Free Download HEVC (H.265) Codec for 4K/8K Video Playback
HEVC (aka H.265) earned its reputation from Sep, 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.
It will cost you about 6 mins to read through the article, you can skip to:
Part 1: What Is HEVC/H.265 Codec?
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
The Core Technologies That Make HEVC Codec Stand Out
The reason why HEVC codec owns better compression ratio and same high quality lies in the following core technologies it adopts:
- • Coding tree unit: Subdivides picture into variable sized structures with 64×64 samples (H.264 uses 16×16 ones) to improve coding efficiency.
- • Intra Coding: HEVC intra coding increases the Prediction directivity to 33 and adds Planar Prediction to produce a smooth sample surface.
- • Inter Coding: Motion compensation is used for HEVC inter coding to eliminate redundancy in video sequence.
- • Entropy Coding: HEVC uses the same CABAC algorithm of H.264/AVC High Profile for entropy coding, abandoned CAVLC.
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 H.265 codec, people can create a 4K/8K video or convert HEVC videos to a more compatible format for flawlessly playing on computers or devices.
Part 2: Does Your Device Support HEVC Codec?
Knowing so much about HEVC/H.265 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 how about Android and Windows? What's the minimum requirement of graphic cards for HEVC encoding/decoding? Scroll down for the answer.
HEVC Support on Mobile Devices:
In the 2018 Q2 Mobile Overview Report (MOVR), we found the support for hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding is growing among mobile devices. 78% of iPhone and 57% of Android smartphone requests come from devices that support hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding. And still a great number of iOS and Android devices have no support for H.265, which could lead HEVC not viewing/opening error.
HEVC Support on macOS & Windows Desktops:
When it comes to desktops, decoding/encoding HEVC videos reqiures both operating systems and graphic cards as follows:
MacOS: HEVC is supported on macOS High Sierra computers using the A10 processor and newer.
macOS High Sierra computers supporting HEVC:
• Macbook® – 2016 or newer
• Macbook Pro – 2016 or newer
• iMac – 2017 and newer
• iMac Pro – 2017 or newer
• 27-inch 5K iMac (2015-2017)
Windows: HEVC is supported on Windows 10 computers using the Intel Skylake (or equivalent) processor and newer.
Note: If you have installed Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you might be facing HEVC not playing on PCs issues since Microsoft removed inbuilt support for HEVC codec. To play HEVC videos on Windows 10 v1709 and later, you need to download and install HEVC codec manually.
Minimum hardware to decode HEVC on Windows 10:
• Intel 6th generation "Skylake" or newer CPUs
• AMD 6th generation "Carizzo" or newer APUs
• NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950, 960, or newer graphics cards
• AMD Radeon R9 Fury, R9 Fury X, R9 Nano, or newer graphics cards
Common Errors with Inadequate Hardware for HEVC
- 1. "Video codec is not supported" error message when playing HEVC on Netflix, Movies & TV app, VLC etc.
- 2. The HEVC video plays fine for the first few seconds then it becomes choppy and finally freezes.
- 3. The audio is playing while you see a black screen.
- 4. Your computer goes overheated and the CPU utilisation during playback is around 100%.
Part 3: Are There Any HEVC Codec Packs on Windows 10?
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 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: Download HEVC Codec for 4K HEVC Video Playback on Windows 10
Step 1: Go this link to get free HEVC Video Extensions from Manufacturer.
Step 2: Click "Install" button to download and install it on your Windows 10 PC.
Step 3: Tap "Launch" button when it done. And you're able to play 4K HEVC videos on Movies & TV app.
Video Tutorial: How to Download HEVC Codec for Free 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.
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.
See More: AV1 vs HEVC - Which is the Codec of the Future?
External Source Links:
1. High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) [wiki]: also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2, is a video compression standard, designed as a successor to the widely used Advanced Video Coding (AVC, H.264, or MPEG-4 Part 10).
2. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update broke HEVC support in Films/Movies & TV app.
3. K-Lite Codec Pack[wiki] is a collection of audio and video codecs for Microsoft Windows that enables an operating system and its software to play various audio and video formats generally not supported by the operating system itself. The K-Lite Codec Pack also includes several related tools, including Media Player Classic Home Cinema (MPC-HC), Media Info Lite, and Codec Tweak Tool.
4. Versatile Video Coding (VVC) [wiki] is a future video compression standard being developed for finalization around mid-2020 by the Joint Video Experts Team (JVET), a united video expert team of the MPEG working group of ISO/IEC JTC 1 and the VCEG working group of ITU-T. At times, it has also been referred to as Future Video Coding (FVC) and as ITU-T H.266. It will be the successor to High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, also known as ITU-T H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2).