x.264 vs h.264 - So What's The Difference? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 03:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm really struggling to see what the difference is between x.264 vs h.264 in terms of HD (720P or even 1080P) mkv movies and/or films? What is the preferred format in terms of video/audio quality?

Also does this sounds about right for rips which do NOT show any obivous quality loss (based upon my research so far):

6.00GB mkv @720P = 2hr @ 9.5mbit average video bitrate. 6mbit average video bitrate is sufficient.
13.5GB mkv @1080P = 2hr @ 14.5mbit average video bitrate. 8-12mbit average video bitrate is sufficient.
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 08:57 AM
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x.264 IS h.264

Quicktime, x.264, nero digital, elecard, etc are all the actual codecs built on the h.264 standard.

Codec Comparison Table
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Perfect explanation . Any reason why Newzbin (Usenet), has seperate searches for either x.264 or h.264?
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, does this mean that x.264 is the answer to Blu-Ray/HD-DVD compression that divx is to DVD?

Or is the above quite incorrect and x.264 (being one of the three BD codecs) is also used when ripping a Blu-Ray onto a HDD, except the resolution of bitrate is lowered to fit within a .mkv container?
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EViS View Post

Also, does this mean that x.264 is the answer to Blu-Ray/HD-DVD compression that divx is to DVD?

Did you look at the wiki table iootnega linked to?

x264 is an open source implementation of H.264 (AVC). Period.
x264 can be used to create BD compliant encodes.

DVD is MPEG-2 and DivX/XviD is MPEG-4 part 2.

MKV's on torrent sites are x264 re-encodes of ~30GB+ movies into SL/DL DVDs (~4-7 times smaller).

Diogen.
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, I (carelessly) wrote that prior to doing some more research/thinking. The way I understand it now is as follows;

- h.264 is the codec.
- x264 is the open source program (library) used to encode Bluray or any other video format into the h.264 format, ready for packaging into the desired container (eg. mkv).

Have I now understood it all correctly? Or is the Bluray encoded into a x264 format (by the x264 library) which is based on h.264? So the actual PC codec is x264 and not h.264?

I'm so embarrased by the immense confusion !
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EViS View Post

Sorry, I (carelessly) wrote that prior to doing some more research/thinking. The way I understand it now is as follows;

- h.264 is the codec.

Yes, it's a codec specification, like MPEG-2.

Quote:


- x264 is the open source program (library) used to encode Bluray or any other video format into the h.264 format, ready for packaging into the desired container (eg. mkv).

Yes, x264 is an open source encoder implementation of the h.264 codec/standard. Much like Nero or TSMpgEnc are encoder implementations of MPEG-2.

Quote:


Have I now understood it all correctly? Or is the Bluray encoded into a x264 format (by the x264 library) which is based on h.264?

The actual encoder used on Blu-ray is probably from Panasonic, or maybe Sonic (not 100% sure) it's absolutely not x264.

Quote:


So the actual PC codec is x264 and not h.264?

x264 is an h.264 encoder. If you're playing them back, you're using an H.264 decoder, Cyberlink, Nero, ffdshow, CoreAVC, etc.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-08-2008, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Finally, I've got my head around it ! Thank you all very much!

In case anyone else every struggles with this (and looking back now, I'm not sure where I got so confused), here are the facts:

a) x264 is an encoder only & encodes video into the h.264 standard.
b) h.264 is a standard the same way MPEG-2/3/4 is.
c) x264 encoded video can then be watched using a h.264 decoder such as CoreAVC.
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post #9 of 25 Old 03-06-2009, 02:56 PM
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Came across this thread while googling - I thought I understood the relation between x.264 and H.264 as that has been discussed here. However, this (p)review seems to indicate that x.264 might be a different standard and not the software library implementation of h.264? Or am i missing something?

Would appreciate any clarification.

-Topper
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-06-2009, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topperdude View Post

Came across this thread while googling - I thought I understood the relation between x.264 and H.264 as that has been discussed here. However, this (p)review...

