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Encyclopedia > MPEG 4 AVC

H.264, MPEG-4 Part 10, or AVC, for Advanced Video Coding, is a digital video codec standard which is noted for achieving very high data compression. It was written by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) together with the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) as the product of a collective partnership effort known as the Joint Video Team (JVT). The ITU-T H.264 standard and the ISO/IEC MPEG-4 Part 10 standard (formally, ISO/IEC 14496-10) are technically identical. The final drafting work on the first version of the standard was completed in May of 2003. A video codec is a device or software module that enables the use of data compression for digital video. ... In computer science and information theory, data compression or source coding is the process of encoding information using fewer bits (or other information-bearing units) than an unencoded representation would use through use of specific encoding schemes. ... The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. ... The Video Coding Experts Group or VCEG is the Study Group 16, Working Party 3/16 (Media coding) Question 6 (Video coding) of ITU-T. The Study Group 16 is responsible for studies relating to multimedia service capabilities, and application capabilities (including those supported for NGN). ... The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. ... The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an international standards organization dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies. ... The Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG is a working group of ISO/IEC charged with the development of video and audio encoding standards. ... MPEG-4 is a standard used primarily to compress audio and video (AV) digital data. ...


H.264 is a name related to the ITU-T line of H.26x video standards, while AVC relates to the ISO/IEC MPEG side of the partnership project that completed the work on the standard, after earlier development done in the ITU-T as a project called H.26L. It is usual to call the standard as H.264/AVC (or AVC/H.264 or H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or MPEG-4/H.264 AVC) to emphasize the common heritage. The name H.26L, harkening back to its ITU-T history, is far less common, but still used. Occasionally, it has also been referred to as "the JVT codec", in reference to the JVT organization that developed it. (Such partnership and multiple naming is not unprecedented, as the video codec standard known as MPEG-2 also arose from a partnership between MPEG and the ITU-T, and MPEG-2 video is also known in the ITU-T community as H.262.) The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. ... The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. ... The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an international standards organization dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies. ... The Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG is a working group of ISO/IEC charged with the development of video and audio encoding standards. ... MPEG-2 is the designation for a group of coding and compression standards for Audio and Video (AV), agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ... The Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG is a working group of ISO/IEC charged with the development of video and audio encoding standards. ... The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. ... MPEG-2 is the designation for a group of coding and compression standards for Audio and Video (AV), agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ...


The intent of the H.264/AVC project was to create a standard that would be capable of providing good video quality at bit rates that are substantially lower (e.g., half or less) than what previous standards would need (e.g., relative to MPEG-2, H.263, or MPEG-4 Part 2), and to do so without so much of an increase in complexity as to make the design impractical (excessively expensive) to implement. An additional goal was to do this in a flexible way that would allow the standard to be applied to a very wide variety of applications (e.g., for both low and high bit rates, and low and high resolution video) and to work well on a very wide variety of networks and systems (e.g., for broadcast, DVD storage, RTP/IP packet networks, and ITU-T multimedia telephony systems). MPEG-2 is the designation for a group of coding and compression standards for Audio and Video (AV), agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ... H.263 is a video codec designed by the ITU-T as a low-bitrate encoding solution for videoconferencing. ... MPEG-4 Part 2 is a video compression technology developed by MPEG. It belongs to the MPEG-4 ISO/IEC standard (ISO/IEC 14496-2). ... individually-donated time and energy direct government payments or operation indirect government payments, such as radio and television licenses grants from foundations or business entities selling advertising or sponsorship public subscription or membership fees charged to all owners of TV sets or radios, regardless of whether they intend to receive... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... The Real-time Transport Protocol (or RTP) defines a standardized packet format for delivering audio and video over the Internet. ... The Internet Protocol (IP) is a data-oriented protocol used for communicating data across a packet-switched internetwork. ... The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. ... In telecommunication, Telephony encompasses the general use of equipment to provide voice communication over distances. ...


The JVT recently completed the development of some extensions to the original standard that are known as the Fidelity Range Extensions (FRExt). These extensions support higher-fidelity video coding by supporting increased sample accuracy (including 10-bit and 12-bit coding) and higher-resolution color information (including sampling structures known as YUV 4:2:2 and YUV 4:4:4). Several other features are also included in the Fidelity Range Extensions project (such as adaptive switching between 4×4 and 8×8 integer transforms, encoder-specified perceptual-based quantization weighting matrices, efficient inter-picture lossless coding, support of additional color spaces, and a residual color transform). The design work on the Fidelity Range Extensions was completed in July of 2004, and the drafting was finished in September of 2004. YUV 4:2:2 is a specific encoding for digital representation of the YUV color space. ... This article should be merged with chroma subsampling YUV 4:4:4 is a specific encoding for digital representation of the YUV color space. ...

