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HEVC Codec Download | Troubleshoot on Windows 10/VLC

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Summary: What is HEVC? How can I play HEVC video files since Microsoft has eliminated support for the HEVC codec for new installations of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. How to download HEVC codec on Windows 10/11 or VLC? You can find answers in the text below. HEVC codec is widely used these days, but is still not accepted by all devices, applications and players. To make your HEVC files compatible, you'll need to transcode and convert HEVC using a video converter like VideoProc Converter.

This is a comprehensive page for HEVC codec, where you can find all the essential information about the HEVC codec, including what is HEVC, HEVC codec download, HEVC codec on VLC/Windows 10, differences among HEVC, H.265 and x265, and the like.

Moreover, you can also find solutions to some of the commonly-asked HEVC codec-related problems, such as 4K HEVC videos won't play on Windows 10, HEVC/H.265 choppy playback on VLC, HEVC codec missing in Premiere Pro, etc. We believe such a step-by-step troubleshooting page is necessary as the seemingly surefire recipe - downloading HEVC codec pack on VLC/Windows 10 is not for everyone's tastes, and if so, try converting HEVC to H264. Read through to learn the details!

HEVC codec troubleshoot page
HEVC codec download / troubleshoot

Part 1 - Basic Info about H.265/HEVC Codec

1. What is HEVC codec?

  1. HEVC is an abbreviation of High Efficiency Video Coding.
  2. HEVC codec is best known for high coding efficiency.
  3. HEVC is a type of video codec format used for video encoding. The same kind of thing you may be familiar with: MPEG-2, H.263, RealVideo, VP8, etc. HEVC is one of the members of MP4 codecs and also can be wrapped up in other video containers like MKV with audio streams, subtitles, etc for playback, streaming or editing.

2. Where and how to download HEVC/H.265 codec?

  1. You can free download HEVC Video Extension from Microsoft Store.
  2. Or search online and there are various codec packs for you to download, such as K-Lite Codec Pack for HEVC, Media Player Codec Pack Plus (free), Windows 10 Codec Pack (free), x265 Encoder, etc.

3. Is HEVC codec good quality?

Yes. At the same quality, HEVC saves around 50% of your space. At the same file size, HEVC delivers much higher image quality than H.264.

HEVC video quality

4. Is HEVC the same as H.265?

Yes. HEVC and H.265 are the same thing, named by different groups, just like AVC and H.264.

5. Is HEVC better than H.264?

  1. HEVC codec is the successor to H.264. Roughly speaking, HEVC is an updated version of H.264.
  2. As of now, H.264 is more widely acceptable than HEVC. HEVC video won't play error, notably on Windows 10/11 or VLC, happens from time to time.
  3. Videos encoded in HEVC/H.265 from 480p to 2160p are only half the size of those in AVC/H.264 or so, because of the 35.4% to 64% average bit rate reduction, better still, with comparable quality. No wonder UHD 4K/large videos prefer HEVC codec now.

6. What's the Difference between HEVC and x265?

HEVC is video coding standard while x265 is free and open-source software library. x264 and x265 are developed by VideoLAN (VLC) for video encoding. Both provide API that is used by video transcoders like FFmpeg and HandBrake, as well as free video editors like OpenShot and Avidemux.

Video Coding Standard


Video Compressor Software


HEVC, aka H.265




AVC, aka H.264




VP8 / VP9 [1]




AV1 [2]

Alliance for Open Media



Part 2 - HEVC Video Playback Error in VLC

1. Does VLC support HEVC codec?

Releases history in VideoLAN tells us that "2.1.2 allows experimental decoding of HEVC and WebM/VP9". However, when my VLC plays HEVC-codec video, there still appears small jumps and artifacts, and sometimes the image totally freezes.

HEVC choppy playback in VLC
HEVC choppy playback in VLC

2. How can I play HEVC/H.265 with VLC?

Try our following troubleshooting steps one by one:

#1. Check HEVC plugin. VLC does support HEVC codec and there should be HEVC related modules installed by default. Check by: Open VLC player > Tools > Plugins and extensions > Plugins > Search: HEVC.

  • If there is no result, simply install the latest version of VLC, and recheck the HEVC plugin in VLC to see if it works.
  • Yet if you do have those three plugins - HEVC/H.265 video demuxer, H.265/HEVC encoder (x265) and HEVC/H.265 video packetizer, then downloading other HEVC codec pack, like say K-Lite codec pack, won't solve your VLC HEVC playback error.

Why does HEVC Video Extension not work for VLC?

