MPEG2 VS MPEG4 VS H264, What Are the Differences?

MPEG2 VS MPEG4 VS H264, What Are the Differences

MPEG2, MPEG4 and H264 are standards used for data compression and decompression. What makes each video coding format different from the other? Read on to find out.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Dec 25, 2020 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions


video compression formats

Digital video coding has come a long way from when the idea was introduced in 1967 with H. 120 as the first digital coding standard. The MPEG2 was introduced in 1994, the MPEG4 in 1999, and the H.264 in 2003.

This article will enumerate the features of MPEG2, MPEG4, and H264, as well as explain their differences.

Part 1: What is H 264 Video Format?

The H. 264 video coding format, which is also known as the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) is the most widely used format for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content as of September of this year. If you've used internet streaming sources like Netflix and YouTube and web software like the Adobe Flash Player, then you've seen the H.264 at work. Various HDTV broadcasts over terrestrial, cable, and satellite also make use of the H.264 video coding format.

It was standardized by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) together with the ISO/IEC JTC1 Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). The first version was completed in 2003. The H.264 video format intended to provide good video quality at a bit rate lower than the video coding formats that came before it. It was meant to do this without increasing the complexity of the design or becoming too expensive to implement. It was also meant to be flexible so that it could be applied to a wide variety of networks and systems.

The H.264 achieved all of the above successfully by using features such as:

Also, its top advantages include the following:

h264 use interface

What is M4A and MPG files? How to recover the M4A and MPG files?

Part 2: What Is MPEG2 and MPEG4?

The Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) is the body responsible for the standards used in video encoding, standards like MPEG2 and MPEG4. This section will give you the information you need on MPEG2 and MPEG4.

1. What is MPEG2?

MPEG2 is the codec used to compress digital broadcast video and DVDs. Media files encoded with the MPEG-2 codec usually have the file extensions .mpg, .mpeg, .m2v, .mp2, or in some cases, .mp3. It is also known as H.262 and is still used in over-the-air digital television broadcasting and the DVD-Video standard.

The MPEG2 was created in 1994 to fix the shortcomings of its predecessor MPEG1. It is still in use because of a need for backward compatibility with existing hardware and software. It was developed primarily by Sony, Thomson, and Mitsubishi Electric. After its release, it became the standard video format for DVD and SD digital television.

The advantages you will enjoy when using the MPEG2 format include:

  • A video quality that is superior to those of other video formats.
  • A very simple method of video compression.
  • An ability to handle video streams from such local sources as cable broadcasts and DVDs.

mpeg2 user interface

Anyone who lost or deleted MPEG video files accidentally can turn to the guide: Learn how to recover deleted MPEG videos.

2. What is MPEG4?

The MPEG4 standard is an MPEG4 format that was initiated in 1995. It reached a committee draft status in 1998 (March) and at the end of the same 1998, its creation was finalized. Initially, it was created specifically for bit rates that were very low but presently, it can support up to 4Mbps. MPEG4 contains six parts which make it able to perform its functions, they are visual, software, systems, Delivery Multimedia Integration Framework (DMIF), conformance testing, and audio.

This video encoding standard is designed to be used in broadcast, conversational, and interactive environments. It is also designed to carry out content-based scalability. Because of how MPEG4 is built (having adopted features from MPEG1, MPEG2, and VRML), you can use it in both web environments and television and you can integrate content from both channels into the same multimedia environment.

The advantages of MPEG4 can be seen in more of its features and these include:

  • An integration of both synthetic and natural content in object form. An object could be a representation of recorded entities like a chair, a person; or synthesized material like a face, a person, an animated 3D model.
  • Great support for content in 2D, as well as in 3D.
  • Support for all kinds of interactivity.
  • It can code efficiently from very low rates (5 Kbit/s for videos and 2 Kbit/s for speech) to very high rates (up to 64 Kbit/s per channel for quality Audio of CDs and 5 Mbit/a for transparent quality Video).
  • With the use of URLs, it adds to VRML native support for content that is natural and streamed in real-time.
  • A scene description that is efficiently represented.
  • A wide range of coverage of bit rates, qualities, and services, applications, and resolutions.

Also, this format supports compatibility with the other standards that are already in existence, such as MPEG1, MPEG2, VRML, H.263, and ITU-T. Its impact is felt in two areas:

Firstly, in production, programming, and archiving. Here, it allows broadcasters to browse with ease and speed, video archives.

Secondly, in repurposing assets of digital video. MPEG-4 is what broadcasters need when it comes to the distribution of content over IP, broadband, and mobile networks, and not just through a traditional broadcast system. MPEG4 has a high efficiency when it comes to coding for low bit rates which makes it ideal for the job.

