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How To Install HEVC Video Codecs For Free

What Is HEVC?

H.265 or HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) is a video compression technique or algorithm and is particularly important for 4K videos which can be huge in size. So what you see on Netflix and others is probably coded in HEVC/H.265. Why am I talking about HEVC? Simply because I record some of my gaming videos in HEVC through AMD Adrenalin and in order to play back the video you need a media player that supports the HEVC standard. Many do, but Windows 10 and 11 do not natively support the standard through the built-in apps, which is mind-boggling in this day and age. Yesterday I tried to open an HEVC video using the Films And TV app but it wouldn’t run, with the following message:

So Microsoft wants us to buy the codec? No thanks, so I looked around for alternative means of acquiring the codec and discovered a trick that still works. Open your browser and type the following:

ms-windows-store://pdp/?ProductId=9n4wgh0z6vhq

You will then arrive at the Microsoft Store where you can download and install the HEVC extension free of charge.

On the other hand, you can buy the extension for $1, but I know which route I would prefer.

This begs the question, why is Microsoft asking us to pay for an extension that it also offers for free in its own store? Added to this, there are dozens of other media players such as VLC and Classic Media Player that support HEVC out of the box. I can only assume that this kind of scam is targeted at those who are not technically minded and the message, “You need a new codec…” is a scare tactic that makes them reach for their wallet.

I only know this because I recently reinstalled Windows 11 on my other PC and hadn’t got around to installing many other programs, such as media players. In fact, I wanted to experiment with many of Windows 11’s native apps, some of which are very good. So, do yourself a favour and look around before paying for software if it’s possible to get it for free.

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