H264 also means H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC (Advanced Video Coding), a standard for video compression. The final drafting work on the first version of the standard was completed in May 2003.
H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is a block-oriented motion-compensation-based codec standard developed by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) together with the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It was the product of a partnership effort known as the Joint Video Team (JVT). The ITU-T H.264 standard and the ISO/IEC MPEG-4 AVC standard (formally, ISO/IEC 14496-10 - MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding) are jointly maintained so that they have identical technical content.
H.264 is used in such applications as players for Blu-ray Discs, videos from YouTube and the iTunes Store, web software such as the Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight, broadcast services for DVB and SBTVD, direct-broadcast satellite television services, cable television services, and real-time video conferencing.
The H.264 video format has a very broad application range that covers all forms of digital compressed video from low bit-rate Internet streaming applications to HDTV broadcast and Digital Cinema applications with nearly lossless coding. With the use of H.264, bit rate savings of 50% or more are reported. For example, H.264 has been reported to give the same Digital Satellite TV quality as current MPEG-2 implementations with less than half the bitrate, with current MPEG-2 implementations working at around 3.5 Mbit/s and H.264 at only 1.5 Mbit/s. To ensure compatibility and problem-free adoption of H.264/AVC, many standards bodies have amended or added to their video-related standards so that users of these standards can employ H.264/AVC.
Both the Blu-ray Disc format and the now-discontinued HD DVD format include the H.264/AVC High Profile as one of 3 mandatory video compression formats. Sony has also chosen this format for their Memory Stick Video format.
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