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H.264 vs H.265: Which Codec is Right for Your Video Needs?

Are you looking for the differences between H.264 vs H.265 video compression standards? 🤔

Don’t Worry! We got you covered in this compression guide.

Without any further delay, let’s explore this. 📗

Most of the current NVRs and DVRs feature H.264 displayed or printed on their containers. In reality, many top-quality videos streamed on the internet, like Youtube, use H.264 compression.

It is the video compression process where motion in the encoded image is compared with stationary objects. This way, H.264 keeps all stationary things in the frame as a reference while simply recording the movement of objects.

Because of this, H.264 is considered one of the most fantastic recording processes for different surveillance videos. It is probably one of the most well-known video formats used to stream, record, and allocate video content online.

Understanding H.264

Advanced Video Encoding or H.264 offers top-quality video at a low bit rate and works more efficiently than the other standard video protocols like H.263, MPEG-4 part 2, and MPEG-2. However, H.264 requires two things to work properly.

First, the playback equipment should be able to decode H.264 videos back to playback video format. Second, the equipment capturing the videos should have the ability to encode the videos properly. MP4 or MPED Layer-4 and AVI or Audio Video Interlaced are the two common video formats playable in H.264.

Since H.264 has no standardized format, with many companies holding varied patents, security camera systems can encode their H.264 differently. It is only because of this that all the security systems have their own generic files for H.264 compressed videos.

H.264 Video Bitrate - How Low Can You Go?

Understanding H.265

High Efficient Video Coding or H.265 is a brand new standard in video compression, providing more improvement and features over H.264.

It offers a better bit reduction, 57% at 1080p, with the UHD being 64%. Since all the devices in these present times, from smart TVs to Smartphones, display, and record at higher resolutions, having HEVC compression has become all the more important. Most well-known video streaming sites have their videos encoded to H.265.

H.264 vs H.265: Difference Between Them

H.264 uses a motion-compensation-based, block-oriented video compression protocol for processing video frames. These units are known as macroblocks. They contain 16×16 pixel samples; you can even subdivide them into different transform blocks.

H.264 vs H.265

The transform slabs can further be sectioned into prediction units. All this might sound a bit confusing, but the fact is that H.264 lowers bit rates substantially and is widely used by some of the most popular video streaming sources on the internet. These include videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and iTunes.

Still confused? 🤔 Watch out for mentioned “Video Formats, Codecs and Containers (Explained)” video, it will help you to understand the differences between H.264 vs H.265.

Video Formats, Codecs and Containers (Explained)

Features that Make H.265 Different

To start with, H.265 is the latest video streaming protocol and is thus more advanced than H.264. One major difference is that H.265 makes way for the reduced file size and thus needed reduced bandwidth for streaming videos live.

H.264 vs H.265

Dissimilar to H.264 macroblocks, HEVC processes information in CTUs or Coding Tree Units. Where macroblocks can range between 4×4 and 16×16 block sizes, Coding Tree Units can process as many as 64×64 blocks, potentially compressing information most efficiently.

H.265: How is it better for Live Video Streaming?

Live video streaming is something that has gained huge popularity in recent times, and it is here to stay. The industry is fast marching towards high image and high bitrate quality formats.

The process is fast, spanning Facebook, YouTube, individuals, and different social media advocates, including mid-sized and small organizations, professional broadcasters, sports franchises, and businesses.

H.264 vs H.265: Which Codec is Right for Your Video Needs?

Thus, while the world prepares for the demand for live video streaming and major technical issues of 4K live video streaming, it has become essential to invest in podiums that have the potential to deliver superior quality 4K live video streams.

H.264 vs H.265: Which Codec is Right for Your Video Needs?
image source www.boxcast.com

Not only this, but the 4K live streams should also speak of reliability, technical sophistication, and simplicity, and this is only possible with the use of H.265. Ideally, HEVC or H.265 allows users to conveniently stream live events and videos without using huge network bandwidth.

H.264 vs H.265: Features that Make H.265 Better

H.265 provides some of the most significant improvements and features over H.264. Some of the major highlights for the consumers are as follows:

Improved Compression:-

H.264 vs H.265

HEVC or H.265 provides hugely improvised compression compared to what users can get from H.264. This new codec can achieve almost double the compression achieved by H.264.

A video with excellent visuals will take just half the space in H.265 compared to H.264. In the same way, a video of similar bitrate and file size would be better looking significantly. This improvement in H.265 comes from an increase in the size of macroblocks.

Better Intra-Frame Movement Prediction:-

H.264 vs H.265: Which Codec is Right for Your Video Needs?

The video compression process depends entirely on the prediction of movement between frames. Any video codec will be able to save space when there are no changes made in pixels.

So, better movement prediction automatically means better compression quality and file size. H.265 does not only speak of better standards of compression but even better motion compensation and prediction.

Parallel Processing:-

The H.265 codes use slices and tiles you can easily decode from the remaining frame. Thus, the decoding procedure can easily be divided into several parallel procedure threads, grabbing the benefits of more effective decoding scopes on multi-core processors.

This improvised efficiency and effectiveness is duly required, with video resolutions increasing.

