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Best Free H.265 Video Players

H.265, the full name is High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the new successor to Advanced Video Coding (AVC) also known as H.264. It is more advanced than H.264 in several ways. The main difference is that HEVC allows for further reduced file size and therefore reduce required bandwidth, of your live video streams. Although H.265 is superior to H.264 in so many aspects, however, the playback of H.265 is not that convenient as H.264 since it has poor compatibility with many devices and applications. The good news is that there are still some free video players out there for you to playback H.265 video.

Free H.265/HEVC Video Players

No 1: VLC Media Player

The libde265 team released a production version of the popular VLC media player for Windows capable to play HEVC 4K Ultra HD video. Like the Mac OS X version released before VLC plays HEVC video in 4K Ultra HD resolution at a frame rate of 30 fps on a Windows PC. The minimum system requirements for viewing 4K UHD video is a PC with an Intel or AMD CPU equivalent to
Intel Core i7 with 4 cores, running at 2.3GHz.

The VLC media player with libde265 HEVC video codec is available for download on GitHub:

The .zip version can be used without installation, just extract to any folder and run the "vlc.exe".

The source code changes are available on:

No 2: Potplayer

Potplayer also serves as a free HEVC player for HEVC/H.265 encoded videos playing as well as any other multimedia formats or codecs like H.264, MP4, FLV, MKV, AVI, MOV etc. Besides, other than the powerful ability of playing HEVC codec videos, you can also download 3D and blu-ray movies/videos for playing on this marvelous video player, which makes it unique among the best HEVC players. But sadly it's only available on Windows.

No 3: 5K Player

5K Player 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. 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.

No 4: Windows Media Player

The x265 Upgrade includes UHDcode DirectShow, which upgrades your Windows PC to enable playback of MP4 files containing HEVC (H.265). It's easy to get started.
1. Download the x265 HEVC Upgrade.
2. Run the installer
3. When prompted, enter the activation key that was emailed to you
4. Run Windows Media Player (64 bit)
Note: Even on a 64 bit version of Windows, a 32 bit version of Windows Media Player is the default player for most media files. The 64 bit version can usually be found here: C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe. The x265 HEVC Upgrade will change your default file association for MP4 files to the 64 bit version of Windows Media Player and it will optionally install a shortcut on your desktop.
5. Drag a file to Windows Media Player, or open the MP4 file in Windows Media Player (64 bit) to play your HEVC video.

No 5: KMPlayer

KMPlayer is a versatile media player which can cover various types of container format such as VCD, DVD, AVI, MKV, Ogg Theora, OGM, 3GP, MPEG-1/2/4, WMV, RealMedia, exclusive AIFF file and QuickTime among others. It handles a wide range of subtitles and allows you to capture audio, video, and screenshots in many ways. The player provides both internal and external filters with a fully controlled environment in terms of connections to other splitters, decoders, audio/video transform filters and renderers without grappling with the DirectShow merit system, make it as one of the excellent HEVC/H.265 players, even though it uses to installing bloatware together with insane ads at the startup.

Alternative solution to play H.265/HEVC video

Apart from viewing H.265/HEVC on above listed free H.265 player software, there are still some alternative solutions for you to playback H.265/HEVC video.

Solution 1: Download and install H.265 codec

HEVC codec is the software to encode or decode HEVC video. It can be an encoder for compression only or decoder for decompression only. With HEVC codec, people can create a 4K video or convert HEVC videos to a more compatible format for conveniently viewing on computers, smartphone, tablets, game consoles, TVs, etc. When you search HEVC codec, you may find that there are multiple choices including x265 upgrade, Divx 10 and K-Lite Codec Pack, etc.

Related article: Play H.265 with VLC | Play H.265 on Android | Play H.265 on macOS High Sierra 

Solution 2: Transcode H.265 to H.264 or other popular digital formats

Since H.264 has perfect device compatibility than H.265, therefore, you can get full entertainment of H.265 video on smartphone, tablets, game consoles, media players, video editing software or online sharing sites by decoding H.265 to H.264 or other popular digital file formats. If your H.265 video is in 4K resolution video, you can also choose to compress 4K to 1080p in smaller file size for space saving and smooth playback experience.

Here, with our best H.265 Converter - Pavtube Video Converter, you can easily convert H.265 to any of your desired 4K/HD/SD file formats with perfect quality and super fast conversion speed. To get better output file quality, you can flexibly adjust output profile parameters such as video codec, bit rate, frame rate, resolution and audio codec, bit rate, sample rate and channels, etc.

For Mac users, please switch to download Pavtube Video Converter for Mac to perform the conversion on macOS High Sierra, macOS Sierra, Mac OS X El Capitan, Mac OS X Yosemite, Mac OS X Mavericks, etc.

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