Top 5 MP4 Players for Mac in 2020 (Catalina supported)

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Top choice
Elmedia 4.9 Rank based on 378+ users, Reviews(367)

When it comes to watching your favorite videos and movies on Mac, you need to be sure you have the best MP4 video player for Mac. And while all Apple devices come with a native video player, the limited features it offers will sometimes make playing various formats difficult. That’s why third-party media players is a great idea. With a dedicated Mac MP4 player, you get a user-friendly interface, high-quality playback and numerous functions and settings to tweak the videos to perfection. We’re helping you make the best choice by presenting the best MP4 players for Mac.

Best MP4 video players for Mac

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1. Elmedia Player
Requirements: OS X 10.9+. 55.34MB free space. Version 7.9(1924). (23rd Jan, 2020). 4.9 Rank based on 378+ users, Reviews(367)
Category: MultimediaApplication

Our top choice for playing video files on Mac, Elmedia Player comes with a wide list of supported formats and plenty of other features. This MP4 player Mac-friendly app can easily handle MP4, FLV, AVI, MOV, WMV, MKV, DAT or MP3, among many other formats. It will allow you to play any video file without any errors or extra codec packs.

The user-friendly interface of Elmedia Player, coupled with many playback settings delivers an amazing HD experience. You get to watch the highest resolutions without sync issues or slowdowns.

Elmedia Player for Mac

Bonus features of Elmedia Player PRO

Getting Elmedia Player PRO comes with even more awesome features:

This player gives you the ability to download MP4 files from the Internet, stream them towards Apple TV, Smart TV, Chromecast or any DLNA-certified and AirPlay device. The list of perks does not stop here because Elmedia Player PRO can also act as a receiver when you stream from another device. Take full control over the video playback with numerous settings, take screenshots of any scene, download subtitles from opensubtitle.org or convert the entire video into a series of screenshots with Elmedia Player.

Pros:

  1. Ability to download and stream videos.
  2. Capturing screenshots during video playback.
  3. Easily create and manage playlists.
  4. Supports multiple audio tracks.

Cons:

  1. Can be demanding on the system resources.
  2. Older Mac OS versions are not fully supported.
  3. Not available for Windows or Android systems.

This small app gives you almost unlimited power when it comes to playing MP4 files. Supporting a wide range of resolutions, from Full HD all the way to 8K, this user-friendly app is excellent for all users. The hardware-accelerated decoding function allows it to play .mp4 files with ease and also gives you control over playback speed, audio sync or subtitles.

The list of perks does not end here for JustPlay. It also offers automatic deinterlacing so that those horizontal stripes that sometimes appear on fast-moving objects will not show up, thus increasing the quality of your experience.

Pros:

  1. Plays a wide range of video and audio files without extra codecs or plugins.
  2. Auto deinterlace to fix any visual imperfections.
  3. Diverse playback options.

Cons:

  1. Only offers playback, no video editing or download.
  2. Doesn’t come with a free version.
  3. You can only download it from the Mac App Store.

3. VLC

VLC

If you’re looking for a free MP4 player for Mac, VLC may prove to be one of the best options out there. It can deal with an extremely wide range of formats, including some rarely-used file formats and thanks to the multithreaded decoding functionality, you will never have to worry about having to find other plugins. The flaw, however, is that it doesn’t support Blu-ray and it can sometimes generate an audio delay. However, if this issue would be solved, it would definitely push VLC higher in rankings since it comes with so many useful features, bookmarking movies included.

Pros:

  1. Supports multiple operating systems such as macOS, Android, Linux, iOS, and various Windows versions (10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP).
  2. Web streaming services integration.
  3. Available for free.

Cons:

  1. It can delay audio while playing the video.
  2. Not delivering a graphical media library browser.
  3. The user interface is outdated and sometimes inconvenient.

Moving on in our Top 5 list to discover the best MP4 player Mac users can rely on, we have the 5KPlayer. It can easily handle all the popular video formats, as well as audio ones. The list includes MP4, WMV, AVI, MKV, FLV, MOV, H.24, H.265, WMA, MP3, AAC and many others. This Apple MP4 player can handle 4K and 8K playback and it doubles as an audio player as well. Supports AirPlay and it also offers users the possibility to download audio and video files from the Internet. Showing no evident issues, glitches or audio-video sync issues, this MP4 player software is a good choice for anyone who wants a smooth playback experience.

Pros:

  1. It plays the entire range of DVD files.
  2. Supports downloading videos from YouTube.
  3. Doubles as an MP3 converter.

Cons:

  1. Downloading files takes time.
  2. It stutters when handling H284 file.
  3. Doesn’t offer subtitle options.
  4. Takes a lot of CPU resources.

5. Cisdem

Cisdem

Last but definitely not least in our list of MP4 player Mac free suggestions, Cisdem comes as a good alternative for the 5KPlayer and VLC. It doesn’t need so many CPU resources and it’s better at delivering performance without slowing down your computer. The user interface is also smooth and easy to use for this MP4 player app. When talking about the list of formats it can handle, we need to mention WMV, MOV, MP4, AVI, FLV, M4V, MKV, MPEG and RMVB among others. Resolutions range from 1080P, all the way to 5K and it deals very well with syncing the audio and video even on the largest files. Doubling as a YouTube downloader is a pleasant surprise from this MP4 video player downloader.

Pros:

  1. It supports over 50 formats.
  2. Automatically-loaded subtitles.
  3. No ads or any type of malware.
  4. No extra codec packs required.