Contents


Features

H.264/AVC/MPEG-4 Part 10 contains a number of new features that allow it to compress video much more effectively than older standards and to provide more flexibility for application to a wide variety of network environments. In particular, some such key features include:

  • Multi-picture inter-picture prediction including the following features:
    • Using previously-encoded pictures as references in a much more flexible way than in past standards, allowing up to 32 reference pictures to be used in some cases (unlike in prior standards, where the limit was typically one or, in the case of conventional "B pictures", two). This particular feature usually allows modest improvements in bit rate and quality in most scenes. But in certain types of scenes, for example scenes with rapid repetitive flashing or back-and-forth scene cuts or uncovered background areas, it allows a very significant reduction in bit rate.
    • Variable block-size motion compensation (VBSMC) with block sizes as large as 16×16 and as small as 4×4, enabling very precise segmentation of moving regions.
    • Six-tap filtering for derivation of half-pel luma sample predictions, in order to lessen the aliasing and eventually provide sharper images.
    • Quarter-pixel precision for motion compensation, enabling very precise description of the displacements of moving areas. For chroma the resolution is typically halved both vertically and horizontally (see 4:2:0) therefore the motion compensation precision is down to one-eighth pixel.
    • Weighted prediction, allowing an encoder to specify the use of a scaling and offset when performing motion compensation, and providing a significant benefit in performance in special cases—such as fade-to-black, fade-in, and cross-fade transitions.
  • Spatial prediction from the edges of neighboring blocks for "intra" coding (rather than the "DC"-only prediction found in MPEG-2 Part 2 and the transform coefficient prediction found in H.263+ and MPEG-4 Part 2).
  • Lossless macroblock coding features including:
    • A lossless PCM macroblock representation mode in which video data samples are represented directly, allowing perfect representation of specific regions and allowing a strict limit to be placed on the quantity of coded data for each macroblock.
    • An enhanced lossless macroblock representation mode allowing perfect representation of specific regions while ordinarily using substantially fewer bits than the PCM mode (not supported in all profiles).
  • A macroblock pair structure (not supported in all profiles), allowing 16x16 macroblocks in field mode (vs. 16x8 half-macroblocks in MPEG-2) for effective handling of interlaced video.
  • New transform design features, including:
    • An exact-match integer 4×4 spatial block transform (conceptually similar to the well-known DCT design, but simplified and made to provide exactly-specified decoding), allowing precise placement of residual signals with little of the "ringing" often found with prior codec designs.
    • An exact-match integer 8×8 spatial block transform (conceptually similar to the well-known DCT design, but simplified and made to provide exactly-specified decoding, not supported in all profiles), allowing highly correlated regions to be compressed more efficiently than with the 4×4 transform.
    • Adaptive encoder selection between the 4×4 and 8×8 transform block sizes for the integer transform operation (not supported in all profiles).
    • A secondary Hadamard transform performed on "DC" coefficients of the primary spatial transform (for chroma DC coefficients and also luma in one special case) to obtain even more compression in smooth regions.
  • A quantization design including:
    • Logarithmic step size control for easier bit rate management by encoders and simplified inverse-quantization scaling.
    • Frequency-customized quantization scaling matrices selected by the encoder for perceptual-based quantization optimization (not supported in all profiles).
  • An in-loop deblocking filter which helps prevent the blocking artifacts common to other DCT-based image compression techniques.
  • An entropy coding design including:
    • Context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding (CABAC), which is a clever technique to losslessly compress syntax elements in the video stream knowing the probabilities of syntax elements in a given context (not supported in all profiles).
    • Context-adaptive variable-length coding (CAVLC), which is a lower-complexity alternative to CABAC for the coding of quantized transform coefficient values. Although lower complexity than CABAC, CAVLC is more elaborate and more efficient than the methods typically used to code coefficients in other prior designs.
    • A common simple and highly-structured variable length coding (VLC) technique for many of the syntax elements not coded by CABAC or CAVLC, referred to as Exponential-Golomb (Exp-Golomb) coding.
  • Loss resilience features including:
    • A network abstraction layer (NAL) definition allowing the same video syntax to be used in many network environments, including features such as sequence parameter sets (SPSs) and picture parameter sets (PPSs) that provide more robustness and flexibility than provided in prior designs.
    • Flexible macroblock ordering (FMO, also known as slice groups and not supported in all profiles) and arbitrary slice ordering (ASO), which are techniques for restructuring the ordering of the representation of the fundamental regions (called macroblocks) in pictures. Typically considered an error/loss robustness feature, FMO and ASO can also be used for other purposes.
    • Data partitioning (DP), a feature providing the ability to separate more important and less important syntax elements into different packets of data, enabling the application of unequal error protection (UEP) and other types of improvement of error/loss robustness (not supported in all profiles).
    • Redundant slices (RS), an error/loss robustness feature allowing an encoder to send an extra representation of a picture region (typically at lower fidelity) that can be used if the primary representation is corrupted or lost (not supported in all profiles).
    • Frame numbering, a feature that allows the creation of "sub-sequences" (enabling temporal scalability by optional inclusion of extra pictures between other pictures), and the detection and concealment of losses of entire pictures (which can occur due to network packet losses or channel errors).
  • Switching slices (called SP and SI slices and not supported in all profiles), features that allow an encoder to direct a decoder to jump into an ongoing video stream for such purposes as video streaming bit rate switching and "trick mode" operation. When a decoder jumps into the middle of a video stream using the SP/SI feature, it can get an exact match to the decoded pictures at that location in the video stream despite using different pictures (or no pictures at all) as references prior to the switch.
  • A simple automatic process for preventing the accidental emulation of start codes, which are special sequences of bits in the coded data that allow random access into the bitstream and recovery of byte alignment in systems that can lose byte synchronization.
  • Supplemental enhancement information (SEI) and video usability information (VUI), which are extra information that can be inserted into the bitstream to enhance the use of the video for a wide variety of purposes.
  • Auxiliary pictures, which can be used for such purposes as alpha compositing.
  • Picture order count, a feature that serves to keep the ordering of the pictures and the values of samples in the decoded pictures isolated from timing information (allowing timing information to be carried and controlled/changed separately by a system without affecting decoded picture content).

