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2021 Best Five 4K UHD Video Players for PC/Mac

As 4K content is going viral, more and more people want to have a look at what a 4K video looks like. In addition to streaming 4K movies on Netflix, Amazon and other channels on specific TVs, there's also demand for watching 4K UHD videos on computers. Is it possible? Of course yes, only if you have a powerful computer supporting 4K playback as well as a 4K Ultra high def video player that is compatible with your OS.

If you're looking for the best 4K player, just stop here. This is because we will present the roundup of the best five 4K 2160p video players for Windows PC and Mac in the following part.

Contents

Part 1: Top 5 Best Free 4K UHD Video Players | Free Download and Reviews

No.1: 5KPlayer

Rating: ★★★★★ | Platform: Windows & Mac | License: Free

The first best 4K media player we want to introduce to you is 5KPlayer. Free as it is, it is clean and safe to use. It doesn't have any malicious stuff. With DXVA2, Intel QSV and NVIDIA hardware acceleration integrated, it allows you to play 30fps, 48fps, or even 60fps 4K video at any format (e.g. MKV) in dolby atmos audio without choppy, lag, or other issues. It is also a good 4K HDR player for Windows 10.

5KPlayer
top 4K player - 5KPlayer

Intel/NVIDIA/AMD GPU hardware acceleration is essential for video playback, especially for large UHD 4K files. GPU is specialized in handling graphic processing. Thus, it's a no brainer to deal with the computation-demanding 4K video playback, esp 4K HEVC video playback. Thanks to its assist, you're free from CPU overheating, high CPU usage and laptop lagging issues.

In addition to playing 2160P 4K videos, 5KPlayer can also play 5K/8K videos, play video/audio in almost all formats, free download 4K content from YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, etc. 1000+ sites, and stream media for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, etc.

Note:

  1. On top of the 4K video player for Windows 10/8/7, your computer hardware configurations also matter a lot to guarantee a faultless 4K HEVC video playback. Click here to check if your computer configurations meet the basic requirements for 4K (h265) video playback.
  2. Hardware acceleration is also a big deal for 4K video conversion. If your 4K HEVC video fails to play on computer, you can turn to a GPU accelerated 4K video converter - WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe to convert 4K videos with high bitrate.

No.2: VLC Player

Rating: ★★★★☆ | Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux | License: Free

As one of the most popular best free media players, VLC offers 4K playback initially with the release of version 2.1 in 2013. Just like the above 5KPlayer, it stays far away from spyware, ads and doesn't track users. You are allowed to import virtually all codecs encoded 4K videos for playing. Some VLC users said that 4K video playback was choppy or lagging, but it is still a choice.

VLC media player
VLC Media Player

VLC is also a multifunctional program. Besides serving as a (4K) video player for Windows, Mac and Linux, it can also play DVDs, 4K Blu ray discs, audios, stream media over computer networks, and transcode multimedia files.

No. 3: DivX Player

Rating: ★★★★ | Platform: Windows & Mac | License: Paid

DivX Player is another HD video player supporting high-definition video playback up to 4K. It is optimized for playing videos in MKV, AVI, MP4, HEVC (H.265), DIVX and more formats.

This player permits you to fast forward or rewind to your desired time point quickly, choose a chapter, create a playlist based on your own needs, and switch seamlessly among soundtracks to hear other languages. And Resume Play enables you to jump right back into the scene you left off quickly.

DivX Player
DivX Player

Note:
1. There's an open candy in the DivX 4K player download package. Make sure to clean it while installing.
2. If you don't need DivX Converter and DivX Web Player, make sure to uncheck the boxes while installing.

No.4: Media Player Classic and K-Lite Codec Pack

rating: ★★★☆ | Platform: Windows | License: Free

Media Player Classic, aka. MPC, is an open source free 4K Ultra HD video player for PC. It mimics the look and feel of Windows Media Player 6.4.

In fact, MPC cannot play 4K UHD videos on its own. It needs the help from K-Lite Codec Pack. To make things easier, you are suggested to download the K-Lite Codec Pack full package which has Media Player Classic covered. Although MPC can work on even the oldest computers, you still need a more powerful system to play HEVC x265 video in 4K resolution.

