What’s the Difference Between x265 and x264 Video Coding?

Steven Hayes
By Steven Hayes 19 Min Read
19 Min Read

Introduction to x265 and x264 video coding

x265 and x264 video coding are two popular methods to compress videos. Both have unique features that make them suitable for different uses.

x265 is newer and can compress images more efficiently, resulting in smaller files with the same quality as x264. However, it requires higher processing power to run smoothly. On the other hand, x264 is older but cost-effective and requires less encoding time. It’s ideal for delivery networks where bandwidth is limited.

In terms of compatibility, most devices support both types of video compression formats, making them versatile options for video production. While both use similar encoding techniques such as motion compensation and interframe prediction during compression, their output quality contrasts vary significantly depending on their preset configuration or settings.

It’s fascinating to learn that videos encoded with different software quality settings can differ significantly in their performance results such as speed, size, quality, bitrates per minutes/second when analyzed under controlled conditions. Therefore it’s essential always to analyze and test your video content before deploying it online or selling it to clients as an end-product.

Prepare to get technical: We’re diving deep into the differences between x264 and x265 video coding, so break out your geek glasses.

Technical differences between x265 and x264 video coding

To understand the technical differences between x265 and x264, you need to know how they compare in terms of bit rate, file size, preset configuration options, encoding speed and efficiency, quality comparison, and compatibility with different devices and players. In the following sub-sections, we’ll explore each of these aspects and help you gain a comprehensive understanding of x265 and x264 video coding.

Bit rate and file size

The encoding process of x265 and x264 video coding has some technical differences that result in variable bit rate and file size. To shed more light on it, we have created a table that highlights the comparison of bit rate and file size in both encoders.

Encoder Average Bit Rate (Mbps) File Size for 2 Minutes Video @1080p (MB)
x264 8-12 150-200
x265 3-8 50-100

As observed from the table, x265 has a lower average bit rate compared to x264, resulting in smaller file sizes. This difference is because of the improvement in compression efficiency achieved by x265, making it more suitable for low-bandwidth networks or space-limited devices.

It’s important to note that besides these technical differences, there are other factors like video quality and encoding speed that may affect the choice between these encoders. For instance, if high-quality videos are needed at a fast pace, then x264 could be more useful.

Why settle for a default preset when you can customize your video encoding preferences like it’s your Tinder profile?

Preset configuration options

Preset options allow video coders to optimize their encoding output for various computational and visual tradeoffs. Below is a breakdown of the different preset configurations, along with their corresponding settings:

Preset Setting Description
Ultrafast Quick but low quality. Suitable for fast compression or previews.
Superfast Similar to Ultrafast with slightly higher visual quality but longer encoding time.
Veryfast Balanced speed and quality suitable for most applications.
Faster Offers faster processing times, at the expense of higher visible artifacts.
Fast Default setting that balances speed and compression efficiency.
Medium Improved quality compared to Fast but with longer processing times.
Slow Significantly improves image fidelity at the cost of slower encoding speeds.
Slower Similar improvements as Slow but even more resource intensive.

Unique details: The presets adjust encoding parameters such as bitrate control, motion estimation complexity, and quantization settings to achieve different performance targets.

Suggestions: For average users who wish to maximize image quality while keeping file sizes manageable and preserving smooth motion, the ‘Medium’ or ‘Slow’ preset configuration is adequate. Experts seeking better visual results can experiment with slower presets or customize their parameters by manually fine-tuning advanced options such as GOP size or deblocking strength based on the content being encoded. X265 may take longer to encode than X264, but it’s worth the wait – like a slow-cooked steak that packs a punch with every bite.

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Encoding speed and efficiency

Encoding efficiency heavily depends on the video codec. The x265 and x264 codecs have their unique characteristics that affect their encoding speed and efficiency. We will compare the two codecs and explore their differences in this regard.

Codec Encoding Speed Efficiency
x264 Very fast, suitable for live streaming or real-time applications. Less efficient in handling large videos, takes up more space.
x265 Varying speeds depending on the implementation, generally slower than x264. More efficient in handling large videos, significantly reduces file size.

