Question / Help Can't use Apple VT H264 Hardware Encoder on iMac (5K, 2019)


New Member

I'm using iMac 5K 2019 (i9 9900K, Radeon Pro 580X, RAM 64GB) at my church.

When I go into settings,
I could see X264, Apple VT H264 Software Encoder and Hardward Encoder.

But when choose hardware encoder, it showed error and couldn't use it.
So I've set X264 for streaming and Apple VT H264 Software Encoder for recording.

I've found that someone said Apple's API utilizes Intel's GPU but dedicated GPU.
I've also found that some users seems using hardware encoder on their iMac.
So I'm confusing whether I can use or not.

Is there any way to use the hardware encoder?

If I can't use hardware encoder, is there any differences between software and hardware encoder?
And is there any way to use hardware encoder using FFMPEG?


I had this same problem with my mac book pro 13 inch. I never found a fix to it. your i9 should be ablw to handle x264 encoding on its own. What problems are you having with it?


Are you using Advanced for Output Mode
Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 6.32.29 PM.png


New Member
Just came here to ask about the different encoder options in my 2020 MacBook Pro, and ran across this thread. Bummer there's no fix.

My first live stream (thankfully used as a backup) was just chunks of still video and no sound, and during the recording I was getting an error about the encoder being overwhelmed. To be fair, I did have it dialed up to encode 1920x1080/59, so that probably had something to do with it.

The fan was whirring from the very beginning, and CPU usage stayed around 37% for the entire 70 minutes I was streaming.


New Member
Any updates on this? I switch to using OBS on a very old windows laptop (4GB RAM only AND with intel basic GPU card as well) and surprisingly OBS works there like a charm.
Thats really frustrating ...


New Member
I read on another thread that the necessary APIs to have hardware encoding work on Apple's hardware H264 just don't exist.

Hoping this is fixed because I too stream from a Mac and am kinda tired of the computer basically locking up when live due to the CPU working overtime.


New Member
Im surprised this is an option if it doesn't work.
I guess I'll need to stick to H264 software encoding for now?


New Member
Hi, Are you using Mac or Hackintosh - you can download VideoProc as free version - go to-> Setings -> Options -if you see status in RED - e.g.
Screenshot 2020-08-16 at 0.27.38.png

this mean that your HW encoder is not working or maybe you need to change SMBIOS to other model support your video card in case of Hackintosh or if you are using external GPU.


New Member
I still have the error reported above , sorry it's in French but it's the same.
I am on map 15.1
Someone have an idea? (no error when using software encode/x264)
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