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Posted by Jordi D. Rodríguez - Contact Author

How to Choose among All Top 10 HD Video Converters Lists

If you search 4K or HD video converter online, millions of Google results will be presented, large part of which are titled as "top 10 HD video converters" or "best 10 4K video converters", but showing quite different recommendations. The question worth pondering here is: which list tells the truth? Does the best recommended HD video converter really best match you? Not necessarily.

The truly reliable way to avoid getting into traps should always be comparing what you need with what the HD/UHD video converter software can do. Then count some bonus features interests you in. Well, it is easier said than done. Follow our detailed tutorial below.

HD video conversion
HD video conversion

Previously - FAQs about HD/UHD Video Conversion

1. Can I convert 1080p HD to 4K?
Surely you can. Most HD video converter software allows you to upscale video like from 1080p to 4K or downscale video like from 4K to 1080p/720p.

2. Does upscaling HD to 4K really work?
It depends. Some HD/UHD video converting tools with claimed unique algorithm do upscale 1080p to 4K while maintaining a good visual effect. But generally, upconverting video is not recommended for the sake of image quality.

3. Will 4K video play on 1080p TV?
Barring accidents, nothing weird would happen when you play 4K video clips on a 1080p FHD TV, for nearly all smart TVs can auto downscales 4K to HD for playback.

Video file extension
1080p vs 4K upscaled from 1080p

Part 1 - Get Clear on If You Really Need a HD Video Converter

To sum up, most people try to get a HD video converter simply for solving troubles in video playback, video editing, or video sharing. Is HD video converter software the key for them all? See the following analyses.

1. Use HD video converter for video playback
- To play a 4K video on a HD 1080p smart TV, there is no need of video conversion, because the TV will do it for you.
- To play HD videos on 4K TV (4K vs HD), HD video converter will be used only if a video upscaling is needed. But bear in mind that might cause quality degradation.
- For playback error triggered by incompatible video codecs, 4K/HD video converter software does play an important role, for example to simply remux MKV to MP4.

2. Use HD video converter for video editing
If you are dealing with a GoPro video footage and have already installed GoPro Studio, there is no need of an extra HD video converter only for transcoding video format for editing. GoPro Studio converts every piece of video imported in to AVI CineForm as the very first step. Download GoPro Studio 2.5.9 >

But if you want to edit a MP4 video recorded by iPhone or Android in software like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro, you'd better use 4K/HD video converter to re-encode video into ProRes, DNxHD or other intermediate codecs.

Intermediate video codecs
Intermediate video codecs

3. Use HD video converter for file sharing

You may get used to compressing videos from 4K to 1080p to get a smaller file for sharing. True, HD video converter is needed here and can be used in that way. But actually there are far more options to choose. Novices can simply choose a higher-compression-ratio codec format, for example MP4 H.264 or HEVC, while professionals may resort to customize the bit rate, GOP length, frame rate, etc.

Part 2 - How to Choose from Top HD Video Converters Lists

What kind of HD video converter should you choose from loads of online top 10 lists, freeware or paid one, entry level or professional? The next six factors should be considered primarily.

1. It has to be compatible with your system
Most HD video converters are available for both Windows and Mac, for example VideoProc, WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe, Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate, HD Video Converter Factory Pro, etc; some others may support only one of them; while few run on even more platforms like Linux - HandBrake. So choose the one that can run on your system.

For HD video converter app or apk for iPhone/Android, search in App Store directly, although we do not recommend video transcoding, such a source-intensive data calculating task, on mobile. Also note that not all Windows and macOS versions are supported.

 

VideoProc

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

HandBrake

Windows

Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 (32 & 64-bit)

Windows 2000, 2003, Vista, Windows 7/8/10

Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 (64bit)

macOS

Mac OS X 10.6 and later (32 & 64-bit)

Mac OS X 10.6 and later (32 & 64-bit)

Mac OS X 10.11 and later (64bit)

Download Link

For Windows; For Mac

For Windows; For Mac

For Windows; For Mac

2. It could be free or paid HD video converter
It doesn't have to be a paid HD video converter, until one day freeware is not good enough for you and you need those "upgraded features". Most online HD video converters are free to use, maybe with file number, size or length limits. The biggest problem of freeware is your data / computer security. Adware, spyware, or even virus might be everywhere. So make sure you are downloading a trustworthy free HD video converter.

