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Call for MPEG4-AVC/H.264 codecs

Fourth Annual H.264 video codec comparison
For real researchers and developers in field of high-end video compression

MSU Graphics & Media Lab (Video Group)

Important Dates


August, 26 Deadline for receipt of a H.264 codec with required presets
September, 10 Deadline for settling technical problems with codecís functioning
November, 7 Draft version of report that will be sent to all participants
November, 14 Deadline for reception of comments to the draft
December, 15 Comparison report release


Task of the Comparison



To perform comparative unbiased analysis of the current software implementations of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video coding standard using objective metrics

Scope of test


Summary report topics:
  • Encoding and decoding time
  • Objective measurements (PSNR, SSIM, Average Advantage and etc)
  • Analysis of averaged objective results
  • Leaders in different areas
  • New in this comparison
  • Cross-compatibility test
  • New type of special analysis for codecs
  • Using natural sequences' special modification
  • Using synthetic sequences
  • Separate analysis of codecs main subsystems
  • New sequences
  • See previous comparison for details.

    Comparison Rules


  • There will be three types of testing sequences and for every type there will be specific set of presets, bitrates, and profiles:
  • HDTV streams
  • resolutions: 1920x1080, 1280x720
  • bitrates 1-10 Mbps
  • 2 presets: "High Speed", "High Quality"
  • speed requirements (at 3 Mbps, 1280x720 sequences):
  • Minimum 4 fps for "High Speed" preset
  • Minimum 1 fps for "High Quality" preset
  • Movie streams
  • different types of content (movie, animation)
  • resolutions: PAL, NTSC, 4CIF
  • bitrates 500-2000 Kbps
  • 2 presets: "High Speed", "High Quality"
  • speed requirements (at 750 Kbps, 4CIF sequence):
  • Minimum 15 fps for "High Speed" preset
  • Minimum 4 fps for "High Quality" prest
  • Videoconference streams
  • bitrates 30-300 Kbps
  • resolutions: QCIF, CIF
  • 2 presets: "High Speed", "High Quality"
  • speed requirements (at 200 Kbps, CIF sequences):
  • Minimum 60 fps for "High Speed" preset
  • Minimum 30 fps for "High Quality" preset
  • All codecís options and presets should be provided by codecís developers
  • The main reason of speed limitation is to compare objective quality without regarding speed/quality trade-off, so if preset provided by developer will work much faster than requirements but with low quality this can lead to low total results.
  • An important restriction on a preset is encoding time for it. A few iterations of compliance testing and preset optimization are possible to meet the requirements set above
  • All speed measurements will be performed using our testing hardware (detailed description see below).
  • There will be two types of decoding:
  • All encoded sequences are decoding with reference JM decoder (for encoders testing)
  • All encoded sequences are decoding with its own decoder (for decoders testing, for example, decodersí post-processing). The results of this type of decoding will be in comparison's appendix.
  • There will be cross-compatibility test (all possible encoder-decoder pairs)
  • All measurements will be performed using MSU Video Quality Measurement Tool (Pro Version)
  • Before results' publishing each developer will receive the results of its codec and competitive free codecs. Developers of each codec can write a comment (one paragraph) about the comparison results. That comment will be included in the report.
  • We are willing to completely or partially delete information about some codec in the public version of comparison report only in exceptional cases (e.g. critical errors in a codec).
  • If your company wants to receive results of your codec testing without publication and information disclosure, you should pay for measurements and report preparing before comparison's beginning. You can join to comparison for free if you agree that your codec's results will be published.
  • Full version of comparison report is available for participants for free.

  • Testing Hardware Characteristics


  • Processor: AMD64 3000+
  • OS Name: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • System Manufacturer: NVIDIA
  • System Type: X86-based PC
  • Total Physical Memory: 1†024.00 MB
  • Total Virtual Memory: 2†048.00 MB

  • Codec Requirements


  • Presets for different types of video sequences should be provided by the developers
  • Codec should allow to set arbitrary bitrate of resulting stream
  • 3 variants of codec interface are possible:
  • Console codec version (with batch processing support ó bitrate and file names must be possible to assign from the command line). This variant is most preferable.
  • Video for Windows Codec with correct state saving (batch processing support)
  • Direct Show filter. In this case software for batch processing should be provided by the developers.
  • Codec should open and save *.yuv or *.avi (YV12 colorspace) files
  • Encoder should be compatible with JM reference decoder

  • Developers Deliverables


    Following deliverables should be provided by each developer:
  • Codec files (CLI executable file is preferable)
  • Short description of codec parameters
  • Codec's presets with pointing of used H.264/AVC profile.

  • The Facts about the Previous H.264 Video Codecs Comparison


  • There were more than 75.000 downloads of previous H.264 video codec comparison results
  • Many codec's bugs were found and reported to developers
  • Here you can see Selected comments for MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video codecs comparison

  • Sequences


    HDTV sequences:
  • One sequence of resolution 1920x1080p
  • Three sequences of resolution 1280x720p
  • Movie sequences
  • Four sequences of SD resolution (approx. 704x576 progressive)
  • Videoconference sequences:
  • One sequence of QCIF (176x144 progressive)
  • Three sequences of CIF (352x288 progressive)

  • Useful Links


  • Third Annual MSU MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Video Codec Comparison
  • MSU Lossless Video Codecs Comparison'2007
  • See all our comparisons

  • Thanks to Previous Contributors


    Special thanks to following contributors of previous H.264/AVC comparison:

    Intel AMD Adobe KDDI R&D labs Tata Elxsi

    Contact Information


    See all MSU Video Codec Comparisons

    MSU video codecs comparisons resources:


    Other Materials


    Video resources:

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    Last updated: 10-March-2011

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    Server Team and MSU Video Group


    Project sponsored by YUVsoft Corp.

    Project supported by MSU Graphics & Media Lab