4K h.265 playback on ANY computer for 214 € - nvidia GTX 960 and LAV Filters, step by step.

Started May 8, 2015 | Discussions thread
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ARSPR Regular Member • Posts: 385
4K h.265 playback on ANY computer for 214 € - nvidia GTX 960 and LAV Filters, step by step.
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Hi, it's been somehow tricky but I've done it. So I just wanted to share my step by step guide because it's a bit tricky.

First of all, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE PC YOU HAVE. You don't need to spend +1500 €/$/£ on a brand new ultra-hyper-vitaminated Core i7 system... I'm on an 8-year-old Core-2-Quad Q6600 and now it SMOOTHLY plays whatever I throw at it.

  • Buy that marvellous thing called nvidia GTX 960. (Yes, you'll need to spend at least 200 €/$/£). It's a extremely low consumption card so I doubt you'll need to change your PC power supply. Whatever you have will do. Mine is 375W and although nvidia asks for a 400W one, I don't have any trouble. Moreover my previous card was a Radeon 6870, which also ran without trouble, and it needed TWO 6-pin power connections, while my brand new nvidia GTX 960 only needs one.
  • Remember, GTX 960, and ONLY GTX 960 (whichever flavour and brand you prefer). Nothing greater, (and more expensive BTW). Neither 970 nor 980 nor Titan X support h.265 playback through dedicated hardware.
  • Install it, update its drivers and... it won't work. Neither Windows Media Player nor VLC Media Player use nvidia GTX 960 hardware decoder... So unless your CPU is a powerful i7, you are dead...
  • More over, I don't know if I'm missing something but VLC Media player still doesn't work after all the process I'm about to describe. So you can just uninstall it. Till they add not only h.265 support, (which it currently has), but hardware accelerated h.265 support, it's useless. In my system, it is incapable of playing even 1080p at 50fps. It only reaches 1080p at 25 fps.
  • So you need to make Windows Media Player work with the appropriate codecs. And those codecs are LAV Filters. (Right now it's version 0.65).
  • Grab and install them, leave ALL the options the installer proposes you turned on so it becomes the default codec for your system, and... it won't work. Hardware acceleration is DISABLED by default so you actually need to enable it.
  • Go to Start Menu > LAV Filters > LAV Video Configuration (or whatever other access you have installed) and enable hardware acceleration in the upper right corner. I've used "DXVA2 (native)" but "NVIDIA CUVID" and "DXVA2 (copy-back)" also seem to work. (I have NO IDEA what the hell they are and their differences, so don't ask ;-)). And also, do not forget to tick "HEVC" (aka h.265) and "UHD (4K)" which are unticked by default.
  • And NOW IT WILL WORK. Your Windows Media Player will SMOOTHLY play whatever you want.

And of course, nvidia GTX 960 is more than a DECENT card. It has even increased the new life Lightroom 6.0, which also supports hardware acceleration, gave my PC with its former Radeon 6870. And of course it is a perfectly capable gaming card but when using ultra-max-settings and resolutions. (Yes, in games, the CPU is usually more or less irrelevant. The main bottleneck is always located in the GPU. In fact, PS3 CPU is WAY more powerful than PS4 one, but games are "better" in the latter one).

I hope you find this info useful. I'M REALLY HAPPY with my "ancient" PC... (I had already expended ENOUGH money in my NX1+ gear...)

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