Summary
Advanced Video Coding (AVC), also referred to as H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10, is a video compression standard based on block-oriented, motion-compensated coding. It is by far the most commonly used format for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content, used by 91% of video industry developers . It supports a maximum resolution of 8K UHD. The intent of the H.264/AVC project was to create a standard capable of providing good video quality at substantially lower bit rates than previous standards (i.e., half or less the bit rate of MPEG-2, H.263, or MPEG-4 Part 2), without increasing the complexity of design so much that it would be impractical or excessively expensive to implement. This was achieved with features such as a reduced-complexity integer discrete cosine transform (integer DCT), variable block-size segmentation, and multi-picture inter-picture prediction. An additional goal was to provide enough flexibility to allow the standard to be applied to a wide variety of applications on a wide variety of networks and systems, including low and high bit rates, low and high resolution video, broadcast, DVD storage, RTP/IP packet networks, and ITU-T multimedia telephony systems. The H.264 standard can be viewed as a "family of standards" composed of a number of different profiles, although its "High profile" is by far the most commonly used format. A specific decoder decodes at least one, but not necessarily all profiles. The standard describes the format of the encoded data and how the data is decoded, but it does not specify algorithms for encoding video - that is left open as a matter for encoder designers to select for themselves, and a wide variety of encoding schemes have been developed. H.264 is typically used for lossy compression, although it is also possible to create truly lossless-coded regions within lossy-coded pictures or to support rare use cases for which the entire encoding is lossless. H.264 was standardized by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) of Study Group 16 together with the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).
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