Here is how to play HEVC videos on PC using these tools

Sovan Mandal avatar. By: Sovan Mandal
4 minute read
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Home » Windows » Here is how to play HEVC videos on PC using these tools

There is no dearth of software that will unfold on your device all the goodness that HEVC videos stand for. Playing it is simple too though before getting into the nitty-gritties of HEVC videos, it will always be good to have a clear idea of what it is and what it stands for in the first place.

What is HVEC?

To begin with, HEVC is short for High Efficiency Video Coding but is also referred to as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2. That itself is indicative of its superiority over its predecessor, the AVC. Technically speaking, HVEC allows for greater compression while keeping file size same. Specifically, the compression achieved is about twice that of AVC.

That also translates to vastly improved video quality at the same bit rate. In other words, HVEC is compatible with video resolutions of up to 8192 × 4320 pixels, which naturally covers 8K resolutions as well.

The ability to compress more efficiently has also been a huge boost for both recording and distribution of videos in UHD format. That’s because UHD format deals with 4-times the pixel density as standard full HD format. With AVC compression standard, it would have been a hell lot more pixels to deal with.

Further, HVEC has been developed by the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and was introduced back in 2013. That makes it high time to make the most of the new and vastly improved compression standard. Here is how you can do that.

Installing HEVC codec software to play HVEC videos on your PC

First off, you need to have the H.265 codec pack installed on your device to make it compatible with the HVEC standard. However, the required codec should already be on your device if you are running Windows 10 version 1709. Strangely, the software is available only to those who have upgraded to the Fall Creators Update but is missing if you have clean installed the Fall Creators Update.

So if you fall in the latter category, Microsoft has made available the HEVC video extension in the Store. However, the point to be noted here is that the app is only compatible with newer CPU and GPUs. Those include Intel 7th Gen chips like Kaby Lake and such, along with the likes of AMD RX 400, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1000 and so on.

For non-compatible devices, the video playback experience won’t surely be anywhere near the optimum and might be limited by the device’s native resolution. Other third-party video codecs you might consider include DivX HEVC, K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, x265 Upgrade.

Best HEVC players for Windows 10

There are several options to try here, each one promising a superior HEVC video playback experience. This also brings us to the second part of the article where we list out the best H.265 HEVC players for Windows devices.

1. 5K Player

5K Player might be the newest kid on this block but is already considered among the best to playback HEVC videos. It is compatible with the UHD format, which makes it HEVC ready as well. It is simple and efficient too, with the ability to play back HVEC videos really fast.

It is lightweight as well, meaning its impact on the hardware is minimum. Further, there is no need to download any codec or plug-in as the player comes with all the resources needed for it to read HVEC video files. It supports 4K, 5K, and 8K formats as well, besides H.265, MP4, MKV, AVI video files. Saving the best for the last, 5K Player comes completely free.

2. VLC Media Player

VLC has already been among the most widely used media players and has built a reputation of being able to handle almost any media files you throw at it. So it should be least surprising our old favorite VLC is able to handle HVEC video files with élan.

However, you might have to download the requisite codec before that, unless you are using the latest version of the VLC player. The software otherwise is as simple and user friendly as it has always been.

3. UFUSoft Blu-ray Player

Besides being an excellent Blu-ray disk player, its ability to play back HVEC videos is among the other extremely likeable qualities of the free software. It can also serve equally well as a 4K video player as well while other media formats it can handle include H.264, H.265, MPEG-4 and so on.

4. Potplayer

That sure might be a strange name for a HEVC player but it does its job really well. It is another great free player software that can play back HVEC files with the greatest of ease. Besides, it is equally comfortable with several other media formats like H.264, MP4, FLV, MKV, AVI, MOV, to name a few.

So there you have it, a brief introduction of the new HVEC format followed by a compilation of the best players for reading HVEC video files. Adopting any of these might require ditching one you have been hanging on with all this while but it could be worth it after all.

Meanwhile, here are some related resources you might want to go through.

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