These techniques, along with several others, help H.264 to perform significantly better than any prior standard can, under a wide variety of circumstances in a wide variety of application environments. H.264 can often perform radically better than MPEG-2 video—typically obtaining the same quality at half of the bit rate or less. The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... B pictures (often called B frames) are one of the three major picture types found in typical video compression designs. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Chrominance (chroma for short) comprises the two components of a television signal that encode color information. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... MPEG-2 is the designation for a group of coding and compression standards for Audio and Video (AV), agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ... H.263. ... Pulse-code modulation (PCM) is a modulation technique. ... Interlace is a technique of improving the picture quality of a video transmission without consuming any extra bandwidth. ... 2-D DCT compared to the DFT The discrete cosine transform (DCT) is a Fourier-related transform similar to the discrete Fourier transform (DFT), but using only real numbers. ... 2-D DCT compared to the DFT The discrete cosine transform (DCT) is a Fourier-related transform similar to the discrete Fourier transform (DFT), but using only real numbers. ... The Hadamard transform (Hadamard transformation, also known as the Walsh-Hadamard transformation) is an example of a generalized class of Fourier transforms. ... As applied to analog television signals, two different words are used, luminance and luma, meaning two different things. ... 2-D DCT compared to the DFT The discrete cosine transform (DCT) is a Fourier-related transform similar to the discrete Fourier transform (DFT), but using only real numbers. ... Arithmetic coding is a method for lossless data compression. ... In computer science and information theory, Huffman coding is an entropy encoding algorithm used for lossless data compression. ... In data compression, a universal code for integers is a prefix-free code that maps the positive integers onto self-delimiting binary codewords, with the additional property that whatever the true probability distribution on integers, the lengths of the codewords are within a constant factor of the lengths that the... In computer graphics, alpha compositing is often useful to render image elements in separate passes, and then combine the resulting multiple 2D images into a single, final image in a process called compositing. ... MPEG-2 is the designation for a group of coding and compression standards for Audio and Video (AV), agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ...


Like other ISO/IEC MPEG video standards, H.264/AVC has a reference software implementation that can be freely downloaded. Its main purpose is to give examples of H.264/AVC features, rather than being a useful application per se. (See the links section for a pointer to that software.) Some reference hardware design work is also under way in MPEG.


Profiles

The standard includes the following seven sets of capabilities, which are referred to as profiles, targeting specific classes of applications:

  • Baseline Profile (BP): Primarily for lower-cost applications demanding less computing resources, this profile is used widely in videoconferencing and mobile applications.
  • Main Profile (MP): Originally intended as the mainstream consumer profile for broadcast and storage applications, the importance of this profile faded when the High profile was developed for those applications.
  • Extended Profile (XP): Intended as the streaming video profile, this profile has relatively high compression capability and some extra tricks for robustness to data losses and server stream switching.
  • High Profile (HiP): The primary profile for broadcast and disc storage applications, particularly for high-definition television applications (this is the profile adopted into HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, for example).
  • High 10 Profile (Hi10P): Going beyond today's mainstream consumer product capabilities, this profile builds on top of the High Profile — adding support for up to 10 bits per sample of decoded picture precision.
  • High 4:2:2 Profile (Hi422P): Primarily targeting professional applications that use interlaced video, this profile builds on top of the High 10 Profile — adding support for the 4:2:2 chroma sampling format while using up to 10 bits per sample of decoded picture precision.
  • High 4:4:4 Profile (Hi444P) [deprecated]: This profile builds on top of the High 4:2:2 Profile — supporting up to 4:4:4 chroma sampling, up to 12 bits per sample, and additionally supporting efficient lossless region coding and an integer residual color transform for coding RGB video while avoiding color-space transformation error. Note: The High 4:4:4 Profile is being removed from the standard in favor of developing a new improved 4:4:4 profile.
Baseline Extended Main High High 10 High 4:2:2 High 4:4:4
I and P Slices Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
B Slices No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SI and SP Slices No Yes No No No No No
Multiple Reference Frames Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
In-Loop Deblocking Filter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CAVLC Entropy Coding Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CABAC Entropy Coding No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Flexible Macroblock Ordering (FMO) Yes Yes No No No No No
Arbitrary Slice Ordering (ASO) Yes Yes No No No No No
Redundant Slices (RS) Yes Yes No No No No No
Data Partitioning No Yes No No No No No
Interlaced Coding (PicAFF, MBAFF) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
4:2:0 Chroma Format Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Monochrome Video Format (4:0:0) No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
4:2:2 Chroma Format No No No No No Yes Yes
4:4:4 Chroma Format No No No No No No Yes
8 Bit Sample Depth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
9 and 10 Bit Sample Depth No No No No Yes Yes Yes
11 and 12 Bit Sample Depth No No No No No No Yes
8x8 vs. 4x4 Transform Adaptivity No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Quantization Scaling Matrices No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Separate Cb and Cr QP control No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Residual Color Transform No No No No No No Yes
Predictive Lossless Coding No No No No No No Yes
Baseline Extended Main High High 10 High 4:2:2 High 4:4:4

HD-DVD disc HD DVD (for High Density Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical media format which is being developed as one standard for high-definition DVD. HD DVD is similar to the competing Blu-ray Disc, which also uses the same CD sized (120 mm diameter) optical data... Blu-ray discs Blu-ray Disc is a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by a group of leading consumer electronics and PC companies called the Blu_ray Disc Association (BDA), which succeeds the Blu_ray Disc Founders (BDF). ...

