H.264 CABAC CAVLC profiles levels encoding scalable video coding AVC playing back H.265

So You Want to Get to Know H.264?

I produced a short corporate seminar in May, and the client asked for a list of H.264-related references. If these references are worthwhile for them, perhaps they might be worthwhile for you, so here they are.

General H.264

Wikipedia – it all starts with Wikipedia, but you probably knew that. Here you can find all you need to know about profiles, levels and entropy encoding (oh, my!).

The Future’s So Bright: H.264 Year in Review. Before you recommend H.264 to a client, or for internal use, you need to know that H.264 comes with some baggage, in the form of royalties (yes, royalties). In fact, depending upon how you’re currently deploying H.264 encoded video, you might already have triggered a royalty obligation. Read all about it here, as well as why H.264 adaption has been relatively slow among major broadcasters and corporations.

Hmmn. Royalties, you say? Yup, here’s the FAQ, with a link to a summary of license terms in PDF format.

Scalable Video Coding – the Future of Video Delivery? H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) could be the technology of choice for three-screen producers (mobile, living room, computer). Never heard of it? Well, get a quick brain dump here.

Which codec is hardest to play back; VC-1, H.264 or VP6. Certain competitors of H.264 have long claimed that it’s harder to play back H.264 streams on low power computers than other technologies. You can see the results of comparison results supervised by Microsoft and Adobe, here.

Producing H.264 and H.264 Codec Quality

The HD Showdown: Codec Vendors Battle it Out for Supreme Quality. How does H.264 quality compare to VP6 and VC-1? Well, Microsoft encoded the VC-1 files, and On2 the VP6, and I produced the H.264 files myself, then compared the three. Check out the results in this article.

Presentations from StreamingMedia East, 2009. H.264 quality varies by codec vendor. In the Encoding_H264-SME-2009.PDF presentation, you can see comparison samples for Apple, Dicas and Main Concept. Also lots of valuable information about producing and configuring H.264 video, including illustrated instructions for producing H.264 video with Adobe Media Encoder, Apple Compressor, Sorenson Squeeze and Telestream Episode Pro.

Squeeze 5.1’s H.264 Encoding Quality Dramatically Improved. I’ve been dogging Sorenson about the quality of their H.264 video since Squeeze 5.0 was released. Well, they fixed it, and you can see full resolution comparisons with Apple, Rhozet Carbon Coder and Adobe Media Encoder in this article.

YouTube does 720P HD using H.264.
Wanna see how YouTube does H.264 at 1280×720? It’s big and bold and beautiful. OK, maybe there’s an issue or two. Read all about it here.

H.264 and Flash

Encoding Options for H.264 Video. Here’s an article that I wrote for Adobe (shameless name-dropper that I am) which discusses how to configure H.264 video for Flash and general deployment. If you’re wondering what data rate to use, or whether CABAC produces better quality than CAVLC (and how much harder the files are to decode), this article is for you.

Kaourantin.net. The seminal article on Flash and H.264 written by Tinic Uro, an Adobe Engineer on the Flash team. I love the title – “what just happened to video on the web,” and it was written on the day that Adobe announced H.264 support in Flash.

Adobe.com – Supported Technologies – H.264. This article defines the profiles and levels supported by the “Adobe Flash Platform” technologies. Pretty much says what Tinic Uro says, but straight from the mouth of Adobe.

H.264 and Silverlight

Commentary: Microsoft Should Embrace H.264 Video – Streamingmedia.com. I’m sure that Microsoft adapted H.264 for Silverlight for their own reasons, but I can’t resist patting myself on the back for recommending it months before they did, and while they were actively denying that they would adapt H.264.

H.264 and AAC Support Coming in Silverlight.
– Ben Waggoner’s Tinic Uro moment, discussing why Microsoft adapted H.264 and why. Click here to see the types of H.264 files supported in the beta version of Silverlight 3, another blog post from Waggoner.

About Jan Ozer

Avatar photo
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.

Check Also

Lesson of the Week: Two Data Points for Producing Effective Webinars (and a Free Download)

As the producer of webinars and virtual training events for Streaming Media Magazine and Streaming …