Best HEVC-friendly video players
Ah, file formats. They let different devices share pieces of information, but they’re also regularly updated and not always interchangeable. Videos in particular can be finicky files to deal with. Some are loaded with DRM, others are completely outdated, and still others are of a high enough quality that certain video players just can’t deal with them.
High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC, is a video file format that’s been around since 2013. As its name implies, HEVC allows videos to be stored with minimal amounts of compression, so playback always comes through with a crisp look. Unfortunately, not every video player out there can read HEVC, so you can end up in a position where you have the exact video you want to see but no way to view it.
Likely the easiest solution in that kind of situation would be to convert HEVC to a different, more common file format like MP4. There are dozens of applications that will convert HEVC to MP4, but that might also be a route you’re not interested in going down. Maybe you wanted your file in HEVC specifically because you need your video to be high quality. In that case, you need to take a look at HEVC-friendly players like these.
For thousands of people all around the world, VLC is the go-to video player. It reads just about every video file format in existence, so you can absolutely use it to playback HEVC files. It also has a user-friendly interface that still manages to back in loads of features that you might find helpful while working through your video.
VLC also has a team of developers who are working around the clock to update it and smooth out any bugs that arise. That team, coupled with a large and incredibly active user base, means that VLC is one of the most reliable video players around. Oh, and did we mention that it’s completely free to use?
For a tech-savvy user that wants more customizability in their video player, MPV might be the way to go. MPV is a super flexible, highly functional video player that’s more than capable of reading HEVC files. The application runs smoothly and plays videos like a dream. What’s even better is that MPV is open source, so there are people all over the world who are able to work on improving the software.
Because it’s built with an open source ethos, MPV is able to be customized to meet your needs. Of course, customizing the application will require quite a bit of technology know-how. In fact, doing anything other than pressing play will require an above-average ability to deal with software. MPV does not have a built-out interface, and instead relies on people digging into the guts of the software to make it run.
Still, MPV is one of the most functional video players currently on the market. If you need something to play HEVC videos, and you want to be able to make it your own, MPV is the application for you.
Why not meet in the middle? MPC-BE is more-or-less a half step between VLC and MPV. The application is designed to deal with all sorts of video files, especially high quality, low compression file formats like HEVC. It also contains some prebuilt user-friendly features like displaying video thumbnails just like you’re used to seeing on YouTube and other video sites.
MPC-BE is another video player that isn’t going to break your budget. You can pick up the application for free in several places online, but it’s primarily hosted on SourceForge. After you’ve downloaded and installed the application, you won’t need to do any special configuration to get it up and running. Right from the get-go, you can open the application and use it to start playing all your favorite HEVC videos.
Those are our picks for the best HEVC video players. They run the gamut from completely beginner friendly to a total nerd’s dream application. Whether you’re just looking to get a video on your screen ASAP, or you’re more interested in creating the perfect video viewing setup on your computer, these applications are going to be able to meet your needs. They’re readily available and just waiting for you to check them out.
Not every video gets encoded in HEVC, but the ones that do look amazing. That said, video quality might not be your top priority. If you aren’t concerned with keeping your files as high-quality as possible, you might just want to convert HEVC to MP4 and watch your files on whatever video player comes as the default on your device. Right now, every player around is going to be able to read MP4 files and run them no problem.
But if you’re looking for something a little better quality, you can’t go wrong by checking out one of these apps.