Media Player Classic
Media Player Classic

MPC is also a completely clean 4K UHD media player for Windows 7/8/10. No ads and no toolbars. You may feel relieved by the use greatly.

No.5: KMPlayer

Rating: ★★★ | Platform: Windows & Mac | License: Free

The final best 4K media player is the famous KMPlayer. At first, it only served for Windows users. But this changed in April 2016. A Mac alpha version was rolled out for using on Mac OS X 10.6 or later operating system.

KMPlayer
KMPlayer

It supports a wide range of file formats and can play videos in high quality, including 4K UHD. According to the description in its official site, the PC edition can only run on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7(32bit). If you need a 4K video player for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 7 64bit system, you'd better pick another program, for example 5KPlayer.

Tutorials you may need:
[1] How to Fix KMPlayer Doesn't Work/Play Problems & Errors
[2] KMPlayer Doesn't Play MP4, FLV, MKV Files Problems [Solved]

Part 2: The Minimum System Requirements for 4K HEVC Video Playback

Besides the 4K video player, hardware configuration also matters a lot for playing 4K HEVC videos. Before you play your 4K footage, check if your hardware configuration supports 4K HEVC playback.

Which Kinds of Windows PC Support 4K Video Playback

Must-have ingredients

1. Upgrade your operating system to Windows 10.
2. GPU memory should be at least 4GB to handle 4K 2160p video decoding.
3. Graphic cards are required to have a 256 bit memory bus as the entry level.
4. The entry-level of GPU frequency is approximately 1 GHz.
5. Integrated 4K UHD panel is a must have on your Windows laptop.
6. Keep a 4K UHD panel with HDCP2.2 on your Windows desktop.
7. Don't forget to feature the system with HDMI2.0 or DisplayPort output.

Which Kinds of CPU & GPU are needed for 4K HEVC hardware decoding

 

4K 8-bit (HEVC)

4K 10-bit (HEVC)

4K 12-bit (HEVC)

Intel QSV Supported CPU

Skylake

Apollo Lake, Kaby, Gemini,
Coffee Lake

/

Nvidia NVDEC Supported GPU

/

Maxwell (GM206)

Pascal & Volta

Note: if you're running a Mac-based computer and plan to play 4K x265 video on macOS, make sure the operating system being upgraded to macOS High Sierra or above and internal memory being 8GB or larger. As for the Mac computer, you'd better choose iMac 5K (27-inch), iMac Pro (2017) or later iMac with native 4K display. As for even older Mac, you need to buy an external 4K display screen to enjoy the real 4K quality.

5KPlayer is worth a try if you want to play 4K UHD videos on Windows or Mac computer. For more details about 5KPlayer, you can check the product page or free download this 100% FREE, clean and lightweight package to have a shot.

Part 3: FAQs about Playing 4K Video Footage

1. Why does my 4K video lag?

It has to do with both software and hardware. The easiest way is to upgrade your hardware if possible. But you can try some tips to see whether it works. For example, move the 4K video source to local hard disk, ensure nothing else is using up resources on your computer, change the priority of the video player to High, or check your video card drivers and software etc.

2. What laptop can play 4K video?

There are many choices: Dell XPS 15 (2019), Alienware m17 R3, Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR, Dell XPS 17, HP Spectre x360 (OLED), Razer Blade 15 (OLED) and so on...

3. Is it possible to play a 4K video clip on a 1080p TV?

Yes and no. If you just want to play a 4K on a 1080p TV, you can connect your laptop to TV with a HDMI cable. The 4K video will be displayed, but in 1080p. If you want to see the real 4K resolution on the 1080p TV, it's impossible.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author - Donna Peng

Donna Peng twitter icon

Donna Peng's fascination with multimedia began at an early age - shortly after she licked the physical disc and then she's been obsessed ever since. Her decade-long career at Digiarty after the graduation has seen her unmatched expertise in the field of DVD, digital video, software and anything related to home theatre. She is currently fascinated with photography.

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