July 27, 2021

HEVC converters: how to convert H.265 to H.264

15 min

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HEVC is an efficient codec for high-definition videos. Because it is still relatively new, many people need video converters to access the videos in this format. For instance, if you have an older operating system on your computer, you may need to use an HEVC converter to convert H.265 to H.264.




Best for

Movavi Video ConvertermacOS, WindowsFree trialUltra-fast conversions of video files
FreeFileConvertAny (browser-based)FreeConverting short video clips
Online ConverterAny (browser-based)FreeConverting directly from an URL
ConvertioAny (browser-based)Free trialConverting small videos online
HandBrakemacOS, Windows, LinuxFreeBuilt-in presets
VLCmacOS, Windows, LinuxFreeWatching and converting videos
Any Video ConvertermacOS, WindowsFree TrialConverting videos from online sources
WinX HD Video Converter DeluxemacOS, WindowsFree TrialFast conversion

How to convert HEVC to MP4 (x264) with Movavi Video Converter

OS: Windows, macOS

Best for: Ultra-fast conversions of video files

Movavi Video Converter is a universal conversion tool. It supports not only H.265* and H.264 but dozens of other media codecs and containers. Choose the one that best suits your needs between AVI, MKV, MP4 (MPEG-4); MP3, FLAC, AAC; JPG, PNG, TIFF, and many others for iOS- and Android-based devices; PlayStation, Xbox, and lots more. This software also provides one of the fastest and easiest ways to rip DVDs and Blu-rays.

Just download Movavi Video Converter for PC or Mac and read this step-by-step guide to convert H.265 at lightning speed.

Step 1. Install the Movavi HEVC decoder

Launch the downloaded file and follow the installation instructions on your computer screen.

Step 2. Add H.265 files for conversion

Go to Add Media > Add Video in the upper-left corner and add the files you want to convert to the HEVC encoder.

Step 3. Choose the output format

Open the Video tab. Find a preset group like MP4 and pick the appropriate preset – for example, MP4 H.264 - Original Size. Click the Cogwheel button to change the preset settings like bitrate or frame size.

Step 4. Convert the H.265 files

To change the destination folder for your files, click the Save to button in the lower part of the transcoder interface. Once everything is set, click Convert. In as fast as a couple of moments, your files will be ready for playback.

* Note. The codec is supported on Windows 10 and later versions (for Windows) and on OS X 10.13 or higher (for Mac). To use the codec on Windows, you also need to install HEVC extensions from the Microsoft website.

Go to the website

How to use an HEVC-to-MP4 converter online

So, how to play H.264 file? The first option is to convert your file to a more popular format, like MP4. Check out the apps below to learn how to do it online.

This browser-based HEVC-to-MP4 converter makes it easy to convert HEVC to MP4 files so that you can prepare H.265 videos for editing or watching on older media players. It lets you convert up to 5 different files simultaneously. The file converter is really straightforward and even links with a variety of different cloud storage solutions so you can enjoy the benefits of an H.265-to-H.264 converter without having to store a lot of sizable files on your computer.

Pros & cons

The service is free to use, and you can convert up to 300 MB at a time. It’s great for short video clips, but if you are looking into how to convert HEVC to MP4 and you have larger files, then this may not be suitable. The site also has some distracting ads, and it limits the number of times you can download the videos once you’ve converted them.

Online Converter recognizes a number of different HEVC files and allows you to take files from either a location on your hard drive or directly from a URL to convert it to MP4. The conversion all takes place within your browser.

Pros & cons

This converter recognizes a number of different file formats that use the HEVC codec. It acts as a reliable x265-to-x264 converter whether you are using MOV files or HEVC files. It’s great to be able to convert directly from an URL, too. Unfortunately, file sizes are limited to 200 MB. Also, the conversion can sometimes be a lot slower than other methods that convert HEVC to h264 videos.

Convertio is another browser-based x265 converter. It has drag-and-drop functionality, and you can also load your files from a variety of different sources, including cloud storage. Convertio can even be installed as a browser add-on to make it even more quick and convenient to carry out the conversion required.

Pros & cons

Additional controls for the video are fantastic and allow you to change the aspect ratio or other settings such as resolution while you convert. Unfortunately, the files are limited to 100 MB, and if you want to convert larger HEVC files, you have to pay for membership. This really limits you if you have bigger files, such as hour-long videos that you want to convert.

