Technically, H.265 goes by the name of HEVC, or High Efficiency Video Coding. As H.265's longer name implies, the video codec is designed to succeed H.264 with a more efficient encoding standard. Compared to H.264, H.265 appromixately doubles the compression ratio. So HEVC is the best choice to encode high-def video, especially 4K and 8K Ultra HD videos. Eventually, HEVC (or H.265) may replace H.264 completely, but that might take some time to truly take hold. Overall, HEVC is highly acclaimed esp. in the era of 4K 8K Ultra HD while H.264 still dominates now, which makes H.265 to H.264 conversion sensible.

In this article, we will take a look at the possible reasons that why we need to convert HEVC/H.265 to H.264. Also you will learn the best 3 methods on how to get the job done for free and how to convert GoPro/YouTube/Apple H.265/HEVC video to H.264 without loss of video and audio quality.

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Why Do You Need to Re-encode H.265 to H.264?

The reason varies. Sometimes, your device's screen does not support 4K resolution, your hardware configurations fail to support the high-demanding HEVC decoding, the player won't play HEVC videos with 60fps, high bit rates, 4K and higher resolutions, or HEVC is not widely welcomed by most of your devices. Taking compatibility into account, H.265 is far less compatible than H.264 and MP4. For instance, GoPro 4K HEVC videos are not friendly to many editor apps, Adobe Premiere Pro won't import iPhone taken HEVC properly.

If HEVC video doesn't play well on your Windows 10, uninstall and free download official HEVC video extension from Microsoft store for Windows 10. After that, in case there is still something wrong in H265 (4K) playback, upgrade hardware configurations. Playing H.265 video or editing a 4K footage are high-demanding in computational resource. If your computer can't provide enough power (specifically GPU hardware acceleration tech), you will be confronted with stutters, freezes, black screen or laptop lagging when processing a (4K) HEVC video.

Instead of costing hundreds of dollars on hardware upgrade to handle 4K HEVC 60FPS video, 10/12 bit HEVC, Mavic 2 Pro HEVC Dlog-ma video or IP camera GeoVision HEVC footages, an economical yet once-and-for-all solution is preferable to any other, solving H.265 playback problem using a HEVC encoder and decoder to convert H.265 to H.264 or adjust video parameters to reduce computational burden.

Method 1: Best Tool to Convert HEVC to H.264 | Lossless Quality & Fast Speed

There is a long list of free and paid conversion programs and tools available. But if you do not want to be held back by slow processing, poor output quality and to look for the best option to change HEVC/H.265 videos to H.264, EaseFab Video Converter will be your best choice.

It can smoothly convert 4K video files from GoPro, DJI, iPhone, DSLR cameras, IP camera, etc. to H.264, MP4, WMV, MOV, AVI, etc. or encode video (H.264) into H.265 on Windows 10 and Mac (macOS Catalina included). This tool is powerful enough to fulfill all popular videos conversions in whatever format and resolution. Constantly optimized conversion algorithm ensures fast and smooth decoding and encoding, no video load error or software crash issue. What's more, it can:

● Convert HEVC H.265 to Sony TV, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, mobiles, Chromecast, PC, Mac, NAS, Plex, 420+ profiles pre-programmed.
● GPU hardware acceleration ensures the smoothness of the compute-intensive x265 conversion, no CPU 94% usage or laptop lagging issues.
● Tweak H.265 4K to 2K/1080p, lower 60FPS to 30FPS, adjust 12/10bit to 8bit, change bit rate for smooth playback, virtually no quality loss (2% quality damage).

Pros: Intuitive interface, ultra user-friendly, totally clean and safe, stable and superfast.

[Guide] 3 steps to convert H.265/HEVC to H.264 losslessy and quickly

Free download the best H.265 to H.264 converter for Windows or Mac. With H.265/HEVC codec for 4K video built-in, you can convert HEVC to other formats and encode videos into H.265 right away.

Step 1: Click Add Video button to load your H.265 video from local media library.

Note: Batch conversion is supported, so you can load more than one file to save time.

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Step 2: Click Profile and then choose MP4 or MP4-HD/MP4-4K (the three MP4 presets are defaultly encoded with H.264 codec) from Common Video or HD/4K Video category as the output video format. As the best HEVC converter, EaseFab Video Converter also provides:

Edit options: Cut video clips, crop video frame, rotate or flip video, add effects/watermark to video, adjust video brightness/contrast, etc.

Video Toolbox: Merge video clips, get snapshots from video, add subtitle to video, etc.

select h264 mp4 as the output format

Step 3: After everything is settled, click Browse to specify a preferred computer output folder to save the output video. (You can also jump this operation, and the default output folder will auto pop up once the conversion is completed.)

At last, move mouse cursor to Tools > Options and tick Enable NVIDIA GPU Acceleration and hit Convert button to start converting HEVC to H.264 at ultrafast speed with original quality.

Method 2: Convert H.265 Video to H.264 Free with Handbrake

Handbrake is a completely free piece of video conversion software. It's open source and available for download on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Handbrake mainly focuses on ripping regular DVDs or converting videos to MP4 or MKV container in H.264/H.265 codec, and to some iPhone iPad preset profiles. People who have used this software figure out that it has complex interface and settings which are more suitable for experienced users.

Pros: Free and open source. Versatile advanced settings.

Cons: - Handbrake always outputs poor video quality.
- It takes quite a long time to load source video and convert video.
- It sometimes crashes in the middle before finishing the conversion process.
- Besides, Handbrake is not updated often and lacks technical support.
- The interface and settings of Handbrake are complex and it is not suitable for new beginners.

[Guide] How to convert H.265/HEVC to H.264 for free with Handbrake.

Step 1: Download Handbrake (latest version 1.3.3) from its official website. Install and open it.

Step 2: Click Open Source button to load folder with one or more H.265/HEVC video files, or choose a single H.265/HEVC video file.

Step 3: Next click Browse button to set a target folder to store the converted H.264 video.

Step 4: Choose MP4 or MKV as the output video container.

Step 5: Then hit Video tab to select H.264 (x264) video codec as the output and adjust other video settings like frame rate, bit rate, etc.

Step 6: Hit Start button on the top left to start converting H.265/HEVC to H.264 for free with Handbrake on Windows 10/8/7 or Mac.

Handbrake convert HEVC to H264

Method 3: Transcode HEVC Files to H.264 with Online converter

The third option to convert HEVC to H.264 is to use an online converter like Convertio. Convertio.co is not only capable of converting HEVC files from local but also Dropbox, Google Drive and video link. While it has strict limits about the file size. Guest visitors are only allowed to upload a HEVC video maximumly 100MB, approximately 30 seconds for 4K HEVC @30fps shot by iPhone. If you want to convert large HEVC files, you have to upgrade your account from 3 options: $9.9/month (max size: 500MB), $14.99/month (max size: 1GB) and $25.99/month (no limits on file size).

online convert HEVC to H264

It is not recommended to use free online video converters to decode H.265/HEVC to H.264 MP4. Most online video converters only support small video files conversion, e.g, lower than 100MB. Besides, The online conversion speed is always like snail speed and the process is not stable, together with poor output video quality and sometimes malware/virus saved along to computer.

Final Words:

If you aim to convert large video files, like large 8K/4K/1080p H.265/HEVC videos that come from GoPro action camera, DJI, Drone, iPhone, surveillance camera, IP camera, YouTube, etc, a solid clean and easy-to-use H.265/HEVC encoder and decoder like EaseFab Video Converter, Handbrake may be more preferred.