Levels

Level number Max macroblocks per second Max frame size (macroblocks) Max video bit rate (VCL) for Baseline, Extended and Main Profile Max video bit rate (VCL) for High Profile Max video bit rate (VCL) for High 10 Profile Max video bit rate (VCL) for High 4:2:2 and High 4:4:4 Profile Examples for high resolution @
frame rate
(max stored frames)
in Level
1 1485 99 64 kbit/s 80 kbit/s 192 kbit/s 256 kbit/s 128x96@30.9 (8)
176x144@15.0 (4)
1b 1485 99 128 kbit/s 160 kbit/s 384 kbit/s 512 kbit/s 128x96@30.9 (8)
176x144@15.0 (4)
1.1 3000 396 192 kbit/s 240 kbit/s 576 kbit/s 768 kbit/s 176x144@30.3 (9)
320x240@10.0 (3)
352x288@7.5 (2)
1.2 6000 396 384 kbit/s 480 kbit/s 1152 kbit/s 1536 kbit/s 320x240@20.0 (7)
352x288@15.2 (6)
1.3 11880 396 768 kbit/s 960 kbit/s 2304 kbit/s 3072 kbit/s 320x240@36.0 (7)
352x288@30.0 (6)
2 11880 396 2 Mbit/s 2.5 Mbit/s 6 Mbit/s 8 Mbit/s 320x240@36.0 (7)
352x288@30.0 (6)
2.1 19800 792 4 Mbit/s 5 Mbit/s 12 Mbit/s 16 Mbit/s 352x480@30.0 (7)
352x576@25.0 (6)
2.2 20250 1620 4 Mbit/s 5 Mbit/s 12 Mbit/s 16 Mbit/s 352x480@30.7(10)
352x576@25.6 (7)
720x480@15.0 (6)
720x576@12.5 (5)
3 40500 1620 10 Mbit/s 12.5 Mbit/s 30 Mbit/s 40 Mbit/s 352x480@61.4 (12)
352x576@51.1 (10)
720x480@30.0 (6)
720x576@25.0 (5)
3.1 108000 3600 14 Mbit/s 17.5 Mbit/s 42 Mbit/s 56 Mbit/s 720x480@80.0 (13)
720x576@66.7 (11)
1280x720@30.0 (5)
3.2 216000 5120 20 Mbit/s 25 Mbit/s 60 Mbit/s 80 Mbit/s 1280x720@60.0 (5)
1280x1024@42.2 (4)
4 245760 8192 20 Mbit/s 25 Mbit/s 60 Mbit/s 80 Mbit/s 1280x720@68.3 (9)
1920x1088@30.1 (4)
2048x1024@30.0 (4)
4.1 245760 8192 50 Mbit/s 62.5 Mbit/s 150 Mbit/s 200 Mbit/s 1280x720@68.3 (9)
1920x1088@30.1 (4)
2048x1024@30.0 (4)
4.2 522240 8704 50 Mbit/s 62.5 Mbit/s 150 Mbit/s 200 Mbit/s 1920x1088@64.0 (4)
2048x1088@60.0 (4)
5 589824 22080 135 Mbit/s 168.75 Mbit/s 405 Mbit/s 540 Mbit/s 1920x1088@72.3 (13)
2048x1024@72.0 (13)
2048x1088@67.8 (12)
2560x1920@30.7 (5)
3680x1536/26.7 (5)
5.1 983040 36864 240 Mbit/s 300 Mbit/s 720 Mbit/s 960 Mbit/s 1920x1088@120.5 (16)
4096x2048@30.0 (5)
4096x2304@26.7 (5)
Level number Max macroblocks per second Max frame size (macroblocks) Max video bit rate (VCL) for Baseline, Extended and Main Profile Max video bit rate (VCL) for High Profile Max video bit rate (VCL) for High 10 Profile Max video bit rate (VCL) for High 4:2:2 and High 4:4:4 Profile Examples for high resolution @
frame rate
(max stored frames)
in Level

Versions

Versions of the H.264/AVC standard include the following completed and planned versions:

  1. First version containing Baseline, Extended, and Main profiles (May 2003).
  2. Corrigendum containing various minor corrections.
  3. Fidelity Range Extensions (FRExt) containing High, High 10, High 4:2:2, and High 4:4:4 profiles (September 2004).
  4. Corrigendum containing various minor corrections.
  5. Removal of prior High 4:4:4 profile.
  6. Minor extension adding extended-gamut color space support.
  7. Addition of "Enhanced 4:4:4" profiles.
  8. Scalable video coding (SVC — not yet completed).
  9. Corrigendum containing various minor corrections (not yet completed).
  10. Multi-view coding (MVC — not yet completed).

Look up erratum and corrigendum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up erratum and corrigendum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up erratum and corrigendum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Patent licensing

As with MPEG-2 Parts 1 and 2 and MPEG-4 Part 2 amongst others, the vendors of H.264/AVC products and services are expected to pay patent licensing royalties for the patented technology that their products use. The primary source of licenses for patents applying to this standard is a private organization known as MPEG-LA, LLC (which is not affiliated in any way with the MPEG standardization organization, but which also administers patent pools for MPEG-2 Part 1 Systems, MPEG-2 Part 2 Video, MPEG-4 Part 2 Video, and other technologies). MPEG-2 is the designation for a group of coding and compression standards for Audio and Video (AV), agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ... MPEG-4 is a standard used primarily to compress audio and video (AV) digital data. ... A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a person for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which is new, inventive, and... In intellectual property (IP) law, a patent pool is a consortium of at least two companies agreeing to cross-license patents and other IP rights relating to a particular technology. ...