More Complex Maximum Size of Frame:-

H.264 vs H.265

H.265 truly supports higher-res. With H.265, videos can conveniently be encoded at up to 8192 pixels x 4320 pixels or 8K UHD. At present, there are only a few cameras that can produce 8K videos.

Also, very few monitors can display the same type of resolution. However, because HD is the standard of the present times, you can expect 4K and even 8K videos to rise in popularity.

Hardware Support:-

H.265 comes supported by Intel processors. The existing generation of processors comes with special sets of directions for deciphering and programming H.265 videos. This offers H.265 major consistency and speed advantage over the other video codecs.


H.264 vs H.265: Which is the Best Video Codec?

H.264. H.265 can compress video files up to 50% more than H.264, delivering the same quality video at a smaller size, making it popular for streaming services and video distribution.

However, H.265 requires more processing power for encoding and decoding videos than H.264, which can be challenging for devices with limited processing capabilities. Moreover, compatibility issues may arise as H.265 is not yet widely supported.

Choosing between H.264 and H.265 depends on your specific use case and target devices/platforms.

Does H 265 reduce quality?

H.265 (HEVC) is a video codec that compresses video files while maintaining quality. Compared to H.264, released in 2003, H.265 is more efficient and can compress video files up to 50% more. This makes it popular for streaming and video distribution.

However, H.265 requires more processing power to encode and decode videos, which can be challenging for devices with limited processing capabilities. Additionally, since H.265 is not yet widely supported, it may cause compatibility issues.

The choice between H.265 and H.264 depends on the specific use case and target platforms.

Should I use h264 or h265 on YouTube?

For YouTube uploads, use H.264 codec as it’s widely supported and compatible with all devices, with good enough video quality for online streaming.

H.265 compresses video files to a smaller size while maintaining the same video quality but requires more processing power to encode and decode videos, causing compatibility issues for some devices. Not all browsers and devices support H.265, meaning viewers may be unable to watch videos.

What is the difference between H 264 and H 265 video size?

H.265 (also known as HEVC) typically has a smaller video size than H.264 (also known as AVC) of the same video quality. H.265 uses more advanced compression algorithms and techniques to compress video data.

For example, a 4K video encoded with H.264 might be 20-30% larger than one encoded with H.265. Similarly, a 1080p video encoded with H.264 might be 50-60% larger than that encoded with H.265.

The difference in video size depends on various factors like video resolution, bit rate, frame rate, and content complexity.

However, in general, H.265 video files tend to be smaller than H.264 video files for the same quality.

What video format is best for 4K?

HEVC/H.265 is currently the most efficient video format for 4K content. It can compress video files to about half the size of the previous standard, H.264.

Other video formats, such as VP9 and AV1, are also gaining popularity for 4K content, but H.265 remains the most widely used.

Is h265 lossless?

H265 is a video compression format that can provide higher compression efficiency than H264, resulting in smaller file sizes without significant loss in video quality.

However, it is not lossless, meaning some data is lost during compression to achieve smaller file sizes. Therefore, if you are looking for a completely lossless video format, H265 may not be the best option.

Should I convert H264 to H265?

Converting H.264 to H.265 can be a good idea in certain situations, but it’s not always necessary or beneficial.

H.265, also known as High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), is a newer video codec that can provide better compression and higher quality video at the same bitrate compared to H.264. H.265 can save on file size and bandwidth usage without sacrificing video quality.

However, there are some downsides to H.265. First, encoding and decoding require more processing power, which can be a problem for older or less powerful devices. Second, not all devices and platforms support H.265, so you may run into compatibility issues if you plan to share your videos or watch them on various devices.

Whether or not to convert H.264 to H.265 depends on your specific needs and circumstances. If you’re working with high-resolution video or want to reduce file size without sacrificing quality, H.265 may be a good option.

However, if you need maximum compatibility and are working with devices that don’t support H.265, sticking with H.264 may be the better choice.

Does H265 use more CPU?

The higher compression efficiency of H.265 comes at the cost of increased computational complexity.

One of the reasons H.265 requires more CPU power is that it uses larger block sizes for motion compensation and prediction, which results in more complex calculations.

This means that devices not optimized for H.265 may struggle to decode H.265 videos in real-time, leading to buffering or stuttering issues.

In addition, H.265 also offers more flexibility in terms of encoding options, such as support for higher resolutions and bit depths, which can further increase the computational demands of the codec.

Why does 4K look better than 1080p?

4K resolution has higher pixel density than Full High Definition (FHD) or 1080p resolution. 4K displays show more pixels and detail than 1080p displays, with 3840×2160 pixels resolution for 4K and 1920×1080 pixels for 1080p.

More display pixels offer increased detail, making sharper, clearer, and more detailed images. Additionally, 4K displays have a broader color spectrum, allowing for vivid and lifelike colors.

However, the difference in quality relies on several factors, such as display size, the distance between viewer and display, content quality, and device capabilities. The difference may not be noticeable to most viewers.

The Bottom Line

Despite the major improvisations of H.265 over H.264, the former is still uncommon in the market. Nevertheless, it is gaining considerable market share rapidly. This video format is all set for Safari, and tvOS web browsers of Apple specifically meant for video streaming.