We contacted Axis regarding your question about their inclusion of H.265, and here is their response:
You are right that Axis has stated that H.265 is not well supported and Zipstream works as well. Zipstream is ideal for typical video surveillance scenes, which are not always well lit and often have long periods with no action. For a typical video surveillance scene, Zipstream gives a significantly greater contribution to bitrate reduction than H.265 does compared to H.264.
H.265 does compress better than H.264 in some scenarios, particularly with a lot of motion, even though the reduction is typically less. Over the last couple of years, Axis has added H.265 support to the greater part of the portfolio, still keeping H.264. Video management systems (hardware and software) support H.265 to a greater extent today than a couple of years ago, but there are still many systems that do not. Browser and smartphone support for H.265 is not improving, and there are still licensing issues.
Axis believes that H.264 and H.265 will coexist for a long time.
They marketed that H.265 was not well adopted because they didn't have it... It takes time to move your products to a new chipset that supports a new codec, plus update ONVIF support, tools, recording software, etc.
Axis chose to promote their ZipSteam as a substitute for H.265, so that they didn't have to state that they were behind the ball on it. Now they are quietly sneaking it in as they refresh their lineup. I would assume that all new models (except companion type models) will include it once their chipset and other parts of their solutions are updated.
Note the doublespeak that Zipstream gives a better reduction, then they state that H.265 compresses better in some scenarios. Other manufacturers have adopted H.265 + smart codecs. (Of course some manufacturers can only do smart codecs on H.264 :( )
H.264 is older technology. H.265 was developed to mitigate many deficiencies of H.264, such as significant motion artifacting, as it is over 10 years old. H.265 is a much newer CODEC.
Zipstream was definately a breakthrough when it came out.
The H. 264/AVC standard was first published in 2003, which is ancient in terms of CODECs.
Below is an example of the various types of artifacts that are common with H.264 from resarch articles online. H.264 has an in-loop deblocking filter which can cause artifacts, which were not present in MJPEG video from before H.264. H.265 provided necessary enhancements to minimize these artifacts.
fyi: for those considering the M series - be sure to look into the amount of "streams" (Axis-speak for the number of outputs) supported by the camera corresponding to your video quality requirements. I'm running the latest firmware for the M2026-LE Mk II and constantly getting viewer timeout issues.
I'd also like to know where you are seeing the viewer timeout issues. Additionally (if applicable), are there any other cameras on that network experience the same issues? How many different streams are being viewed at the same time?
Does the network/ping drop when doing a constant ping and viewing that camera, or does just the viewer quit? I haven't had many issues on that front with other cameras, and when I have, I would either increase compression/lower quality, or slightly decrease the FPS a few frames, just to see if it would help stop the stream from dropping. Thanks, and looking forward to your feedback.