Applications

Both of the major candidate next-generation DVD rival formats planned for product deployment in 2006 include the H.264/AVC High Profile as a mandatory player feature — specifically:

  • The HD DVD format of the DVD Forum
  • The Blu-ray Disc format of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA)

The Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) standards body in Europe approved the use of H.264/AVC for broadcast television in Europe in late 2004. HD-DVD disc HD DVD (for High Density Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical media format which is being developed as one standard for high-definition DVD. HD DVD is similar to the competing Blu-ray Disc, which also uses the same CD sized (120 mm diameter) optical data... A Blu-ray Disc (BD) is a next-generation optical disc format designed for high-density storage of high-definition video and data. ... Official DVB logo, found on compliant devices DVB, short for Digital Video Broadcasting, is a suite of internationally accepted, open standards for digital television maintained by the DVB Project, an industry consortium with more than 270 members, and published by a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of European Telecommunications Standards Institute... World map showing Europe Political map Europe is one of the seven traditional continents of Earth; the term continent here referring to a cultural and political distinction, rather than a physiographic one, thus leading to various perspectives about Europes precise borders. ...


The prime minister of France announced the selection of H.264/AVC as a requirement for receivers of HDTV and pay TV channels for digital terrestrial broadcast television services (referred to as "TNT") in France in late 2004. The Prime Minister of France (Premier ministre de la France) is the functional head of the Cabinet of France. ...


The terrestrial broadcast systems in Brazil and Estonia are expected to use H.264/AVC for all digital television services. In Lithuania it is already launched.


The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards body in the United States is considering the possibility of specifying one or two advanced video codecs for its optional Enhanced-VSB (E-VSB) transmission mode for use in U.S. broadcast television. It has included H.264/AVC and VC-1 into Candidate Standards (CS/TSG-659r2 and CS/TSG-658r1) for this purpose. The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is the group that helped to develop the new digital television standard for the United States, also adopted by Canada, Mexico, and South Korea and being considered by other countries. ... VC-1 is the informal name of the SMPTE 421M video codec standard. ...


The Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB) service in the Republic of Korea will use H.264/AVC. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Mobile-segment terrestrial broadcast services of ISDB-T in Japan will use the H.264/AVC codec, including major broadcasters: Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) is the digital television (DTV) and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) format. ...

Direct broadcast satellite TV services will use the new standard, including: NHK (日本放送協会, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai), or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, is Japans public broadcaster. ... Tokyo Broadcasting System, Incorporated ) (TYO: 9401 ) or TBS, is a television network in Tokyo, Japan. ... Nippon Television Tower (headquarters) in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan Nippon Television Network Corporation ) (TYO: 9404 ) is a television network in Shiodome area of Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan owned by the Yomiuri Shimbun. ... TV Asahi building in Roppongi Hills TV Asahi Corporation (EX, 株式会社 テレビ朝日, Kabushiki Gaisha Terebi Asahi) TYO: 9409 is a television network operating in Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan. ... The Fuji TV headquarters in Odaiba is known for its eccentric architecture. ... TV TOKYO Corporation (or TX) ) TYO: 9411 is a TV station based in Tokyo, Japan. ... Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) is a term used to refer to satellite television broadcasts intended for home reception, also refered to as direct-to-home signals. ...

USDTV announced plans to use H.264 for its pay-for-premium ATSC channels, which can only be decrypted by USDTV's set top boxes. The BBC will begin a 6-12 month long trial of HDTV broadcasting on May 15, 2006. ... A standard DIRECTV satellite dish with 1 LNB on a roof DirecTV is a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service based in El Segundo, California, that transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States. ... DISH Network is a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service that provides satellite television and audio programming to households and businesses in the United States, owned by parent company EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH). ... The logo of the euro1080 channels, HD1, HD2 and HD5 Euro1080 was the first commercial broadcaster in Europe to air full time HDTV content (1920x1080ix50hz,dolby digital 5. ... World map showing Europe Political map Europe is one of the seven traditional continents of Earth; the term continent here referring to a cultural and political distinction, rather than a physiographic one, thus leading to various perspectives about Europes precise borders. ... Premiere can mean several things, see: premiere - first artistic performance, Premiere (magazine) - devoted to movies and moviemaking, Premiere (Pay TV) - German pay TV network, Adobe Premiere Pro , produced by Adobe Systems - a realtime video editing program This is a disambiguation page, a list of pages that otherwise might share the... ProSieben is a commercial television channel in Germany. ... SkyHD is the name of the HDTV service to launched by BSkyB in April 2006. ... Sky Digital is the brand name for British Sky Broadcastings digital satellite television service, transmitted from SES Astra satellites located at 28. ... Sky Italia is an Italian digital satellite television platform owned by News Corporation. ... USDTV is a pay television service in the United States, starting in 2003. ... The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is the group that helped to develop the new digital television standard for the United States, also adopted by Canada, Mexico, and South Korea and being considered by other countries. ...


The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has approved the inclusion of H.264/AVC as an optional feature in release 6 of its mobile multimedia telephony services specifications. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaboration agreement that was established in December 1998. ...


