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HEVC Video Codecs Comparison 2018

Thirteen MSU Video Codecs Comparison

MSU Graphics & Media Lab (Video Group)

Video group head: Dr. Dmitriy Vatolin

Project head: Dr. Dmitriy Kulikov

Measurements, analysis: Dr. Mikhail Erofeev,
Anastasia Antsiferova,
Sergey Zvezdakov,
Denis Kondranin

Welcome to 2018 HEVC video codecs comparison page!
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2018 Report Parts

Subjective Report
Subjective comparison conducted on platform
10 codecs
Kingsoft HEVC Encoder, SIF Encoder, sz264, sz265, Tencent Shannon Encoder, UC265, VITEC HEVC GEN2+ Encoder, VP9, x264, x265

(PDF, 3.9 MB)

or purchase Enterprise version
Alternative payment method
You'll receive Enterprise Subjective Report and Enterprise Main Report
Contact us if you want to buy only Enterprise Subjective Report
473 unique observers
22542 valid answers
5 video sequences
Short fragments from Crowd run, Ducks Take Off, Mountain bike, Playground, Red Kayak
Ripping Use Case
At least 1 FPS
6 metrics
Subjective score and 5 objective: YUV-SSIM, Y-SSIM, YUV-PSNR, Y-PSNR, Y-VMAF(v.0.6.1)
HTML and PDF documents
118 interactive charts and 34 pages

Main Report (objective)
Fast, Universal and Ripping use cases measured on FullHD videos
Free version Enterprise version
Use cases Universal (partially) Fast, Universal, Ripping
Per-sequence-results 2 of 28 sequences (only Universal use case) All 28 sequences for all use cases (in interactive charts)
Description of video sequences YES YES
Codec info (developer, version number, website link) YES YES
Other objective metrics (in addition to YUV-SSIM) None YES
Per-frame metrics results None
Only YUV-SSIM for 2 sequences, universal use case (14 charts)
All metrics for all sequences and use cases (5000+ charts)
Relative quality analysis None YES
Download links for video sequences None YES
Encoders presets description None YES
PDF report 62 pages 119 pages
HTML report 28 interactive charts 7000+ interactive charts
Price Free $950
Download Buy
Alternative payment method

4K Report (coming soon) Comparison on high-resolution video sequences
Ultra Ripping + AV1 (coming soon) Comparison on extremely slow (high quality) presets
Global Codecs Trends (coming soon) Re-comparison of previously participated codecs versions on one platform and set of video sequences

Video Codecs that were Tested in 2018

Codec name Use cases HEVC Hardware/GA
1 AV1
Alliance for Open Media
Ripping (in Ultra-ripping report) None
2 HW265
Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Fast, Universal, Ripping YES No
3 Intel MFX (GA)
Intel Corporation
Fast, Universal YES Yes
4 Intel MFX (SW)
Intel Corporation
Fast, Universal, Ripping YES No
5 Kingsoft HEVC Encoder
Fast, Universal, Ripping YES No
6 SIF encoder
SIF Encoder Team
Ripping None
7 sz264
Nanjing Yunyan
Fast, Universal, Ripping None
8 sz265
Nanjing Yunyan
Fast, Universal, Ripping YES No
9 Tencent Shannon Encoder
Fast, Universal, Ripping YES No
10 UC265
Ucodec Inc.
Fast, Universal, Ripping YES No
Fast YES Yes
12 VP9
The WebM Project (Google)
Ripping None
13 x264
x264 Developer Team
Fast, Universal, Ripping None
14 x265
MulticoreWare, Inc.
Fast, Universal, Ripping YES No

Subjective Report

Below is a short summary with 3 of 118 graphs from general report.

According to the results of subjective comparison, the best codecs are the following:

Below we compare the results of subjective comparison with relative bitrate saving scores computed using SSIM for the set of five videos used in subjective comparison:

The winners determine from mean quality scores, but there is no absolute winner in the comparison, since different encoders take first place at different test video sequences: for example, on Crowd Run (short) three encoders show Pareto-optimal results: VITEC HEVC GEN2+ Encoder, x265 and VP9.


Tencent Shannon Encoder shows the best quality option for Red Kayak (short) sequence.

Purchase Enterprise version to see all comparison results. Enterprise version is free for all buyers of Enterprise Main Report, and Enterprise Main Report is also free for all buyers of Enterprise Subjective Report.
You can also download subjective comparison rules (PDF, 3.9 MB).

Main Report (objective)

According to just quality scores (YUV-SSIM), the best codecs (among those we evaluated for all three use cases) are the following:


We tested three encoded use cases (see the description in section Test Hardware Characteristics). The universal-encoding use case has five Pareto optimal encoders in terms of mean speed and quality: UC265, Intel MSDK HEVC (SW), Intel MSDK HEVC (GA), Tencent Shannon Encoder and HW265. Nevertheless, the differences emerge for particular sequences and use cases.

Free report contains the results for two of 28 sequences, and results of all sequences and use cases are available in enterprise version.

Hint: click on codec's name in the legend to add or remove it.

Here is one of the RD-charts:

Hint: click on codec's name in the legend to add or remove it.

Download Main Report

Objectives and Testing Rules

HEVC codec testing objectives

The main goal of this report is the presentation of a comparative evaluation of the quality of new HEVC codecs and codecs of other standards using objective measures of assessment. The comparison was done using settings provided by the developers of each codec. Nevertheless, we required all presets to satisfy minimum speed requirement on the particular use case. The main task of the comparison is to analyze different encoders for the task of transcoding video – e.g., compressing video for personal use.

Test Hardware Characteristics

For this platform we considered three key use cases with different speed requirements:

See more on Call-for-codecs 2018 page

Video Sequences Selection

We have updated video database from which we choose sample videos for encoders' comparison. In this year, we analyzed 539765 videos hosted at Vimeo looking for 4K and FullHD videos with high bitrates (50 Mbps was selected as a lower bitrate boundary). This enabled us to find and download 942 new 4K videos and 2346 new FullHD videos.

We also completed list of selected sequences with high-quality videos from

This year test data set consists of 28 sequences: 5 from the old data set, 16 new ones from Vimeo and 7 from 25 sequences from the old data set were excluded. The average bitrate for all sequences in the final set is 449.72 Mbps, median – 192.02 Mbps. "Hera" (90 Mbps), "Television studio" (92 Mbps) and "Foggy beach" (93 Mbps) sequences have minimal bitrates. The complete list of sequences and description of selection process appears in PDF report.

Video sequences selection

Codec Analysis and Tuning for Codec Developers and Codec Users

Computer Graphics and Multimedia Laboratory of Moscow State University:

We could perform next tasks for codec developers and codec users.

Strong and Weak Points of Your Codec

Independent Codec Estimation Comparing to Other Codecs for Different Use-cases

Encoder Features Implementation Optimality Analysis

We perform encoder features effectiveness (speed/quality trade-off) analysis that could lead up to 30% increase in the speed/quality characteristics of your codec. We can help you to tune your codec and find best encoding parameters.


Special thanks to the following contributors of our previous comparisons

Google Intel AMD NVidia
ATI Adobe ISPhone dicas
KDDI R&D labs Dolby Tata Elxsi Octasic
Qualcomm Voceweb Elgato Telecast
Huawei MainConcept Vitec Tencent

Contact Information

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Materials about MSU Codec Comparison

Call for HEVC codecs 2018
See all MSU Video Codec Comparisons

MSU video codecs comparisons resources:

Other Materials

Video resources:

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Last updated: 19-November-2018

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Project sponsored by YUVsoft Corp.

Project supported by MSU Graphics & Media Lab