From cameras to TVs, games consoles to laptops, it’s clear that the age of 4K has arrived. We’re now watching 4K films and TV programs, streaming 4K video from YouTube and capturing 4K video on our digital cameras and smartphones. Our devices are ready now, too. While the screens of recent iPads can’t show 4K video, they can easily accommodate 2K content – especially the 2732 x 2048 resolution display of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The iPhone X, meanwhile, is the first iPhone to go beyond full HD 1080p, with a 2K-friendly 2436 x 1125 resolution. What’s more, devices with an A10 processor, including the iPhone 7 and both current models of iPad Pro, now support the H.265 HEVC codec required for efficient 4K playback.
This shift to 4K is exciting, but it also brings its share of challenges. 4K video files are enormous. One minute of 4K video from an iPhone camera can take around 350MB of space. An hour of H.264 4K video could grab 5GB of iPad storage; a real problem on a device which might have only 64GB to play with. What’s more, the iPhone and iPad are notoriously restrictive in terms of the file formats they support, meaning many of the HD and 4K video files you might download from the Internet simply won’t play back. And what if you want to take 4K video and play it on a device that isn’t 4K capable, or take existing HD video and optimise it for a 4K screen?
The answer is a 4K converter that converts, compresses and transcodes video, taking files designed to play at one resolution and upscaling or downscaling them, or converting files from a format that isn’t iPhone-friendly to one that is. The problem is that, while there are several Mac video converters available, most tend to be slow, over-complicated or unreliable. What’s more, very few handle 4K video.
Luckily, the best of the bunch now handles 4K in style. MacX Video Converter Pro was already a fantastic tool for resizing, transcoding and compressing HD video, but now it tackles video in 4K resolutions, being the best 4K video converter with H.265 HEVC codec supported.
That’s great news for anyone wanting to convert 4K video to watch on an iPad or iPhone. For a start, you can convert 4K video in the old H.264 MP4 format to H.265 HEVC, retaining resolution and image-quality but dramatically reducing MP4 file size. In our tests, a two-minute 4K trailer was reduced from 162.2MB to 38.4MB in size. That’s video sharp enough to take advantage of the full resolution of the iPhone X or iPad Pro 12.9, but with a fraction of the H.264 4K file size.
MacX Video Converter Pro is fast, too, using the Intel QSV hardware acceleration built into the Core i5 and i7 processors of modern Macs, while taking advantage of dual-core and four-core processors, and Intel Hyper-Threading technology. Meanwhile, the new auto-copy mode can reformat video without changing the underlying codec at even faster speeds. Put it all together, MacX Video Converter Pro is up to five times faster than other video converters.
The best way to convert and compress 4K video
Tools with this much power tend to be difficult to use, but not this one. In fact, you can convert and compress video in just a handful of steps.
1. Launch MacX Video Converter Pro and click the Video+ button in the top-left corner. Navigate to the first video you want to convert, then click Open.
2. The program asks you to select an Output Profile. It has dozens of ready-made profiles, covering all the widely available models of iPhone and iPad, not to mention more general-purpose profiles and profiles for Windows PCs and many Android tablets and smartphones. Here we’ve picked the H.265 HEVC profile; the new standard for 4K video. Click Done.
3. You’ll see your selected video listed in the left-hand panel, with quality settings on the right. You can cue up more than one video by clicking the Video+ button again and selecting another file. Check the Hardware Encoder box on the right-hand side to take advantage of hardware acceleration, and check the High Quality Engine and Deinterlacing options to optimise the image quality, though this will have some impact on speed. Now click Run, and your 4K video will be converted.
Download, edit, compress and convert
The features don’t end there. MacX Video Converter Pro has built-in editing tools, allowing you to crop your video to, say, remove letterbox borders from the top and bottom of the frame, or trim credits or ‘previously’ recap sequences out of a programme. It’s also adept at converting 1080p video into high-quality 2K or 4K video, 4K upscaling and optimising to give you video that still looks amazing on an Ultra High Definition screen. Beyond that, it can even download 4K videos directly from YouTube and other streaming sites, so you can download, compress and convert using just one tool.