Need to play HVEC videos? They can take quite a toll on anything short of a super-computer, even if you are running pretty modern hardware. I'm not, and the first time I stumbled upon a video in said format it lagged. A lot. It was more like a slideshow than a real video.
So, I tried a few alternatives claiming to play this format better than others - as well as the two players I usually use, and have collected my impressions below so that they may be of use to whomever stumbles upon this. Without further a dawdling:
VLC - Lags, chops a bit, goes gray and blocky. Visuals worse than Potplayer and exmplayer, but less lag.
MPC (with Ninite K-Lite Codecs) - Occasionally choppy, with frequency of 'chops' depending on compression/system requirements. Some videos were choppy to the point of being unbearable, for others the time skip would happen with irregular intervals, or could be removed completely by eliminating background processes.
Potplayer - Very much lag! Not an option. Otherwise nice interface and extensive features. Would consider using on a more powerful computer.
exmplayer - Also very much lag! With frame drop also very choppy - too many frames dropped. As with previous, good interface and features otherwise.
5kplayer - Marketed as the x265 player, but it wasn't all that special. Also lag, and plenty of bloatware. Interface stylish but basic.
Conclusion: I had the best alternatives installed already. VLC works well for most files, and plays HVEC files smoothly - albeit with distortion depending on how heavy the file is. MPC plays without distortion, but with loss on sync and choppy playback instead. Unless I've missed some miracle software, you'll probably need better hardware if you want to play HVEC files seamlessly, and they don't do so already with any of these.