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Free Download HEVC (H.265) Codec for 4K/8K Video Playback

HEVC (aka H.265) earned its reputation from September, 2014 when Blu-ray Disc Association and Apple announced HEVC support for their products. Then, this video codec is widely applied to a wide range of fields, operation system (Windows 10, macOS High Sierra or later, Android 6.0 or later, iOS 11 or later), online video (YouTube 4K/8K), graphics card (NVIDIA, AMD) and media software (VLC, HandBrake) and so on.

In this article, we will focus on HEVC/H.265 codec, explaining what is HEVC codec and how to free download HEVC/H.265 codec for 4K/8K video playback.

Looking for the Best Solution to Play 4K/8K Videos Encoded with HEVC/H.265?

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe - Transcode HEVC to fix incompatible problem on PC/Mac or devices.
It can easily and efficiently convert 4K/8K videos encoded with HEVC/H.265 to 1080P HD in formats MP4, H.264, AVI, MOV etc, for smooth playback on incompatible PCs/Macs, TVs and portable devices.

Part 1: What Is HEVC/H.265 Codec?

Before making clear about HEVC codec, we should have a brief knowledge about HEVC.

HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), a video compression standard, is developed to have a higher coding efficiency and improved video quality. With double data compression ratio, HEVC only requires half bitrate to keep the same video quality compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. In other words, HEVC brings better video quality at the same bitrate. Target at next-generation HDTV display and content capture systems, it can support 4K and 8K UHD resolution. >> What You May Be Insterested In: H.265 vs H.264

HEVC codec is the software to compress or decompress HEVC video. It can be an encoder for compression only or decoder for decompression only. With HEVC codec, people can create a 4K/8K video or convert HEVC videos to a more compatible format for flawlessly playing on computers or devices.

HEVC Encoding and Decoding Process

Part 2: Does Your Device Support HEVC Codec?

Knowing so much about HEVC codec, it's a critical issue whether your device supports it or not. As Apple was the first to embrace HEVC, you probably are well aware that HEVC codec is supported since macOS High Sierra and iOS 11. But for Android and Windows, HEVC codec support is not that clear.

If you're a user running before Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you might notice that Windows 10 always supports HEVC codec video playback. But if you have installed Fall Creators Update, you might be facing HEVC not playing on PCs issues since Microsoft removed inbuilt support for HEVC codec. Perhaps the audio is playing but you see a black screen, or you're only reminded with an error message that the video codec is not supported when playing HEVC video on Netflix, Movies & TV app, or VLC media player etc. To be able to play HEVC coded videos on Windows 10 v1709 and later, you need to download and install HEVC codec manually.

Part 3: Top 3 HEVC/H.265 Codecs?

Beginners may search HEVC codec on Google or software download sites for having a direct download link. But the random results are quite confused. So, we list the following reliable HEVC (H.265) codecs for your reference.

• x265
x265 is an open-source HEVC encoder application library enabling users to encode video/images into a HEVC bitstream. It is under GNU General Public License (GPL) 2 license and also available under a commercial license. x265 projects aims to provide the best HEVC/H.265 encoder and deliver the most efficient compression, highest encoding speed and visual quality. This HEVC codec has been adopted by many video converters like WinX Video Converter, Handbrake etc.

• DivX 10
DivX is one of the most popular video codecs with implementation of several mainstream video and audio standards, DivX, HEVC/H.265, H.264, MPEG-4 Part 14, MKV, AAC, Dolby, DTS etc. Built-in free DivX HEVC Plug-in, this HEVC codec makes users create and watch HEVC videos up to 4K UHD on Windows (10) PC/Mac.

• K-Lite Mega Codec Pack
Supporting many popular video/audio codecs, K-Lite Codec Pack, a collection of DirectShow filters, VFW/ACM codecs and tools, drives users to play more video/audio formats on Windows 10/8/7/XP (64 & 32 bit). Since the version 10.10, the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack added support for decoding HEVC helping watch HEVC videos on Windows without trouble.

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe - the Best HEVC Encoder and Decoder
  • • Encode/Decode videos from HEVC to other formats (H.264, AVI, WebM etc.) or from other formats to HEVC.
  • • Fully taking advantage of hardware acceleration, it can deliver an ultra fast speed of HEVC transcoding.

Part 4: Video Tutorial to Download HEVC Codec for 4K HEVC Video Playback on Windows 10

Part 5: Will HEVC Be the Next Mainstream Codec?

You see, more and more videos are encoded in HEVC codec or packaged into HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) format in HEVC. Will HEVC be the next major codec? 6 years after being an international standard, HEVC plays in 17.17% of all browsers tracked by caniuse.com, 78% for iOS devices and 57% for Android. In contrast, H.264 plays in 96.96% of all browsers, while VP9 plays in 86.39%. All these are derived from disastrous royal policy of HEVC, hindering it from accessing market on a large scale.

Browser support for HEVC as of Nov 4, 2019

On the other hand, the momentum of AV1 codec and VVC codec cannot be underestimated.

It's not surprising that AV1 plays in 32.02% of all browsers since both Google and Mozilla are AOMedia members. Meanwhile, in Nov, 2018, Microsoft released the beta AV1 Video Extension, which allows AV1 playback on Windows 10 devices.

Being the next-gen (after HEVC) standards-based codec developed jointly by MPEG and the ITU, the quality of VVC codec is 30% bitrate reduction over HEVC at the same perpetual quality. And the BBC found HEVC (HM) and AV1 to be about the same, with VVC (JEM) substantially better than both.

To a great degree, the codec future will be dictated by AV1's royalty-free status. But at present stage, HEVC still plays a crucial part in high compression efficiency.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

May Watt

May Watt is a sought-after editor at Digiarty. She is responsible for digital and multimedia world, delivering definitive video and audio related software reviews, enlightening guides, and incisive analysis. As a fan of Apple, May Watt also brings her experience to more readers and focuses on writing of the Apple ecosystem at large.

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