Can’t Play 4K Video on PC – Fix it Right Now

11 minutes read

Having trouble playing 4K videos on your computer or laptop. Worry not, this article shows you hardware and software configuration solutions to help you easily play your favorite movies and videos in 4K.

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The 4K video format refers to a video resolution of 4000 pixels (approximately) across the horizontal dimension. It comes in two types: 4K UHD (used mainly by consumers) and DCI 4K (used primarily in making professional films and videos).

Users love viewing or streaming videos in 4K video format for many reasons, including sharper images, a better viewing experience, higher color depth, and more vivid colors; the films look more realistic and dynamic, etc. Thus, 4K has become the new standard. 

“4K video experience,” just the sound of it, can excite anyone. The evolution of technology has made 4K video accessible on both online streaming platforms and offline players.

Windows and Mac users who want to watch their favorite videos either online or offline ask some of these questions;

- Can my PC Play 4k Videos, or Can my computer handle 4k videos?
- How to tell if your computer can run 4k?
- What are the requirements to play 4k video on pc?
- Why can’t I play 4k videos on my laptop or computer?


This article answers all of those questions and more.

Playing 4K video files on a PC can be challenging, especially if certain hardware or software requirements are unmet.

To play 4k videos on Windows or Mac systems. You first need to check the requirements.

Part 1: Hardware Configurations To Test 4k Videos On Your Windows System

Check Hardware Specifications

  • Graphics card: Ensure your graphics card is compatible with 4K videos. The maximum resolution support should be 3840 x 2160.
  • CPU: To play your 4K videos uninterrupted, you need the latest or most powerful CPU. An Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5, or something higher than that, is highly recommended.
  • RAM: RAM should be a minimum of 8GB, but 16GB is preferable.
  • Monitor: Ensure your system has HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, or more.

I also recommend saving your 4K videos on an SSD drive instead of a Hard or External drive, as these drives are much slower than SSD drives.

Suppose your system is checking all of the above boxes. Then, move to the next solution.

Solution 1: Check the Resolution of Windows to play 4k videos

Sometimes, you will get the error Can’t play 4k videos on PC because the playability of 4k UHD video depends on your computer's hardware configuration and the monitor. Follow the below steps to check the resolution.

1. Go to the desktop, right-click on the screen, and select Display Settings

Select Display Settings

 2.  Go to display settings and check the resolution of 3840x2160. If the resolution is not on the list, your system doesn’t support 4k UHD video.

Verify the resolution

Solution 2: Use the 4K-HDMI cable to fix that can’t play 4K HD video

4K videos generally require an HDMI cable that can handle higher bandwidth. You don’t need to buy an HDMI cable specifically sold as 4K or expensive cables.

All you need is a good-quality HDMI cable labeled HDMI 2.0. This cable is also referred to as a high-speed HDMI cable. Using this cable, you should be able to connect the monitor to your system and play 4K videos.

If you cannot fix the error using the above methods, it might be due to issues in the software configuration.

Part 2: Software Configurations To Play 4K Videos on Windows

Solution 1: Close Unnecessary Background Applications

Closing unnecessary applications and other unwanted background processes can free up some much-needed CPU and memory resources for smoothly playing 4K videos.

To close the unnecessary background application, you can try the following steps:

1. Hit the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys to open the Task Manager.

2. Click on the Memory tab. This will arrange the list based on the application consuming the most system memory to the least.

3. Right-click on unnecessary applications and, from the option menu, click on the End Task option.

By following these steps, you can free up system resources to help you improve the performance of playing 4K videos on your PC. 

Solution 2: Update Drivers To Play 4k Videos on Windows

Updating the Graphic Driver Software is important as it helps the computer to run high-resolution videos. If you have not updated the Graphic card, you should update it by following the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Now, go to Display Adapter, right-click, and select Update Drivers.
update the driver

Suppose you cannot play the 4K videos on one Video Player. I suggest you try playing it on another Video Player.

Solution 3: Test with Another Video Format or Play the Same Video On Another Player

This solution can be extremely helpful in determining whether the issue is with the video file or with the video player.

You need to download a reputable video player to your system. Then, play the same 4K video(s) on the new Video Player and check the Playback Performance.

If the videos are playing smoothly without any stutter, lag, or jerk, then you were unable to play the 4K videos because of the Media Player. In such cases, I recommend updating your codecs to play the 4K videos without issues.

However, if you are unable to play your video files on a different player, the issue is with your video files.

