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Free Download H.265 Encoder to Encode 4K/8K Videos to H.265

Free Download H.265/HEVC Encoder to encode 4K/8K videos into H.256 files for small size and high quality.

H.265/HEVC wins its popularity in the digital world. Due to its high efficiency, H.265 has been widely used in many aspects for online 4K/8K video streaming, 4K video playback on Windows/Android and more. Users who have recorded 4K videos are wondering how to encode videos to HEVC to save space while keep the best quality. First of all, an HEVC encoder is in need. In this article, we will introduce the best HEVC encoders and show you how to encode H.265 videos.

Free Download Best H.265/HEVC Encoder and Decoder

To encode videos to H.265 with the best quality, try WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

  • Encode any video to H.265/HEVC with small size and best quality, and decode H.265/HEVC (hvc1/hev1) 8/10/12bit videos to other formats (H.264, MPEG4, AVI, WMV, MOV, FLV, 3GP etc.) for better playback on small monitors and devices.
  • Support GPU (Intel/Nvidia/AMD) hardware HEVC encoding to process 4K HEVC video encoding at dedicated GPU instead of CPU. The compute-intensive 4K H265 encoding is 5X faster, no laptop lagging, CPU overuse/overheating issues.
  • High quality engine will ensure the best HEVC encoding quality.
  • Crop/trim videos; merge several files into one for H.265 encoding/decoding; add external subtitles.

Part 1 Best Software & Hardware H.265 Encoders

• x265 HEVC Encoder

x265 HEVC encoder is an open-source library developed by MulticoreWare and published under the GNU GPL 2 license for encoding video streams into H.265 format and offers the most efficient HEVC encoding solution for a variety of hardware configuration. It aims to offer a possible highest video quality at any bit rate or lowest bit rate for any resolution for H.265 encoding. Fast speed on any hardware configuration can be achieved. Apart from source code for developers, it also gives a x265 encoder application for making HEVC encoding become easier.

The source code of this H.265 encoder is now available to be free downloaded for personal and private use. Instructions to compile x265 are different depending on platforms (Win/Mac/Linux). Download source code and follow instructions to create your own H.265 HD movies/videos. You can purchase x265 HEVC Upgrade for convert 4K/8K files to HEVC with ease.

• Nvidia Nvenc H.265 Encoder

Nvenc is the dedicated feature in Nvidia graphics cards for video encoding. Nvidia introduced the HEVC compression algorithm with the 3rd Nvenc with the Maxwell GM20X (GTX 950 series graphics cards). Newer Nvenc generations like Nvenc 6th or later supports H.265 8K encoding at 30fps. And the Nvenc H.265 encoder provides up to 25% bitrate savings. Nvidia Nvenc HEVC encoder has a higher-density encoding per 1 GPU core and users my save cost with the correct video cards.

• AMD VCE/VCN H.265 Encoder

AMD Video Code Engine (VCE) is AMD's video encoding application-specific integrated circuit implemention of the video codec H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. AMD added the ability to encode High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265) with VCE 3.0. But since AMD Raven Ridge, VCE was replaced by Video Core Next (VCN) - the dedicated encoding and decoding hardware core in AMD's graphics cards. VCN supports the decoding and encoding of various codecs, including H.265/HEVC.

• Intel QSV H.265 Encoder

Quick Sync Video is the dedicated video encoding and decoding hardware core in Intel's graphics cards. QSV supports various codecs including MPEG-2, AVC, VC-1, JPEG, VP8, VP9, AV1, and the support to H.265/HEVC Main10/10-bit encoding and decoding was added since QSV V5.0 Skylake with i3, i5, i7 processors. Newer QSV H.265/HEVC encoders support HEVC encoding with improved hardware encoding quality. QuickSynkVideo (QSV) encoder had a lower power consumption than Nvidia and it's the best choice for video decoding/encoding applications.

Best HEVC encoders
Best H265 encoders

 Software vs Hardware HEVC Encoders

Software and hardware encoders both transcode videos. Software encoders are coded to run on any general purpose CPU. It gives them great versatility. Hardware encoders rely on specific physical hardware components to exist in a system to use them to accelerate their transcoding. The main differences are:

  • X265 encoder provides better HEVC encoding quality versus file size efficiency;
  • Hardware H.265 encoders run faster than the x265 software encoder, at the expense of some quality loss, with Intel QSV hardware encoder producing slightly higher quality encodes.

Part 2 How to Encode Videos to HEVC for Small Size and High Quality?

The aforementioned H.265 encoders are primarily developed for programmers and tech savvy. To transcode videos to HEVC, you need an HEVC encoding app which is able to use the software or hardware H.265 encoders listed above. Below we share you thre best HEVC encoding applications.