That article says

Quote:


Example: enormously popular these days for example is x.264 (not to confuse with h.264 itself). It is also known under Matroska MKV and this is the kind of movie playback where you'd run intro restrictions as they are not supported (accelerated) over the graphics processor. It's really no different for high bitrate high-definition XVID and DIVX content either. Atom would not be able to handle it in 1080P or often even 720P, so immediately you'd run into restrictions if the media-file is not DXVA or bit-stream GPU accelerated. On an Atom platform this is your biggest problem.

topperdude you should only be concerned if you are NOT confused by the muddled mess at guru3d!!!

If you really seek clarification, you need to contact the author, though I think I wouldn't bother!
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post #11 of 25 Old 03-06-2009, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EViS View Post

Finally, I've got my head around it ! Thank you all very much!

In case anyone else every struggles with this (and looking back now, I'm not sure where I got so confused), here are the facts:

a) x264 is an encoder only & encodes video into the h.264 standard.

Yep - though AIUI the x264 encoder may be able to encode h.264 video in non-standard "profiles"?

Quote:


b) h.264 is a standard the same way MPEG-2/3/4 is.

h.264 is an extension of MPEG-4 - it is also known as AVC or MPEG4 part 10 I believe. MPEG-4 isn't a single codec - it is a family of codecs and a container standard.

MPEG-2 is a slightly ambiguous description as MPEG-2 can describe an MPEG-2 programme stream - which is effectively video compressed using the MPEG-2 codec. However MPEG-2 can also describe an MPEG-2 transport stream - which could contain video encoded in H264. (This is common on satellite TV broadcasts - and I believe the m2ts standard used for Blu-ray is effectively an MPEG-2 transport stream that can contain MPEG2, H264 or VC-1 video streams?)

BTW - MPEG-3 doesn't exist. Originally MPEG2 was the improved SD codec and MPEG3 was going to be the HD codec. However it became clear that a single family could do both, so MPEG2 covered the areas that were originally planned for MPEG2 and MPEG3 AIUI?

It is all a bit confusing - because some standards - like MPEG2 and MPEG4 - can include both codecs AND containers - whilst others (like mkv) are standards for containers only.

Quote:


c) x264 encoded video can then be watched using a h.264 decoder such as CoreAVC.

Yes - though x264 encodes can use non-standard profiles (or standard compliant but inappropriate profiles), and these may not replay correctly on all h.264 decoders (which may only be compatible with some profiles). This is why some x264 encodes don't replay properly on some hardware h.264-compatible players.
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post #12 of 25 Old 04-18-2009, 11:48 AM
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great thread, and I also have a question:

I'm looking to buy the Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player, and under files supported it states: AVI (MPEG4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV, MOV (MPEG4, H.264)

does this mean it will also play X.264?

from the gathered reading from you guys, it should right? because x.264 is basically an extension of h.264?


just want to know before I buy this item. Thanks guys.
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post #13 of 25 Old 04-18-2009, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

Yes - though x264 encodes can use non-standard profiles (or standard compliant but inappropriate profiles), and these may not replay correctly on all h.264 decoders (which may only be compatible with some profiles). This is why some x264 encodes don't replay properly on some hardware h.264-compatible players.

...just saw this response..
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post #14 of 25 Old 04-18-2009, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crackinhedz View Post

from the gathered reading from you guys, it should right? because x.264 is basically an extension of h.264?

Just to be completely clear, x264 is not an "extension" of H.264, x264 is an implementation of an H.264 encoder, it implements a very wide range of H.264 encoding options.

Additionally, H.264 has almost unlimited encoding possibilities, but most H.264 decoders, especially those implemented in hardware, only implement certain subsets, or "profiles" and "levels" of H.264 options.

So yes, anything that will play H.264 will be able to play video encoded by the x264 encoder, but they will probably only be able to decode a subset of what x264 could create. Thus if you make sure not to go beyond the supported profiles when you encode things with x264 you'll be fine.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #15 of 25 Old 03-21-2013, 08:53 AM
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RE: Samsung Plasma PN60E6500


Great thread guys!


I have just purchased a MAGNIFICENT Samsung 2012 Plasma- LOVE it!

So far (one month owning the rig) I've tested numerous MKV formatted movie files of various bitrates, FPS - all 1080p though. By and far, every movie I've attempted to play on the Samsung TV (PN60E6500 btw) has played flawlessly. All but 2 files.