Solution 4: Update the Codecs To Play 4K Videos Easily

Updating codecs can significantly improve your systems and Video Player's ability to play the 4K videos on your PC. 

I recommend you download the K-Lite Codec Pack from the main site. You can choose between the Standard or Mega version pack. I recommend you go with the Mega version since it comes with a more extensive set of codecs. Keep following the installation instructions and set the recommended settings.

The next solutions involve adjusting the settings in the VLC media player to play 2160p videos on a PC or 4K movies or clips.

Solution 5: Adjust Playback Settings

If your system's hardware components are struggling to play your 4K or other high-resolution videos, you can try reducing or lowering the settings to have a smoother viewing experience.

Temporarily adjusting or lowering the playback quality settings can help users determine their system's hardware capabilities for handling 4K videos.

1. Launch the VLC Media Player on your system.

2. Click on the Tools option > Preferences > Video.

3. In the Display tab, set the Output module to minimally resource-intensive options, such as DirectX (DirectDraw) video output.

4. In the Input/codecs Settings tab and under the Codecs tab, find the Skip H.264 in-loop deblocking filter and set it to All.

5. Click on the Save button to save the settings. Restart the application and try playing the 4K videos again. 

Enabling the hardware acceleration settings is the next method for fixing the inability to play 4K on a computer.

Solution 6: Modify Hardware Acceleration Settings to Play 4K Videos

Hardware acceleration is the process of offloading a few computing tasks from the CPU to other specific hardware components, mainly the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). This is done to improve performance and efficiency, especially for video and graphics processing tasks. Resulting in smoother playback.

1: Launch the VLC Media Player on your system.

2: Click on the Tools tab in the menu bar, and click on the Preferences option.

3: Click on the Input/Codecs tab in the preferences window.

4: Set the Hardware-accelerated decoding option to Automatic and click the Save button.

5: Close and restart the Media Player.

After following the solutions mentioned above, I am sure you were able to fix the issue of being unable to play 4K videos on the system.

If none of the solutions were helpful, there's a high chance that your videos have become corrupt.

Regardless of the reason why your video files have gotten corrupt or become unplayable. The next section discusses a proven way to repair even the most severely corrupt video in just a few minutes.

How To Repair Corrupt 4K Video Files?

Remo Repair Video File is powerful video repair software designed to fix corrupted video files safely and without damage. It can easily fix video files. 

Remo Video Repair is a powerful video repair tool designed to fix video files such as MOV, MP4, AVI, etc. The advanced algorithm ensures the safety of corrupt video files. Remo can easily fix your corrupted video file and make it playable.

Steps to Repair 4k video using Remo Repair video

1: As a first step, download and install the Remo Repair video on your system.

2: Click on Select File to choose a video file that needs to be repaired.

Remo Video Repair software to fix the can't play 4k videos issue

3: Click on Choose a Reference File and provide a good, healthy file to be used as a reference to repair the corrupt video.

4: Click on the Repair button to start repairing your corrupt video file.

Can't play 4k videos repair the unplayable 4K video file using Remo Video Repair tool

5: When the repair process is completed, you can preview the repaired file to check the tool's efficacy; if you are satisfied with its performance, Activate the tool and Save the repaired file in a location of your choice.

preview the repaired mov files and see if you can play 4k videos

Once you finish repairing your unplayable 4K videos using Remo Video Repair, try playing the same videos on your system.

I am pretty sure the videos that were unplayable have now been fixed, allowing you to enjoy your favorite movies and clips without any interruption.


Playing 4K videos on a PC or laptop requires suitable hardware and optimized software configurations, not forget maintenance practices.

Ensure your system meets the required hardware requirements, such as adequate RAM, a compatible display, and a powerful Graphical Processing Unit (GPU). All of these set a good foundation for smooth 4K video playback.

If you can still not play 4K videos, you can try updating codecs and display drivers, adjusting the playback settings, enabling hardware acceleration, etc. These are some of the best ways to fix the issue. In addition to these solutions, one should also try to update their system's operating system and Video Player regularly. Maintaining the system's health is vital for smooth video playback and other operations and tasks. Do not forget to check the file's integrity. In case your video files have gotten corrupted. Tools like Remo Video Repair can be extremely helpful to repair them.

The moment you encounter issues where your 4K video refuses to play or gives you any other trouble. You should troubleshoot the issue by playing the video files on another Video Player, closing unnecessary background applications, etc.

The solutions mentioned in this article can help you boost your system's capability to handle 4K videos, ensuring a flawless, high-quality, and immersive viewing experience.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…