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HD lags on MBP

Feb 4, 2010
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Currently: States, Home: UK
Your Mac's Specs
MBP OS 10.6, 2.2 GHz intel core 2 duo, 2 GB memory
Does anyone else have a problem with HD playback on the MBP? If so, have you solved the problem? Whenever I play a HD video (mostly mkv) VLC begins lagging the video while the sound continues uninterrupted. How can I stop this?

I have Snow Leopard, a 2.2 core 2, 2 GB memory and a 8600M GT series NVIDIA card.


ISTR you can tell VLC to skip frames if needed to keep up, but the main factor here is probably one of these:

1. MKV really seems to tax the processor (or more accurately, the codec INSIDE some mkv files taxes the processor). Convert the file to MP4 and see if that helps.

2. Your hard drive is too slow or fragmented. The latter is very rarely a problem, but can be an issue. Laptop drives tend to be 5400rpm and this can definitely drop frames in HD video, so I'm guessing its that. Solution: upgrade to a 7200rpm laptop drive, or give up the 1080p stuff and settle for 720p.
Jun 15, 2009
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Your Mac's Specs
Unibody Macbook Pro 13'' 2.26GHz 4GB RAM 320GB 7200RPM HDD
im watching 1080p videos on my mbp as well. had a problem with quicktime, which i posted a thread about a few weeks ago. switched to vlc and there wasnt a problem. im using a 7200rpm HD though.
Feb 25, 2009
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Your Mac's Specs
Late 2013 rMBP, i7, 750m gpu, OSX versions 10.9.3, 10.10

Here is your biggest problem: The only app to be able to use the video card to offload decoding of H.264 video (one of the, if not the most common distribution codec currently used in HD video containers such as mkv and mp4) is quicktime X. QuicktimeX doesn't support mkv - so that means you have no ability to offload the decoding of that video file from the CPU to the GPU.

there are a several ways to solve it:

1) transcode your video to H.264 mp4 that Quicktime X will happily offload to the GPU

2) Transcode your video so it's at a lower bitrate. I have the most success with my 1080p footage if I limit the bitrate to 25000 and a constant quality of between 58-62.75% using Handbrake (to limit the bitrate, in advanced settings you add: :vbv-maxrate=25000:vbv-bufsize=25000 to the end of the string that's in the text edit box.

3) Try using Plex. Quicktime 7 (even with Perian) kinda sucks at playing mkv. VLC is better at playing mkv files, but Plex seems to work the best (you may still need to transcode to a lower bitrate).

4) Setup bootcamp and play the files in windows as most programs on windows will happily offload to the GPU for playback if the proper codecs (ie: klite) is installed (obviously, this isn't the best solution which is why I put it last :) )

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