Eighth MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Video Codecs Comparison - Standard Version

Now it contains Appendixes with GPU encoders comparison and Very High Speed Encoders comparison.

Different Versions of Report

There are two different versions of H.264 Comparison 2012 report:

Here is the comparison of the versions:

Standard Version Pro Version (Enterprise)
Objective Metrics (Y-SSIM) YES YES
Additional Metrics (Y-PSNR) NO
Only few graphs
Objective Metrics (3-SSIM, MS-SSIM) NO YES
ColorPlanes Only Y from YUV Y, U, V and overall
Graphs Only some typical graphs All the graphs for all the metrcis, codecds and presets
Number of figures 207 2092
Prices Free $895
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Pro version of comparison will be available immediately after report purchasing.

Video Codecs that Were Tested


Non H.264



Table 1. Summary of video sequences

Sequence Number of frames Frame rate Resolution
VideoConference (5 sequences)
Deadline 1374 30 352x288
Developers 4CIF 3600 30 640x480
Developers 720p 1500 30 1280x720
Presentation 548 30 720x480
Business 493 30 1920x1080
Movies (10 SD sequences)
Ice Age 2014 24 720x480
City 600 60 704x576
Crew 600 60 704x576
Indiana Jones 5000 30 704x288
Harbour 600 60 704x576
Ice Skating 480 60 704x576
Soccer 600 60 704x576
Race Horses 300 30 832x480
State Enemy 6500 24 720x304
Party Scene 500 50 832x480
HDTV sequences (16 sequences)
Park Joy 500 50 1280x720
Riverbed 250 25 1920x1080
Rush Hour 500 25 1920x1080
Blue Sky 217 25 1920x1080
Station 313 25 1920x1080
Stockholm 604 50 1280x720
Sunflower 500 25 1920x1080
Tractor 690 25 1920x1080
Bunny 600 24 1920x1080
Dream 600 24 1920x1080
Troy 300 24 1920x1072
Water Drops 535 30 1920x1080
Capitol 600 30 1920x1080
Parrots 600 30 1920x1080
Citybus 600 30 1920x1080
Underwater 600 30 1920x1080

Objectives and Testing Tools

H.264 Codec Testing Objectives

The main goal of this report is the presentation of a comparative evaluation of the quality of new H.264 codecs using objective measures of assessment. The comparison was done using settings provided by the developers of each codec. The main task of the comparison is to analyze different H.264 encoders for the task of transcoding video—e.g., compressing video for personal use. Speed requirements are given for a sufficiently fast PC; fast presets are analogous to real-time encoding for a typical home-use PC.

H.264 Codec Testing Tools

The following computer configuration was used for the main tests:

Sugar Bay platform, 3rd Generation Core i7 3xxx(IVB), 4 Cores CPU @3.4 GHz,

Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4000



Total Physical Memory: 2x2 Gb RAM (1600 MHz)

OS Name: Microsoft Windows 7

Overall Conclusions

Overall, the leader in this comparison for software encoders is x264, followed by MainConcept, DivX H.264 and Elecard.

Average bitrate for Movies and HDTV for all

The overall ranking of the software codecs tested in this comparison is as follows:

  1. x264
  2. MainConcept
  3. DivX H.264
  4. Elecard
  5. Intel Ivy Bridge QuickSync
  6. XviD
  7. DiscretePhoton
  8. MainConcept CUDA

This rank is based only on the encoders’ quality results. Encoding speed is not considered here.

Professional Versions of Comparison Report

H.264 Comparison Report Pro 2012 version contains:

Additional objective metrics (PSNR, 3-SSIM, MS-SSIM)

All metrics results for all colorplanes (Y,U,V and overall)

Results for all the sequences, codecs and presets used in comparison

Much more figures



The Graphics & Media Lab Video Group would like to express its gratitude to the following companies for providing the codecs and settings used in this report:

DiscretePhoton team

Elecard Ltd

Intel Corporation

MainConcept GmbH

x264 Development Team

The Video Group would also like to thank these companies for their help and technical support during the tests.


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

Codec Analysis and Tuning for Codec Developers and Codec Users

Computer Graphics and Multimedia Laboratory of Moscow State University:

10 years working in the area of video codec analysis and tuning using objective quality metrics and subjective comparisons.

20+ reports of video codec comparisons and analysis (H.264, 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 could perform next task 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.


E-mail: videocodec-testing@graphics.cs.msu.ru

08 Mar 2013
See Also
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HEVC Video Codecs Comparison 2018 (Thirteen MSU Video Codec Comparison)
13th MSU video codecs comparison
HEVC Video Codecs Comparison 2017 (Twelfth MSU Video Codec Comparison)
12th MSU video codecs comparison
MSU Video Codec Comparisons (6 test of lossless, MPEG-4 and MPEG-4 AVC)
Call for HEVC codecs 2018
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