#1 WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is avilable to create a H.265 encoded videos from H.264, MPEG4, MKV, MTS/M2TS, AVI, MP4, MOV etc, while keeping a great quality in only 3 steps. It support of hardware encoders (Intel QSV & Nvidia NVENC), Multi-core CPU and Hyper-threading tech, it can deliver an extremely speedy 4K H.265 encoding process. It's very simple and the built-in HEVC preset is designed to deliver the best file size and quality efficienty, with no extra settings required.

How to encode HEVC videos in Clicks

  1. Free download the H.265 encoder on your computer and run it. Click the "+ Video" button to load source 4K video or multiple files.
  2. On the pop-up Output Profile window, click: General Profiles -> HEVC Video (Codec: HEVC + aac). It will encode video into H.265 in an MP4 container format. The encoded HEVC file will in smaller size with nearly the same quality. If high quality is your first preference, switch to HQ when you select HEVC. 
  3. Click Settings or Edit button to cutomize the HEVC encoding, like the bit rate, resolution, aspect ratio, etc.
  4. Back to the main interface, check the Hardware Encoder Intel or Nvidia if you want to speed up the HEVC encoding process. Then click "RUN" to start.
free encode 4K video to H265
Best H265 encoder

#2 Handbrake

Handbrake also lets you encode H.265 videos in MKV or MP4 formats. It contains X265 HEVC encoder and support for AMD VCE, Intel QSV, and NVIDIA NVENC hardware encoders. There are a wide range of filters and settings to adjust the HEVC encoding. The only drawback is that the interface is a bit complicated for beginners.  

How to encode 4K videos to HEVC using Handbrake?

  1. Free download Handbrake on your computer. Launch it and load in your source video.
  2. Under the Summary tab, choose to encode H.265 videos in MP4 or MKV container format.
  3. Go to the Video tab and select the H.265 encoder. You can choose x265 for better quality. If your computer has compatible graphics cards, you will see the available hardware H.265 encoders, like H.265 (Nvidia Nvenc). Choose a hardware HEVC encoder if you want a faster H.265 encoding speed.
  4. Hit the Browse button at the bottom to specify an output path and then click on the green Start Encode button to start. There are a lot of quality settings and filters, if you're interested, check the best Handbrake H.265 encoding settings.
FREE encode 4K/8K video to H265
Handbrake H265 encoder

#3 FFmpeg

FFmpeg is a flexbile command line tool. It supports libx265, QSV HEVC encoder, and Nvidia Nvenc HEVC encoder. You can use FFmpeg to encode HD/4K videos to H.265 in MP4, MKV, MOV with different quality, bit rate, resolution, audio settings, etc. Simply add the specific flag in an FFmpeg command line. However, FFmpeg is far more complicated than Handbrake.

How to encode videos to HEVC using FFmpeg?

  1. Free download FFmpeg on your computer. Set it and open up a command window. (For those who don't know how to set up FFmpeg, check FFmpeg HEVC guide) Below are some commonly-used command lines for HEVC encoding:
  2. ffmpeg -i input -c:v libx265 -x265-params crf=26:psy-rd=1 output.mp4
  3. ffmpeg -i input -c:v libx265 -c:a copy -x265-params crf=25 OUT.mov
  4. ffmpeg -i input -c:v hevc_nvenc output.mp4
Free encode video to H265
FFmpeg H265 encoder

What Is H.265?

Successor to H.264, H.265 (aka. HEVC), is said to revolutionize video coding efficiency to provide greatly improved video quality at the same bit rate with H.264 on account of double data compression ratio and to support 4K/8K UHD with a resolution of up to 8192x4320 pixels. Comparable to the precious standard, H.265 is more network-friendly for lower bandwidth needed to play videos at the same level of quality, which means watching x265 4K or 8K videos online more smoothly. In addition, a H.265 encoded video takes up less space, making it more suitable to be saved on devices with limited storage.

H.265/HEVC vs. x265 or What is HEVC Encoder

For a first-timer as the Quora user, knowing nothing about video encoding, starting with an accurate definition seems to be the best way to know what HEVC encoder is, the relationship between x265 and HEVC/H.265, and most importantly, the method to encode video in HEVC.

  • HEVC and H.265 are the same thing, a new video compression standard developed by JCT-VC, approved and named by two standard bodies: MPEG and VCEG.
  • x265 is a HEVC encoder app library, boasting the highest possible quality and lowest possible bit rate while encoding video. Obviously, HEVC is a codec while x265 is a HEVC encoder. So should we go get x265 instantly? The answer is no, for x265 is not the right HEVC encoder for ordinary people. It is for programmers.


author - Donna Peng

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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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