Tips & Tricks

What is H.264 Video Codec?

4 min read
What is h264

Many streaming services, including live and on-demand ones, use H.264. They use this because of its ability to encode high-quality video at a lower bit rate than older compression standards. Even though its access sometimes requires payment of rights associated with the patents to the organizations that own them, more than 90% of professionals in the video industry still utilize H.264.

H.264 is a codec or compression standard that takes video and encodes it to be played back at a lower bit rate. This is how services like Netflix and Hulu can compress their 4K and HD video content to stream without too much buffering. This blog post will explain the H.264 codec, how it works, and its advantages in streaming services.

What is H.264?

Many digital devices and platforms use H.264 as a video compression standard (converting raw video files into compressed files). Its full name is High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), offering several advantages over previous video coding standards. This video codec is also known as AVC (Advanced Video Coding). For example, H.264 is more efficient in storage and bandwidth and can support resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD. It’s also more resilient to errors and supports a broader range of color profiles. H.264 is a lossy compression standard, removing unnecessary information from the raw video files to create a smaller file size. Even though important information is kept for viewing, this shouldn’t affect the quality of the video. You will get the same image quality with the compressed video files.

In short, H.264 is the latest and greatest in video compression technology, and it’s sure to be the standard for years to come.

Features of H.264 Codec

  • Widely devices supported
  • Used in maximum streaming protocols
  • Supports up to 4K Resolution
  • High-quality video at a lower bit rate
  • Efficient in storage and bandwidth
  • Supports a broader range of color profiles
  • Multiple containers supported

What streaming protocols use H.264?

Almost all streaming protocols in use today support H.264. This includes ats

HLS only works with H.264, while some streaming protocols may use other compression standards.

Containers that use AVC/H.264

Container files store video, audio, and metadata; an MP4 file is one type of container file. H.264 works with various container formats like MP4, TS, and MOV.

Is H264 Good Quality?

The level of quality for H264 videos varies based on different conditions, such as the video’s resolution and bitrate. Other factors affecting video and image quality include the video encoding settings employed. The H264 codec is widely known for delivering excellent-quality video. Its efficiency creates smaller files without comprising any originality or detail, making it ideal for those who want to save space. With such high compatibility rates, this codec can be used on almost any device without playback issues.

So if you’re looking for a codec that will give you great-looking video without taking up too much space, H264 is worth considering.

H264 vs. H265: Which has Better Quality?

Regarding video quality, you generally have two options: H264 and H265. Both codecs have advantages, so choosing between them can take time and effort. To assist you in selecting, here is a quick overview of each codec.

H264 is the older of the two codecs and has been widely used for many years. One of its significant advantages is that it is very efficient and can achieve better image quality while maintaining a small file size. This makes it ideal for streaming videos and storing extensive collections of videos. However, H264 does have some disadvantages. One is that it could be more effective at compressing 4K video. So, if you want to store large amounts of 4K footage, H265 may be a better option.

On the one hand, the newer H265 codec offers many benefits over its predecessor, H264. One advantage is that it excels at compressing 4K video. However, a possible downside of using H265 is that it requires more processing power than H264. So, if you watch your videos on mobile devices or older model computers, you may want to select H264 instead.

H264 and H265 both have benefits that make them great codecs. So it ultimately depends on your needs as to which one you choose. If efficiency and smaller file size are what you’re going for, go with H264. If superior quality 4K video or broad compatibility is more important to you, then H265 should be your pick!


H.264 is the latest and most advanced video compression standard. It’s widely compatible with various streaming protocols, and containers offer high-quality video at a lower bitrate and are efficient in storage and bandwidth. If you’re looking for an all-around great codec, H.264 is worth considering.

Castr live streaming uses the H.264 codec to optimize live video quality and minimize latency. We also use adaptive bitrate streaming to give you the best possible live stream with smooth and good video quality based on your internet connection. Castr can help transform your live streaming experience by offering robust features like a free trial sign-up. Don’t miss out. Check us out today.

Join 200,000+ satisfied streamers

Still on the fence? Take a sneak peek and see what you can do with Castr.

No Castr Branding

No Castr Branding

We do not include our branding on your videos.

No Commitment

No Commitment

No contracts. Cancel or change your plans anytime.

24/7 Support

24/7 Support

Highly skilled in-house engineers ready to help.

  • Check Free 7-day trial
  • CheckCancel anytime
  • CheckNo credit card required

Related Articles