Windows 10 to get native 4K, 8K support with H.265 and MKV

Microsoft will add support for H.265 (HEVC) in Windows 10, which means the OS will be able to playback 4K videos natively. Besides support for H.265, the company will also add support for MKV video containers.


A Microsoft employee announced the codec for Windows 10 in a tweet. The H.265 codec, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the successor of the widely used H.264 codec and often used for HD video. The new video standard promises to use half of the disk space used for H.264 while the video quality remains the same. Therefore H.265 is widely promoted for 4K video and in the future possibly 8K video. By adding the HEVC codec to Windows 10 all installed applications including browsers will be able to benefit from it.

It’s unclear whether Microsoft’s implementation of the H.265 codec will support future GPUs with hardware acceleration. It’s deemed to be very likely, the coming months the first GPUs supporting the feature are expected to hit the market. It’s also unknown whether Microsoft’s HEVC codec supports the main still picture profile which is developed to compress images.

Besides H.265 support,  Microsoft earlier announced Windows 10 will support the MKV format. MKV containers are popular for videos, the MKV format supports fitting multiple soundtracks and subtitles in a single file. Whether Windows 10 will also support the lossless FLAC audio format also remains unknown.