Widely Used Free HD Video Converters

Widely Used Paid HD Video Converters

HandBrake

  1. One of the most reputable ones
  2. Constantly updated

VideoProc

  1. Free trial version is available
  2. Known for being both 4K/HD video converter and beginner-friendly editor
  3. Convert fast for Full GPU acceleration supported

ClipConverter

  1. Online HD video converter
  2. Output video settings need to be improved

UniConverter

  1. HD video converter developed by Wondershare
  2. Wide range of output video profiles

Format Factory

Free and safe

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

  1. Fast video conversion speed
  2. Constantly updated for new devices

3. It better be easy to use
Some software are made only for people with certain-level related skills while some others with intuitive interface are the ones for both beginners and experienced users. Ease of use matters a lot especially to beginners. You don't have to spend a lot of time to get the hang of how to use it. Just start off right away after opening the software. See the following two types of HD video converter interface and you'll know what I mean.

FFmpeg
VideoProc

If you insist that long learning curve is not a big deal and you want to try the complex but professional HD video converters like FFmpeg, we've also got you covered. See How to convert HD video using FFmpeg >

4. Long list of input output profiles is necessary
Statistics show that the top search queries related to HD video converter are HD video converter for 4K, MP4, iPhone, MP3, YouTube, and Instagram. Apparently, that's not all. Better choose a video converter with various input output options because your needs vary. Most HD video converters provide you with two types of output profiles - codec formats and devices.

For those who know exactly what they want to transcode into, choose codec format directly from MP4, H.264, and H.265 to AVI, MKV, MOV, etc. If you know nothing about video codec or container format, choose the specific platform on which you are going to play the video, for example iPhone 11, iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, Huawei P30, Samsunng Galaxy S9, Xbox One S, etc.

VideoProc output profiles

5. Fast conversion speed is a huge plus
If you have piles of videos to be processed, worse still, all in large file size, both a high-level computer and an HD video converter guaranteeing fast conversion speed are quite important. Nearly all HD UHD video converter software in the market claims they support different acceleration technologies, like Intel QSV, Nvidia CUDA/NVENC, or AMD VCE/VCN [1]. Is that true? Here is the way to test it.

Step 1. Make sure you have a graphics card with hardware decoder/encoder. How do you know if there is one? Check your PC hardware specs with VideoProc - the one preferred by Nvidia forum members. (Safe download link of VideoProc )

Step 2. Download and install a HD video converter, load your video, choose an output format, run the software, then open the Task Manager and switch to Performance. Let's take a look at the usage of your CPU and GPU.

Case 1. If your CPU usage is as high as above 90%, while Intel/NVIDIA GPU is 0%, there is no hardware acceleration at all.

No hardware acceleration

Case 2. CPU usage is around 50%, GPU for example either GeForce GTX 1080 or Intel UHD Graphics 630 is about 20%, then hardware acceleration does work. But still large part of the GPU sources is idle.

Level 1/2 GPU acceleration

Case 3. CPU usage is as low as 8% for example, while GPU reaches 100%, this is an example of full hardware acceleration [2] when using VideoProc to convert 1080p HD videos.

Full GPU acceleration

[1] About AMD VCE/VCN hardware acceleration
[2] How does full GPU acceleration benefit HD/4K video conversion

6. Outputs videos in high quality
What a HD video converter should be capable of is not only decoding video in high resolution but also delivering the files in high quality as well. HD video converters like VideoProc and Movavi video converter provide "Quality" slide bar for easy adjustment, while HandBrake simply gives you HQ and Super HQ Presets.

Almost all HD video converters are built in with video parameter settings, allowing you to balance file size and video quality by changing bit rate, frame rate, and resolution. Encoder Profile and Level seems to be only available in HandBrake and VideoProc. There is also another rarely-seen option in VideoProc - GOP and B-frames settings.

One more thing about VideoProc: it is an integration of UHD/HD video converter and editor software. That means there are much more ways for maintaining or enhancing video quality aside from those obvious quality adjustments mentioned above, for example, removing noise, stabilizing shaky footage, adding filters, etc.

[Related sources] 6 ways to enhance video quality in VideoProc >

VideoProc quality settings
VideoProc quality settings
Stabilization before vs after
Stabilization before vs after in VideoProc

Part 3 - Choose HD Video Converter with Bonus Features You Need

Sometimes, it is the bonus feature that differentiates a good HD video converter and a stunningly good HD video converter. What are you going to use your HD video converter for? Just convert videos? Some of them are far more powerful than it should be. VLC, known as player software, actually can be used as a HD video converter. VideoProc, a video processing tool, can convert, edit, download and record video.

Bonus Features

VideoProc

VLC Player

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Download/add subtitles

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Add watermark, filters

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/

Adjust brightness, contrast, hue, gamma, saturation

/

Stabilize video

X

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Denoise video

How to remove background noise

Record screen/webcam

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Download online video

X

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordi D. Rodríguez

Jordi was an amateur tech enthusiast, but now an editor who has published hundreds of stories covering video editing, hardware acceleration, software review and how-tos. He is more like a "tech support" with adventurous soul, eagerly grabbing cutting-edge video technologies off in a professional yet easy-to-understand way. Enjoys gliding, diving, etc.

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