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4K & 10-bit MSU Video Codecs Comparison 2020

Video group head: Dr. Dmitriy Vatolin
Project head: Dr. Dmitriy Kulikov
Measurements, analysis: Dr. Mikhail Erofeev,
Egor Sklyarov,
Nickolay Safonov,
Anastasia Antsiferova



Goal: This report presents the results of video codecs comparison using 4K & 10-bit videos and objective quality measurement.

Main points of this test:

  • 12 codecs of HEVC/AV1/AVC and other standards were evaluated in winter 2020–2021
  • 12 UHD videos were used for comparison
  • This year we added a special section with comparison on several 10-bit videos
  • For objective quality measurements we used SSIM, PSNR (2 versions) and VMAF metrics
Universal (1fps) Fast (30fps)
Best quality for 8-bit encoding
1st: BVC1
2nd: MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder
3rd: sz265
1st: BVC1
2nd: MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder
3rd: sz265 and SVT-HEVC
Best quality for 10-bit encoding
MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder
Best speed/quality trade-off (8 bit encoding)
BVC1 and
MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder
BVC1 and
MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder

Judging for speed and quality scores, the following encoders showed best results for 8-bit videos encoding: BVC1 and MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder. Below are speed-quality scores averaged for all test videos, for Universal (1fps) and Fast (30fps) encoding.

Figure 1 Speed-qiality trade-off by SSIM — Universal (1 fps), 8-bit content
Figure 2 Speed-qiality trade-off by SSIM — Fast (30 fps), 8-bit content

The plot below shows encoding speed and quality (by VMAF for 4K) scores at backgammon video sequence. There are two Pareto-optimal encoders here: MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder and BVC1.

Figure 2 Relative encoding speed / relative quality by VMAF — Universal (1 fps), 8-bit content

For 10-bit content less participants sent us encoding binaries and presets, and MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder showed the best results in this test case.

Figure 3 Overall quality by SSIM — Universal (1 fps), 10-bit content


4K Report
Objective comparison using 4K 8- and 10-bit videos
Released on April, 1
11 codecs
MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder, Reference x265, BVC1, SVT-HEVC, sz265, x265, aom, SVT-AV1, SIF Codec, SVT-VP9, x264
Free version

HTML report (824 KB)

PDF & HTML reports (ZIP, 6.7 MB)

Enterprise version


You will receive enterprise versions of all reports (FullHD, Subjective and 4K)
Contact us if you want to buy only Enterprise 4K Report
4 UHD 10-bit video sequences
crowd_run, ducks_take_off, military_exhibition, resort
8 UHD 8-bit video sequences
backgammon, ballerine, california_coast, dron_view, news, waterfall
2 Encoding Use Cases
Universal (1 fps), Fast (30 fps)
13 metrics
Including: YUV-SSIM, YUV-PSNR (avg. log), YUV-PSNR (avg. MSE), Y-VMAF (v0.6.3)
HTML and PDF documents
900+ interactive charts and 70 pages

Participated codecs

Codec name Use cases Standard Version
1 aom
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit AV1 2.0.0-287-g2aa13c436, Windows
2 BVC1
Bytedance Inc.
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit
H.265/HEVC V1, Windows
3 MC HEVC/H.265 Encoder
MainConcept GmbH
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit,
Universal (1 fps) 10-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 10-bit
H.265/HEVC HEVC SDK 12.2, Windows
4 Reference x265
MulticoreWare, Inc.
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit,
Universal (1 fps) 10-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 10-bit
H.265/HEVC 3.4+20-g06c52b0fd, Windows
5 SIF Codec
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit Other 1.95, Windows
Open Visual Cloud
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Universal (1 fps) 10-bit
AV1 v0.8.3, Windows
Open Visual Cloud
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit
H.265/HEVC v1.4.3, Windows
Open Visual Cloud
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit
VP9 v0.2.0, Windows
9 sz265
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit
H.265/HEVC v1.1.0, Linux
10 x264
x264 project
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit,
Universal (1 fps) 10-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 10-bit
H.264/AVC 0.161.3018 db0d417, Windows
11 x265
MulticoreWare, Inc.
Universal (1 fps) 8-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 8-bit,
Universal (1 fps) 10-bit,
Fast (30 fps) 10-bit
H.265/HEVC 3.4+20-g06c52b0fd, Windows

4K Comparison Methodology

The main goal of this report it 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.

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

  • Fast: UHD, 30fps
  • Universal: UHD, 1fps
  • Fast 10bit: UHD-10bit, 30fps
  • Universal 10bit: UHD-10bit, 1fps

12 video sequences at 4K resolution were used for tests: 8 video sequences had 8-bit color depth and 4 video sequences had 10-bit color depth. Note: we used technically 10-bit videos for evaluation, but the colours in the videos themselves do not utilize wide luminance range (they are not HDR).

Brief methodology review is given in the presentation:

Test Hardware Characteristics

  • CPU: Intel Socket 1151 Core i7 8700K (Coffee Lake) (3.7Ghz, 6C12T, TDP 95W)
  • Mainboard: ASRock Z370M Pro4
  • RAM: Crucial CT16G4DFD824A 2x16GB (totally 32 GB) DIMM DDR4 2400MHz CL15
  • OS: Windows 10 x64

Codec Analysis and Tuning for Codec Developers and Codec Users

Computer Graphics and Multimedia Laboratory of Moscow State University:

  • 15+ years working in the area of video codec analysis and tuning using objective quality metrics and subjective comparisons.
  • 27+ reports of video codec comparisons and analysis (H.265, H.264, AV1, VP9, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, decoders' error recovery).
  • Methods and algorithms for codec comparison and analysis development, separate codec's features and codec's options analysis.

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

Strong and Weak Points of Your Codec

  • Deep encoder parts analysis (ME, RC on GOP, mode decision, etc).
  • Weak and strong points for your encoder and complete information about encoding quality on different content types.
  • Encoding Quality improvement by the pre and post filtering (including technologies licensing).

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

  • Comparative analysis of your encoder and other encoders.
  • We have direct contact with many codec developers.
  • You will know place of your encoder between other newest well-known encoders (compare encoding quality, speed, bitrate handling, etc.).

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

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Contact Information
in cooperation
Lomonosov MSU
Graphics & Media Lab
(Video Group)
Dubna State University
Institute for Information
Transmission Problems RAS

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Last updated: 12-May-2022

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Project sponsored by YUVsoft Corp.

Project supported by MSU Graphics & Media Lab