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Posted by Kaley Torres - Contact Author

HVC1 Codec won't Play in VLC? How to Fix HVC1 Errors?

My VLC doesn't recognize certain newer .mov files while it's playing older ones. I check with MediaInfo and the new files have hvc1/AAC/mebx. When playing the HVC1 videos with VLC, I only see the first three or so frames and hear the sound, then it will give me 'VLC does not support the audio or video format hvc1.' error message. I thought VLC was supposed to support HVC1 codec... How to play hvc1 format in VLC?

VLC should play HEVC videos. However, when playing some 4K HEVC videos with HVC1 codec, there may be choppy playbacks, endless hiccups and glitches. You may also see the error "No suitable decoder module: VLC does not support the audio or video format hvc1. Unfortunately there is no way for you to fix this". Why does that happen and how to solve VLC HVC1 codec errors? Check this post.

First of all, you can download HEVC codec to fix the hvc1 codec error >>

Play HVC1 codec with VLC
HVC1 codec error on VLC

Part 1: What is HVC1 Codec?

HVC1 is a file extension that contains RAW data encoded with H.265/HEVC video compression file format. HVC1 is a codec ID for HEVC codec. Simply put, codec ID is a unique registered identifier that represents the encoding stored within the Track. H.265 videos use both HVC1 and HEV1 codec IDs. For example, newer Apple devices record videos using HVC1/H.265 codec, and HEVC decoder by Apple is limited to "hvc1" subcodec, while Handbrake tags h.265 files as 'hev1'.

  • HVC1 /HEVC/H.265 indicates parameter sets shall not be in ES.
  • HEV1 /HEVC/H.265 indicates parameter sets may be in ES.

According to Wiki, an elementary stream (ES) is usually the output of an audio encoder or video encoder. ES contains only one kind of data (e.g. audio, video, or closed caption). An elementary stream may also be called "elementary", "data", "audio", or "video" bitstreams or streams. The format of the elementary stream depends upon the codec or data carried in the stream.

To check the codec ID of HEVC files, use the MediaInfo: menu -> View -> Tree -> Video -> Codec ID "hev1" or "hvc1". VLC, as it supports different containers, codecs, and tags, is a useful video player that is able to open HVC1 videos.

Part 2: What to Do if VLC can't Play HVC1 Codec?

Though VLC is supposed to play HVC1 videos, you may still encounter HVC1 VLC errors sometimes. This can be caused by many reasons, for example, bad VLC hardware decoding, corrupted file, 4K or higher resolution, old computer configuration, etc. To fix VLC no suitable decoder for HVC1 errors, try the following solutions:

Solution 1: Install HEVC codec for VLC

Download a third-party codec pack that may solve VLC not playing HEVC errors and help VLC play HVC1-encoded videos. The HEVC codec pack we recommend is vlc-libde265, which is an open source implementation of H.265 codec for VLC to decode HEVC/H.265 videos using libde265. Download the plugin for VLC via PAA, then open Terminal and run the commands below to install:

  • sudo apt-add-repository ppa:strukturag/libde265
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install vlc-plugin-libde265

Solution 2: Change HVC1 codec ID to HEV1

If installing a codec pack won't fix the "VLC doesn't support hvc1" error, change the HEVC codec ID from HVC1 to HEV1 and try again. You can do this in two methods:

  1. Download Handbrake and convert HEV1 HEVC to MKV/MP4 in x265 codec. Handbrake will use HEV1 codec ID instead of HVC1. Then try the converted video with VLC.
  2. Use this to set the codec tag: ffmpeg -i input -c:v hevc_videotoolbox -tag:v hev1 output.mp4

Solution 3: Convert HVC1 HEVC to MP4 for VLC

When changing the HEV1 and HVC1 codec for VLC with ffmpeg is too hard for you, there is the simplest solution: convert the HEVC HVC1 videos to H.264 files. This will also fix VLC HVC1 errors caused by advanced HEVC specifics and old hardware. The HEVC HVC1 video converter we recommend is WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe.

This program can convert (4K/8K) HEVC video with HVC1 (or HEV1) codec ID to H.265 HEVC, H.264, MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, and many more formats for VLC. With Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD hardware acceleration, it's able to convert HVC1 HEVC videos at 47X real-time faster speed while maintaining good output quality. You can follow the step-by-step guide to convert HVC1 video to VLC supported MP4 format with WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe.

Step 1. Load HEVC HVC1 videos

Free download the HVC1 to VLC video converter and run it. Then drag and drop the HVC1 videos to the converter, or click + Video button to open target file(s).

Step 2. Select an output format for VLC

Once the HVC1 videos are loaded, you'll be taken to the output format window. Since VLC support almost all video formats, just select any video format. For example, you can go to General Profiles and choose MP4 Video. If it's a HEVC HVC1 video in 4K/2K, you can choose 4K MP4 Video / 2K MP4 Video. It also supports convert HVC1 videos to HEVC format.

Step 3. Begin converting HVC file

Click the RUN button to start. After the conversion, you can play the hvc1 converted video on VLC without any problem.

Convert HVC1 codec for VLC
Convert HVC1 for VLC

Solution 4: Upgrade VLC to the latest version

If your VLC can't play HVC1 videos in HEVC format, make sure you're running the latest version of the VLC player. Its codec library is updated constantly and may get support to the HVC1 codec.

Part 3: Video Tutorial - How to Play HVC1 Format in VLC and More


author - Kaley Torres

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Kaley Torres is a self-motivated, creative editor with eight years of marketing and SEO experience, specializing in writing on DVD, video, audio, images, new digital contents etc. With a partiality DVD collection, Kaley also enjoys digitizing DVD and is keen to share her DVD video conversion solutions as well as video sharing tips on social media.

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