Review: Best Free H.265 HEVC UHD Video Players for Windows 10/Mac

[Latest Updated: Nov. 15, 2018 by Arlene Cooper to Media Player]


What is H.265/HEVC?

Before downloading a free 4K/H.265/HEVC video player on a PC or Mac, you are guided to know the definition, use and superiority of H.265. Informally speaking, H.265 video is a kind of high quality video using HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) as the video compression standard. H.265 relates greatly to high quality of videos, and an H.265/HEVC player is required to have high accuracy, high velocity and high grade. When mentioning an H.265 encoding or format, we may naturally associate with 4K content, but it also supports 8K UHD resolutions up to 8192×4320.

H.265 vs H.264

About a decade ago, h.264 (or MPEG-4 Part 10) is used in a broad variety of applications, as one of the video encoding standards for Blu-ray Discs, streaming videos from Vimeo, YouTube, and the iTunes Store, web software such as the Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight, etc.

After ten years, H.265 came out and defaulted to be the successor to H.264. HEVC endeavors to deliver videos and next-generation compressions with equivalent quality while saving up to 50 percent of bitrate. The data compression ratio is twice of that of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC at the same level of video quality. | encode H.264 into HEVC >>

Reviews of the Best Free H.265/HEVC Video Players for Mac/Windows PC

H.265 will be the codec of the future and will possibly take the place of H.264 one day. In that case, many videos or media files won't be playable with the regular player apps, and the professional HEVC player in the future may be charged.

But luckily, there are, not many, but a few free yet well-performed H.265 media player. Here we pickily single out two best free media players that support H.265/HEVC without the need of any third-party HEVC Codec.

No.1Review of 5KPlayer – No.1 Free HEVC/H.265 Player

★★★★★ Rating: 5; Type: Freeware; OS: Windows & Mac

5KPlayer, the leading product of DearMob, Inc., is a decent yet completely free multimedia player that is building up a reputation gradually, although it is comparatively young. Natively, it supports Ultra HD videos, so it can play H.265 encoded videos as perfectly as they are one. Without downloading a codec (encoder or decoder) or a plug-in, you can enjoy the latest video standard for quality and compression.

5KPlayer – Free H.265/HEVC Player for Windows/Mac

The unique core of 5KPlayer makes it recognize and read an H.265 video fast, and process and display it on the user computer as quickly as possible. More importantly, 5KPlayer is extremely user-friendly and lightweight. Even a beginner can play a 4K and 8K movie on Windows PC or Mac as easy as rolling off a log.

5KPlayer has many other outstanding features:

1. Plays HD/SD videos and audios, supports almost all video and music formats;
2. Builds up and manages your H.264, H.265 and all-rounded media library at free will;
3. Plays DVDs, even if it is region code protected;
4. Streams media from iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac to Apple TV, PC, Mac or AirPlay-enabled speakers;
5. Downloads any kinds of videos and music from 600+ online sites without a boundary.

HEVC Player free download for Windows XP, 7, 8/8.1, 10 and Mac OS X (Mojave included).

No.2Review of VLC – Also a Good HEVC/H.265 Player

★★★★☆ Rating: 4.5; Type: Freeware; OS: Windows, Mac & source code for others

VLC is a free and open-source media player developed by VideoLAN. It has been famous especially among Americans for many years. It can play many codecs without the need of codec packs. But for playing an HEVC format video, it requires to download a specific x265 as a free software library and application for encoding video streams into the H.265/MPEG-H HEVC compression format. But if you click the "Download x265" button on that page, a landing page of "400 Couldn't parse URL" would appear and you will fail in downloading the H.265 encoder for VLC.

VideoLAN is a non-profit volunteering organization, so the support help and bug fixing are likely to not timely enough. Besides, the HEVC player is more suitable for the users with a solid expertise base. It is at a risk of being overtaken by some latest players, in the sides of playing 4K/5K/8K videos and supporting trendy features.

VLC – Free H.265/HEVC Player

Alternative Solution for Playing H.265/HEVC Videos on Windows (10)/Mac

Converting H.265 to H.264 and others is an alternative solution if your device's screen does not support 4K resolution. Simply put, if the resolution of your gadget is maximally 720p or 1080p, it is a waste to play H.265 videos on it. Instead, converting an UHD video to HD video, H.265 to H.264 will make the playback smoother, the saved file size more smaller and fits the configuration of your device better.

VideoProc is highly recommended to convert both UHD/HD and SD videos, for example, from H.265 to H.264, H.264 to H.265, MKV to MP4, AVI to WMV, M2TS to MPEG, FLV, MOV and so on. It also can change aspect ratio of videos for widescreen display, while supporting all the mainstream mobile devices currently, such as iPhone X, iPad Pro, Apple TV 4, Xbox One, PS4, Google Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S8, Note 4, Sony Xperia and Windows Phone. And most of all, it offers the most efficient performance to compress and convert HEVC UHD videos benefiting from the utilization of hardware acceleration.

Hardware Accleration for HEVC 4K Videos

  1. VideoProc performs HEVC encoding/decoding with hardware acceleration to greatly boost video transcoding speed.
  2. With hardware acceleration, it makes a reality to compress UHD large video files with high bitrate and brings a smoother playback in players or on devices.
  3. Every computer incluidng Intel and NVIDIA graphics can unlock the power of Intel QSV and NVIDIA NVENC for video processing while freeing up CPU for multitasking.
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About the Author

Author    Arlene Cooper@cooper_arlene

Arlene Cooper is a self-motivated, creative copywriter with four years of marketing and advertising experience, specializing in video, audio, images, advertisements, news digital content etc.

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