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Leawo Prof. Media

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How to Play HEVC/H.265 Videos on Kodi?

People may know HD videos well and for sure they enjoy higher resolution video playback than average video files, which give them a better viewing experience. Taking about the format, they may feel a bit confused about H.265 but they should perhaps know HEVC already. It is a commonly used video format especially for 4K or higher resolution files. Kodi, an open-source home theater program, is supposed to play back the HEVC files without trouble. The problem is, many people turn out to find Kodi not able to play back HEVC smoothly, either with choppy stuttering or latency happens frequently. This impedes smooth playback and affects user experience negatively.

This article will be dedicated to analyzing whether Kodi supports HEVC and what to do if Koid fails to play HEVC videos. Finally, we will offer a one-stop solution to play back HEVC, which we may use Kodi alternative player.

Part 1: Does Kodi support HEVC video?

Well, Kodi is supposed to support HEVC natively. Before talking about that, let’s get to know what HEVC means. H.265, also known as HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) and MPEG-H Part 2, is a video compression standard designed for the latest generation of high-resolution video. It is the successor to the widely used H.264 codec and has made some major improvements over that now-aging compression scheme.

We learn that Kodi v14 changelog introduced software decoding support for HEVC. Kodi v15 changelog introduced limited hardware decoding support for some devices, such as a few Android-based video decoders, for Linux on Amlogic SoCs and for Windows via DXVA. Kodi v16 changelog further improved hardware decoding on Android and Windows and introduced it via VAAPI and VDPAU API on linux. Most HTPCs do not have hardware decoding support for HEVC, so they will need a fairly powerful desktop class CPU in order to playback HEVC videos. It explains why some people complain that Kodi is not able to play back HEVC smoothly. It might be due to the outdated version of their Kodi or could blame the lack of Kodi HEVC addon.

Part 2: What to do if Kodi fails playing HEVC/H.265 videos?

When this problem comes up that Kodi fails to play back HEVC smoothly, you can stay calm and cool because you have a couple of nice solutions to fix this issue with ease.

  • Solution 1. Upgrade the Kodi version
  • Solution 2. Install the HEVC addon to Kodi
  • Solution 3. Convert the HEVC video to other format for playback
  • Solution 4. Update firmware and hardware drivers

Solution 1: Upgrade the Kodi version

If the problem is caused by incorrect Kodi version, you may simply update Kodi to the latest version because Kodi has fixed known issues and released new versions with improved performance. Kodi may resume normal and does not show any stuttering after updating to the latest version.


Solution 2: Install the HEVC addon to Kodi

Another very simple solution is to install HEVC addon to Kodi. There will be a lot of powerful addons for Kodi in order to fix known issues or improve/accelerate speed when handling HEVC files. All Kodi add-ons can be installed via the application itself and they will automatically update as new versions are released.


Solution 3: Convert the HEVC video to other format for playback

To be honest, converting HEVC to other video formats for smooth playback is a good solution as well. Plus, this solution does not require extra work to update or install add-ons to Kodi while it only involves conversion process to make HEVC a more compatible format for playback. To convert any video or audio from one format to another, you will need a powerful video converter. Leawo Prof. Media is recommended highly. It is the one and only program suite we would recommend to you. Functioning as not merely a video converter, it allows users to perform multiple functions within one program, namely convert and download videos/audios; burn videos to DVD/Blu-ray, rip and convert 4K Blu-ray/DVD to videos; convert video from 2D to 3D; edit and play media files, etc. To be specific, this program allows you to convert video and audio files between 180+ formats, to achieve format conversion between Blu-ray/DVD and video format, to extract only audio content from source Blu-ray/DVD file, and to download video files from various online-video sharing sites like YouTube.

So if you encounter the issue of Kodi not able to play back HEVC smoothly, and you cannot fix the issue by simply updating Kodi to the latest version or installing HEVC addons to the existing Kodi, you will find it easier to convert HEVC to a compatible video format for Kodi. To do so, Leawo Prof. Media is right for you.

