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Best Way to Play 4K Ultra HD Videos on macOS

Previously, many 4K displays cannot work properly on Mac OS X. It is hard to reach the original resolution 3840x2160. Even if we set it to the original forcedly, the text, image and video will be barely distinguishable. But that problem has gone away as OS X 10.9.3 has improved 4K display support on the late 2013 Mac Pro and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. It improves the size and readability of text and other on-screen elements. Thanks to this update, it is possible to play 4K video on Mac computer or laptop.

Frustratingly, it's not always that easy to play 4K content on Mac. You may be bogged down to incompatibility error, stuttering, choppy, or other issues from time to time. So what are exactly the reasons? What if your 4k videos won't play on your Mac? How to play 4K on Mac successfully? Read on.

Best Solution to Fix 4K Video Not Playing on Mac Error

Winxvideo AI enables you to compress 4K to 1080p, lower 4K HDR 10bit to 4K SDR, convert 4K HEVC to H264, 120/60FPS to 30FPS so as to playback on macOS without 4K video lagging/stuttering, image pixelated, A/V desync, CPU overuse error.

Part 1. Why You Cannot Play 4K on Mac?

Playing 4k UHD contents on Mac isn't that always easy. You may run into codec error, choppy issue, and so on. Here are the main reasons.

  • 4k video can be encoded with various codecs like HEVC, CineForm, VP9,etc, which can lead to codec issue when you trying to play 4K with your QuickTime player on Mac. Check more 4K codecs >>
  • Video in 4k resolution can be resource-intensive. If your Mac hardware is not up for processing 4k, you may be end up with choppy or stuttering error when trying to view 4k content on your Macbook or iMac.

Click to learn all errors with 4K video playing, editing and sharing.

Part 2. Top Ways to Play 4K UHD Videos on Mac

If you want to experience a flawless 4k video playing on your Mac without any issue, in this post, 3 methods will be shared with you to play 4K ultra high definition videos on Mac.

Method 1. Use 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs with Mac computers

In Apple's support page, you can find detailed supported displays, configurations and adjusting tips to make 4K displays work well with MacBook Pro (Retina, Late2013) or Mac Pro (Late 2013) based on OS X 10.9.3 or later, like Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

According to the official statement, OS X 10.9.3 is only for Sharp PN-K321, ASUS PQ 321Q, Dell UP2414Q, Dell UP3214Q and Panasonic TC-L65WT600. Viewing experience couldn't be better with 4K resolution. But it is really costly for ordinary people and unnecessary for non-professionals. Moreover, some 4K videos (downloaded from online video-sharing center, YouTube maybe, or generated by 4K-capable digital cameras or camcorders) could be incompatible with Mac. In that case, the second solution could be the best way to play 4K UHD videos on Mac OS X 10.9.3.

Method 2. Convert and compress 4K Ultra HD videos

The advantages of converting and compressing 4K videos are obvious, like saving considerable storage space, better compatibility with iPhone Android, media players, and video editing software. With a professional 4K video converter for Mac, the 4K UHD video quality will be retained in full measure. WinX HD Video Converter for Mac is the optimal choice for 4k UHD video conversion on macOS.

  • Accept any 4K video footages recorded by GoPro, DJI, action cameras, CCTV, iPhone, Android, etc.
  • Flexibly adjust 4K parameters to lower down requirements on hardware configurations: change 4K High Profile to Main Profile, 4K 10-bit HDR to 4K 8bit SDR, 4K to 2K/1080p, 4K 120/60FPS to 30FPS, 4K DCI to 4K Ultra HD, HEVC to H264 codec so as to playback 4K on macOS without 4K stuttering/lagging, A/V out of sync, media player stuck, CPU 90% usage, overheating errors.
  • Convert 4K to iPhone, iPad, QuickTime (MOV/MP4/M4V), iMovie, Apple TV, etc. with 420+ preset profiles.

How to Convert and Compress 4K UHD Videos?

Above all, you should download this 4K video converter for Mac on your Mac computer, and then install and launch it.

Then, let's move to the following steps.

Step 1. Insert the 4K UHD video you want to play on Mac OS X 10.9.3 or above.

Step 2. Select output profile.
To play 4k videos on Mac, you can choose one from the category of Mac General Video.

Convert 4K Video for Playback on Mac

Step 3. Hit "RUN" to begin converting and compressing 4K UHD videos.

As the output profile shows, users are also allowed to convert 4K UHD videos to Apple devices, Android pad, Sony, Microsoft and so much more, besides making 4K videos playable on macOS.

Method 3. Use Free 4K Video Player for macOS

Free media player for macOS is everywhere. And the ability to support 4K 2160p resolution is also the bread and butter to majority of video player freeware in the current market. Thus, take it easy and casually sift out one free Mac video player like 5KPlayer to free playback 4K Ultra HD 2160p video on macOS smooth and steady.

5KPlayer supports 4K video playback on macOS with almost all variety of codecs, including H264, H265, AV1, VP9, VP8, MPEG-4, etc. It won't cost any time to download extra video codec pack, nor plug-ins. Load your 4K video (Main/High Profile) at whatever frame rate (120/60/50/30/24 FPS) and it will smooth playback it on macOS with highest possible video & audio quality.

Use 5KPlayer to play 4K on macOS

Extended Knowledge: What is 4K Ultra HD Video

4K Ultra HD (also known as 4K UHD) is a resolution of 3840 pixels x 2160 lines (8.3 megapixels, aspect ratio 16:9) mainly for Ultra HD television, or a resolution of 4096 pixels x 2160 lines (4,000 pixels, 8.8 megapixels, aspect ratio 17:9) mainly for digital cinema. At 4K resolution, every single details and close-ups on the image can be seen. Nowadays, 4K videos are adopted by UHDTV and YouTube. Since OS X 10.9.3 can support for 4K displays, is it possible to play 4K Ultra HD videos on macOS?

If you still have question on playing 4K UHD Videos on Mac, please feel free to Mail Us >>


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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