At High Bit Rates straight MP4 may look better than an H264 encoded file?
I encode mostly TV Stuff for my XBMC PC, alot of that is older Black & White Stuff and 60's TV. I Keep the Bitrate about 2500 and Use Handbrake. I've compared an H264 encoded ep with a straight FFMpeg encode at the same bitrate. With the Color stuff H264 seems Drab and Washed out, the FFMpeg encode has better color saturation and depth. At the bitrate Macroblocking isn't too prevelent, the H264 encode has less of it, but the FFMpeg looks ok.
Anyone else finding H264 not all the end all , especially for TV Stuff.