The Motion Imagery Standards Board (MISB) of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has adopted H.264/AVC as its preferred video codec for essentially all applications. The United States Department of Defense, abbreviated as DoD or DOD and sometimes called the Defense Department, is a civilian Cabinet organization of the United States government. ...


The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) similarly adopted H.264/AVC for its international military use. NATO 2002 Summit in Prague The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation[1] (NATO), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance or the Western Alliance, is an international organisation for collective security established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, DC, on 4 April 1949. ...


The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has completed a payload packetization format (RFC 3984) for carrying H.264/AVC video using its Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP). The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) develops and promotes Internet standards; in particular those of the TCP/IP protocol suite. ... The Real-time Transport Protocol (or RTP) defines a standardized packet format for delivering audio and video over the Internet. ...


The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) has adopted H.264/AVC for its new ISMA 2.0 specifications. The Internet Media Streaming Alliance or ISMA is an industry group, made up of various companies, who promote the use and adoption of open standards for streaming media, such as video or audio. ...


The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) has fully integrated support of H.264/AVC into its system standards (e.g., MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 systems) and its ISO media file format specification. The Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG is a working group of ISO/IEC charged with the development of video and audio encoding standards. ... MPEG-2 is the designation for a group of coding and compression standards for Audio and Video (AV), agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ... MPEG-4 is a standard used primarily to compress audio and video (AV) digital data. ...


The International Telecommunications Union-Telecom. Standardization Sector (ITU-T) has adopted H.264/AVC in its H.32x suite of multimedia telephony systems specifications. Based on the ITU-T standards, H.264/AVC is already widely used for videoconferencing, including its support in products of both of the dominant companies in that market (Polycom and Tandberg, and those of a number of other of companies as well). Essentially all new videoconferencing products now include support for H.264/AVC. The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. ... Polycom is a company noted for making expensive teleconferencing and videoconferencing equipment. ... Tandberg is a manufacturer of videoconferencing systems, located in Oslo, Norway (product development + sales, distribution) and New York City, USA (sales, distribution). ...


The International Telecommunications Union-Radiocom. Sector (ITU-R) has adopted H.264/AVC in The ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) is a standards body subcommittee of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) relating to radio communication. ...

  • ITU-R BT.1687 "Video bit-rate reduction for real-time distribution of large-screen digital imagery applications for presentation in a theatrical environment" and
  • ITU-R BT.1737 "Use of the ITU-T Recommendation H.264 (MPEG-4/AVC) video source-coding method to transport high definition TV programme material" for HDTV contribution, distribution, and satellite news gathering.

H.264 is used by Apple Computer's iTunes Store to provide films and television shows directly to computers via the Internet. It is also speculated to eventually replace the current H.262/MPEG2 encoding in DVB terrestrial and satellite broadcasting. Apple Computer, Inc. ... The iTunes Store (known as the iTunes Music Store before September 12, 2006) is an online music service run by Apple Computer through its iTunes application. ... Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as—in metonymy—the field in general. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Products and Implementations

Software implementations

  • x264 is a GPL-licensed H.264 encoder that is used in the free VideoLAN and MEncoder transcoding applications and, as of December 2005, remains the only reasonably complete open source and free software implementation of the standard, with support for Main Profile and High Profile except interlaced video. [1] A Video for Windows frontend is also available, but has compatibility problems, as Video for Windows can't support certain features of the AVC standard correctly. x264 is not likely to be incorporated into commercial products because of its license and patent issues surrounding the standard itself. x264 won an independent video codec comparison organized by Doom9.org in December 2005.[2]. Program-pack called Gordian Knot uses x264 to encode ripped DVD video material.
  • The LGPL-licensed libavcodec includes a H.264 decoder. It can decode Baseline Profile, Main Profile and High Profile video, except PAFF interlaced video. It is used in many programs like in the free VLC media player and MPlayer multimedia players, and in ffdshow and FFmpeg decoders projects.
  • CoreAVC by CoreCodec is a highly optimized commercial H.264 decoder. According to independent tests by people on the Doom9.org forums, it is the fastest software decoder as of June 2006. The standard version supports Baseline Profile, Main Profile and High profile, except interlaced video. The professional edition supports both PAFF and MBAFF interlaced video beginning from version 1.1. The professional edition also supports speedups on SMP capable systems.
  • Nero Digital, co-developed by Nero AG and Ateme, includes an H.264 encoder and decoder (as of September 2005, corresponding to Main Profile, except interlaced video support), along with other MPEG-4 compatible technologies. To be released in 2006 is a version to also support High Profile and also interlaced video.
  • Apple Computer has integrated H.264 into Mac OS X version 10.4 (Tiger), as well as QuickTime version 7, which was released on April 29 2005 with Tiger. The encoder is claimed to be Main Profile, but actually Baseline Profile plus 1 B-frame support, the decoder supports Baseline, Extended, and most of Main Profile [3]. QuickTime 7 is also now available for Microsoft's Windows operating system. Apple uses H.264 in the system for video playback and use in iChat video conferences. In April 2005, Apple Computer updated its version of DVD Studio Pro to support authoring HD content, which employs AVC. DVD Studio Pro allows for the burning of HD-DVD content to both standard DVDs and HD-DVD media (despite hardware being extremely scarce, and not yet a finalised standard). For playing back HD-DVDs burnt onto a standard DVD, Apple requires a PowerPC G5 or Intel Core Duo, Apple DVD Player v4.6, and Mac OS X v10.4 or later. Apple's iPod video also supports H.264.
  • BT Group offers a modular implementation of H.264. Written in C/C++, it has been ported to various platforms from PCs to mobile phones. All 4:2:0 profiles (Baseline/Main/Extended/High) are supported [4]. Streamlined customised implementations can be created.
  • MainConcept H.264/AVC SDK offers encoding and decoding in all profiles and levels supported by the standard. MainConcept also offers a stand alone encoding app.
  • Sorenson offers an implementation of H.264. The Sorenson AVC Pro codec is available in Sorenson Squeeze 4.1 for MPEG-4.
  • MetaCinema offers a customized version of H.264/AVC in their encoding and rendering services, all profiles and levels are supported.

