Why Are Videos Blurry on My Computer?

By Theodora Pennypacker

Blurry playback on a video could be the result of an incompatible media player, missing components, insufficient disk space or defective encoding. While many factors could be responsible, the specific cause should be simple to identify and address. If you want to fix a video so that it streams smoothly and clearly, you should examine your computer's software and hardware. But if issues persist after you make modifications to programs and free up storage space, then it is probable that the video's source media is corrupt.

Software Compliance

When checking a blurry video, you should confirm that the media player you are using to stream the file is actually compatible with the format. Even if the media player does not support the file’s format, it may be able to stream a video -- just in poor detail. You should also inspect any program settings that are related to quality, framerate and playback speed. If one of these parameters are “off,” it can cause blurriness in the video. But if you restore a media player to its default settings and it does not correct the issue, you should run a software update on your media player. It is possible that your version of the media does not support the video’s compression scheme and a current release does.

Codec Support

A codec is a digital algorithm that processes streams of media like audio and video. When a digital video is formatted as a file, it is compressed with a specific type of codec. If a digital video fails to stream properly in a media player despite being in a compatible format, it could be because the computer does not support the file’s codecs. While media players are equipped with native support for common codecs like H.264 and DV, additional components may be required to read more specialized ones like MPEG-2 and DivX. If you want to determine which codec was used to compress your digital video, you can load the asset into a codec identification tool like MediaInfo, VideoInspector and GSpot. In addition to analyzing the file, these free applications can detect if the decoders/filters that are required for playback are missing from your computer.

Disk Space

If video playback continues to be blurry after checking your software compliance and codec support, it is possible that your computer’s disk space is overloaded. An excessive amount of installed programs and stored files can quickly consume a hard drive and interfere with a computer’s performance. Removing unnecessary applications can boost the system’s processor speed, thus enhancing video playback. You should also investigate whether or not multiple programs are running in the background during the video streaming. While some of these programs may need to remain active, less important ones should be closed since they are competing for memory with the media player.

File Integrity

Blurriness in a video can also be attributed to poor encoding. If a video track was not digitized properly in the first place, it does not matter if you have the right software, proper codec support or an adequate amount of disk space. The only solution is to locate the source media and re-publish the file. But if you do not have this option, then you can attempt to improve video streaming by tweaking the settings in your media player. Making adjustments to the file’s framerate and playback speed may clear up the video.