HEVC codec is indispensable for video lovers. Do you know the reason for that? HEVC, short for High Efficiency Video Coding, also known as H265 and MPEG-H Part 2, is a video compression standard upgraded from AVC (H264). As the fastest video encorder in the world, HEVC is very popular with streaming artistes, software developers and gamers. Let’s explore the differences between H265 vs H264 and see how to play HEVC videos easily and free with the best H265 encoder.

Table of Contents
1.H264 vs H265
2.HEVC Codec Download in Microsoft Store (Paid & Free)
3 .  How to play H265 videos with the best media player? (Top 8 HEVC Codec)
4 . Conclusion

1. H264 vs H265

What causes HEVC 265 codec so popular? You have to know the differences of H264 vs H265. Here, I will compare them from such 7 aspects below. Continue to read and learn more about H265 vs H265.

(1) Ability to compress data: H265 > H264

HEVC (H265) is an advanced video compression standard which offers amazing video quality up to 4K or UHD. With the same video quality, HEVC codec saves 50% bitrate compared with H264, almost doubles the compression of H264. So in this competition, H265 wins.

(2) Size: H264 > H265

With the same quality, H265 has a smaller size than H264.

(3) Video quality: H265 > H264

H265 supporting 4K and 8K provides a better video quality than H264 based on the same bit rate. Specifically speaking, H264 supports 16×16 pixel macroblocks while H265 codec allows for 64×64 pixel macroblocks. This advantage of H265 vs H264 leads to its greater econding efficiency at all resolutions.

(4) Hardware support: H265 > H264

The higher fidelity Main 10 profile of H265 has been incorporated to nearly all supporting hardware. So the future of H265 is promising.

(5) User: H265 > H264

HEVC possesses 43% video developers which is the second widely used video coding format after H264.

(6) Motion prediction and compensation: H265 > H264

With strong compression ability and small file size, H265 codec demonstrates better motion prediction and compensation than H264. So the latter needs more improvement.

(7) Intraframe prediction: H265 > H264

Based on the mathematical function to describe pixels, H264 only supports 9 directions of motion, while H265 is able to detect 33 directions of motion. So H265 vs H264 makes the former popular.

Nowadays, H265 videos can be found everywhere in Apple’s new iPhone and iPad, iOS 11, MacBook Pro and tvOS. Even some websites begin to stream H265 videos such as Safari, Netflix, etc. In order to make H265 easily accessible, Windows 10 also releases an add-on called HEVC codec in Microsoft Store. Would you like to learn more about it?

2. HEVC codec in Microsoft Store (Paid & Free)

How can I play HEVC on Windows 10? This is the first method deserving your attention. Few media players can decode HEVC and MKV files, so a third party HEVC 265 codec was always asked in the past. Recently, Microsoft has solved this problem by adding HEVC codec on Windows 10. And you can purchase it with $0.99 or head for HEVC codec download without any money charged.

Then how to get HEVC codec from Microsoft Store for free? Start HEVC codec download by adding HEVC video extension from Device Manufacturer and add HEIF image extension to Windows 10. After that, you will be able to view HEVC video and HEIF photo free and easily.

For those who are looking forward to stunning entertainment experience, HEVC is the best choice even in congested network environments. If you want to play H265 in any video app on Windows 10, HEVC video extension helps you encode HEVC content on devices without the help of a hardware-based H265 encorder. Alternatively, you can turn to the best H265-capable media players for help. Continue to read and see how to play H265 videos with your favorite media player.

3. How to play H265 videos with the best media player? (Top 8 HEVC Codec)

What can play H265”? “How do I play H265 files on my PC”? “Does VLC play H265 HEVC”? For all these questions and related, you will find answers in this part. Here, I will introduce some top free media players helping you play H265 videos smoothly and fast. Although few video player support H265 videos, there are still some professional HEVC codec able to do that.

(1) DVDFab Player 6 (Windows/Mac)

DVDFab Player 6 offering PC mode and TV mode is the best H265 video player. Does my PC support HEVC? Yes, you can achieve that with the help of this HEVC codec which supports 20+ languages. Besides playing HEVC videos from 1000+ websites, this HEVC codes Windows 10 free also plays back 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, 4K UHD videos, DVD and Bluray disk with menu playback support. You can enjoy HDR10 and HD audio output, as well as 3D playback on 3D media contents using this free HEVC codes Windows 10/Mac.