I've researched and thus far am unable to explain my video playback issues with these 2 files. Both of these "problem" files are as follows:

14GB (1st movie), 15GB file size (2nd movie)
Video Bitrates: 12.8Mbps (1st movie), 14Mbps (2nd movie)
1080p for both
Audio codec: 1.5Mbps DTS Core (1st movie), 1.5Mbps DTS ES (2nd movie)
FPS: can't remember exactly.. prob between 24-30fps (both)

My question is as follows:

The above two files are the only ones I've had any sort of video playback issues with. In movie #1, this movie did not even begin playback. I copied this file onto a USB thumb drive, inserted directly into my TV's USB port for playback. Upon loading this movie, the "loading" indicator came on-screen for a long while (relative to the rest of the files I've tested... almost 10 seconds I would say). After the "loading" message, the TV never began playback, but, rather, turned itself off, then the Tv powered itself back on again - all on its own!

Tried to launch this movie twice, same exact result

Movie #2:
This movie, again, played off a USB thumb drive plugged into the USB port, DID begin video and audio playback. The problem with this file is that the STOP button my tv's remote was frozen! Meaning completely unresponsive - I could not choose to STOP playback when I wanted to. Ironically, the FF, RW and Pause buttons all worked! Furthermore, I let this movie play through to the end with success. After the movie finished and the end credits done rolling, I was expecting my plasma tv to simply stop playback and return me to the USB drive's sub folder menu whereby I can launch another movie. This did NOT happen. When the movie finished playback, the "Loading" indicator came onscreen (this time for only about 5 seconds)... then the TV shut itself off and powered back on again as per the movie file #1 in question.


I have been actively trying to find out the reason for these playback errors when I have come to the conclusion that it's probably a Video specification/compatilibity issue. I inquired into the Audio codec side of things and I've gathered that both DTS and DTS ES are playable with just a standard DTS Core processing ability. So audio is ruled out.

On the video end, every OTHER movie I've tried to play on my TV has played perfectly (and many of these videos that succeeded were in the same bitrate/FPS/resolution vicinity as the two problem files. All these movies were ~8Mbps-15Mbps video bitrate, all 1.5Mbps audio in DTS, all 8GB-15GB in file size and all 1080p, and believe these movies have FPS in the same general region.

So what is REALLY the issue? Upon looking up these two files, curiously, I found that only these two files that crashed my TV had Video encoding specifications denoted as:

x264, CBR, L4.1

Seems the other files that were OK did not have such detailed specs listed. They only listed more general specs - video / audio bitrate, resolution and FPS. They didn't specifically list the 3 above encoding specs.


I looked under my User's Guide and it lists clearly, different compatible video container formats with its maximum bitrate allowed, etc. From memory, I think the user's guide said this tv supports up to H.264 L4.1. Is this any indication?

Are there certain coding specs that differ from file to file even though they're all very similar in file size, bitrate, etc. that would have caused my tv to crash in the aforementioned examples?

What else could be the issue?
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post #16 of 25 Old 03-21-2013, 11:23 AM
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This should be posted in the display forums but I do have one question..

Does the TV decode dts? This may be more of the problem then decoding h.264.

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post #17 of 25 Old 03-21-2013, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

This should be posted in the display forums but I do have one question..

Does the TV decode dts? This may be more of the problem then decoding h.264.

Sammy,

Thanks for getting back to me.

Yes, the TV is DTS core certified (not sure if it supports other DTS extensions natively - don't remember other DTS designations). The Surround Sound (Pioneer) I use with it also decodes DTS core (older system around 2004).

Would the TV itself decode the DTS standard or would the Pioneer surround? Again, a USB stick with the movie is inserted in the TV's USB.
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post #18 of 25 Old 03-21-2013, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

This should be posted in the display forums but I do have one question..

Does the TV decode dts? This may be more of the problem then decoding h.264.

