7 Best 4K Video Players for Mac [Free & Paid]

Cheryl Bennett
June 13, 2023 Preview 261 Preview 0
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As 4K resolution becomes increasingly popular, you’ll want a way to better enjoy high-quality video on your Mac. With a plethora of 4K video players available on the market, finding the perfect one for your needs can be a daunting task. In this article, we will explore some of the best 4K players for Mac that offer a smooth and stutter-free 4K (2160p) playback.

 

What is 4K Resolution?

4K resolution, also known as Ultra High Definition(UHD), offers a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. It’s called 4K because the horizontal pixel count is around 4,000. 4K UHD videos offers more detailed image quality and a better viewing experience than 720p and 1080p HD videos, but at a larger file size.   

Why do we need a third-party 4K player for Mac:

While Macs can play 4K video to some extent, for the best 4K viewing experience, you'll want to use a dedicated 4K video player for Mac.

  • Format support. The default QuickTime Player is limited to MOV, MPEG-4 and AVI files, while the best 4K video players for Mac support a variety of video and audio formats.
  • Advanced features. The best 4K players for Mac often come with some additional features that you may need, such as 4K videos conversion, streaming 4K movies to TVs, HDR playback support, etc.

 

7 Best 4K Video Players for Mac - Updated 2024

#1. iFunia Media Player (Editors choice)

iFunia Media Player is one of the best 4K video players for Mac that you cannot miss. It’s lightweight yet powerful, offering butter-smooth playback of high-resolution videos in any format, such as 4K MKV, MP4, MOV and more.

Free Download macOS 10.11 or later

You can add 4K videos and other media files to the playlist for seamless playback without buffering or lag. During playback, you can add subtitles or switch the audio track of the video, capture the screen, freely control the playback with hotkeys. It will also remember the playback progress and resume playback from where you left off.

Another big plus of this best 4K video player is its conversion function. It allows users to convert the 4K video to any format such as MP4, AVI, MKV, M4A, MP3, compress it, and export it to play on other devices including iPhone, iPad, Androids, etc.    

Overall, it’s an ideal choice for users looking for a one-stop solution for 4K video playback and conversion.

ifunia media player interface

Pros:

  1. Native support for a variety of video formats
  2. Smooth playback of 4K videos and higher-definition videos
  3. Add external SRT, ASS subtitles
  4. Easily convert 4K videos to other formats
  5. Support HDR playback
  6. Auto-resume the playback with built-in bookmark
  7. Convenient and modern interface, easy to navigate

Cons:

  1. Need to upgrade to activate conversion feature

How to play and convert 4K videos with the best 4K player for Mac?

1. Download and install iFunia Media Player.

2. Open and play the 4K video file. You can directly drag and drop the 4K video onto interface, or click “File” from the menu bar to open it. Then you can enjoy a smooth viewing experience.

add 4K video file

3. If needed, you can convert the 4K video by clicking “Convert” to export to your desired format or device.

convert 4K video

 

#2. Movist Pro

Movist is a versatile 4K media player for Mac that offers 2 paid versions, Movist and Movist Pro. Movist Pro offers additional features such as watching videos from online websites and picture-in-picture mode. Movist offers a smooth playback of local 4K videos with hardware-accelerated decoding.

When you open a 4K video file, you can adjust the playback speed, video quality, filters and more. It allows users to select subtitles in multiple languages and select multiple soundtracks at the same time, which is helpful for language learners. Overall, Movist Pro is a reliable paid 4K video player for Mac users who need customizable playback and HDR support.

movist pro

Pros:

  1. Advanced settings for customized playback
  2. Support for Dolby Vision video HDR tone mapping  
  3. View internet video through browser extension

Cons:

  1. No free version, paid application

#3. Infuse Pro

Infuse is a powerful cross-platform 4K player compatible with macOS, iOS, Apple TV and Windows. It not only plays local 4K video files on your Mac, but can also browse and play your collection from other devices, apps like Plex, Jellyfin, Emby and cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox. All your media files from multiple sources will be neatly organized in your central library, giving a good-looking video library with metadata and artwork. Infuse Pro also lets you stream 4K video to TVs via AirPlay and Google Cast.  

Infuse is also great for playing 4K HDR video. It supports HDR 10 and Dolby Vision Profile 5 & 8, providing a silky-smooth playback of 4K HDR videos. The biggest drawback to this video player may be its subscription price, which requires a monthly subscription or $75 lifetime license. Still, it’s a top 4K video player for Mac users looking for a convenient way to stream 4K videos and sync movie collections.

infuse video player

Pros:

  1. Robust playback support for 4K HDR videos
  2. Powerful video streaming services
  3. Sync your library and playback progress with other devices like Apple TV
  4. Airplay and Google Cast support

Cons:

  1. Requires macOS 11.0 or later
  2. Comparatively expensive price

#4. VLC

VLC Media Player is definitely the most popular free video player across platforms. This open source player has hardware decoding and has been able to play 4K videos since its 3.0 release. VLC simply plays any format you throw at it, including DVDs, partially downloaded videos and compressed media files. It allows users to customize the video playback like iFunia and Movist, but the user interface is more complex and outdated, which requires a learning curve for beginners to adjust it. Besides playing local videos, VLC can also stream network videos from websites like YouTube, but the video quality will be limited to HD or lower.

