Summary: This guide will shed light on why it is necessary to convert HEVC and how to convert HEVC to MP4 by using some paid or free HEVC-to-MP4 converter software like HandBrake and VideoProc Converter.
High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC), also referred to as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2, has never been more popular than it is today. HEVC remains the king of high-efficiency codec, especially for using in High Dynamic Range (HDR), 10-bit and Dolby Vision content. The prosperity of this high compressed codec owns much to the support from the leading hardware, software, and digital ecosystem companies. The number of the installed base that can decode HEVC in 2020 is around 3.644 billion from estimated. This includes recent iPhone devices that can capture and receive HEVC videos, the majority of the action cameras, and drones, etc.
However, the license fee for using the HEVC codec in hardware, software, and contents are far more expensive than its older brother H.264, let alone open source ones like VP8 or VP9. Besides, the popularization of a new industry standard codec often takes years. It's still uncertain whether HEVC can be the next standardized video codec. Thus, before that, many companies still have concerns about making this high-priced investment. Browsers like Google don't natively go compatible with HEVC, most of the video editing software and media player still get some trouble to process HEVC files, such as:
- Can't view GoPro footage
- iPhone HEVC video won't play on vlc
- HEVC videos from Canon EOS R10/R7 won't play
- HEVC codec missing in Premiere Pro
- Sony TV won't play H265 HEVC videos
- HEVC codec is unsupported by Windows 11 and 10 out of the box
- and so on
And the easiest solution to all HEVC related errors is: Take a solid HEVC converter to change HEVC to MP4 H.264. In fact, whether you intend to convert HEVC to another more compatible format or transcode a video to HEVC for shrinking size, you'll need a capable HEVC converter.
How to Convert HEVC to MP4 with VideoProc Converter
After testing dozens of video converter software in the market, we realize the best HEVC converter for both PC and Mac is VideoProc Converter. With it, users can convert HEVC to MP4, H.264, AVI, AV1, MOV, MKV, VP8, VP9, WebM, and another 420+ formats in a few clicks. Need also transcode videos from other formats to HEVC? Things can be done in this HEVC converter in seconds. Take a quick look at some of its killer features:
- Convert HEVC files in a click
- 47x faster conversion speed
- Top-notch picture & sound quality
- Turn HEVC to MP4 (H.264, MPEG-4/2)
- Process 4K/8K (large, high fps) videos smoothly
- Presets for trendy devices and platforms
- A variety of drag & drop video editing tools
- Shrink video size by 90%+
Now let's download VideoProc Converter to your computer and follow the steps below to convert HEVC to MP4 with ease.
Step 1. Add HEVC File(s)
Free download and install VideoProc Converter on Windows or Mac. Run this amazing HEVC to MP4 converter and click the "Video" button on the main interface. Click the "+Video" button to import the source HEVC file(s) to this top video converter.
Step 2. Select Output Format as MP4
Click on "Target Format" and select MP4 H.264 which is supported by virtually all mainstream platforms, devices, and video editing software. Surely, you can also select MKV, MOV, WebM, AVI, or other formats listed in the "Target Format" section.
- If you're converting an 4K HEVC file to MP4, then I suggest you to pick 4K H.264 for retaining full resolution of the original file.
- Some formats are labeled "HWAccel supported", which means converting HEVC files to these formats can activate Intel/NVidia/AMD hardware acceleration. In other words, it only takes a few minutes to convert large HEVC files to these HWAccel-tagged formats.
- If necessary, click on "Target Format" to get more output format options.
Step 3. Customize Output File Properties (Optional)
Some of you may want to adjust the properties of output for purposes like downgrading the resolution, getting a smaller file size, and optimizing the picture quality. To do so, click the "codec Option" button. On the pop-up Format settings panel, you can customize the output properties with ease. Once you're satisfied with your settings, hit "Done".
- Move the quality slider left or right to get smaller file size or better quality.
- Increase or decrease bite rate value to downgrade or enhance the quality.
- Choose the desired frame rate, resolution, aspect ratio, sample rate, codec for the corresponding options.
- Check "2-pass Encoding" to enjoy better picture quality.
step 4. Start the Conversion
Hit the "RUN" button to start converting HEVC to MP4 on Windows or Mac.
- Check "Use High Qaulity Engine" for better quality.