Step 1: Install and launch the program suite

Click the button above to download and install the program suite. Note if you are running on Mac, download the Mac version. Click the video converter icon to open the conversion page.

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Step 2: Add the HEVC files to the page

Click Add Video from the toolbar to import the source files to the program. Batch importing is supported but it will slow down the entire conversion process if your files are too large.

kodi hevc

Step 3: Change the output format

Click Change under the format dropdown menu to navigate to the Profile panel, where you will be able to change the output format to the target one.

kodi hevc

Step 4: Set an output directory to save the converted file

Click the Convert button and you will see a sidebar pop up to let you specify a directory to save the output file. After that, click the round button Convert below to start conversion. This process will take a couple minutes depending on how large your file is.

kodi hevc

When conversion kicks off, you may view the green progress bar to monitor the real status. Once 100% is done, you will be able to find your converted files under the directory you set previously.

Solution 4: Update firmware and hardware drivers

Or confirm the device CPU/GPU supports decoding H.265 and the frimware is the latest version as well. Most devices equip with dedicated hardware for decoding H.264, while equivalent hardware for decoding HEVC is less common on the market. Sometimes the playback failure due to the lack of specific decoder. Pick out a fast modern processor which is designed to decode some 1080p videos encoded in H.264, VC-1/WMV9, HEVC/H.265 VP9, etc. Here are several graphics cards have HEVC hardware decoding support: ntel 6th generation “Skylake” or newer CPUs. AMD 6th generation “Carizzo” or newer APUs. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950, 960, or newer graphics cards.

kodi hevc

Part 3: Another superb HEVC/H.265 player for Windows & Mac

A great Kodi alternative would also save you a lot of efforts to fix the Kodi failure to play back HEVC files. Sometimes Kodi just cannot work normally for playing back HEVC files, and you will feel exhausted to finding solutions to fix the issue. In this case, a powerful Kodi alternative will get you on the right track. Leawo Blu-ray Player will be a good idea to stream any Blu-ray, DVD, ISO, DVD folder, 4K HD video, or other video and audio files. It provides a bunch of custom features to improve personalized settings and make this 100% media player more valuable. For advanced users, they can upgrade to the premium version and let it work as an mkv converter in the meantime.

Many Blu-rays or DVDs come in region locked, with this Free Blu-ray Player, you will feel no region limitation at all as it is totally region free thanks to the strong decoding technology. You can play any region locked files with this media player without hassle.

To open and play back HEVC smoothly, you can put them onto this media player directly.

Step 1: Download and install the lightweight media player

Click the button below to download and install the media player. If you are running on Mac, remember to install the Mac version.

Step 2: Load the source HEVC files to the program

Click Open File to navigate to the source file directory, where you can load them to the media player.


Step 3: Change the settings

Click the settings button looking like a gear to enter the settings window, where you are able to set the subtitles, video and audio parameters, and other personalized settings.


Step 4: Enjoy the smooth playback

Click the start button to play back your source HEVC files. This will bring you cinema like movie experience.



It is apparently the technology development has enabled us to enjoy higher resolution video playback at home with media player like Kodi and Leawo Blu-ray Player just like in a theater. HEVC is a great compression format encapsulating high resolution files and it is widely used for video files. However, Kodi may fail to stream HEVC from time to time due to various reasons. Luckily we can resolve the issue by updating the Koid to the latest version, installing respective HEVC addons, or converting HEVC to a more common video format like MP4. In the end, if above solutions do not work, we can also use the Kodi alternative to play back our HEVC files without hassle.

No matter what solutions you are interested in, you may try and fix the Kodi failure to play back HEVC with ease.



With long-term dedication into the latest market demands and technologies, the author has become an expert in posting practical, in-depth and user-oriented how-tos, tutorials, recommendations, reviews, and more digital multimedia solutions in Blu-ray, DVD, video, audio, picture, Apple utilities, etc.

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