Being free and open source, VLC can sometimes have playback issues such as buffering and blackened image, especially for higher quality videos. Still, VLC is a go-to option for playing 4K video on Mac.

vlc 4k player

Pros:

  1. Total free and open source
  2. Unmatched format support
  3. Hidden settings to customize the playback

Cons:

  1. Outdated user interface
  2. Possible issues when playing 4K and HDR videos

#5. IINA

IINA is another free and open source 4K player for Mac, an alternative to VLC with a modern interface. IINA can play 4K UHD videos smoothly without issues like lagging and blurring. The frameless window gives users a more immersive viewing experience for higher quality videos up to 4K resolution. In addition to essential playback, users can add subtitles by searching online and play videos on the web via a browser extension.  

Overall, IINA is an excellent 4K video player for Mac users looking for a better alternative to VLC that integrates into the macOS environment.

Tip: If you encounter any problems while playing 4K videos or other files, you can check the nightly builds to fix the issues since IINA is open source.

IINA 4k player for mac

Pros:

  1. 100% free and open source
  2. Minimalist interface integrated with macOS system
  3. Online subtitle search for 4K movies and TV shows

Cons:

  1. Lacks some essential and advanced features like screenshot
  2. Fewer updates and releases

#6. Elmedia Player Pro

Elmedia Player is a Mac 4K video player with video streaming features. It allows users to stream 4K videos to big screens via AirPlay and DLNA streaming.

The free version allows you to adjust video speed, volume and add subtitles, and other additional features such as screenshot, picture-in-picture mode and streaming & broadcasting require an upgrade to the Pro version.

Elmedia Player Pro is an ideal option for Mac users who want to stream local 4K video files to Apple TV, Roku, Smart TVs and other compatible devices.

elmedia 4k player mac

Pros:

  1. Native support for Apple silicon M1 and M2
  2. AirPlay and DLAN streaming
  3. Handles DTS surround sound

Cons:

  1. Must pay for advanced features
  2. No HDR playback support

#7. MPV Player

MPV is a cross-platform media player based on Mplayer. It’s one of the best free and open source 4K video player for Mac and supports a variety of media formats using the FFmpeg library. Unlike other programs above, MPV is not equipped with a proper GUI (graphical user interface), but offers a fully configurable and command-driven control layer to allow users to customize the playback.

MPV also offers older releases that work on older macOS 10.9 for 4K playback. It is a good option for playing 4K videos with powerful scripting capabilities.

MPV player

Pros:

  1. Free and open source
  2. 4K HDR support
  3. Scripting capabilities

Cons:

  1. No proper UI
  2. Higher CPU usage
  3. A bit tricky to install  

Tip: To get MPV Player for Mac, go to MPV official website > Installation page > macOS builds > select an installation package compatible with your macOS.

Comparison Chart of the Best 4K Video Players for Mac

  iFunia Media Player Movist Pro Infuse Pro VLC IINA Elmedia Player Pro MPV Player
Compatibility macOS 10.11+ macOS 10.13+ macOS 11.0+ macOS 10.7+ macOS 10.11+ macOS 10.12+ macOS 10.9+
Smooth 4K playback 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.5 4.0 4.5 4.5
HDR support

×

×

Easy to use 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 4.5 4.0 3.0
Interface 5.0 4.5 5.0 4.0 4.5 4.5 2.0
Pro feature Video converter Dolby Vision (Profile 8) Cloud streaming Network stream and video convert Online subtitle search Stream to TVs Scripting
Price Free; $19.99 for conversion feature $7.99 $75 Free Free $19.99 Free

Need to Play 4K HDR Video on Mac?

High Dynamic Range (HDR) video offers a wider range of color and sharper contrast. Although HDR is becoming more common in streaming services and apps, not all Mac 4K video players support HDR playback, such as VLC for Mac. To play 4K HDR video on Mac, you need to:

  1. Make sure you are using macOS Catalina or later
  2. Mac models that support HDR video, including Apple Silicon Macs and Intel Macs introduced in 2018 or later
  3. A video player capable of playing UHD and HDR video. QuickTime Player can play HDR videos shot on iPhone, but it can’t play other HDR files such as MKV. In this case, it’s recommended to use a video player that supports HDR playback, such as iFunia Media Player, Movist Pro and Infuse.  

 

Conclusion

To play 4K video on Mac, you need a 4K-capable media player. Specifically, to play local files on Mac, iFunia and VLC are ideal options for smooth 4K playback. To play 4K content on the web, IINA and Movist Pro are fully capable. Infuse and Elmedia Pro can help you stream 4K videos to TVs. With the information provided in this guide, you can choose the best 4K video player for your needs and enjoy the stunning visual effects of 4K resolution.

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Cheryl Bennett
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Cheryl has been writing tutorials, reviews, and how-to articles on consumer apps since 2016. She specializes in multimedia products and is always testing on Mac, PC, and various devices.

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