It is a unique HEVC decoding algorithm created by Microsoft for using in Windows 10 default media players only. Once installed, Windows 10 players can apply HEVC hardware decoding whether there is HEVC decoder or not, making it even smooth on low-spec engines. But only the HEVC codec packs with DirectShow API can be used by all other media players.

HEVC plugin in VLC
VLC HEVC plugins

#2. Update VLC. Sometimes simply updating your VLC and restarting your computer would solve the VLC HEVC playback error. But it doesn't work in any case, as installing the latest VLC 3.0.8 Vetinari didn't work for me, and the VLC still plays the HEVC codec with glitches and blocks.

#3. Keyframe problem. Here is the way to test: pause the HEVC video and drag the timeline. If VLC still can't play the HEVC video correctly, then the player doesn't show the correct frame after seeking.

#4. Improve decoding ability. If I'm not mistaken, HEVC playback in VLC or any other player software requires that your CPU is able to natively decode it. The thing is, most HEVC-codec videos are in 4K resolution, and to process such a large amount of data smoothly, hardware support is essential. That's why VLC has the ability to play HEVC video but can't decode HEVC very well if your computer is not good enough.

#5. Final solutions for VLC HEVC playback error:
1. Buy a better computer, which has a CPU or GPU that natively supports HEVC codec.
2. Or convert HEVC/H.265 to H.264 with a decent HEVC video converter.

Part 3 - HEVC Video Won't Play on Windows 10

1. Can Windows 10 play HEVC?

It depends. HEVC was natively supported when Windows 10 was released, but Microsoft removed support for the HEVC codec from Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for new installations. If users attempt to play videos that necessitate the codec, they may encounter a black screen or error message, depending on the program or app utilized to access the content. Windows Media Player won't play MP4 files encoded with HEVC on Windows 10, giving you the message
"Network is too busy to play file at original quality".

While in Movies&TV app, play HEVC codec video and a window pops up saying
"Missing codec. This item was encoded in a format that's not supported. 0xc00d5212."

HEVC won't play on Windows 10
HEVC not playing on Windows 10

2. How to solve HEVC not playing on Windows 10?

Analysis: Apparently, the HEVC video playback error is caused by missing codec.
Solution: Download HEVC codec pack
Download link: HEVC Video Extension by Microsoft

* This HEVC Video Extension requires system Windows 10 version 17763.0 or higher.

* Make sure you click the download link above so that you can go to the page of FREE HEVC video extension. There is also a $0.99 version, which is exactly the same as the free. Note that the free HEVC video extension is unsearchable in the App store.

Download HEVC video extension Windows 10
HEVC video extension Windows 10

3. How to download HEVC video extension Windows 10?

  1. Click the HEVC codec download link to open the page in Microsoft store.
  2. Press button "Get" to install HEVC video extension for Windows 10.
  3. Once it was done, you should be able to play any HEVC video with Windows Media Player and Movies & TV app.

Part 4: Convert H.265/HEVC to H.264

If your computer doesn't support HEVC and you don't have a plan to update the hardware, video transcoding might be a good and obviously cheaper (maybe free) way to go. It is a method officially recommended by GoPro.

Also, for Canon shooters with Canon EOS R7 and R10, the first of its kind to compress video in HEVC at 1080p, you will be in need of an HEVC converter every now and then.

To free convert HEVC/H.265 to H.264, both HandBrake and Avidemux are good options. But since HEVC codec is always related to 4K UHD, hardware accelerated video encoding/decoding ability should be considered, for faster processing. Try VideoProc Converter for 4K HEVC to H.264 conversion, which supports full GPU acceleration powered by Intel, NVIDIA and AMD, providing up to 47x real-time conversion speed.

Free Download VideoProc Converter to Fast Convert HEVC to H.264!

How to convert 4K HEVC to H.264 and Play HEVC on VLC/Windows 10?

Step 1: Open VideoProc Converter and click into Video center.

Step 2: Click +Video to load your HEVC video.

Step 3: Choose 4K MP4 (H.264+AAC) in the Target Format section, enable the Hardware Acceleration Engine and RUN to transcode HEVC for playback on Windows 10.

Convert HEVC codec in VideoProc Converter
Check hardware information


How do you know if your computer supports hardware acceleration or not? Find Hardware Acceleration Engine right under the preview window in VideoProc Converter, click Option and then Recheck. You will get all the hardware information later.

Check hardware information
Check hardware information

About The Author

Jordi was an amateur tech enthusiast, but now an editor who has published hundreds of stories covering video editing, hardware acceleration, software review and how-tos. He is more like a "tech support" with adventurous soul, eagerly grabbing cutting-edge video technologies off in a professional yet easy-to-understand way. Enjoys gliding, diving, etc.

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