H.264 vs H.265 vs Mpeg 4 Codecs Explained – Which is best for an NVR?

When it comes to video compression, three codecs often come up in discussion: H.264, H.265, and MPEG-4. Each of these represents a generation of video encoding and decoding technology, and understanding their differences can be critical for a variety of applications like streaming, video editing, and more. Let’s dive into these standards and see what sets them apart.

H.264 (AVC)

1. Introduction: H.264, also known as AVC (Advanced Video Codec), is a commonly used video compression standard. It’s widely implemented in everything from mobile devices to high-definition televisions.

2. Efficiency: H.264 offers significant compression over previous codecs, allowing for high-quality video at lower file sizes.

3. Compatibility: H.264 is widely supported across various platforms and devices, making it a go-to choice for many applications.

4. Flexibility: It can handle various resolutions, from low-quality mobile video up to full HD.

5. Drawbacks: The efficiency of H.264 is no longer considered cutting-edge, and newer standards like H.265 offer improvements in compression efficiency.

H.265 (HEVC)

1. Introduction: H.265, also known as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), is the successor to H.264 and aims to provide better compression at the same level of video quality.

2. Efficiency: H.265 can reduce file size by up to 50% compared to H.264 at the same quality level. This is particularly useful for 4K video streaming.

3. Compatibility: While not as widely supported as H.264, H.265 is gaining traction in newer devices and platforms.

4. Flexibility: Like H.264, it can support various resolutions, but it’s especially effective for high-resolution content.

5. Drawbacks: The complexity of H.265 means higher computational requirements, leading to increased power consumption and potentially limiting its use in some low-powered devices.


1. Introduction: MPEG-4 is a broad standard that includes a variety of video and audio compression methods. H.264 is, in fact, a part of the MPEG-4 standard.

2. Efficiency: Its efficiency varies depending on the specific implementation. It generally falls behind H.265 in terms of compression but can be on par with or even surpass H.264 in some scenarios.

3. Compatibility: MPEG-4 has widespread support, thanks to its versatility and long history in the industry.

4. Flexibility: It can be tailored to many applications and supports a broad range of media types.

5. Drawbacks: The broad nature of MPEG-4 can lead to inconsistency in performance and quality across different implementations.

H.264 vs H.265 Differences

H.264 (AVC)

H.265 (HEVC)

Supported Video Formats

mkv, mp4, qtff, asf, avi, mxf, ps, ts, m2ts, evo, 3gp, f4v

mkv, mp4, qtff, asf, avi, mxf, ps, ts, 3gp

Bandwidth Required for Video Encoding

480p @ 1.5 Mbps

480p @0.75 Mbps

720p @3 mpbs

720p @1.5 mpbs

1080p @6 Mbps

1080p @4 Mbps

4K @32 mbps

4K @ 15 mbps

Required Bandwidth for 4K Broadcasting

32 mbps

15 mbps

Intraframe Prediction

9 modes

35 modes

Motion Compensation Technology

Vector prediction

Advanced vector prediction

Color Depth

8 bit

10 bit

Video Codecs for NVRs

For a typical Hikvision NVR setup, both H.264 and H.265 can be suitable options, depending on your specific needs.

  • If your priority is broad compatibility and moderate storage efficiency without overburdening the hardware, H.264 could be the right choice.
  • If you are working with high-resolution cameras and want to maximise storage efficiency, and if your NVR and cameras support it, H.265 might be the preferable option.

Leave a Comment