How to convert H.265 to H.264 for free

To learn how to play x265 files for free, check out the desktop programs below. They can help you to convert your video files to popular formats.

OS: Windows, macOS, and Linux

Best for: Built-in presets

HandBrake is an excellent open-source project that allows people to convert video files in a variety of different formats, including HEVC files. It recognizes a huge number of formats and gives you control over plenty of video options. You can also convert x265 to x264 with HandBrake. It’s also totally free for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Pros & cons

There are pros and cons when you convert H.265 to H.264 in HandBrake. It’s free of charge, so we can’t have too many complaints. The fact that it recognizes virtually every video file format is great for converting H.265 and H.264 formats. There’s no option to burn to disc, and some people find the layout a little bit clunky. Use the guide below to convert H.265 to H.264 for free.

How to convert H.265 to H.264 in HandBrake

  1. Download and install the software by following the inbuilt instructions, then launch the Handbrake software.

    Download HandBrake

  2. Use the Source button on the top left to choose a file or even a disc you wish to convert.
  3. Load presets. A screen will appear, allowing you to choose video presets, including what file type you want to export to.
  4. Choose the destination file where you want the file to be saved once converted, and press Convert to start the process. Remember that this can take a while depending on whether the file is particularly large.

OS: Windows, macOS, and Linux

Best for: Watching and converting videos

VLC is a media player with powerful options for video conversions. A lot of people convert x265 to x264 in VLC due to the fact that this is robust software that can also help you to play files. It’s free and open-source, and you can use VLC to convert HEVC to MP4.

Pros & cons

The fact that there is no cost attached is a big benefit, and the huge number of file types that VLC can easily find, play, and convert, is a bonus. If you want a video player that can also do a great job of converting, this is ideal. Some people do find the layout a little bit clunky, and it can be hard to find media files to convert if they are not in an obvious location on your Hard Drive. There’s no support to download directly from a link, either.

How to convert HEVC to MP4 free in VLC

  1. Download the right version of VLC for your computer, then follow instructions to install and open VLC Player from the Start menu or Launchpad if you are using Mac.

    Download VLC

  2. Locate the Media button in the menu bar before clicking on Convert/Save.
  3. Find the file that you want to convert and load it into VLC. This will be in an H.265 format. You can now click the Convert/Save button and choose the file type you wish to turn the media into.
  4. Under the Destination option, click browse, where you can choose the location you wish the file to be saved in and give it a new name before you press Convert.

OS: Windows, macOS

Best for: Converting video from online sources

Any Video Converter has a specific mode to allow you to convert videos to and from HEVC format. Using Any Video Converter is relatively simple, and though there are only limited features available in the free version, it still offers enough functionality for the types of conversion you will likely need. The paid version of the software offers more editing features, but for simple and short conversions, the free version is suitable.

Pros & cons

Any Video Converter is incredibly simple to use, with a layout that is based on converting videos. While some software like VLC is primarily a video player, with conversion built-in, this is primarily a converter. For this reason, it also possible to recognize and convert a number of different file types. To get the full functionality, you may need to upgrade to Pro or Ultimate, but you can even download and convert videos directly from video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo with the free version.

How to convert H.265 to H.264 with Any Video Converter

  1. Download and install the HEVC video converter before running it from your Start menu.

    Download Any Video Converter

  2. Click Add Videos to select, or drag and drop the videos you want to convert to an H.265 file type. Video conversion and merging videos are also supported.
  3. Set output format. This is where you choose the output format you want to use for your converted video, such as an MP4 movie file, which can be widely read by a lot of different devices. Select x265 as a video codec under the Video option.
  4. Click Convert Now button to start converting videos to H.265 files. Once the process is complete, you can either find it in the designated file or right-click on Open Destination File Location to access the newly converted file.

OS: Windows, macOS

Best for: Fast conversion

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is a fast way to reduce the file size by up to 90% but keep the quality high when you convert HEVC to H.264 files. According to the manufacturer, you can get access to any 8K/4K/1080p video, regardless of codec HEVC/H.264 or frame rate 60/120/240fps.

Pros & cons

The software runs very quickly and has a simple setup and method of importing files, so even if you are new to converting, you should get by just fine. You can even resize and enjoy some basic cutting and editing. To get the full features and a dedicated UHD converter, you have to pay to upgrade from their free software. Consider whether you want to part with the money for this HEVC converter software. The software also seems to work much more quickly on Windows than on Mac.

