What is the difference between H.265 (HEVC) and H.264 (MP4)?
In the last few years we see more and more the emergence of H.265 videos. H.265 is an improved version of H.264. H.264 is the format used for MP4 videos (MPEG-4 videos). H.265 videos are usually files with the extension ".hevc" or ".mkv" (Matroska), but conversely not all mkv files are in H.265 format. Also, H.265 videos can sometimes have the ".mp4" extension.
An H.265 video is not necessarily better than an H.264, but it has more capabilities. For example, it can store the pixels of each frame with more than 8 bits (for more on color depth, see here). It can also compress better, but you won't notice much difference in practical use (about 20% smaller). You should be aware, however, that an H.265 video is not compatible with a H.264 one and if you decide to produce this format, you won't be able to play it in all devices, especially not in older ones. So, conversely, there is a need among quite a few people to convert such videos back to H.264 format. Multimedia Xpert is especially well suited for this task, since it knows practically all existing video and audio formats and can convert to them. To do this, use the Convert tab.
How do I find out whether it is a H.265 (HEVC) or H.264 (MP4) video?
You can analyze the type of the video stream inside. But you need a program like Multimedia Xpert that can decode and peek into nearly any video format in existence. You can do this by calling the Format Info function or by using the function of the same name in the right-click menu of Windows File Explorer. Then take a look at the type of the video stream. If there is something like "hevc", "Main 10", "high 10" or similar behind it, or something like "yuv420p10le" (a "10" or higher near the end), the input material is encoded in a 10-bit format. Since version 2.0 of Multimedia Xpert this is also shown on the first line behind the file length with "10-bit" or similar, so you don't have to search for it anymore.
How can I watch a H.265 resp. HEVC video on my player?
You can just try it out first. If the video doesn't play, you can check if there is an update for your player that makes it possible. If not, the only thing left is a conversion. Multimedia Xpert knows a huge number of video and audio formats, that's why it can convert practically any existing format to H.264 (=MP4). Follow this page on how to convert to MP4.
- How to convert between other color depths than 8 or 10, either up or down, is described here.
- You can also right click on the video in File Explorer and select "Multimedia Xpert->Convert..."