x264 is a free library for encoding H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video streams. ... The GNU logo Wikisource has original text related to this article: GNU General Public License The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU project. ... VideoLAN is a software development project comprising two multi-platform computer programs—VLC media player and VideoLAN Server (VLS)—and several audio/video decoding and decryption libraries. ... MEncoder is a command line video encoding tool released under the GNU General Public License. ... Video for Windows was a multimedia technology developed by Microsoft that allowed Microsoft Windows to play digital video. ... Gordian Knot is an integrated package for DVD to DivX/XviD/x264 encoding. ... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... GNU logo The GNU Lesser General Public License (formerly the GNU Library General Public License) is an FSF approved Free Software license designed as a compromise between the GNU General Public License and simple permissive licenses such as the BSD license and the MIT License. ... libavcodec is an open source LGPL-licensed library of codecs for encoding and decoding video and audio data written in the C programming language. ... VLC media player (initially VideoLAN Client) is a media player from the VideoLAN project. ... MPlayer is a free media player with support for more multimedia formats than any other media player. ... ffdshow video decoder configuration ffdshow is an open source DirectShow and VfW codec for decoding/encoding many video and audio formats, including DivX and XviD movies using libavcodec, XviD and other open source libraries with a rich set of postprocessing filters. ... FFmpeg is a set of free computer programs that can record, convert and stream digital audio and video. ... CoreAVC™ video codec is the name given by CoreCodec of its implementation of the MPEG-4 standard called H.264 and is one of the codecs used in Blu-ray and in High Definition DVD formats (HD-DVD). ... SMP is a three-letter abbreviation that can refer to the following: Saint Monicas Players[1], a theatre group in North London, producing musicals, pantomimes and plays for almost 50 years. ... Nero Digital is a suite of MPEG-4-compatible video and audio compression codecs integrated into a DVD ripping tool, Recode 2. ... Nero AG is a German software company, best known for their CD and DVD-authoring software package, Nero Burning ROM. They are also involved in development of the Nero Digital MPEG-4 compression technology (in partnership with Ateme corporation), as well as several other software projects relating to multimedia applications. ... Ateme is a French software company specialising in multimedia applications, particularly video compression technology. ... Apple Computer, Inc. ... Mac OS X (officially pronounced Mac O S Ten) is a line of proprietary, graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Computer, the latest of which is pre-loaded on all currently shipping Macintosh computers. ... QuickTime is a multimedia framework developed by Apple Computer, capable of handling various formats of digital video, media clips, sound, text, animation, music, and several types of interactive panoramic images. ... iChat is an AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), ICQ and Jabber client for Mac OS X. Using a Jabber-like protocol and Bonjour for user discovery, it also allows for LAN communication. ... Apples DVD Studio Pro allow users to create DVD Masters to send out to production houses. ... Apple Computer, Inc. ... Compressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application for use with Final Cut Studio on Mac OS X. It can be used with Qmaster for clustering. ... BT Group plc (also known as British Telecommunications plc) which trades as BT (and previously as British Telecom) is the privatised UK state telecommunications operator. ... The Sorenson codec (also known as Sorenson Video Codec 3 or SVQ3) is a digital video codec devised by the company Sorenson Media and used by Apples QuickTime and the newest version of Macromedia Flash, a special version called Sorenson Spark. ...

Hardware implementations

Several companies are mass-producing custom chips capable of decoding H.264/AVC video. Chips capable of real-time decoding at high-definition picture resolutions include these:

Such chips will allow widespread deployment of low-cost devices capable of playing H.264/AVC video at standard-definition and high-definition television resolutions. Broadcom Corporation NASDAQ: BRCM is a leading supplier of integrated circuits (ICs) for broadband communications. ... Conexant is a publicly listed NASDAQ: CNXT semiconductor company, which was formerly the semiconductor division of Rockwell International. ... STMicroelectronics is an international leading supplier of semiconductors. ... Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN), better known in the electronics industry (and popularly) as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, USA, renowned for developing and commercializing semiconductor and computer technology. ...


