I subscribed to a TV series website and it only provides videos to download in 4k resolution and I have a Core-i7, intel HD 3000, 8 GB RAM laptop. VLC, Quicktime, MPV, WMP all freeze playing 4K. I can only watch the intros because intros are mostly black or white , I think GPU is too old to handle that much pixels to be down-scaled on a 1280*800 screen. I can play FHD fine on my laptop though, but of course my GPU isn't powerful enough so I can't convert the files to FHD.

  • Any idea how to make the down-scaling process possible?

  • Any workaround to play 4k on my laptop without freezing to death?

  • Is really down-scaling that power hungry? Any program that can handle this on old GPU's?

Playing FHD videos, CPU usage is about %15 up to % 150 and playing 4K videos, CPU usage is about %300 up to %400 according to Activity Monitor of Mac. MPV player plays the 4K files at 5 FPS which means unplayable.

The GPU graph doesn't show much usage for playing FHD files, but shows usage for 4K files.

Codec of files are H264 MPEG-4 AVC (part 10) (avc1) according to VLC.


Apple Macbook Pro 13" Late 2011, Running El Capitan 10.11.6. Upgraded RAM from 4GB to 8GB and replaced the HDD with Samsung Evo 850 250GB SSD


I had 2-3 FPS boost using movist (for MAC).

I tested and played these 4K files on my Android phone (LG G3) and they play very smoothly, it's just shocking to me that a laptop with core-i7 + intel HD 3000 is not able to play 4K but an android phone is. Just unbelievable.

  • Only for Linux? Well I've been thinking about moving to Ubuntu actually. – Shayan Mar 18 '18 at 21:16
  • It would be worth asking the TV series website if they also have the videos available at lower resolutions. There might be some setting to enable that which isn't obvious. – Andrew Morton Mar 18 '18 at 21:45
  • Oh no.. I contacted them and they said I have to pay an extra fee to access all resolutions of episodes. – Shayan Mar 19 '18 at 8:19
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    Instead of wildly guessing, did you actually look at the CPU and GPU load while trying to play those files? What encoding are they? – Daniel B Mar 19 '18 at 8:24
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    I see. So your CPU is too slow. // I very much doubt the files are MPEG-4 (AKA DivX, Xvid, ...). Please run the files through ffprobe to get the actual codecs used. VLC can also display them, though I can’t tell you where exactly. – Daniel B Mar 19 '18 at 11:26

The slowest and most unelegant way is the only generic way I can think of: transcoding.

You can experiment with FFmpeg:

ffmpeg -i <4K-FILE> -vf scale=-1:1080 -c:v libx264 -intra -crf 20 -pix_fmt yuv420p -preset veryfast -c:a copy myfile.mkv

This should, in theory, be quite fast, as it copies the audio stream and does not do too much in the sense of compression. Note that x265 tends to be faster with larger contents (above 720p) than x264, though I am not sure if your hardware can keep up to that.

The files, however, will be big. It could well be that with those settings, you will get files that are bigger than the original files.

Therefore, you can try to either increase the -crf-value, which will worsen the quality but decrease the bitrate, using another preset which will cost time but increase compression (though there might be a sweet spot in compression vs. fps), or, if that is an option to you, you can further decrease the output file's resolution and the conversion, e.g. to 720p.


My MacBook Pro did not have a battery installed.

I bought a battery for it and now my laptop regardless of the OS, (Mac or Windows 7) runs much faster, the UI is faster, the 4K videos play fine and in full FPS and with any video player.

I did a lot of research, and I found out this incident is called TDP (Thermal Design Power).


The TDP is typically not the largest amount of heat the CPU could ever generate (peak power), such as by running a power virus, but rather the maximum amount of heat that it would generate when running "real applications". This ensures the computer will be able to handle essentially all applications without exceeding its thermal envelope, or requiring a cooling system for the maximum theoretical power (which would cost more but in favor of extra headroom for processing power).


This behavior is by design. Without the battery, the laptop's power management system cannot accommodate power spikes that occur when the CPU goes from a halted state to an active state. The laptop is simply not designed to operate without a battery.


I found this similar question and the accepted answer suggested using PotPlayer, so I used Boot Camp Assistant to install Windows 7 on my MBP and yes I'm getting much better and smoother playback, when I hit the tab key on my keyboard on PotPlayer it proves my experience with good numbers.

Usage: CPU 95-98% and GPU 50-60%

The FPS of 4K videos are 25 and PotPlayer is playing my video at around 17 FPS which is much better than before but it's not the best though I can't complain.

I hope I can find some settings to trade quality for FPS to make the playback smoother, anything below 23 is a bad experience imho.

Overall, I'm amazed by this program, for years I kept hearing about VLC being the best and top player but PotPlayer is really a good competitor.

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