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Video playback settings in Windows 10

Having problems watching streaming video? Here's how to change the video playback settings in Windows 10 and make the video playback smoother.
Video playback settings to make streams in Windows 10

With the growth of streaming video services and the increasing number of related apps, Microsoft has introduced video playback settings in Windows 10. These settings allow you to control video playback in the video streaming apps in one central place. Changing your video playback settings makes sure that all of the streaming apps available in the Windows Store use the same settings: Hulu, Netflix, Twitch and others.

Using the video playback settings in Windows 10

In this article, you'll learn how to:

  1. View and change the Windows 10 video playback settings.
  2. Enable HDR and learn what it is.
  3. Enable automatic video processing.
  4. Watch video streams at a lower resolution.

How to view and change the Windows 10 video playback settings

Getting to the video playback settings only takes a couple of steps.

  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Click on the Settings button.
    Get to Windows 10 Settings in two simple steps
    Click on Start and click on Settings icon above.
  3. In the Windows Settings page, click on Apps.
    Apps in Windows 10 Settings
    Click on Apps in the Windows 10 settings.
  4. Finally, click on Video playback in the left-hand panel.
    Video playback settings in Windows 10
    Click on Video playback.

A shortcut to the video playback settings

There is another way that you can get to these settings a little faster.

  1. Type Video playback into the Windows search field next to the Start button.
  2. Click on the top result to access the Video playback settings.
    Getting to Video playback settings in Windows 10
    Type Video playback in the Windows 10 search box and click on the top result.

What is HDR and should it be turned on?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. When you have HDR enabled, The number of colors are increased and appear more nuanced. It's useful for photo and video editing because the colors are brighter and more vibrant. HDR is now officially supported in various types of streaming media.

  • Click on the Windows HD color settings to access additional HDR options.

By enabling HDR, you will turn on Wide Color Gamut (WCG) support for apps that can use it. Once you have enabled it, make sure you calibrate it according to your monitor's directions to get the best color experience for the room you are in. Of course, this option is not available if your display does not support HDR, even if your graphics card support 4K. In case your monitor does support it, yet it is still disabled, go to the Windows HD Color settings to turn it on and experience a better video playback in many Windows 10 apps.

Enable HDR in Windows 10 Video playback settings
Enable HDR if your display supports it to see a wider range of colors.

Enable automatic video processing

Windows 10 can slightly enhance video quality by using your dedicated graphics processor (GPU) when you are watching video streams. You can turn this option on and it may slightly improve your stream quality, but it's really a personal preference.

Turn this option on to enhance your video streaming experience by using your dedicated GPU.

Watch video streams at a lower resolution

If you are on a slower internet connection or want to save data if you are on  a mobile connection, you may want to watch video streams at a lower resolution. But other than that, it's more of a personal preference. Note that if you are watching content on a 720p display, it should not stream at 1080p, but instead use the settings that are supported by your display automatically. By enabling the checkbox I prefer videos to play at a lower resolution, your video streams will use less bandwidth. Keep in mind that lower resolutions do not support HDR and WCG content. If you find you are having problems with buffering or stuttering, enable this checkbox to make the stream play back smoother.

Stream videos in low resolution in Windows 10
Check the box to watch videos streams at a lower resolution in Windows 10.
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