Using Microsoft’s own apps to open an HEVC video on Windows 11 will lead nowhere. It will result in a black-out video shot with a message asking you to install a new codec – the HEVC Video Extensions. This is because Windows 11 doesn’t include the official HEVC codec out of the box. But most new 4K & HD content is encoded using HEVC. In other words, you can’t open your own videos recorded using devices like GoPro, iPhone, Sony, Canon, etc. If an HEVC codec is installed, all problems will be solved.
To install HEVC codec on Windows 11, there are different methods:
Microsoft has offered an official HEVC video extension for Windows 11 and Windows 10. It works with any default apps that come bundled with Windows 11. Available at only $0.99, it’s a good option if you rely on the likes of Microsoft’s Films & TV Player app. Below is how to download and install it:
Instead of paying $0.99 for Microsoft’s official HEVC Video Extensions, you can get the HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer for free. It works exactly the same, but it’s totally free.
In addition to the HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer, there is a slew of free HEVC codec packs for Windows 11 that can help open HEVC files. Check the full list of free HEVC codecs here
With the above HEVC codecs installed on Windows 11, you can open HEVC videos with the local Windows apps. But the HEVC files are still incompatible with most computer browsers. Thus, you may need to transcode HEVC to a friendlier codec like MP4 H.264 for easier usage on other platforms. To handle the heavy HEVC converting task, you can try WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe, a professional 4K video converter.
If you don’t want to bother with the HEVC codec package download & installation process and you’re not one of those who stick to the Microsoft tools, here is another option. Just get the popular media player VLC. It has a built-in HEVC codec to play H.265 videos on Windows 11. It’s totally free and open source. Download it and set it as your default video player on Windows 11, then you can open any 4K/HD HEVC videos without relying on extra HEVC codecs.
HEVC codec packages are essential for Windows apps, but it’s not the only way to handle HEVC-encoded files. Just select the method that suits you best.
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