When you watch H265 videos with DVDFab Player 6, right-click the video interface and you will see numerous options in this HEVC codec player. They help you customize video, audio, subtitle, adjust playback speed and display HEVC videos in a better way.

(2) VLC player (Windows/Mac)

Does VLC play H265 HEVC”? Yes. VLC is one of the HEVC 265 codec players free and easily found in an open source cross platform. Besides playing H265 videos, it is also used to play DVDs, Audio CDs and VCDs.

In order to play HEVC videos with this H265 encorder, you need to install VLC of version 3.0 or above. Otherwise with a lower version, maybe things will happen like this: “ I have installed VLC media player but it fails to run a downloaded HEVC video; Instead, it displays audio normally but with a freezing video of H265”.

(3) 5K Player (Windows/Mac)

Compatible with Windows and Mac, 5K Player is also a good HEVC codec. You can use it to play online and downloaded videos from 300+ websites. The video formats this H265 encorder supports include MP4, AVI, WMV, FLV, MKV, etc. So you can use this media player to display and manage your videos based on your needs.

(4) Windows Media Player (Windows)

How can I play HEVC on Windows 10”? Windows Media Player is an HEVC encoder. If you choose this software to play HEVC videos, a media player codec pack plus is needed to be installed. And there are two types installation provided: “Easy Installation” for simple installation, and “Expert Installation” for advanced installation. No matter which kinds of installation you choose this HEVC codec, take care that there is adware, browsers and unrelated software hidden and remember to uncheck them. After that, you will see HEVC codec is added to Windows Media Player.

(5) H265 HEVC Player (Windows Vista/7/8/10)

What can play HEVC files”? let’s get down to this HEVC codec Windows free. It can play video files containing H265/HEVC media & MKV, audio files of common codecs and subtitles in formats of SSA and AAS. However, this HEVC codec hasn’t been updated in the late three years. Its last update was on May 22th, 2017. Although it is an H265 encoder, the video quality you can get depends on the decoding speed of your machine instead of this HEVC codec Windows 10 free.

(6) UFUSoft Blu-ray Player (Windows 10/8.1 blur/8/7/Vista/XP)

How can I play HEVC on Windows 10”? UFUSoft Blu-ray Player is a good choice which supports video codecs of H264, H264 as well as MPEG-4. And its output audios includes Dolby, DTS, AAC, TrueHD and DTS-HD. When you use this HEVC codec Windows 10 for video display, you can adjust the subtitles, video and audio as you like. But this H265 encorder is only compatible with Windows. If only it also worked on Mac like DVDFab Player 6!

(7) MPV (Windows/Mac)

MPV player is a HEVC codec Windows 10 media software. It is developed based on mplayer2 and MPlayer. This open source software is capable to play 4K AVC 59.94fps videos and there is no frame drops. But when it is used to play 4K HEVC HDR video, the frame will drop with 60 - 85 percent.

(8) KM Player (Windows)

The last HEVC codec I am going to introduce is KM Player. It runs H265 on Windows and supports English, Turkish, Czech, Dutch, Hebrew and Persian. When you get this H265 encoder installed, there will be no advertisements but they did exist in the past.

Apart from such 8 HEVC/H265-supported media players or HEVC codec, I also heard of another five H265-capable software, including MPC-HV, Pot Player, MPC-BEIINA, Splash and Elmedia Player. They are claimed to play H265. But unfortunately, I haven’t found any details about their ability to play H265 videos after a careful check on their websites. So I recommend you make a cautious decision when using any of such 5 HEVC codec.


How to run H265/HEVC? There are HEVC codec Windows 10 free and Mac provided in this article. Choose your favorite video player such as DVDFab Player 6 and just get the HEVC codec downloaded. Then you will find the disadvantage of H265 over H264 easily. Besides this solution, “How Can I play HEVC on Windows 10” can also be dealt with an HEVC codec extension added to your computer. Follow the two methods and play HEVC free and fast on Windows or Mac. Recently, there are many Bluray releases for your enjoyment. Maybe you can watch them with the best video player you think.