- Check "Nvidia/Intel/AMD" to activate level-3 GPU acceleration tech for boosting the conversion speed and lowering the CPU usage.
Optional Reading: Why Is VideoProc the Best HEVC to MP4 Converter? Let's Dive Deep
VideoProc Converter is the top-pick for both beginners and advanced users to convert HEVC to MP4 for good reasons.
Zero Learning Curve: The clean and straightforward interface of this full-featured HEVC converter enables a newbie to change HEVC to MP4, H.264, MPEG-4, MOV, ProRes, MKV, AVI, and vice versa within 3 clicks.
Better Picture Quality: The adoption of the entropy coding for lossless coding of moving pictures, and the support of intelligently switch between All-I (intra-frame) and IPB (inter-frame) compression allows you to convert or compress HEVC while retaining the original picture quality.
Plus, you can hit Auto Copy to remux your video for getting 1:1 quality and flash speed and tap 2-pass Encoding to take advantage of VBR (Variable Bitrate) to encode your video in a more accurate, flexible, and bitrate-saving manner.
Smaller File Size: Allow to reduce the file size (over 90%). Thanks to the adoption of the latest x265 encoding scheme, this robust HEVC to MP4 converter supports dynamically reconfigured bitrate target for efficiently shrinking videos to small size, and the new option of limit-sao achieves 2% to 10% boost in speed while limiting the artifacts causing by SAO (Sample Adaptive Offsets).
Support 420+ Formats: This versatile HEVC converter comes with the capability to convert HEVC to MP4, AV1, MPEG-2/4, MOV, H.264, VP8/9, WebM, and vice versa. It also supports to turn music, audio recordings, and audio tracks in prevalent video formats to any of your desired audio formats including AAC, MP3, OGG, FLV, WMV…
Word No.1 Speed: The support of level-3 GPU acceleration technology enables you to unleash the power of your dedicated AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel graphics card. According to the test, this can bring you a lightning-fast conversion speed - up to 47x faster than the real-time playback while keeping a low CPU usage rate. That's being said, it allows transcode hour's long video in minutes even on less-powerful machines.
Rich Editing Tools: Equipped with the basic video editing toolkits, as like, trim, crop, rotate, split, merge, subtitles, filters, deshake, and more, you can polish HEVC files before or after conversion without installing an extra video editor.
How to Free Convert HEVC to MP4 with HandBrake
HandBrake is a free and open-source video converter program runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It comes with the capability to convert HEVC files to MP4, H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Thera, VP8 and VP9, and vice versa.
It is a feature-rich HEVC converter. However, the plethora of difficult jargon, out-of-date interface, and limited output container options (MKV, MP4, AVI) are just a few of the things that have led me and many other beginners to oft-favor a certain other HEVC converter. Too many redundant steps are required by Handbrake to batch convert HEVC videos, and the extremely unstable performance are also biggies.
How About the Conversion Speed? Is HandBrake HEVC Converter a CPU Hog
When I converted a 40-second HEVC with the bitrate of 4042kb/s, and resolution of 1920x1080p to H.264 MP4 by applying the default setting of HandBrake and VideoProc Converter,
- HandBrake took 43 seconds 👎 to get the things done, and VideoProc Converter spent only 18 seconds 👍.
- HandBrake blasted up the CPU usage rate to 90%, In the same case, VideoProc Converter took advantage of the GPU acceleration that barely occupies the CPU resource.
Let's see the detailed steps to convert HEVC to MP4 for free with HandBrake!
Step 1. Launch up HandBrake on your PC or MAC. Drag the source HEVC video that you'd like to convert and drop it to this free HEVC to MP4 converter. The process is the same if you need to convert a video that comes with another format. You can also click on File and then select the original file to load it up to Handbrake.
Step 2. On the main interface, change the video container from MP4, MKV, and AVI if necessary. After that, click on "Video" to enter a new section. Unfold the drop-down box of "Video Codec", you'll be given H.264, HEVC 8-bit/10bit, MPEG, and some other codec options. Click on the target codec.
Step 3. You can leave the "Framerate" value as the default or set a specified value. Move the cursor on the quality slider left or right to decrease or increase the quality.
Step 4. HandBrake won't automatically change the audio codec to match the selected audio codec. Therefore, you sometimes need to adjust the audio codec manually to get avoid any no audio or a/v out of sync problems.