Update - my PN60E6500 supports:

Audio

Dolby® Digital Plus / Dolby® Pulse
SRS TheaterSound HD™
Dts 2.0 + Digital Out available
10 W x 2 Sound Output (RMS)
Down Firing + Full Range
Auto Volume Leveler available
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post #19 of 25 Old 03-21-2013, 01:02 PM
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Download MediaInfo.
Insert the USB stick into your PC.
Navigate to the file in question.
Right click on the file and select MediaInfo.
Report back the codecs of the file.

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post #20 of 25 Old 03-21-2013, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Download MediaInfo.
Insert the USB stick into your PC.
Navigate to the file in question.
Right click on the file and select MediaInfo.
Report back the codecs of the file.

Will do tonite.. back w report tomorrow. Thanks for the help so far!
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post #21 of 25 Old 03-22-2013, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Download MediaInfo.
Insert the USB stick into your PC.
Navigate to the file in question.
Right click on the file and select MediaInfo.
Report back the codecs of the file.

Hey Sammy,


Ok... I have clipped the entire details report under the Text mode (omitting info related to Subs):
This is the one that would begin playback, but the STOP button on the remote is completely unresponsive. FF, RW, PAUSE all work though. Also, when the movie finishes, the tv shuts itself off , then powers back on again?

Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4 / Version 2
File size : 14.1 GiB
Duration : 2h 6mn
Overall bit rate : 15.9 Mbps
Encoded date : UTC 2013-02-28 16:46:54
Writing application : mkvmerge v6.0.0 ('Coming Up For Air') built on Jan 20 2013 09:52:00
Writing library : libebml v1.3.0 + libmatroska v1.4.0

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : High@L4.1
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames
Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration : 2h 6mn
Bit rate : 14.5 Mbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 036 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 1.85:1
Frame rate mode : Constant
Frame rate : 23.976 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.304
Stream size : 12.5 GiB (89%)
Writing library : x264 core 129 r2230 1cffe9f
Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=2 / deblock=1:-1:-1 / analyse=0x3:0x113 / me=hex / subme=2 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.00:0.00 / mixed_ref=0 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=0 / threads=16 / lookahead_threads=2 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / bluray_compat=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=2 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=1 / weightb=1 / open_gop=0 / weightp=1 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=23 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc_lookahead=40 / rc=abr / mbtree=1 / bitrate=14500 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=0 / qpmax=69 / qpstep=4 / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.00
Language : English
Default : Yes
Forced : No

Audio
ID : 2
Format : DTS
Format/Info : Digital Theater Systems
Format profile : ES
Mode : 16
Format settings, Endianness : Big
Codec ID : A_DTS
Duration : 2h 6mn
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 1 509 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth : 24 bits
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 1.34 GiB (10%)
Language : English
Default : Yes
Forced : No





This next one also doesn't work. Difference is this one won't even start playback! It displays "loading", then the tv turns off, then back on again!


Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 2
File size : 4.97 GiB
Duration : 1h 57mn
Overall bit rate : 6 047 Kbps
Encoded date : UTC 2011-10-20 15:13:05
Writing application : mkvmerge v4.0.0 ('The Stars were mine') built on Jun 5 2010 17:44:09
Writing library : libebml v1.0.0 + libmatroska v1.0.0

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : High@L5.0
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 5 frames
Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration : 1h 57mn
Bit rate : 5 300 Kbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 800 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 2.40:1
Frame rate mode : Constant
Frame rate : 23.976 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.144
Stream size : 4.25 GiB (86%)
Title : Eagle Eye (2008) 1080p [mkvonly]
Writing library : x264 core 112
Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=6 / deblock=1:-2:-1 / analyse=0x3:0x133 / me=umh / subme=10 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.10:0.05 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=64 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=2 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=-3 / threads=12 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=7 / b_pyramid=1 / b_adapt=2 / b_bias=0 / direct=3 / weightb=1 / open_gop=0 / weightp=2 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=23 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc_lookahead=80 / rc=2pass / mbtree=1 / bitrate=5300 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=3 / qpmax=51 / qpstep=4 / cplxblur=20.0 / qblur=0.5 / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.20
Language : English
Default : Yes
Forced : No
Color primaries : BT.709
Transfer characteristics : BT.709
Matrix coefficients : BT.709

Audio
ID : 2
Format : DTS
Format/Info : Digital Theater Systems
Mode : 16
Format settings, Endianness : Big
Codec ID : A_DTS
Duration : 1h 57mn
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 755 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth : 24 bits
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 635 MiB (12%)
Language : English
Default : Yes
Forced : No
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post #22 of 25 Old 03-22-2013, 06:04 PM
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Those are 6 channel dts but your TV can only decode 2 channel dts. The second on has higher re(ference) frames so that may be the problem.

