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toonami335

H.264 vs H.265

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I was operating under the assumption that H.265 (HEVC) is better than H.264 (AVC) in all areas. But, I seem to find opinions which indicates that H.264 is better in terms of quality. Personally, I can't notice loss in video quality unless it gets all blurry or pixelated.

So is H.265 actually better in all areas or is it falling behind H.264 in some areas?

Someone please enlighten me.

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h.264 doesn't support hdr, but is overall well known and can deliver near lossless encodes.

h.265 supports hdr, but isn't well know so re-encoding in h.265 can give worse results.

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Pretty soon I'm gonna sticky a thread answering this question... 

 

It mostly depends on the person actually encoding it, but as a rule: H264 will probably be the better quality one, while H264 will have better compression and be smaller. 265 will take more hardware to decode properly and won't be as compatible with all devices, but is also required for HDR in 4k videos. 

 

Short: 264 encodes are better to download unless 4K HDR is needed. 

 

 

 

There's a lot more nuance but I'm on my phone. 

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From my experience, x265 is worse no matter what i've tried. I've tried all sorts of different settings, speeds. Compared images side by side. x265 continuously blurs away detail when I don't want it to.

 

I'm sure its fine for cartoons and anime, but live action stuff I have found x265 is just plain worse.

 

Not to mention it is incredibly slow.

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When I say fine I'm hardly praising it, fine is like... a bland meal, its acceptable. I've done extensive tests with x265 and found the results always lacking, even with cartoons.

 

I personally would never use x265, for anything unless I had to... like 4K

 

But I admit its great if you care only about filesize :P

Edited by EccentricOne

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43 minutes ago, toonami335 said:

Such a shame. A supposedly more advanced coded having worse quality.

Just to be clear, H265 doesn't have to be worse. The problem is mostly in the encoder we have available (x265). 

 

It took nearly a decade to develop and understand x264 to the level we do now, and produce consistent quality results that the encoders regularly achieve. x264 was first released waaaaaaaay back in 2004, while x265 has only been available since 2013. x264 has gotten quite a bit more work put in, especially since it was the king of encoders during the height of P2P sharing where full files were regularly passed around (these days, streaming is the lion's share of media piracy).

 

From comparisons done by people much better at this than me, H265 can actually produce fantastic results and at the lower quality, but we've only seen that with commercially developed encoders used by companies like Netflix and Hulu (I haven't heard anything about Amazon H265 offerings). Since all we have to work with is x265, and since the major encoding groups already have an established pipeline with x264 where they achieve transparent encodes at a reasonable enough filesize, no one's working on it anymore.

 

To understand why, it really comes down to differing needs. When H264/x264 came out, it was a mindblowing step forward. Quality improved dramatically over the most popular standard at the time (XviD, the open source implementation of DivX). Couple this with the sharp rise in P2P thanks to torrents and there was a lot more motivation to get great compression, since hard drive space was still at a relative premium. HD content really took off around the same time too. Shows like Lost were broadcast in HD and made available at 1080p, and those Hawaii landscapes were gorgeous in HD (still are), so unless everyone wanted to buy a ton more hard drive space, we needed better compression. The scene really pushed the transition too, when scenerules were released requiring all new encodes to be on x264. (This created a hilarious effect on public indexes that don't understand the scene, with tons of comments wondering how "every single group changed codecs overnight?" "why can't i play anything anymore?")

 

Compare that to today, where hard drive space is relatively cheap, huge cloud solutions are available, streaming is plentiful, internet speeds are more than fast enough to handle even the highest bitrate videos. H265 simply isn't a big enough jump, and honestly I'm not sure AV1 will be either. The motivation isn't there to the same degree it was for H264/x264. The real transition will only occur once HDR content is plentiful and HDR-enabled screens start holding a significant share. Since x264 doesn't support HDR, there must be a change in codec.

 

 

 

in short: H265 is better than H264 but no one knows how to get those results and no one wants to spend the time to figure out how because it's probably not worth it.

Edited by Catar

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So it'll take a few years to get enough research into it. When everyone starts working at releasing 4K or 8K, we'll get enough research into x265 to make it better.

Seems fair enough.

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I think they can be pretty comparable in quality (up to basically lossless if you set the bitrate high enough), all depending on whatever settings you choose when encoding. The point though is that h265 can encode at the same quality but significantly smaller file sizes. To go with that though, since it is so much more compressed, it requires a lot of CPU/GPU power to decode and playback, more than many systems have or are able to, unless they have specialized dedicated hardware to do so (UHD players, some TVs, GPUs in computers, etc.).

