The Back Room

How to Solve the Hulu Fullscreen Video Freeze Issue

by on Jul.16, 2009, under Software



For a few years I have watched almost all television online. I absolutely love that the major networks now provide full content on their sites’. I also have really come to like Hulu. Ever since I nabbed the latest ATI drivers for my home PC I have noticed that the Hulu video player will randomly freeze only when in full screen mode. There is a simple solution to this problem. All you need to do is disable hardware acceleration in Flash.

To disable hardware acceleration all you have to do is right click on the full screen flash application and choose the “settings option.

Right Click on the video to access the flash player settings

Right Click on the video to access the flash player settings

The next step is to get to the hardware dialog section (I think its the box all the way on the left).  Then simply un-check “Enable Hardware Acceleration”

The dialog for disabling hardware acceleration

The dialog for disabling hardware acceleration

This is a common issue that we have in the interactive exhibit business when we are doing a final installation. Just like when you watch a full-screen video on your computer in Flash; we deploy our museum interactives’ as full screen applications.  Some times when deploying an application, it will appear to freeze or act in an unexplainable way. The usual fix is to disable hardware acceleration.

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21 Comments for this entry

  • Cliff

    I tried this and it hasn’t helped at all. I’ve watched videos on Hulu, Megavideo, even downloaded .flv files in the FLV Player, and full screen with any of them (actually, with FLV Player, even just having the window fill most of the screen) it has still been hard freezing for me. I’ve seen reports that tie it to an Nvidia motherboard chipset problem, others say it’s bad RAM settings, etc, but even disabling hardware acceleration didn’t help me. My box is otherwise 100% stable.

  • Mart

    Had the freezing issue, was handled by disabling the hardware acceleration although theres a degrade in the quality. Freeze occurs sooner or more often when the processor is set to allow the cool & quiet powersaving mode (AMD x2 4850 with 790GX mbd).

    Video applications are very intense on memory and I got corruption and crashes in wmp, etc when playing videos (but not at any other time) due to aggressive memory settings, a 1T command rate and possibly enabling C1E support. Try using the automatic memory settings in BIOS.

  • Charles

    Thanks for the information Cliff and Mart. I run an AMD x4 Phenom at home. Thats very interesting about the cool & quiet mode. I figured it had to do with the video card and drivers.

    I’m wondering in what application you saw video degradation? I haven’t been able to spot a change in Hulu running at a 1600 x 1200 resolution if hardware acceleration is on or off. However, I’m not that picky.

  • jray

    i’ve been bugged by the freezing since i built my latest pc…i came across this post and tried it with success so far. thanks for the tip!

  • CJM

    I clicked settings and added more memory it seems to have fixed it.

  • Shawn

    Thank you for the information. I have a 6 month old Compaq Presario with 4g of memory and was pissed that everytime I went full screen on vidoes it stopped or skipped! BUT THIS WORKED AND I HAD NO LOSS IN QUALITY! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

  • Joe

    Thanks for this, just reformated thinking I messed up my Video drives messing around with SLI, and boom still got a freeze full screen. Im really hoping this help. I just built this computer and nothin else freezes, and i play games Hardcore!

    Q9550@3.6ghz,4gb 800mhz ddr2cosair, 9600gt 1gbdrr3(x2) SLi’d x16/x16, XFX 780i 1333fsb 3way SLi, Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

  • Felix

    Thanks so much for your post my problem has been fixed!!!

  • EpicJeff

    I flippin <3 you and want to have your children…

    Ok, maybe not the latter but you get my gratitude?

  • kywee

    Thanks for the tip. I was reinstalling trying to fix this, so I’m very happy to have found a solution!

  • Ryan - NC

    Thanks so much for the tip – solved problem!!!

  • Some dude

    I tried installing Videolan VLC with the browser plugin. I think this replaces quicktime as the H.264 decoder. Videolan does a better job with the video scaling. Seems to work for me at 2560×1600.

  • Trying to watch Lost

    I have tried every piece of advice on this forum. I have a top of the line Dell Precision laptop. I have tried watching hulu full screen on Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari for PC… none work. I have a Mac and Hulu runs fine on it, however I WANT to use my PC for reasons too long to go into. Disabling the hardware accelerator seemed to work for a minute, but soon it was back to the same routine; smooth video becoming increasingly choppy until it freezes, with the audio still running in the background. PLEASE HELP… I’m already battling baldness, no need to help speed it up by pulling out chunks of hair…

  • PJ Castell

    Try Goodle Chrome – I have no problems running Hulu from Google Chrome

  • Charles

    In response to “Trying to watch Lost” I think I may know what your issue is.

    When working with newer Dell machines Jake came across an issue that has to do with C-States

    They basically allow the CPU to ramp up and down while idle to conserve power. Despite the flash player using a bunch of processing power while watching hulu (or running our museum exhibits), Jake found that C-States when enabled in the BIOS will still ramp the CPU down causing terrible performance issues.

  • Xtavius

    Hi guys! I’m no computer pro, so what I suggest may not work, but it did work for me. I had the worst trouble with Hulu just like all of you guys and was so frustrated that I just about said forget it and was going to stop using Hulu all together!! But everything worked out great, so here is what I did. Well first I did what Charles said to do. I un-checked the Enable Hardware Acceleration button. Then I realized that the reason my video was playing and during the commercial and pausing while the audio was still playing was because I realized that Hulu’s autoplay was on! It’s at the bottom of the video screen near the “Play/Pause” and the “Next Video” buttons. Make sure that it says autoplay is OFF! Now once your video begins to play quickly press pause so that you allow the buffer bars to completely fill up. And there you go the video should play with out pauses and freezing! At least that was my experience! *** Another thing that might help is to clear your cache. I think it helps with video playback! I hope this works for you guys!!! Reply and let me know if you tried it and how it turned out!!! :)
    PS.. Just FYI I think the main thing for me was the Autoplay issue!

  • Jonathan

    Thanks – I appreciate your posting this.

  • Ray Turri

    I searched for weeks, tried vidio driver updates, computer settings, and a bunch of other things. Then I ran across a blog that suggested going back to basics. Like most people, I did not think I had a heat problem, but despite what I believed, I took the case apart and put a small window fan next to the computer. That was the problem. It was the first thing I should have tried. Could have saved a lot of time with a simple test.

  • Mary Gillis

    I’ve got this problem using the HULU apps that came installed in my tv’s. I can’t get through a single show without it freezing – it’s so AGGRAVATING!!!! Netflix, however, plays forever with no problem… And NO COMMERCIALS… I really like the shows available on HULU but can’t spend 2 hours re-loading video just to watch a 45 minute show…it’s not like it’s a free service…not expensive but not free either.
    Any suggestions? I’m Internet access tv only and refuse to pay Direct tv’s ransom/rip off so any help keeping me watching my favorite shows would be much appreciated!

  • don

    There is a problem with the latest Flash player. Go to the flash website and download version

    Details can be found here

    If you are using chrome you also have to disable the pepper flash extension in chrome. You will also have to disable the pepper flash player that comes with chrome.

    Fixed my issues

  • Stan

    I did as the post here suggested….
    and so far its working great…..
    Thanks for the help…..
    now I enjoy Hulu once more..
    might think about getting Hulu pulse now

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