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post #23 of 25 Old 03-23-2013, 05:57 PM
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This probably the reason the second doesn't play:

Format profile : High@L5.0
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post #24 of 25 Old 03-23-2013, 07:14 PM
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Yeah. I was on my phone and did not see that. 4.1 is typically what I see.

You can use HandBrake to re-mux these into something that will play on your TV or better yet build an HTPC and get an AVR to enjoy the full audio!

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post #25 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 10:25 AM
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There are two very revealing values in the two file descriptions:

(High@L4.1)  Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.304

(High@L5.0)  Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.144

 

The playback hardware/software in your display cannot understand the second file. They can understand the first file, but someone monkeyed with the details of the settings and disabled the stop button. Possibly during a 'transcoding' pass that changed the Profile and/or Level of the 1st file.

 

Have a look at the Profile and Level charts in the wikipedia article on the H.264 AVC standard:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC.

 

High profile (as in "High@") is a large set of capabilities found in mass-market products:

 

High Profile (HiP) : The primary profile for broadcast and disc storage applications, particularly for high-definition television applications (for example, this is the profile adopted by the Blu-ray Disc storage format and the DVB HDTV broadcast service).

 

The lower level profiles, Constrained, Baseline, Extended and Main address less-than-HD image sizes/rates and compression. MP, Main Profile, in particular, is the Standard Definition profile, and as the name suggests, was originally expected to predominate in the market. But High Definition took off and High is probably most common today in the 1st world. There's a nice pink and green graphic comparing the capability presumed by each profile. at the bottom of the section: "Feature support in particular profiles".  The profile is non-negotiable. If your file is HiP and your playback is MP, the data is unusable by the decoder. The profile is the bag of tricks available to decode, un-compress and interpret the data in the file and produce a stream of images for a display. Obviously, the same tricks were used when the original video was described, encoded and compressed to minimize the size of the resulting files. Some tricks are patented and licensed, some are not. But the properties are binary- something has them or doesn't have them. Black or white.

 

The Level ("L4.1", "L5.0" refers to the capability required by the data, within a particular profile. No surprise, HiP@1.0 is possible but not often seen, and the same for CP@L5.0 The "Levels" section of the same Wikipedia article cover it. in particular, check the table entries at the bottom of the section:

 

 

Level |.. Max decoding speed
.........|...Luma samples/s, Macroblocks/s

4.1 ...|.. 62,914,560,   245,760

5.0 ...|.150,994,944,  589,824

 

Level |.. Max frame size

............|.. Luma samples, Macroblocks

4.1 ...|..2,097,152,   8,192

5.0 ...|..5,652,480, 22,080

 

Level |.. Max video bit rate for video coding layer (VCL) kbit/s.......

.........|.. Baseline, Extended and Main Profiles  ..|.. High Profile ..|.. High 10 Profile

4.1 ...|....50,000 ..|... 62,500 ..|.. 150,000    

5.0 ...|..135,000 ..|.. 168,750 ..|.. 405,000

 

Level |.. Examples for high resolution.@ highest frame rate (max stored frames)

4.1 ...|

1,280×720@68.3 (9),

1,920×1,080@30.1 (4), 

2,048×1,024@30.0 (4)

 

5.0 ...|

1,920×1,080@72.3 (13),

2,048×1,024@72.0 (13),

2,048×1,080@67.8 (12),

2,560×1,920@30.7 (5),

3,672×1,536@26.7 (5)

 

 

So your decoder is High (HiP) and has enough horsepower for level 4.1 but not 5.0. The difference is a factor of 2.x, a lot.

If you have transcoding software you can drop the level from 5.0 to 4.1, which will increase the file size but reduce the runtime power required to use it.

 

The same transcoding software might let you re-enable to stop button on the 1st video.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

BillAbbott4 is offline  
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