Noticed VLC is having a hard time with some (all) HEVC 10bit 1080p videos on a low end laptop. So (according to a lot of know-it-all internet forum experts), best thing to do is to update VLC to latest version (translation: move to a beta release). Still, VLC HEVC x265 playback is very choppy and the output grey screen is very very annoying.
I tried many Linux video players and none could produce a decent output. Tried many codecs and settings inside VLC (disabled hardware acceleration, VDPAU, VAAPI, increased buffering, disabled deinterlacing, deblocking filters, overlays...). All a complete waste of time (yet sort of educational).
But right now I have a new best friend! His name is KODI. A multi platform, free, open source, award-winning, media player, entertainment hub formerly known as XBMC, and also the answer to all my problems. This state of the art player is doing a very fine job where VLC usually fails. I can watch full 1080p 10bit 7.1 video with subtitles in a low cost (a.k.a.: extremely cheap) dual core, Intel Celeron 4GB bargain laptop, while surfing with Chromium (7+ tabs) and downloading multiple torrents (Deluge), all with flawless playback (I'm talking Linux here). Just install and disable any hardware acceleration. I have never been happier. You might want to give KODI a try and put an end to your suffering.