Among the technical differences between x265 and x264, encoding efficiency is a major one. x265 not only delivers smaller file sizes but also maintains a higher quality level than its predecessor. Moreover, the deployment of advanced algorithms like CU (Coding Unit) and TU (Transform Unit) enhances both compression rate and video quality.

According to Jan Ozer’s research article, compared to x264-encoded H.264 files, x265-encoded HEVC files offer 30-50% better compression at similar video quality levels.

Looks like x265 and x264 are locked in a constant battle for video coding supremacy. It’s like watching a never-ending game of Rock, Paper, Scissors…in 4K Ultra HD.

Quality comparison between x265 and x264 video coding

When comparing the video coding of x265 and x264, it’s important to consider quality differences. A comparison between these two codecs reveals their unique strengths and limitations.

For clarity, an in-depth table comparison is necessary. Taking into account factors such as resolution, bitrate, and file size, we can see that while x265 offers superior compression efficiency compared to the earlier iteration x264, its encoding speed remains slower than the latter. Furthermore, although both codecs have their advantages and disadvantages regarding compatibility across devices and image characteristics, the general consensus is that x265 has an overall better visual quality while still providing lower bitrates and smaller file sizes.

In addition to these standard points of comparison, there are a few other notable differences worth considering. For example, unlike x264 which typically uses 8-10 bits per pixel encoding for consumer-level applications or even less for some professional applications focusing on high compression levels in exchange for significantly reduced quality loss in progressive frames but with more added noise to dithering areas post-deblocking filter process when using x265 instead It pushes forward with lower bit depth pixels by usually operating at around 8-bit depth per pixel level thereby producing slightly better output PQ results.

History reveals an interesting evolution of video coding technology from MPEG-1/MPEG-2 through H.263/H.264/AVC/x264 to the most recent HEVC/H.265/x265 development. Prior iterations have paved the way for improved efficiency in terms of lower bitrates combined with higher visual qualities until reaching today’s state-of-art encoding algorithms represented by HEVC/H.265/x265 as they desire multiple GOP structures per second/frame being performed on pixels which largely contributes to further enhancing compression effectiveness without sacrificing final output fidelity at any cost-sensitive performance standard unit time-wise thus widely accepted as a part of industry standards worldwide after seamless optimization cycles over years since its debut emergence first witnessed back in 2013 offering technical benefits over its predecessor in terms of speed at the expense of cost-effectiveness with scale but this leans to produce statistically inferior outputs when sparing energy for faithful transitional pixels that may end up causing artifacts and less than perfect synchronized gameplay on screen.

Overall, quality comparison between x265 and x264 is a highly relevant topic to consider when it comes to video coding technology. Evaluating differences helps ensure users are able to select the best codecs for their needs, considering factors like encoding speed, bit depth or as discussed PQ etc.
No matter what device you’re using, just remember that x265 and x264 will always be compatible with your inability to decide what to watch on Netflix.

Compatibility with different devices and players

The ability to function optimally across numerous devices and media players is an indispensable quality of video codecs. X265 and x264 have distinct features that impact their compatibility with different devices and players, making it essential to highlight these qualities to ensure smooth playback.

Below is a table highlighting the compatibility differences between x265 and x264 video coding for multiple devices and media players based on researches and actual data.

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Device/Player X265 X264
PC/Mac/Linux Compatible with many popular media players e.g., VLC, MPC-HC, Kodi but can have issues with older software versions. Similar player and format support as x265 but less demanding in hardware requirements.
Smartphones/Tablets Supported by select devices due to its greater hardware requirement; usually inaccessible through the native player but third-party applications like MX Player can run it successfully. Playable on most devices without any lags or glitches from the native player or third-party media applications such as MX Player.
Gaming Consoles X265 may not be compatible with gaming consoles’ native file systems such as PlayStation 4 (PS4) format but playable when converted with readily available tools. Almost identical support by gaming consoles’ native file systems to x265 without requiring significant processing power or conversion.


Apart from the device-player compatibility, other factors could hinder optimal playback of videos encoded in either codec include screen resolution and bit-rate among others.

Developers are continually working on enhancing these video codecs’ compatibilities while retaining their high-quality output across numerous devices and players.

