H.264 vs MJPEG - Quality and Bandwidth Testedby John Honovich, IPVM posted on Jul 29, 2010 About John Contact John
Encoding video optimally is critical for IP video surveillance systems. Should you choose H.264 or MJPEG? While industry momentum certainly favors H.264, when and how to best use H.264 are important questions.
We believe the 3 key questions in considering H.264 vs MJPEG are:
- How much bandwidth savings does H.264 provide over MJPEG?
- What type of image quality differences can you expect between H.264 and MJPEG?
- What differences in computing load will you experience between H.264 and MJPEG?
This report provides our results and recommendations on the first two questions - bandwidth and image quality.From our tests, we recommend the following 3 key criteria to understand H.26/MJPEG's impact on quality and bandwidth:
- Determine the complexity of the scene being captured/recorded
- Determine the streaming mode / control of the camera being used
- Determine the ratio of total frames to I frames (for H.264)
The tests reveal no magic numbers - the answer is not 80% bandwidth savings or 10% less quality (or any other single value for X or Y). While H.264 generally reduces bandwidth consumption significantly, it depends on multiple factors (including complexity, streaming mode, frame rate and i frame rate). VBR vs CBR selection is especially important, having a especially large impact on use and performance. Finally, while H.264 can deliver the same visible image quality as MJPEG, depending on the settings you use (especially streaming mode), you can easily generate worse quality.
Inside our premium report, we examine and explain each of these elements in-depth with a series of sample videos and tutorial video screencasts. The video introduction below overviews the approach we took:
Premium members should allocate 1-3 hours to read the full report
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