Does Hardware Acceleration Improve Video Quality?

Hardware acceleration is a feature that can improve the performance of your computer when it comes to video playback. But does it also improve the quality of the video? Let’s take a closer look.

What is hardware acceleration?

Hardware acceleration is the process of using specialized hardware components to perform certain tasks more efficiently than a software-only solution would. In the context of video playback, this often involves offloading some or all of the processing to your computer’s graphics card or other dedicated hardware.

How does it work?

When you watch a video on your computer, the video player software decodes the compressed data in real-time and displays the resulting image on your screen. This requires a lot of processing power, especially for high-resolution videos or videos with complex visual effects.

By using hardware acceleration, some of this processing can be done by specialized hardware components instead of relying solely on your computer’s CPU. This can result in smoother playback and lower CPU usage, which can free up resources for other tasks.

Does hardware acceleration improve video quality?

The short answer is: it depends. Hardware acceleration can improve certain aspects of video quality, but it won’t necessarily make every video look better.

For example, if you’re watching a high-resolution video that your computer struggles to decode in real-time, enabling hardware acceleration may result in smoother playback with fewer dropped frames. This can make the overall viewing experience more enjoyable and reduce visual artifacts like stuttering or tearing.

However, if you’re watching a low-quality video that was recorded with poor lighting or camera settings, hardware acceleration won’t magically make it look better. In fact, enabling hardware acceleration may even highlight flaws in the original footage by making them more visible on your screen.

When should you use hardware acceleration?

If you’re experiencing issues with choppy or stuttering playback on high-quality videos, enabling hardware acceleration may help improve the viewing experience. This is especially true if your computer’s CPU usage is maxed out while playing the video.

On the other hand, if you’re watching a low-quality video that already looks bad, enabling hardware acceleration won’t do much to improve it. In fact, it may even make it look worse by emphasizing visual flaws or artifacts.


Hardware acceleration can be a useful feature for improving video playback performance on your computer. While it won’t necessarily improve every aspect of video quality, it can help with issues like choppy playback or high CPU usage. However, it’s important to remember that hardware acceleration isn’t a magic bullet for fixing all video-related problems – sometimes the source material is simply beyond repair.