Example Files-Baseline, Main and High Codecs

This web page was created to accompany the webinar, Fundamentals of H.264 Encoding, produced on September 4, 2013. It includes sample files assessing the quality of output produced using the Baseline, Main and High profiles.

The problem on the table is this; if you produce a set of adaptive files for mobile distribution, you must use the Baseline and Main profiles for compatibility with older iDevices. However, computers and OTT devices can play videos encoded using the High profile. Is the qualitative difference between files encoded using the Baseline and Main profiles, and those encoded using the High profile, sufficient to warrant producing two separate sets of files?

To add a real world element to the analysis, I’ve included Apple’s recommendations from TN 2224. I encoded one set of files using the recommended parameters (with some minor data rate adjustments), the other using the High profile at the same data rates, and provide four comparisons below. I encoded the files using Elemental’s Cloud Encoder and I’m making them available via Sorenson 360, which doesn’t re-encode the files like most OVPs. There are no still image comparisons, as I’ve used in the past, but it should be easy enough to open two browser windows and compare the files side by side.


Table 1. Encoding Recommendations from Apple Tech Note TN2224.

416×234@200kbps Baseline Profile


About Jan Ozer

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I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks and evaluate new encoders and codecs. I am a contributing editor to Streaming Media Magazine, writing about codecs and encoding tools. I have written multiple authoritative books on video encoding, including Video Encoding by the Numbers: Eliminate the Guesswork from your Streaming Video (https://amzn.to/3kV6R1j) and Learn to Produce Video with FFmpeg: In Thirty Minutes or Less (https://amzn.to/3ZJih7e). I have multiple courses relating to streaming media production, all available at https://bit.ly/slc_courses. I currently work as www.netint.com as a Senior Director in Marketing.

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