How to play HEVC coded videos on Windows 10 now using HEVC Video Extension

HEVC or High-Efficiency Video Coding is a video compression standard. This is also known as H.265 or MPEG-H Part 2. It is a successor to AVC or H.264 or MPEG-4. HEVC maintains the same quality of video while it doubles the data compression ratio. It supports 8K UHD resolution of 8192 x 4320 as well.

Microsoft removed inbuilt support for HEVC Codec

If you are a Windows 10 user before the Fall Creators Update was released, you might notice that Windows 10 always supported playback of videos that were compressed with HEVC codec. If you have just upgraded your machine to Windows 10 v1709, you are fine. But if you have clean installed Fall Creators Update, you might be facing issues playing these videos. There might be scenarios where the audio is playing and in the video section but you just see a black screen. There might be times where the application might just throw an error telling you that the video codec is not supported. This is mainly faced with apps like Netflix, Movies & TV or any other apps from the Microsoft Store.

Play HEVC coded videos on Windows 10

A Codec is a combination of Coder and Decoder or Compressor and Decompressor, and it is a software that is used to compress or decompress a digital media file, such as a song or video. To be able to play HEVC coded videos on Windows 10 now in Windows 10 v1709 and later, you would need to install the Codec manually. This is so because, with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft removed the inbuilt support for HEVC Codec. But thankfully, you need not have to wander around the internet looking for players or third party and less secured software to play your files.

HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer

Microsoft released a minor update to Windows 10 named KB4041994 which brings HEVC Codec support for the devices. Microsoft has also made it available in the Microsoft Store for the users for free.

Play High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) videos in any video app on your Windows 10 device. These extensions are designed to take advantage of hardware capabilities on some newer devices— including those with an Intel 7th Generation Core processor and newer GPU to support 4K and Ultra HD content. For devices that don’t have hardware support for HEVC videos, software support is provided, but the playback experience might vary based on the video resolution and PC performance. These extensions also let you encode HEVC content on devices that don’t have a hardware-based video encoder.

play HEVC coded videos

Before beginning, please take a note that this codec will enable streaming of 4K and UHD video streams. Also, this codec only supports the compatible hardware. This includes Intel’s 7th Generation of Processors and some modern Graphics Processing Units or GPUs.

This list includes the following :

 Kaby Lake, Kaby Lake Refresh and Coffee Lake, and GPUs like AMD’s RX 400, RX 500 and RX Vega 56/64, and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1000 and GTX 950 and 960 series.

In case that minor update KB4041994 is not working out well for you, you can head on to this link to find and install the codec from Microsoft.

Now see how you can play OGG, Vorbis and Theora coded media files on Windows 10.

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Ayush has been a Windows enthusiast since the day he got his first PC with Windows 98SE. He is an active Windows Insider since Day 1 and is now a Windows Insider MVP. He has been testing pre-release services on his Windows 10 PC, Lumia, and Android devices.