Cons:

  1. Can’t efficiently run on a dual-core laptop.
  2. The media formats supported list could be wider.
  3. Occasional delays in playback with MP4 videos.

You now have a complete answer for the “what program plays MP4 videos?” question. All that's left is to take them one by one and decide what’s the best option for you.

5 things to take into consideration when choosing the best MP4 player for Mac

  1. It should be able to handle formats well-beyond MP4, such as WMV, AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, DAT, FLAC, FLV, SWF, MP3, M4V, MPG, and MKV.
  2. It has to offer compatibility with the latest Mac OS and support videos of the highest quality (4K and 8K).
  3. A simple and efficient user interface and easy access to all its features.
  4. Try to find a player that offers playlists support and creation features, as well as user-friendly controls for more convenient movie watching.
  5. You shouldn’t have any pop-ups or ads during playback.

What is an MP4 File?

MP4 is a digital multimedia container that is most commonly used for storing audio and video content, however, it can also handle text and images. Besides allowing storage of video, audio, text and still images, MP4 can also be used for streaming over the Internet, an extra function that makes it ideal for everyday use. Also, MP4 is short for MPEG-4 Part 14, a container that is based on the QuickTime File Format (QTFF) frequently used in .qt and .mov files.

What is an MP4 File

Advantages:

  • - Compatible with Internet video streaming, offering better sharing and reaching wider audiences for the content.
  • - The higher degree of compression means less loss of quality and that leads to a more pleasurable and enjoyable experience for the end-user. The higher compression offered by MP4 also means users can store more content using the same amount of space.
  • - Can handle extensive data types other than video and audio. Object descriptors, scene descriptors, and other object-oriented structures are some of the most-popular.
  • - Streaming information is encoded separately.
  • - MP4 files can be played on the majority of media players and sound card drivers. This makes MP4 highly reliable and versatile. Comparatively, other formats, such as MOV, cannot be used across as many platforms.
  • - The image quality you get with MP4 video file format is always clear, sharp and precise.

Disadvantages:

The only real disadvantage MP4 has comes from the editing and movie-making point of view. MP4 files are not the easiest to edit or update. For example, importing MP4 files into a video editing program can sometimes cause them to crash, lose audio or play the video without any images. Audio can also sometimes get out of sync with the video or the video can be distorted. However, this is often related to codec issues. Some editors might not recognize and import the MP4 format at all.


Frequently asked questions:

Having already answered some of the most pressing questions like “Can you play MP4 on Mac?” or “ Can Mac Play MP4?”, we thought it’s a good idea to move forward with some of the most popular questions from users.

The most straightforward way to play MP4 on Mac is to just double-click on the file and let the Mac decide on the best app to open it. However, QuickTime can sometimes register errors when playing MP4 files. In such a situation, turning to a third-party app to play MP4 is the best choice. No matter if you go for a free MP4 player or you want the PRO version, there’s a wide range of MP4 players to choose from. Our top choice is Elmedia Player

It’s not a fixed thing. Sometimes, QuickTime may be able to play MP4 files, it’s all about the codec that was used in the creation of the video. That’s why QuickTime will sometimes play an MP4 file and come up with the “fail to open” error in other situations. Being a complex video container, MP4 is quite tricky for QuickTime so that’s why choosing any of the MP4 players for Apple we presented above is a good idea.

If adding another software to play MP4 on MacBook seems like a tedious task for you, there’s another way of going around the issue of not being able to play MP4 files. What you need to do is convert the file to a more QuickTime-friendly one. You have plenty of options when it comes to converters, both online and as standalone apps. Converting MP4 to AVI can easily be done via Online UniConverter, for example. It comes with a friendly user interface and can handle multiple video and audio formats. After the conversion is complete, files can be saved to your Mac.

Steps to convert MP4 to AVI through Online UniConverter (previously known as Media.io):

Step 1: Access https://www.media.io/.

Step 2: Choose between the Drag & Drop or Hit to Add File options to upload the desired MP4 file.

Step 3: In the output format dropdown menu, choose AVI.

Step 4: Tap CONVERT and the file will be converted online. Once the conversion is finished, you can press the DOWNLOAD ALL button to get the converted files on Mac.

Encoded with the same codec MPEG-4, MP4 is similar to MOV. The choice between MOV and MP4 is quite simple then, provided you know what are you going to do with the file. Based on where you need to play the videos, you can choose between MOV and MP4. Alternatively, you can convert one into another for absolutely free. Ideally, if you are using a Mac, MOV is quite safe and efficient, being more compatible with QuickTime than MP4. However, in the case of non-Apple devices, MP4 proves to be a wiser option. The best MP4 player will be able to handle both formats.

Since they are using the same compression system, MPEG-4, MOV and MP4 are actually very similar. It even goes further than that since MP4 was developed using the framework from MOV. However, there are some differences between the two formats.

Generally, MP4 is better received than MOV thanks to its tagging options and wide-range of platforms it is compatible with. MOV and its proprietary design can give you a hard time when dealing with a larger selection of platforms. Therefore, MP4 is more flexible and versatile than MOV, however, in terms of quality there are no distinct differences.

Elmedia Player
Requirements: OS X 10.9+ , 55.34MB free space
Version 7.9(1924) (23rd Jan, 2020) Release notes
Category: MultimediaApplication
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Elmedia Player - best choice to open MP4 files on Mac