H.264 Main or High Profile? Use High says Ben Waggonner

Interesting line of questions on the Advanced Streaming List recently. One producer shared that he was encoding using the following parameters:

H.264 Main Profile Level 3.1

Microsoft’s Ben Waggoner, author of Compression for Great Video and Audio, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of compression related matters, responded:

“High Profile instead of Main Profile; decode complexity is the same, and you get the efficiency advantage of optional 8×8 intra blocks. Honestly, there’s almost no players that can do Main and can’t also do High these days, so it’s really about Baseline for battery-powered devices and High for everything else. And High’s going to become standard in new devices by the end of 2010.”

I’ve been recommending High for awhile now, good to see Ben confirming that. One other tidbit is that YouTube uses the High Profile as well for their 1080p and 720p encodes.



About Jan Ozer

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.

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