“Hi, I have issues when playing 4k or 1080p video recorded with a GoPro camera (HEVC codec). First of all, this issue does not happen if I use "media player classic" as installed by CCCP (Combined Community Codec Pack). The video plays perfectly smooth. I have a high-end computer with a Titan X GPU but I'm unable to play video using VLC, both with hardware acceleration on auto (as per default) or on in any setting or off. The video plays the sound but I get just standstill frames or short bursts of video play and then it jams again. Has anyone encountered this issue before and knows the cause and how to fix it? I'm using VLC 3.0 but this also happened on the previous version when I tried it.” A question asked on VideoLAN Forums.

As one of the most popular media player tools, VLC media player has gained quite great reputation and positive feedback among worldwide customers. However, not a single app is perfect. Some VLC users have reported 4K HEVC video frame drops in VLC while they are playing 4K or 1080P videos within VLC media player. If you happen to meet the same issue and would like a solution to fix this, the below content would be helpful. We have collected several different ways to help you fix 4K HEVC video frame drops issue.

Part 1: Use Leawo Video Converter to Convert 4K HEVC to H.264

Generally speaking, your computer hardware configuration is the primary reason of “4K HEVC video frame drops” even with some highly-acclaimed video players such as VLC media player. HEVC video consumes much more CPU to encode/decode 4K HEVC video files for smooth playback. If your VLC media player drops the video frame of 4K HEVC video file, you then could try to convert 4K HEVC video to H.264 video since H.264 occupies less CPU and is more compatible with general media players.

To convert 4K HEVC video to H.264, we would like to recommend you Leawo Video Converter, which is a professional media converter tool that could handle video, audio and image conversions quickly. As a professional video converter tool, Leawo Video Converter enables you to convert video and audio files between 180+ file formats for various media players and devices, including MP4 to MKV, MKV to MOV, FLV to WMV, MP4 to MP3, MP3 to AAC, etc. What’s more, it could turn photos into slideshow video and save in different video file formats. Still, it offers other useful features like internal video editor, 2D to 3D converter, parameter adjuster, etc.

Download and install Leawo Video Converter on your computer. Get source 4K HEVC video files ready. Then, follow the below steps to learn how to convert 4K HEVC video to H.264 video in detail for smooth playback within VLC media player and other media players.

Note: Leawo Video Converter is a built-in module within Leawo Prof. Media.
Step 1: Add source 4K HEVC files

Kick off Leawo Prof. Media and then open the “Convert” module. Then, you could click the “Add Video” button to browse and add source 4K HEVC video files into this Convert module for converting. After loading, you could select subtitles and audio tracks, play back source 4K HEV videos, edit loaded 4K HEVC video, apply 3D movie effect, etc.
Step 2: Choose output format

Then, click the button next to the “Add Photo” button and then you will see 3 options on the drop-down menu: Edit, Change and Apply to All. Click the “Change” option to enter the “Profile” panel, where you could choose an output format. Since you need to convert 4K HEVC to H.264, you could choose “MP4 Video” with H.264 coder from the “Format > Common Video” group.
Step 3: Adjust video and audio parameters

Since you need to make sure the video codec is H.264, click the “Edit” option on the drop-down menu to enter the “Profile Settings” panel, where you could adjust the video codec (make sure it’s H.264), audio codec, bit rate, aspect ratio, frame rate (you could rise or lower down it here), etc.
Step 4: Set output directory

After setting output format, you will be returned to the main interface. Click the big green “Convert” button and then you will see a sidebar pop up on the right. Set output directory in the “Save to” box. Make sure the output folder has enough space.
After setting output directory, click the bottom “Convert” button to start converting 4K HEVC video to H.264 video files. Leawo Video Converter would start the conversion immediately. You only need to wait for the conversion to complete.

Part 2: Fix 4K HEVC Video Frame Drops Issue by Adjusting Settings in VLC

If you prefer VLC media player and 4K HEVC more, you could also try to fix “4K HEVC video frame drops in VLC” by adjusting settings in VLC. No matter which build you're using, the usual or nightly build, try to set Threads to 1 if you can't play 4K HEVC video files normally and get lots of dropped frames. You could try the below steps to fix this issue:

  1. Go to “Tools > Preferences” on your VLC media player.
  2. Move to the bottom left of preferences window. Change "Show settings" from Simple to All.
  3. Open “Video Codecs” under “Input/Codecs” option. Select FFmpeg from the list.
  4. Set Threads from 0 to 1 and save.

    Now, you can play 4K HEVC videos in VLC correctly. Or, you could try the below steps:

    • Go to “Tools -> Preferences -> Video” option.
    • Set the Output to D3D11.
    • Then, under “Tools -> Preferences -> Input/Codecs” option, set the Hardware accelerated decoding to D3D11 Video Acceleration
    • Then save, exit and restart VLC.

Then, try again to open your source 4K HEVC video files within VLC media player and the issue would be solved.

Part 3: Fix 4K HEVC Video Frame Drops Issue with VLC Alternatives to Play 4K Videos

VLC media player has been a great tool to play back media files on Windows, Mac, Linux and even portable devices like Android and iOS devices. However, still there are some users that have been complaining about VLC media players for its frequent stutters, crash-down, etc. Therefore, if your 4K HEVC video frame drops within VLC media player, why not try some VLC alternatives to play 4K HEVC videos? There are quite a great many wonderful 4K HEVC video players out there that could play back 4K HEVC videos smoothly and in lossless quality, such as Leawo Free Blu-ray Player.

As a professional and free media player combo, Leawo Free Blu-ray Player could:

  1. Act as region-free Blu-ray player to play back Blu-ray discs, folders and ISO image files, regardless of disc protection and region restrictions.
  2. Perform as free DVD player to play back DVD movies from disc, folder and ISO image file, no matter where, when, and by whom they are released.
  3. Free video player to play back videos of 1080P, and even 4K without quality loss in almost all file formats.
  4. Support various advanced audio decoding technologies like Dolby, DTS, AAC, TrueHD, DTS-HD (including 5.1, 7.1 channels), etc. to deliver superb audio experience.
  5. Support virtual remote controller to play back Blu-ray movie without hand touch.

The most shinning feature of Leawo Free Blu-ray Player is that it supports Blu-ray disc playback, no matter which country, disc protection, or region the Blu-ray disc has been released in. On the contrast, VLC media player doesn’t support to play back encrypted Blu-ray/DVD discs. That’s a big shortage of VLC media player since nowadays most Blu-ray/DVD discs have been copy protected.
To learn how to play media files with Leawo Free Blu-ray Player, refer to the Free Blu-ray Player user guide.

Part 4: Conclusion

All the above solutions help you effectively solve the issue of “4K HEVC video frame drops in VLC media player”. In the first solution, actually you will download Leawo Prof. Media, which is an all-inclusive media converter suite that enables you to decrypt, rip and convert Blu-ray/DVD movies to videos, burn video/image files to Blu-ray/DVD content, convert video and audio files, copy and back up Blu-ray/DVD movies, download online videos, and even remove Cinavia protection upon Blu-ray discs for backup.

Alongside these main features, Leawo Prof. Media actually still has other useful features like video editor, 2D to 3D converter, disc menu editor, photo slideshow maker and burner, etc. It could help you easily convert 4K HEVC video to H.264 file for smooth playback. As to the second solution, it might not work all the time according to feedbacks from our customer. The third solution is a wonderful solution, especially when you could get a free but all-inclusive media player, while Leawo Free Blu-ray Player is exactly such kind.