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12 minutes ago, deusxanime said:

h265 can encode at the same quality but significantly smaller file sizes.

This is actually not correct based on various tests done by a multitude of experienced encoder across several communities.

 

Every test done has shown that they can be comparable at same sizes, but x265 doesn't have any real significant compression benefits over x264 without beginning to lose details to aide in it's compression. Any decently comparable encodes between x265 and x264 have always been roughly the same size; in some cases the x265 was actually a few MB bigger, but generally it's only slightly smaller.

 

The 1-2% compression benefit isn't deemed worth increasing encode time by up to 4 times as long.

 

x265 having some magical compression benefits for tiny file sizes is just some silly meme those mini-encoders want gullible people to believe so they get more downloads. There is a reason the fansub scene hasn't made the jump to x265 encodes and even the live-action P2P scenes tend to stick to x264 at this time as well.

 

Still only two reasons at this time to use x265 and that is either HDR or mini-encodes.

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30 minutes ago, Koby said:

Still only two reasons at this time to use x265 and that is either HDR or mini-encodes.

Going by your explanation above how is the second reason valid. I mean, if I understood correctly, you said that h265 aren't smaller(at least significantly) for the same quality, so, why? Unless you were referring to:

33 minutes ago, Koby said:

x265 having some magical compression benefits for tiny file sizes is just some silly meme those mini-encoders want gullible people to believe so they get more downloads.

 

 

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1 minute ago, ani-me said:

Going by your explanation above how is the second reason valid. I mean, if I understood correctly, you said that h265 aren't smaller(at least significantly) for the same quality, so, why? Unless you were referring to:

 

 

They aren't the same quality at lower filesizes, but at lower bitrates, H265/x265 is more efficient. So if you aren't going for actual quality (like we are), H265/x265 is a better choice since you'll get better quality at low bitrates.

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7 minutes ago, Catar said:

They aren't the same quality at lower filesizes, but at lower bitrates, H265/x265 is more efficient. So if you aren't going for actual quality (like we are), H265/x265 is a better choice since you'll get better quality at low bitrates.

Oh.... Thanks for the clarification... I get it now... I believe

Please correct me, but what I understand is that:

Mini-encoders are able to achieve smaller file size only due to a low bitrate, but this fails at higher bitrate encodes...

And, as far as H264 vs H265 mini-encodes go, h265 encodes have visually ~similar~ quality to H264 due to it's better efficiency at ONLY lower bitrate, and hence a smaller size than H264

 

 

So, short version, H265 has two advantages

Can encode 4K and more

Better quality at lower bitrates, hence mini-encoders can lower the bitrate even further, thus allowing them to produce even smaller sized files...

 

 

Right?

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4 minutes ago, ani-me said:

Oh.... Thanks for the clarification... I get it now... I believe

Please correct me, but what I understand is that:

Mini-encoders are able to achieve smaller file size only due to a low bitrate, but this fails at higher bitrate encodes...

And, as far as H264 vs H265 mini-encodes go, h265 encodes have visually ~similar~ quality to H264 due to it's better efficiency at ONLY lower bitrate, and hence a smaller size than H264

 

 

So, short version, H265 has two advantages

Can encode 4K and more

Better quality at lower bitrates, hence mini-encoders can lower the bitrate even further, thus allowing them to produce even smaller sized files...

 

 

Right?

Very close. H264/x264 can encode 4K+ just fine. It's HDR that it can't do. Important distinction.

 

But yes. H265/x265 is better for mini-encodes because it's more efficient. For everything else, H264/x264 is still the best, because we produce better quality results with it.

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4 minutes ago, Catar said:

Very close. H264/x264 can encode 4K+ just fine. It's HDR that it can't do. Important distinction.

 

But yes. H265/x265 is better for mini-encodes because it's more efficient. For everything else, H264/x264 is still the best, because we produce better quality results with it.

Oh...sorry, HDR... yes, it said HDR above too...

Great... Thanks a lot! :D 

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Recently, I've been getting x265 for anime and tv shows more often. Guess I wasn't as obsessed with every strand of detail as I was before. Gone were the days I hoarded full-on Coalgirls encodes (whether the filesize actually gave merit to the quality). x265 is decent enough, great for casual viewing and pretty portable. I agree x265 works well with mini-encodes - and it's quite enjoyable for that purpose.

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