With so many file types out there, you are bound to come across formats that are not readable without the support of a codec. One such format is the H.265 or High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), a format used for video recordings on iPhone and 4K Blu-rays, amongst other uses. If you try and open this video format on any of the built-in apps in Windows 11, you are likely to encounter an error.

The HEVC codecs are essentially a piece of code that can work out the security and secure access to the video. These don’t come pre-installed on Windows 11 and have to be installed separately.

You will have to purchase the HEVC codecs for a small amount, depending on your region. Until some time ago, the HEVC codecs were available free of cost on the Microsoft Store but they are not anymore. But, you can still watch HEVC videos without having to shell a penny.

We will discuss both the paid option and the one to play HEVC video for free on Windows 11.

Download HEVC Codecs from Microsoft Store

To download HEVC codecs from the Microsoft Store, press WINDOWS + S to launch the Search menu, enter ‘Microsoft Store’ in the text field at the top, and then click on the relevant search result to launch the app.

In the Microsoft Store, type ‘HEVC Video Extensions’ in the search box at the top, and click on the search result that goes the same name.

The price for it will vary from one country to another. Before you proceed with the purchase, ensure that it is released by ‘Microsoft Corporation’, since there are many others by the same name. Click on the blue icon with the price mentioned and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the purchase.

After the HEVC codec is installed, you are good to go. Your Windows 11 PC is now capable of playing any HEVC video.

Play HEVC Videos for Free on Windows 11

While the HEVC codecs are listed pretty cheap on Microsoft Store, many users still question why they are being charged at all for something this necessary. And it’s a valid question!

But, there are ways you can play HEVC Videos on Windows 11 without making the purchase off Microsoft Store. There are various media players that play HEVC videos without the need to download any additional software, free or paid. We recommend downloading VLC Media Player.

VLC is an open-source media player that supports almost all formats including HEVC. It’s one of the most popular third-party multimedia players. To download VLC, go to get.videolan.org and click on the ‘Download’ button.

After installing VLC, you can watch all your HEVC videos without shelling a single penny. You can also set VLC as the default media player on your Windows 11 PC.

The above article caters to both types of users, the ones willing to spend on the HEVC codec and those looking for a free alternative. No matter which type you belong to, from now on you will be able to play HEVC videos on Windows 11.