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Blog Essay: H.264 is Magic


Nice long blog post about a ubiquitous video compression algorithm.

"H.264 is Magic"

H.264 is a video compression codec standard. It is ubiquitous - internet video, Blu-ray, phones, security cameras, drones, everything. Everything uses H.264 now.

H.264 is a remarkable piece of technology. It is the result of 30+ years of work with one single goal: To reduce the bandwidth required for transmission of full-motion video.

Technically, it is very interesting. This post will give insight into some of the details at a high level - I hope to not bore you too much with the intricacies. Also note that many of the concepts explained here apply to video compression in general, and not just H.264.

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Yet easily surpassed in x.265 also known as h.265 also known as HEVC. Picture quality is far better and storage space requirements/streaming requirements are much lower in comparison with h.264.

There is also coming such an improvement coming for audio, mainly the AAC audio codec. HE-AAC has already been in use since digital radio became common. But now there is HEv2-AAC and especially for voice information will benefit as it will take significantly less bandwidth to transfer that data. See here for an introduction.


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