Step 5. Click on "Summary" to check the resolution, bitrate, sample rate, and other properties of your media tracks.
How to Free Convert HEVC to MP4 with FFMPEG
FFMPEG enables you to convert HEVC to MP4 H.264 and other prevalent codecs. You can also utilize it to turn H.264, VP8, or other videos to HEVC high-compressed format.
Unlike common software that comes with interface with well-designed guidance, FFmpeg offers you only a command window. This means you have to input the proper command line to apply any converting decisions. It usually takes a steep learning curve for those who don't know a command line environment to do even the most simple thing by using FFmpeg. Keep reading on the step-by-step guide on converting HEVC with FFmpeg on Windows, you'll know what I mean.
It's a Long and CPU-Intensive Process Converting HEVC to MP4 Using FFmpeg
VideoProc Converter took 25 seconds to convert a 2.5 minutes 4K HEVC video to H.264, with 2% average CPU usage rate. With FFmpeg, I spent around 4 minutes getting the job done with the average CPU usage rate up to 99%.
Actually, FFmpeg supports GPU acceleration and allows users to customize the priority of the CPU process. However, occasional users have to dive deep into a number of difficult command lines and experience lots of errors and trails to skillfully apply them. So, why bother yourself with FFmpeg since VideoProc Converter is far more intuitive and faster than FFMPEG?
Let's see the detailed steps to convert HEVC to MP4 for free with FFmpeg!
Step 1. Go to the FFmpeg official download site. There you are given many versions correspond to Windows, Mac, and Linux respectively. After you choose which operating system you want to install in, you'll be led to the FFmpeg Builds Page which displays the version, architecture, linking, and license information of the installation package that you are going to acquire.
Step 2. Click on Download Build. In my case, I download Windows 64-bit static version.
Step 3. Once the installation package is successfully downloaded on your computer, you need to take 7zip to extract the ffpmeg.exe.
Step 4. Move over to your system directly (in most of the cases, the OS/C: folder), and create a new folder named FFmpeg.
Step 5. Paste the expanded files for the ffmpeg.exe to this newly created folder.
Step 6. Navigate to your computer, click on "System properties", select "Advanced system settings", choose "Environment Variables", and tab New. There you set the variable name as Path, and set the "Variable value" as C:\FFmpeg\bin.
Step 7. Press Windows and R button on your keyboard, and input CMD to launch up the Command Prompt window in administrator mode.
Step 8. Copy the path of the source HEVC video.
Step 9. Press the blank button on your keyboard, input cd, and then press the space button again. There you paste the copied source video path and press Enter.
Step 10. Enter ffmpeg -i test.m4v -c:v libx264 -crf 18 -c:a copy output.mp4, and then press "Enter".
test.m4v is the name of my file plus the extension. Suppose your source media is test.mkv, there you need to enter ffmpeg -i test.mkv -c:v libx264 -crf 18 -c:a copy output.mp4. Assume you need to convert H.264 to HEVC MP4, you need to input: ffmpeg –i my_movie input.mp4 -c:v libx265 -vtag hvc1 output.mp4.
The given commands are just our recommendation that can deliver high-quality output. There are also lots of other available command lines, you can come over to FFmpeg Encoding Guide to get more information.
Step 11. FFmpeg now starts to transcode and encode the source HEVC file to MP4. This process may eat up your CPU and memory storage. I just take a screen capture during the processing process, and it shows that CPU usage rage blasts up to 94.9%, and the memory usage rate rises to 54%.
Is HEVC Better Than MP4 H.264/AVC
Easy Answer: HEVC is superior to H.264 with regard to storage, bandwidth saving, and picture quality. HEVC video looks more crispy and retains more details than H.264 when the given bitrate and other properties are the same. This owned a lot to the application of the more advanced compression algorithm which is featured with coding tree unites based blocks, the optimized motion-vector prediction, 35 directional intra prediction modes, and enhanced interpolation filter, etc.
HEVC VS MP4 H.264: Some Key Improvements
1) Block Size
The basic building units of H.264/AVC are the macroblocks, which consist of 16 × 16 samples. However, many recent studies found the larger pixel block size is much more efficient to compress high-resolution videos. The small 16x16 blocks are insufficient to capture the increased spatial correlation from 1080P and other large videos. In HEVC, a slice is subdivided into multiple CTU(coding tree units). Depending on the complicity of the picture, these CTUs can have different size: 16 x 16, 32 x 32, 64 x 64. In this way, the efficiency and flexibility of compression can get improved.
