some people enjoy the 4K viewing experience on their Laptop, while others have a home theater with a big fancy 4K TV. Even though a laggy 4K video is a common problem, the reason for each case might differ.

Let’s take a closer look at why your 4K video is lagging.

Outdated Hardware

You need a powerful CPU, GPU, and an updated video player if you’re watching your 4K videos on a computer or a laptop.

4K videos demand a lot of processing power, and older devices may struggle to keep up with the new demands of the 4K format. 

Here are a few examples of devices capable of playing smooth 4K videos:

  • For PC or Laptop: CPU (7th-generation Intel Core processor or higher), GPU (Nvidia 1x generation graphics card or higher), RAM (8 GB or higher), OS (Windows 7 or higher)
  • For Mac: (MacBook 13 or above)

Incompatible Software

If you already have a decent GPU and CPU and your 4K videos are still laggy, the problem could be with your video player or GPU drivers.

Outdated GPU drivers will lead to slower performance and stuttering videos. In addition, some regular video players like Windows Media Player might have compatibility issues with 4K videos. 

We recommend using more updated software like VLC player and KM player to watch your 4K videos without any issues.

Internet Issues

If you’re watching a 4K video online, a slow network connection can also cause video lag or stutter. This usually happens if you watch on an online streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

For example, if your internet isn’t fast enough, the video quality may get down automatically to 720p or 1080p to suit your connection speed. That’s why a fast and stable internet connection is crucial to enjoy streaming 4K videos online.

Every streaming platform has different internet speed requirements. For example, Netflix requires an internet connection speed of at least 25 Mbps to play 4K videos without lag or stutter.

How to Fix a Lagging 4K Video?

The first step in fixing a laggy 4K video is to ensure your device is capable of displaying 4K content first. Then, if the problem isn’t related to your device, it might be your internet connection or even the video itself.

Let’s see how to fix a lagging 4K video.

Upgrade Your Hardware

You can easily check if your PC or Laptop can play 4K videos. First, Right-click on your desktop, then click display settings. Now check the display resolution. If it’s lower than 3840 x 2160, then your device can’t display 4K. In that case, you might consider an upgrade. 

The good news is, if you’re using a laptop, most modern laptops have the power to display 4K content without any issues.

To avoid the hassle, investing in a streaming device and connecting it to your 4K monitor is a great option. This way, you only need a fast, stable internet connection to watch your 4K videos easily.

Update Your Software

If your CPU and GPU can handle 4K videos and you still encounter stuttering, you might need to update your GPU drivers. First, access your device manager, find your graphics card, right-click on it, and click update drivers.

After that, you need to ensure your graphics card is working at its best. You can do this by accessing your graphic card’s settings and tuning some options to favor performance rather than power saving.

In addition, make sure you install the latest version of a media player compatible with 4K. Such as VLC player, 5K player, and KM player.

Moreover, It would be best to adjust your system’s power plan to favor maximum performance. Furthermore, close any background apps that might be consuming your CPU resources. 

Finally, remember that 4K videos require much work from your CPU and GPU, so we need to get them working at their maximum.

Use a Faster Internet Connection

If you’re playing a 4K video online, a slow network connection results in a stuttering video. Unfortunately, internet issues can be tricky. Some problems need a simple restart of your router, while others are much more complicated.

We recommend using a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. Besides, you can try to lower the number of connected devices to the same network. This will give you the full internet bandwidth to stream your 4K videos.

If this doesn’t work, the best you can do is contact your internet service provider to help you with any issues with your connection and subscription. If you want to watch online 4K videos smoothly, you need an internet connection speed of 25 Mbps at least.

Unfortunately, if you want to avoid paying extra for a faster internet connection, your last choice is to download the video. However, this solution might not be optimal because of the large video size and slow download speed. Still, it will ensure your video isn’t lagging or stuttering while watching.

To Sum Up

So why do 4k videos lag? The simple answer is, it depends on how you’re watching them.

If you’re watching on your PC or Laptop, the problem might be outdated hardware or software. On the other side, if you’re watching on your 4K TV, then your internet connection speed is likely the problem.