5 Best H.265/HEVC Players to Play HEVC Video (Updated)

HEVC/H.265 standard format is a more advanced encoder than H.264, developed to encode video files at higher quality but smaller sizes. Therefore, unlike regular video formats that are usually encoded as H.264, H.265 format is less compatible with some popular media players. Many users claim that even VLC cannot play H.265 videos smoothly sometimes.

So, seeking a compatible H.265/HEVC player can be essential if you want to enjoy high-quality effects and play H.265 files on desktops without limitations. Hence, today’s blog has prepared the 5 best HEVC/H.265 players for you to select. If you are still wondering how to play H.265 files as they are not compatible for playback, check now and pick an ideal one to try!

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The best HEVC player that hits the top place of list has been selected as VideoByte Blu-ray Player, which empowers great compatibility to decode most H.265 and other encoding methods, with lossless playback quality. Blu-ray discs/folders/BDMV files, DVD discs/folders and other regular video formats are also supported. Install it for free to give it a try now.


What is HEVC (H.265)? Brief Introduction of HEVC Codec

H.265, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) or MPEG-H Part 2, is the successor to the widely used H.264 (AVC or MPEG-4 Part 10) video compression standard. Compared to H.264, H.265 offers better data compression at the same level of video quality. It effectively doubles the data compression ratio, which means that video at the same quality needs only half of the bandwidth or file size. This makes H.265 ideal for handling HD and UHD videos (up to 8K), as it allows for efficient storage and transmission of these large files.

So, what is the difference in terms of video performance between H.265 and H.264? Which is better? Let's check out a quick comparison of these two popular video codes in the following.

H.265 VS. H.264: A Quick Comparison
Compression RatioUp to 50% Higher than H.264Standard
Video Quality4K, 8K1080P
Device CompatibilityNarrowerWider
File SizeSmallerLarger

For a detailed comparison between H.265 and H.264, you can check this post:  H.265 vs H.264: Comparison between H.265 and H.264

Overall, H.265 provides better video-streaming performance than H.264. However, the H.265 encoding and decoding process is more complex, meaning not all devices, especially older ones, can play HEVC videos smoothly. Therefore, it is crucial to use a professional H.265 player. In the next section, we have prepared 5 best HEVC players to help you play HECV/H.265 files easily and smoothly. Keep reading to get them!

Best HEVC H.265 Players to Play HEVC Video: VideoByte

Operating System: Windows 11/10, macOS X 10.9 or above (including macOS Catalina)

The first H.265 player we’d like to recommend is VideoByte Blu-ray Player. As an all-around H.265 player with outstanding compatibility in terms of media formats, it ensures a lossless H.265 file playback occupying a low CPU. What’s more, this HEVC player provides an easy-to-go menu for convenient playback control, making the menu navigation, audio tracks, and subtitles selection easy to operate. Meanwhile, there are some special playback effects available to boost better HEVC streaming for you.

Besides, apart from being an H.265 player, VideoByte Blu-ray Player is also regarded as the best Blu-ray player, supporting 2K, and 1080p HD lossless playback. Better still, VideoByte is able to decode both homemade and commercial Blu-rays or DVDs on PC/Mac. With 300+ mainstream video/audio formats supported, you can play any media files apart from H.265.

Overall, VideoByte Blu-ray Player is definitely the most reliable and helpful H.265 player to play H.265 videos and other videos/Blu-rays/DVDs on a computer. You can view its sparkling points in the following:

  • Play H.265 (HEVC) videos with up to 4K resolution
  • Intuitive interface & easy-to-use menu for flexible control
  • GPU acceleration for smooth HEVC playback
  • Support playing other common videos of 300+ mainstream formats
  • Region-free Blu-ray/DVD player to play any type of disc without encryptions

Now, you can view the image guide to briefly learn the steps to use this wonderful H.265 player to play H.265 files with ease.

Other 4 H.265 Players You can Try (Free Options Included)

Apart from VideoByte, we have also collected the other 4 best HEVC/H.265 players of high reputation for you. Grasp them and select your favorite one to play H.265 files with a great streaming experience right away!

1. VLC Media Player

Operating System: Windows 11/10, Mac, Linux, and Android

"Does VLC play H.265/HEVC?" If you've ever asked the question, the answer will be positive. If you desire a free HEVC player to play H.265 files without paying a penny, VLC is the best option you shall not miss. Developed by VideoLAN, VLC Media Player provides great media streaming ability with wide support for mainstream formats, including HEVC to help you enjoy HEVC video playback without limitations. VLC is also cross-platform supported, available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users to install this H.265 player on devices to enjoy its excellent video streaming services.

However, pay attention that if you desire to play HEVC videos on VLC, you need to download a specific x265 as a free software library and application for encoding video streams into the HEVC compression format. Otherwise, the H.265 video playback is mostly likely to fail and you will have to find another VLC alternative to play H.265 videos instead.

Tip: VideoLAN also produces encoder freeware, x265, to help you stream your video into HEVC encoded format. You can learn more about it if needed.

Features of VLC Media Player:

  • Open-source HEVC playerfor free
  • Work across different device systems
  • Also, play other mainstream videos and DVDs
Vlc MKV Player

2. Potplayer

Operating System: Windows 11/10

Potplayer is another free HEVC player, with good quality maintained to play HEVC/H.265 encoded videos to deliver you a nice streaming experience on Windows desktops. Potplay even supports 3D effects! If your H.265 video files also contain 3D effects, this H265 player can work to originate them for you, maintaining the same visual as well as audio effects.

