H.264 is one of the most ubiquitous acquisition video compression standards on the market. It’s used for everything from capture on a mobile phone to delivery on most web platforms, including social networks such as YouTube and Facebook (live and on-demand). The sheer flexibility of H.264 has resulted in it being one of the most enduring standards to date. It’s still likely to be your primary delivery codec for some time to come.
There’s no denying the advantage of the next generation standard HEVC though, capable of offering the same quality at half the bandwidth. This modern codec performs better on all fronts, including macroblock sizes, and motion prediction. In practical terms, this brings the bandwidth required for a 1920x1080/25p stream down from 6 Mbps, down to 3 Mbps.
In this age of ultrafast 4G coverage, and fibre to the premises delivering high bandwidth, affordable connections, is there a need to change?
In your studio or control room, probably not. H.264 still offers incredible compression and minimal overheads, which is why desktop encoders such as the NVS-33 still exist. Sadly, however, most remote locations still deal with strangled broadband, with either high contention on domestic lines or patchy 4G coverage. Even in a bustling metropolitan city like London uploads speeds can be restrictive (I’m currently getting 5.5 Mbps on my FTTC line). If your contributors are working from rural locations or on metered connections, optimising your compression has enormous benefits in getting the best quality, or even getting an image at all.
H.265 is a great solution, offering the same video quality at half the bitrate. In other words, HD video over poor data links. Even where bandwidth is good, with multiple contributors, the bandwidth savings scale up, so switching to HEVC cameras like the AW-UE4, or the latest generation of Teradek’s Cube HEVC encoders, could make a real difference in the quality and continuity of your production.
HEVC (H.265) is already supported by many products on the marketing including:
HEVC Encoders and Decoders
HEVC Capture and Playback
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Compact and lightweight 4K 50p/60p camcorder, with detachable handle and LED light