3. Are MP4 and MPEG4 the same thing?

Many people tend to confuse MP4 and MPEG4 by assuming both are the same thing or variations of the same thing. This is not the case as each means a different thing. Simply put, MP4 is a store or container format while MPEG4 is a video encoding standard or format.

  • MPEG4 is a standard for video encoding. It is used for the compression of AV data for distribution over the web and in CDs; for voice sound (videophone and telephone), and also for television broadcast.
  • MP4 was developed from Apple's MOV file to store video files that have been encoded by MPEG4. Note that MP4 can also store digital data (video and audio) that has been encoded by other encoding formats.
  • Similarly, both MPEG4 and MP4 are software developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). MP4 is one of the latest video formats developed for efficient video distribution and streaming through the internet while MPEG4 has been developed since the '90s as a standard for encoding videos.
Do you know what to do when the MP4 videos are corrupted? Now, let's have a look at how to repair MP4 videos.
- 2 minutes to read it.

Part 3: MPEG2 VS MPEG4 VS H264

1. Differences among MPEG2, MPEG4, and H264:

To give you a better understanding of the MPEG2, MPEG4, and H264 standards, their features are compared below:

  • The MPEG4 format uses an algorithm that has a 16 x 16 DCT (Discrete Cosine Transform); this allows for a higher rate of compression. This is a notable difference between MPEG2 and MPEG4.
  • Both MPEG4 and MPEG2 provide high-definition video quality, which is higher than H264. However, MPEG2 produces the best when it comes to video quality.
  • MPEG2 has a larger file size than MPEG4 and H264 which makes it difficult to be compatible with portable devices, along with internet video streaming. On the other hand, MPEG4 with its high rate of compression in smaller file sizes can work across mobile networks without losing its high-quality.
  • If you want to encode your digital data on DVDs, the ideal method to use is MPEG2. If you want to encode your digital data online and on portable devices, MPEG4 is the go-to encoding standard. For video encoding on Blu-ray discs, the H264 is recommended as the most commonly used format.
  • Compared to MPEG4, the MPEG2 format is quite easier to use as a video compression format. However, H264 is open and it has a published specification, available for implementation by basically anyone.
  • MPEG4 contains more interactive features that allow you to manipulate different elements on your videos in real-time.
  • H264 has the most flexibility which allows it to be applied to many different applications on a wide range of systems and networks.

2. How to Make a Video Format Conversion:

Video formats are usually converted from one form to another for various reasons such as compatibility with the user's device, higher quality. There are many video converters you can use to convert videos from one format to another. Choose the converter you prefer and follow these standard steps to convert one form of video format to another:

  • Select the video files you wish to convert.
  • Choose the output format i.e, the video format you want to convert your video to.
  • Click on the "Convert" button or option to begin the conversion process.
  • Save the converted video file to your desired location by clicking on the "Download" option.

Part 4: How to Recover and Repair Videos

Videos get corrupt or missing many times due to one factor or the other. This has made it necessary to know how to repair videos when they get damaged and recover them when they get missing from your computer. In this part, you will learn why videos get missing and corrupt. You will be shown the best tool to use for recovering videos that are missing from your system storage. More importantly, you will know the tool to use for repairing videos that are corrupt on your system and how to use it.

There is a need for you to repair your videos if they get damaged or corrupted from the following:

  • Error: An error can occur from shooting a video, playing it back, or during the transfer from one device to another. An error can also come from the system itself if it is corrupt.
  • Virus infestation or malware infection: Any system affected with viruses tends to corrupt all the files stored within it; this includes your saved video files.

If your video gets corrupted for any reason, you can use the  Wondershare Repairit Video Repair tool to perform a quick or advanced repair of your videos. All you need to do is use the following steps as a guide:

Step 1: Add the corrupt video file.

Use the "Drag and drop" option to move your corrupted video files to the interface.

add corrupted videos

Step 2: Start the process of video repair.

Select "Repair" to start repairing the video files you have added.

repair corrupted videos

Step 3: Preview and save videos.

The progress bar will display the repair process so you can be aware of when it is complete. Preview the repaired video file before saving it to a location of your choice.

preview and save repaired videos

Step 4: Proceed to perform "Advanced Repair".

For an advanced repair, a sample video is shot by Wondershare Repairit. The sample video is in the same format as your corrupt video file, and it is created from the same device. Therefore, it uses the information in the sample video as a reference in repairing your severely damaged video.

start advanced video repair

Step 5: Add sample video files.

For an effective advanced video recovery, ensure you add the sample video files, and repair the corrupt video once again. Next, save the files.

add sample video files to repair

This article has been able to explain the meanings of MPEG2, MPEG4, and, H264. In light of this, these video compression formats have been compared and their differences are clearly defined. You can now make an informed decision on what format to use for your video compression, based on their peculiarities.

What's the difference between MPEG4, MP4, MP3, and MOV video formats?
Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

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