AnandTech pulls attention to the fact that Microsoft made some changes to its approach to bundled video decoders. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (FCU) no longer features a HEVC decoder because Microsoft is moving to a new approach called Codec Packs. The goal here is to bring new codecs to customers more quickly and efficiently than in the past.
On reaching out to Microsoft, a spokesperson gave us the following quote: “With the Fall Creators Update, we changed our approach to media codecs to enable us to get more codecs to consumers faster and give device makers more flexibility via a new approach called Codec Packs. The HEVC hardware codec has been converted to a Codec Pack and will be soon available to all devices running the FCU.”
We then explicitly asked them if the decision to go the codec pack route was dictated by patent royalty issues. The exact quote we received was: “Customers who upgrade to the FCU on compatible hardware will get HEVC. For new devices that do not include HEVC, it will be available soon through the Microsoft Store. It may take a day or two after the upgrade to FCU for the codec to get installed.”