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Second Annual MSU MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Video Codec Comparison

For people, who make real research in field of high-end video compression and professionally use videocodecs

MSU Graphics & Media Lab (Video Group)

See NEW VERSION on Fourth Annual H.264/AVC comparison page!

See also Frequently Asked Questions. Second annual MPEG4-AVC/H.264 codecs comparison

Project head: Dr. Dmitriy Vatolin
Testing, charts, analysis: Dmitriy Kulikov, Alexander Parshin
Translation: Artem Titarenko
Verification: Stanislav Soldatov

Codecs that were tested

  • DivX 6.0 (Not H.264 video codec, tested as reference codec)
  • ArcSoft H.264
  • Ateme H.264
  • ATI H.264
  • Elecard H.264
  • Fraunhofer IIS H.264
  • VSS H.264
  • x264

  • Comparison content

  • During testing following metrics were measured:
  • PSNR (Y, U, V, L, R, G, B components)
  • SSIM (Y component)
  • VQM (Y component)
  • Blurring (Y, U, V components)
  • Blocking (Y, U, V components)

  • Two codec presets will be compared:
  • Maximum quality
  • Balanced (speed)

  • Video sequences that were used in this comparison
  • foreman (standard sequence)
  • susi (standard sequence)
  • BBC (standard sequence)
  • battle (part from "Terminator-2" movie)
  • simpsons (part from "The Simpsons" movie)
  • Matrix (part from "The Matrix" movie)
  • Concert (part from HDTV movie)

  • Testing rules:
  • Restrictions of codecs operation: only codecs that can work in Main profile of H.264 and do not use two passes were tested.
  • Every codec was tested three times with separate speed measurements. After this median of these three values (middle value) was used as a resulting time.
  • Following 10 bitrates were used for codec testing (Kbps): 100, 225, 340, 460, 700, 938, 1140, 1340, 1840, 2340.
  • During testing three types of video sequences were used:
  • Source sequences *.yuv in YUV 4:2:0 format.
  • *.avi sequences in YUV 4:2:0 format with fourcc YV12.
  • *.yuv sequences with duplicated last frame. These sequences were used for testing x264 codec.
  • In this testing VirtualDub version 1.6.10 was used.
  • In this testing AviSynth version 2.55 was used.
  • For all metrics measurements in this test special build of MSU Video Quality Measurement Tool was used.
  • For each preset both speed and quality were measured

  • Comparison statistic

  • Total number of graphs in this comparison is 3796. Only 82 (2%) of them are in document;
  • The number of computer-days is more than 20;
  • Final document has 85 pages.

  • Content of HTML version

  • Introduction
  • Thanks
  • Overview
  • Goal and testing rules
  • Sequences
  • Codecs
  • "Best quality" preset
  • Y-PSNR
  • Blurring measure, blocking measure
  • Bitrate handling
  • Time
  • "Best speed" preset
  • Y-PSNR
  • Speed/Quality Tradeoff
  • Bitrate handling
  • Time
  • Final part
  • 2-pass mode and High profile
  • Per frame comparison
  • Visual comparison
  • Informal codec comparison
  • General conclusions

  • Download

  • Second Annual MSU H.264 Video Codec Comparison - PDF (3.81 Mb)
  • Second Annual MSU H.264 Video Codec Comparison - ZIP (3.0 Mb)

  • If you are interested in your codecs' testing or tuning, please write to us at

    Contact Information


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    Last updated: 10-March-2011

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    Project sponsored by YUVsoft Corp.

    Project supported by MSU Graphics & Media Lab

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