Despite H.265, Potplay is also compatible with a variety of other multimedia formats or codecs like H.264, MP4, AVI, MKV, etc. However, it's a pity that this HEVC player is only available on Windows. It's official website still says that it only supports Windows 8.1 and lower, but many users have claimed that it works well on Windows 11/10. So feel free to download it if you are a Windows user!

Tip: When Potplayer lacks the Mac version, if you desire to install an H.265/HEVC plater to enjoy high-quality H.265 video playback on Mac desktops, VideoByte Blu-ray Player is the best backup to consider. For more details, visit this full VideoByte Blu-ray Player review to evaluate the software in-depth before installing it.


  • Free H.265/HEVCplayer for Windows 10
  • Support 3D video playback
  • Specialized for Windows users
Pot Player

3. Leawo Blu-ray Player

Operating System: Windows 11/10, Mac

Another HEVC video player here for you is Leawo Blu-ray Player, which was originally famous for its Blu-ray streaming ability. Also with a free version provided, it is regarded as one of the best free Blu-ray players on the market. Like VideoByte Blu-ray Player, Leawo is also compatible with a variety of mainstream formats, including H.265, ensuring you enjoy 4K H.265/HEVC video playback on both Windows and Mac desktops.

However, the drawback of Leawo Blu-ray player should be the fact that it would add ads to the interface unless you upgrade to its registered version. Meanwhile, while playing H.265/HEVC videos for free within this HEVC player, there will be a watermark added to affect the streaming, which somehow cannot give you a perfect experience.


  • Free services to play HEVC videos provided
  • Support 4KHEVC playback
  • Also compatible with Blu-ray and DVD playback
Leawo Blu-ray Player Win

4. 5KPlayer

Operating System: Windows 11/10, Mac

5KPlayer can be one of the best free HEVC players, as it uses advanced decoding technology to ensure smooth 4K or even 8K HEVC/H.265 video playback, even on old computers. This can help you easily solve the unabling to open H.265 videos issue. Moreover, this HEVC player supports multiple formats encoded with HEVC/H.265, including MP4, MOV, MKV, AVI, etc., making it a great choice for users with diverse HEVC collections.

Additionally, beyond being a HEVC video opener, it even lets you directly download videos from Facebook, Vevo, Vimeo, and more. Plus, it supports AirPlay for wireless projection to your devices. However, as with many free tools, 5KPlayer may experience occasional unstable performance or even contain malware. Therefore, it is crucial to consider these potential drawbacks before downloading.


  • Free HEVC player for Windows 10 to let you play 4K, and 8K videos
  • Download online videos from 300+ sites
  • Support wireless streaming via AirPlay and DLNA
5KPlayer Interface

Bonus: 2 Tricks to Play HEVC Video Easily

Selecting the best H.265 player is the most direct and convenient way to help you play H.265 files on Windows/Mac with ease. But if you don't want to download any app specially for H.265 video playback, you can try the 2 tips in this part to play H.265/HEVC videos more conveniently.

Method 1. Convert x265 Files to Common Formats for Easy Playback

To permanently save and play your H.265 videos without downloading an HEVC player, a good way is to convert H.265/HEVC to MP4 or other formats that your installed media player supports. That means you won’t need the exact x265 player software with HEVC/H.265 compatibility anymore. Instead, finding a reliable x265 converter that can convert x265 files to other formats like MP4, AVC, MKV, MOV, etc. can help get rid of the format incompatibility permanently. If you would like to have a try, you can check the post introducing free H.265 converters and find the one you like.

Method 2. Using HEVC Video Extension

Despite using HEVC/H.265 players or the HEVC/H.265 converters to get your videos playable, you are also available to take advantage of an HEVC video extension. HEVC Video Extension is created to enable compatible Windows 10 devices to play video in HEVC format in any app, including 4K and Ultra HD content.

But we also find that some users claim that this extension does not work for them even after they pay for it. So, you may need to think twice before using it.

Hevc Video Extension

FAQs about HEVC Video Player

Which is the best HEVC Player for Windows 10?

The above-mentioned 5 HEVC players are all suitable for Windows 10. However, the best option depends on your specific needs. If you are looking for a free HEVC player, then VLC or PotPlayer are worth considering. However, it is important to note that these free H.265 players may have unstable performance and come with the risk of bundling malware. For a safe, reliable, and feature-rich HEVC player for Windows 10, VideoByte Blu-ray Player stands out. Not only does it excel at playing HEVC videos, but it also delivers excellent image quality and smooth performance.

Where can I download the HEVC/H.265 codec?

While H.265 codec is becoming more and more widely used, unfortunately, Windows 10/11 lacks support for it. To get codec H.265 downloaded on Windows 10/11, you can head to the Microsoft Store and pay $0.99 for the HEVC Video Extension. If you don't want to use additional HEVC codec on PC, you can also utilize popular third-party HEVC video players such as VideoByte Blu-ray Player, which has built-in HEVC H.265 codec for stable and smooth HEVC playback on Windows 10/11.


When you discover your installed media players fail to support decoding and playing H.265/HEVC videos for you, you probably need a better and more professional H.265/HEVC player instead. In this blog, the 5 best options are recommended for you to select. Among all of them, VideoByte Blu-ray Player definitely stands on the top, providing a high-quality, smoother, and easy-to-control streaming experience to you. Why not give it a try now?

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