The High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) codec, commonly referred to as H.265, plays a pivotal role in the efficient playback and streaming of high-quality videos on Windows 10. However, not all systems come equipped with this codec, resulting in playback errors or compatibility issues. 

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to acquire and integrate the HEVC codec into your Windows 10 system without any associated costs. By the end of this guide, users will be empowered with the knowledge to seamlessly stream or play HEVC-encoded videos on their devices.

Why Use HEVC?

HEVC stands out in the realm of video codecs due to its advanced compression capabilities. In comparison to its predecessor, H.264, HEVC achieves approximately 50% more data compression. This means that videos encoded with HEVC maintain a high visual quality while occupying significantly less storage space. 

Additionally, for those streaming videos, HEVC ensures quicker load times and reduced buffering, even at higher resolutions like 4K. In essence, adopting HEVC is about optimizing storage, enhancing streaming efficiency, and maintaining video quality.

Steps to Get HEVC for Free

There are several ways to get the HEVC codec on Windows 10 for free, but we’ll cover the most straightforward methods.

1: Utilizing the Windows Store

Access the Windows Store: Navigate to the start menu, and select the Windows Store application.

Search for the Codec: In the search bar, type “HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer” to locate the official HEVC codec offered by Microsoft.

Installation: Click on the “Get (Pay the price)” button adjacent to the codec description. The system will automatically download and install the HEVC extension.

Verification: Once installed, restart any media application you might be using and attempt to play an HEVC-encoded video to ensure seamless playback.

2: Third-party Software Integration

Identify Reputable Software: Several third-party software solutions come with built-in HEVC support. Examples include VLC Media Player and PotPlayer. Always ensure you’re sourcing software from official websites or trusted platforms.

Installation: Download the chosen software, and follow the on-screen installation prompts, ensuring you permit HEVC support if the option arises.

Testing: Once installed, use the software to play an HEVC video, verifying the codec’s effective integration.

By following these outlined methods, users can easily equip their Windows 10 systems with the HEVC codec, facilitating the playback of high-quality videos without any associated costs.

Popular Choices

1: VLC Media Player

VLC is an open-source, cross-platform media player that supports a vast array of multimedia formats, including HEVC. It is widely recognized for its robust performance and versatility.

Key Features

Beyond its HEVC support, VLC boasts customizable interfaces, streaming capabilities, and compatibility with numerous file formats without the need for additional codecs.

Always download VLC from its official website or trusted app stores to ensure you’re getting the genuine and latest version.

2: PotPlayer

PotPlayer is a Windows-based media player that’s known for its rich features and high-quality playback. Its support for HEVC ensures users can view high-definition videos without hitches.

Key Features

PotPlayer stands out with its 3D and 360-degree video support, extensive subtitle tools, and a customizable interface. Additionally, it offers advanced audio tools for a refined listening experience.

For a safe download, turn to the official PotPlayer website or trusted software distribution platforms.

By opting for one of these reputable third-party players, users not only gain HEVC support but also benefit from a multitude of features that enhance the overall media playback experience.

Possible Issues and Solutions

1: Video Playback Error

  • Issue: Even after installing the HEVC codec, some videos may not play.
  • Solution: Ensure the video file itself is not corrupt. Testing the video on another device or using a different media player can help confirm its integrity.

2: Stuttering or Lagging Video

  • Issue: Videos play but with interruptions, lag, or stutter.
  • Solution: Check if your system’s hardware, especially the graphics card, supports HEVC playback. Updating video drivers to the latest version can also resolve compatibility and performance issues.

3: No Audio during Playback

  • Issue: The video plays, but there’s no sound.
  • Solution: This could be due to missing audio codecs. Installing a comprehensive codec pack or using a media player like VLC, which has extensive codec support, can address this.

4: HEVC Option Not Available in Video Editing Software

  • Issue: After installing the codec, the video editing software doesn’t recognize or provide an option for HEVC.
  • Solution: Ensure the editing software version you’re using supports HEVC. If it does, reinstalling the software or the codec can help establish the connection.

5: HEVC Codec Installation Failure

  • Issue: Difficulties arise during the codec installation process.
  • Solution: Make sure your Windows OS is updated. An outdated system can sometimes conflict with newer software installations. If using the Windows Store, ensure you’re logged in with a Microsoft account.


Navigating the world of codecs might seem daunting, but with this guide, you’re well-equipped to get the HEVC codec on Windows 10 for free. Remember, the right codec can make all the difference in your viewing experience. So, are you ready for a buffer-free binge-watching session?