Many other hardware implementations are deployed in various markets, ranging from inexpensive consumer electronics to real-time FPGA-based encoders for broadcast. A few of the more familiar hardware product offerings for H.264/AVC include these:

  • ATI Technologies' newest graphics processing unit (GPU), the Radeon X1000-series, features hardware acceleration of H.264 decoding starting in the Catalyst 5.13 drivers. H.264 decoding is one component of the ATI "AVIVO" multimedia technology [5] [6][7]
  • Apple added H.264 video playback to their 5th Generation iPod on October 12, 2005. The new product uses this format, as well as MPEG-4 Part 2, for video playback. The video-enabled iPod uses the H.264 Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3 with support of bit rates up to 768 kbit/s, image resolutions up to 320x240, and frame rates up to 30 frames per second. [8]
  • The Sony Playstation Portable features hardware decoding of H.264 video from UMD disks. Firmware version 2.0 allowed playback of proprietary H.264 files in resolutions up to 320x240 stored on Memory Stick Pro Duo flash cards. Firmware 2.8 allows playback of standard H.264 video files, in Mainline Profile up to Level 2.1 with bit rates up to 768 kbit/s. However, video files are still limited to resolutions up to 320x240. Firmware 2.8 is fully compatible with non-DRMed H.264 video files encoded for the 5th Generation iPod. [9]
  • The Sony Playstation 3, which can work as a full-blown Blu-ray movie player, is able to play Blu-ray movies encoded with the standard H.264 codec.
  • WorldGate sells the Ojo videophone (formerly distributed by Motorola), which uses H.264 Baseline Profile at QCIF (144x176) image resolution with bitrates of 80 to 500 kbit/s, at a fixed framerate of 30 frames per second.
  • HaiVision develops the hai200 TASMAN and hai1000, used predominantly in low latency applications including telepresence (collaboration suites) and medical (remote surgery), SD resolution at up to 6 Mbit/s.
  • Mobilygen develops MG1264 Low Power H.264 & AAC Codec For Mobile Products. The MG1264 is an H.264 & AAC A/V codec capable of TV quality D1/VGA video and high-fidelity 2-channel audio. Requiring 185mW for encoding full video resolution, and stereo audio, the MG1264 is intended for battery-powered mobile products, as well as traditional “plugged in” products.

ATI Technologies Inc. ... It has been suggested that Video Display Processor be merged into this article or section. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) is a major supplier of graphics processors (graphics processing units, GPUs), graphics cards, and media and communications devices for PCs and game consoles such as the original Xbox and the new upcoming next generation PlayStation 3. ... The GeForce 7 Series is the seventh generation of NVIDIAs GeForce graphics cards. ... The GeForce 6 Series (codenamed NV40) is NVIDIAs sixth generation of GeForce graphics chipsets. ... A white 5th generation video iPod with a sleeve and earbuds. ... October 12 is the 285th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (286th in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The PlayStation Portable (officially abbreviated PSP) is a handheld game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment. ... UMD may mean: Universal Media Disc, a disc format created by Sony for the PlayStation Portable Universities University of Maryland, Baltimore University of Maryland, College Park University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a campus of the University of Massachusetts University of Michigan-Dearborn, a campus of the University of Michigan University of... 128 MB Memory Stick with MagicGate support Memory Stick is a removable flash memory card format, launched by Sony in October 1998, and is also used in general to describe the whole familiy of Memory Sticks. ... PS3 redirects here. ... Blu-ray discs Blu-ray Disc is a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by a group of leading consumer electronics and PC companies called the Blu_ray Disc Association (BDA), which succeeds the Blu_ray Disc Founders (BDF). ...

See also

Video is the technology of capturing, recording, processing, transmitting, and reconstructing moving pictures, typically using celluloid film, electronic signals, or digital media, primarily for viewing on television or computer monitors. ... A Codec is a device or program capable of performing encoding and decoding on a digital data stream or signal. ... H.263 is a video codec designed by the ITU-T as a low-bitrate encoding solution for videoconferencing. ... x264 is a free library for encoding H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video streams. ... MPEG-4 is a standard used primarily to compress audio and video (AV) digital data. ... // Devices listed by manufacturer G GOWELL HD2-G898 HD2-G891 HD2-G801 N Nokia N80 N92 O OMISYS PN-210V S Sony PSP Snazio SZ1300 SZ1350 T Technotrend S2-3200 HDTV-S2 S2-3600 HDTV-S2 USB Thomson Sky HD Box TVIX HD M-5000A See also H.264/MPEG... The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. ... The Video Coding Experts Group or VCEG is the Study Group 16, Working Party 3/16 (Media coding) Question 6 (Video coding) of ITU-T. The Study Group 16 is responsible for studies relating to multimedia service capabilities, and application capabilities (including those supported for NGN). ... The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. ... The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an international standards organization dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies. ... The Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG is a working group of ISO/IEC charged with the development of video and audio encoding standards. ...

External links


Multimedia compression formats at glance
Video compression formats
ISO/IEC: MPEG-1 | MPEG-2 | MPEG-4 | MPEG-4/AVC | ITU-T: H.261 | H.262 | H.263 | H.264
SMPTE: VC-1
Others: VP7 | RealVideo | WMV | Indeo | MJPEG | Theora | Dirac
Audio compression formats
ISO/IEC MPEG: MPEG-1 Layer III (known as MP3) | MPEG-1 Layer II | AAC | HE-AAC
ITU-T: G.711 | G.722 | G.722.1 | G.722.2 | G.723 | G.723.1 | G.726 | G.729 | G.729a
Others: WavPack | FLAC | iLBC | RealAudio | WMA | Speex | Musepack | Vorbis | ATRAC3 | AC3
Image compression formats
ISO/IEC/ITU-T: JPEG | JPEG 2000 | JPEG-LS | JBIG | JBIG2
Others: GIF | PNG | TIFF | PCX | TGA | BMP | WMP | ILBM
Media container formats
AU | AIFF-C | WAV | NUT | MXF | Matroska | Ogg | Ogg Media | MP4 | QuickTime | RealMedia | AVI | ASF | 3GP

 
 

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