4K Video Codec Mystery: Every Detail You Want to Know Explained

Launch of 4K UHDTV expands limited concern on the next-generation resolution to the public. Meanwhile, wide application in digital camera, streaming video and a part of portable devices raises popularity of 4K. Even so, there are still many secrets that you may be curious about 4K. And in this article, we will discuss 4K codec, one of the most important factors influencing 4K video playback, including 4K video codec types and 4K codec download.

4K Video Codecs

There are two main types of 4K video codec. One is HEVC and the other is VP9.

HEVC (H.265) Codec
Formally released in June, 2013 as a video compression standard, HEVC is developed to support higher resolutions (2160P 4K/4320P 8K) and offer a more efficient video coding compared to its predecessor H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. It means that H.265 only takes half bit rate to deliver the same video quality as H.264 due to twice data compression ratio.

VP9 Codec
Developed by Google as a successor to VP8, VP9 is the biggest rival of HEVC supporting 4K with the use of superblocks of 64×64 pixels. It also boasts the high compression efficiency than VP8 and even HEVC (as announced). VP9 is considered as one of the best video formats for online streaming and well supported by HTML5 video on mainstream browsers and YouTube.

Speaking of differences between the two 4K codecs, HEVC is a commercial standard requiring payment for a patent license, while VP9 is royalty free. On the other hand, reports and tests from geeks figure out that HEVC 4K video has better image quality than VP9 but VP9 is more appropriate for streaming.

4K Codec Download

Windows 10 users can fully access to 4K playback thanks to native support for HEVC, yet other Windows systems and Mac users still need to install third-party codec to watch 4K videos or movies on PC/Mac without hassle. In the following, let’s get where to download 4K codec.

• Media Player Codec Pack (for Windows) – It collects almost all mainstream video compression and file types, including HEVC for Windows Media Player 12/11/10 on Windows (32 & 64 bit). This 4K codec pack also can be installed on any DirectShow compatible player.

• K-Lite Codec Pack Full (for Windows) – It is another favorite video codec pack for Windows XP and later versions gathering a diverse of video/audio codecs (HEVC and VP9 included) for SD, HD and 4K contents playback.

• FFmpeg (for Windows/Mac) – With added native VP9 and an open source HEVC decoder from October 2013, this multi-platform project for handling multimedia data offers users an option to run 4K on PC and Mac.

• libvpx (for Windows/Mac) – It is an official free VP9 codec library released by Google under New BSD License. This 4K video codec is also compatible with multiple operation systems as FFmpeg, such as Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix-like operation systems.

If you need to create a video in 4K resolution or compress big-sized 4K video to be smaller for better playback and save storage on portable devices, garner the best 4K video encoder and decoder introduced in this article:


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