H.264 Versus MPEG-4 – Video Encoding Formats Compared

H.264 Versus MPEG 4   Video Encoding Formats Compared

Overview of MPEG-4 encoding format:

  • MPEG-4 is a standard used to compress audio and visual data. The MPEG-4 standard is generally used for streaming media and CD distribution, video conversation, and broadcast television. MPEG-4 incorporates many features of MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and other related standards.
  • MPEG-4 is still a developing standard and is divided into several parts. The standard includes the concept of "profiles" and "levels," allowing a specific set of capabilities to be defined in a manner appropriate for a subset of applications.
  • MPEG-4 is able to crunch massive video files into pieces small enough to send over mobile networks. While these blurry pictures are unlikely to persuade millions of people to upgrade immediately their mobile phones but holds enough promise for future.
  • Perhaps more important are the interactive features that MPEG-4 offers. The video functions almost like a Web page, but allowing people to interact with the picture on the screen or to manipulate individual elements in real time.
  • MPEG-4 also allows other types of content to be bundled into a file, such as video or images. These files require special software to play.
  • MPEG-4 would allow the interactivity of the video which may open potential to do far more than just point and click at links on the screen. Individual elements of the video like a character, a ball in a sporting event, a rocket ship in a science-fiction epic can exist in a separate layer from the rest of the video. This could allow viewers to interact with these elements somehow, even changing the direction of the story.

Overview of H.264 Coding Format:

  • Also known as MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC (for Advanced Video Coding).
  • H.264 standard is jointly maintained with MPEG so that they have identical technical content.
  • The intention behind H.264/AVC project was to provide good video quality at substantially lower bit rates than previous standards. An additional goal was to provide enough flexibility to allow the standard to be applied to a wide variety of applications on a wide variety of networks and systems.
  • H.264/AVC/MPEG-4 Part 10 contains Multi-picture inter-picture prediction including the features like using previously-encoded pictures as references in a more flexible way than in past standards, allowing up to 32 reference pictures to be used sometimes.
  • H.264 provides quarter-pixel precision for motion compensation enables very precise description of the displacements of moving areas. For chroma the resolution is typically halved both vertically and horizontally, therefore the motion compensation of chroma uses one-eighth chroma pixel grid units.
  • H.264 provides six-tap filtering for derivation of half-pel luma sample predictions, to lessen the aliasing and eventually provide sharper images.
  • H.264 provides flexible interlaced-scan video coding features, includes Macro block-adaptive frame-field (MBAFF) coding, using a macroblock pair structure for pictures coded as frames, allowing 16×16 macroblocks in field mode compared with 16×8 half-macroblocks in MPEG-2. An enhanced lossless macroblock representation mode allowing perfect representation of specific regions while ordinarily using substantially fewer bits than the PCM mode. Picture-adaptive frame-field coding, allowing a freely-selected mixture of pictures coded as MBAFF frames with pictures coded as individual single fields (half frames) of interlaced video.
  • H.264 is more attractive for video network delivery and for delivery of HD, high definition video.
  • H.264 or AVC is an open format with published specification and is available for anyone to implement.


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About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    From my understanding, H.264 is actually one of the more recent versions of MPEG4 codecs. H.264 is also referred to as MPEG-4 AVC.

    For some detailed testing and comparison information, I would recommend checking out the report, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Video Codecs Comparison, put out by the Graphics & Media Lab Video Group. (You would have to see if they have any specific information in regards to usage for Closed Circuit Television, though.)

    You can download the English langugage "short version" (70 pages) of the report at the link below:

    http://www.compression.ru/video/codec_comparison/pdf/msu_mpeg_4_avc_h264_codec_comparison_2007_eng.pdf

  • himanshu mistry

    how to make long time recording in 750gb hdd with h.264 cmpration???????????????

  • Big Mo

    There is some latency with H.264, so MPEG-4 is still the better choice for PTZ recording in real time. For fixed camera applications, H.264 is the better choice.

  • B.S.Radha Krishnan

    Awesome explanation. Hats Off!

  • Ganesh

    I am working on Security cameras. I installed cameras in bus, hence the vibration affects the camera motion sensing capability. Tell me the solution so i can minimize the picture motion from camera itself. I cant decrease the bus motion but the camera settings i can change…….. Is it possible by decreasing the frame rate of camera

    • satishnagireddy

      Hi Ganesh,

      There is a software solution for that. Use "vedio stabilization".

  • Steditrak

    "…H.264 or AVC is an open format with published specification and is available for anyone to implement…."

    nuff said, I'd say.
    :)
    Go *ix GO !

  • Blain Nelder

    H.264 IS BETTER

    MPEG-4 at 2.0Mbps 640×360 is worse than H.264 at 600kbps at 640×360

    • boa_pl

      Incorrect comparison. There're plenty of tricky settings.

  • Rafidragon

    Hi friends , H.264 requires a very good Work station with good processor , As it works in 16×16 or 32×32 frames. As said Big Mo he is right , For indoor CCTV purpose H.264 would be the best option why because what happens in indoor is that stationary items would be more than moving parts ( like people moving etc ) so it would be of great clarity and the frames working process is less and it would be easier. While if u load the h.264 to outdoor their are lots of vehicles , people moving around , so the processor should be as good as possible to have a good quality

    :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1391168333 Miguel Carreon

    As a conclusion, h.624 is more superior in quality.

  • Sebastián Pablo Moriondo

    H.264 = + ENCODING TIME + QUALITY – SPACE + LATENCY
    MPEG-4 = – ENCODING TIME – QUALITY + SPACE – LATENCY

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629637578 Daniel Watkins

      By latency do you mean the demand on a processor to decode the video stream?

    • Sebastián Pablo Moriondo

      Daniel Watkins yes, i'm not an expert on this, but based on what i tested that's my opinion, i dont want to wait 2 hours for converting a movie while in mpeg-4 i get almost the same quality in 20 mins.. so, conclusion, if you have a good procesor and dont care waiting, go for h.264, if you dont want to wait then go for mpeg-4

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