2) Block Partitioning Structure
Unlike the macroblock of H.264, the CTUs of HEVC includes CU (Coding Unit), PU (prediction Unit), and TU (Transform Unit). The separate of these 3 units make the division of each portion better fits the texture features of motion pictures, brings up much flexibility in transformation, prediction and coding process, and is good for fulfilling the function of each unit.
3) Parallel Tool
The coding of HEVC is much more complicated than H.264. To facilitate the coding efficiency, two high-level parallelization tools are introduced to HEVC: Title and WPP (Wavefront Parallel Processing). Tiles divide a picture into several rectangle groups of coding tree blocks. Each Tile can be regarded as an LCU (Large Coding Unit) that allows being decoded separately. By using WPP, the consecutive rows of CTUs is decoded in parallel using multi threads. With the increasing demand for viewing high-resolution videos, these parallel tools allow the computer to make full use of the multi-core processors to play these contents smoothly.
4) Frame Prediction
As for Intraframe prediction, HEVC supports 33 angular modes while H.264 only allows 8 different modes. More angular prediction mode brings HEVC higher coding efficiency and is also helpful for getting a smooth sample surface. As for internal Frame prediction, HEVC provides higher compression ratio and picture quality as well as remove redundancy in a video sequence by optimizing the motion prediction.
5) SAO (Sample Adaptive Offset)
HEVC introduces SAO with the intent to reduce sample distortion, increase the compression ratio, and decrease the bitrate. This new in-loop filtering technique classifies the reconstructed samples into various categories based on BO (Band offset) and Eo (Edge offset) to get an offset for each category, and then add that offsets to each sample of each category. The adoption of SAO averagely receives 2% to 6% save in bitrate with only a 2% increase in the consumption of decode/encode resources.
2. Test Data: HEVC VS MP4 H.264
1) Save Storage Bits: HEVC > H.264
- One minute of 1080p HD, 60fps H.264 video takes up around 175MB storage space on your iPhone.
- One minute of 1080p HD, 60fps HEVC video occupies 90MB storage space on your iPhone.
2) Save Bandwidth: HEVC > H.264
- Around 32Mbps of bandwidth is required to stream 4K broadcast.
- Approximately 15Mbps of bandwidth is needed to stream the same content.
3) Popularity: H.264 > HEVC
- Despise that many people use both H.264 and HEVC, overall H.264 user is twice as that of HEVC users.
- The majority of editing software can't decode HEVC correctly.
4) Quality: HEVC > H.264
- HEVC delivers better picture quality when the given bitrate is the same with the MP4 H.264 clip.
Popular Devices and Browsers that Natively Support HEVC
Smartphones, TVs and computers:
- iOS 11 or later iPhone devices.
- Android 5.0 or higher smartphones.
- Almost all 4K UHD TV sets.
- Windows 10, macOS High Sierra, or later.
Hardware on Windows 10:
- 6th Generation Intel Skylake or newer.
- AMD's 6th Generation Carrizo APUs or newer.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series or newer.
- AMD R9 Fury, R9 Fury X, or newer.
DSLR, action cameras, and drones:
- GoPro Hero 6, Hero7, and Hero8.
- PHANTOM 4 PRO, MAVIC 2 ZOOM, MAVIC 2 PRO, PHANTOM 4 PRO, PHANTOM 4 ADVANCED.
- The entire camera line of ZCam.
- Panasonic Lumix S1H, AU-EVA 1, AG-CX350, AJ-CX4000GJ.
- Canon XF-705, EOS-1D X Mark III, EOS R5.
- IE11; Edge12-18(Partially Support); Safari 13, 13.1, 14-TP; iOS 11-13.3, 13.5, 14.0.
Reference: Entropy encoding - High Throughput CABAC Entropy Coding in HEVC - IEEE
 Hardware acceleration - Allows decrease latency and increase throughput. - Wikipedia
 Macroblocks - A liner block transform based processing unit in video compression formats. - Wikipedia
 CTUs - Conceptually corresponds in structure to macroblock units. - Wikipedia
 Parallelization Tool - Parallel Scalability and Efficiency of HEVC Parallelization Approaches - IEEE
 SAO - Improved Sample Adaptive Offset for HEVC - Hong Kong University