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H.265 VS H.264, What’s The Significant Advantages

2017-06-12    6209 Reads

H.265, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), is the successor standard to H.264, and
has generated huge optimism
given Industry's struggle with shortage of bandwidth, spectrum, storage
and imminent need to take growing HD content for multi platform
delivery.Compared with the existing
popular video coding standard H. 264, H.265 keeps some of the original technologies, and adopts

the advanced techniques to improve the bit-stream, promote the coding quality, and create a better
relationship between time delay and
algorithm complexity, to achieve best optimizations as far as

Today, we will make detailed H264 vs H265 (as well as HEVC vs H264) comparisons on them.
1, Differences between H.265/HEVC and H.264:

Some of the key differences between H.265 (HEVC) and H.264 (MPEG 4 AVC) are listed below

Category H.264 H.265
Names MPEG 4 Part 10 AVC
 (Introduced in 2004)
MPEG-H, HEVC, Part 2 
(Approved in Jan 2013 )
Industry adoption Dominant and accepted video 
codec for
Cable, Satellite
and IPTV broadcast.

Widely used
across Blu Ray, security systems, 
conferencing, mobile video, 
media players, video chat etc.
Implementation demonstration
across NAB, IBC 
and other events 
starting 2012 from companies e.g. 

ATEME, Broadcom, Thomson, 
Harmonic (Cisco), 
Qualcomm etc. 
Increased R&D across
Encoder/Decoder /CE,vendors for 
software and 
hardware based solutions
Key Improvement 40-50% bit rate reduction
to MPEG-2
40-50% the bit rate reduction 
at the same 
visual quality
compared to H.264
 Led the growth of HD content
for Broadcast  and Online
Potential to realize UHD, 2K, 4K 
for Broadcast and Online (OTT) 
Progression Successor to MPEG-2 Part  Successor to MPEG 4 AVC, H.264
Compression Model  Hybrid spatial-temporal 
prediction model
Enhanced Hybrid spatial-temporal 
prediction model
 Flexible partition of Macro Block (MB) ,
 sub MB for motion estimation
Flexible partitioning, introduces Coding
 Tree Units (Coding, Prediction and 
Transform Units -CU, PU, TU) 
Intra Prediction (extrapolate already
 decoded neighboring pixels  for prediction)
- 35 directional modes 
for intra prediction
- Introduced multi-view extension - Superior parallel processing 
enhancements in multi-view 
coding extension
9 directional modes for 
intra prediction
CTU supporting larger block
(64x64) with 
variable sub partition 
Macro Blocks structure with 
size of 16x16 Entropy coding is 
Entropy coding is only CABAC 
Specification Support Up to 4K (4,096×2,304)         Up to 8K UHDTV (8192×4320)       
Supports up to 59.94 fps
21 profiles ; 17 levels           
  Supports up to 300 fps 3 approved
 profiles, draft for additional 5 ; 13 levels            
Drawbacks  Unrealistic for UHD content
delivery due 
to high bit rate
requirements.Frame rate 
support restricted to 59.94
Computationally expensive 
 (~ 300 % + ) 
due to larger 
prediction units and expensive 

Motion.Estimation (Intra prediction
with more nodes, asymmetric 
partitions in Inter Prediction).

2, H.265 vs H.264 Compression Ratio & Bandwidth Utilization

H.265 has better compression performance and lower bandwidth utilization ratio.
For video services, the ultimate goal of compressing a movie is to reduce the size of the movie file, so that it
can take up less storage 
space, as well as reduce the network bandwidth consumption in transmission.

Compared with H. 264, the greatest strength of H. 265 is that it has a higher H.265 compression ratio, which can
be just discerned from 
its name, which is also called HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), and the primary use is
to further reduce the design flow rate, in 
order to lower the cost of storage and transmission.

In other words, at the same quality of coding, H.265 video can save around 50% of the bit rate, and the coding
efficiency can be doubled
than H. 264, as H.265 provides more different tools to reduce the bit rate. For example,
in H. 264, each macroblock is fixed to the size of
16 x16 pixels, but the coding unit of H.265 can be chosen from
a minimum of 8 x 8 to the maximum of 64 x 64.

3. H.265 vs H.264 Quality

Image analysis of H.265 and H.264 video

0n the left hand side as the illustration shows above is using traditional H.264 standard, and each macro block
is fixed; In H. 264 
coding technology, the giant sections of data is completely independent to each other, so coding
distortion situations are likely to
happen in border areas of the giant block.

It is H. 265 standard on the right, the size of code unit is determined by the regional information. From the image
contrast, we can
see the video quality enhancement and the more delicate character’s skin under H. 265 are much
better than H. 264.

3. H.264 vs H.265 File Size

Video site of H.265 and H.264 video

From this H.264 vs H.265 comparison above, now we know well that how is H.265 superior to H.264. Without doubt,
H.265 will
become a widely used codec in the near future as it's really one of the best way to compress a video with
original quality being

Most of sdmc's OTT set-top boxes can support 4Kp60 H.265 HEVC Main-10 Decoding, For more info at

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