How to convert H.265 to H.264 with Any Video Converter

  1. Download and install WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe in the correct version for your machine.

    Download WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

  2. Launch the smart H.265/HEVC converter. You can now click the + Video button to select and add your x.265/HEVC/H.265 videos ready to convert. You can queue multiple files if you need to.
  3. Select MP4 video as the output in the profile selector. You can also choose the different codec combination and settings to get the quality you are looking for.
  4. Click Browse and then where you wish to save the converted video. You can click the Run button to start to convert the file. It will begin the process of converting and exporting.

x264 vs. x265: comparison table

The difference between H.264 and H.265 is stark. A lot of people are using this more modern format for streaming due to the fact that it can carry better video quality and higher bitrates, but with less space needed and lower bandwidths for streaming. The table below explores the x265 vs. x264 differences. While there are many figures around comparing the two formats, it is rather subjective as it depends on a number of other factors, such as the definition of the video.




File sizeStandard25-50% reduction in size
Required bandwidth for 4K broadcast32 mbps15 mbps
Peak signal-to-noise ratio (according to some tests)Around 36 PSNRAround 23 PSNR
Bit reduction64% at 4K UHDN/A

Frequently asked questions

What is HEVC (H.265)?

HEVC is a more modern and efficient codec to convert video formats. Many people use HEVC in order to stream using less bandwidth, but HEVC movie files are also popular for getting higher-quality files.

What is the difference between H.264 and H.265?

There are a number of differences when you compare h265 vs. h264, the HEVC quality is just one of the differences. They tend to have lower PSNR ratings, and also take up less file space both on your computer and when you are streaming. H.265 is newer, so it is not necessarily supported by a lot of older devices.

How do I play an H.264 file?

If you need to play a file using the H.264 codec on Windows 10 or Mac, you can choose a suitable H.264 file player. There are plenty of freeware options available such as the VLC media player we have recommended above. This can both play and convert the video formats required.

How do I play x265 files?

To play HEVC files with x265 codec, you need a player that supports this codec. Blu-Ray players for your devices will usually play the files with no problem, as will the vast majority of modern devices assuming you have a suitable media player. A lot of people who are new to the file format find the easiest way to play the media is to install VLC Media Player. The open-source software recognizes and reads the codec and can be used on Mac, Windows, and Linux systems.

Where do I get an HEVC codec for Windows 10?

To use the HEVC codec for Windows 10 you need a specific HEVC codec download. You can go to the Microsoft Store and download the official 'HEVC Video Extensions' utility, which unfortunately does have a cost, but not a high cost. It allows you to use the H.265 codec within Microsoft's Films & TV Player app and experience the extra quality of the h265 files.

Where do I get an HEVC codec for Mac?

To use the H.265 codec, Mac, iOS 11, and macOS High Sierra now support the new, industry-standard formats. If you need to use the HEVC codec, then you simply need to make sure your Mac is up to date with the latest OS. The codec will then be able to open natively in software on the Mac, such as QuickTime Player, which is automatically installed on your machine.

Does Netflix use HEVC?

Netflix uses HEVC for some of its streaming services. The Netflix H.265 usage is not universal and it depends on what device you are using. Netflix even uses adaptive bitrate streaming technology so the quality depends on the connection you have to the Internet, and how much data your bandwidth can handle streaming at any one time.

Does YouTube support H.265?

In recent years, YouTube HEVC x265 video uploading has become the norm. It is supported by the platform, but Google Support still seems to recommend that people upload in x264 formats. It is really up to you which you use, and the h265 video format has plenty of advantages that h264 might not when uploading to YouTube, especially if you want to offer your videos in high-quality.

How do I convert x265 to x264 with FFmpeg?

To use FFmpeg for the HEVC-to-MP4 conversion, you need to know a little bit about code, and how you can use code to execute conversions in the software. This interface is certainly not easy for beginners to use.

One of the commands for the software can be found below:

find . -name "*.MP4" -exec test ! -e '{}c.MP4' ; -exec ffmpeg -i {} -c:a copy -c:v libx264 -preset slow -crf 18 "{}c.mp4" ;

This is not the method we would recommend for newcomers, but FFmpeg can be a useful tool for some more advanced tech minds or those who already have some familiarity with code.