Moreover, over time, many industry experts have attempted various techniques such as scrutinizing a codec’s overall compression performance level against different resolutions and bit-rates before acknowledging them widely accepted standards for different usage scenarios through various evaluations conducted independently.

It is interesting that these technical properties could make or break a codec’s popularity and usage by individuals, companies, or media platforms. Let’s face it, x265 may be the new kid on the block, but x264 still has some killer practical skills.

Practical differences between x265 and x264 video coding

To understand the practical differences between x265 and x264 video coding, and choose the best option for your needs, let’s explore the solutions provided by three sub-sections. Firstly, we’ll weigh the cost and accessibility of x265 and x264. Secondly, we’ll examine popular use cases for both. And finally, we’ll take a look at the future trends for video coding technologies.

Cost and accessibility

For the category of expenditure and convenience, both coding techniques have diverse characteristics. The cost to implement x264 is notably lower in comparison to x265. Similarly, x264 has an extensive range of ground knowledge available promptly accessible for its users, whereas x265 still lacks a complete range of documentation.

In terms of cost and accessibility, here’s how x264 and x265 stack up against each other:

x264 x265
Implementation Cost Significantly Lower Relatively Higher
Knowledge Base Comprehensive Limited

While the implementation cost for x264 is significantly lower than that of x265, with a robust user community, x264 boasts an extensive range of documentation not found in equivalent detail for its counterpart.

It is interesting to note that despite a more comprehensive set of documentation available for popular use in comparison to its newer competitor –x264– it may fall short where support from developers is concerned.

According to Medianova Blog, “Simply put: Developers are on standby… Therefore consider this when attempting exacting standards required when selecting which one might be best suited to certain video workflows.”

People always ask which is better, x265 or x264. But let’s be real, it’s like choosing between a Smart Car and a Hummer for a grocery run.

For optimal video compression, x265 and x264 coding techniques have become widespread amongst professionals worldwide. These techniques are often used for various purposes to enhance video quality and reduce file sizes.

The following table showcases popular implementations of both x265 and x264 video coding techniques:

Use Cases x265 x264
Live Streaming
4K or UHD content
Low-Bandwidth networks
High-Quality image encoding

Moreover, while both coding techniques share many similarities in their approach to video compression, there exist certain differences that set them apart from each other. In the case of x265, it offers better efficiency in terms of compressed file size, while producing superior image quality with the use of advanced algorithms such as HEVC/H.265 encoding methods. Additionally, it supports the latest codecs and can encode videos faster than its predecessor.

On the other hand, users leverage x264 when high-quality per-file encoding settings are required. Although slower than x265, owing to factors such as fewer features and functional capabilities, it maintains a reliable standard for encoding files with high definition visuals.

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Interestingly, at one point in time, x264 was a standard choice for all types of HD content production ranging from Blu-ray to YouTube videos. However, over time a shift has occurred due to technological advancements like HEVC/H.265 codec support offered by newer coding techniques like x265.

Before we know it, we’ll be streaming hyper-realistic 8K video over our mind-controlled headsets…and still complaining about buffering.

As technology continues to evolve, so too does video coding. The future of video coding technologies lies in advancements that promise greater compression and enhanced visual quality. This will yield streaming services with less bandwidth consumption, faster loading times, and more desirable image quality.

Moreover, the implementation of advanced machine learning algorithms to video encoding systems could offer significant benefits. These improvements can lead to better encoding efficiency and reduced bitrate requirements while still providing high-quality images.

There are notable advantages to applying semantic content analysis in video coding technologies, ensuring both optimal efficiency and accuracy in the coding process. Using unsupervised learning methods such as deep neural networks can accurately provide stronger interpretations of semantic information than template-based models.

Choose wisely, because in the world of video coding, every bit counts.

Conclusion: Which one to choose between x265 and x264 video coding?

When choosing between x265 and x264 video coding, there are several factors to consider. To help make an informed decision, we have created a table outlining the differences between these two popular coding methods based on true data.

Feature x265 Video Coding x264 Video Coding
Compression Efficiency High Good
Compatibility Limited Devices & Platforms Wide Range of Devices & Platforms
Encoding Time Slower Faster
Visual Quality Better at Lower Bitrates Better at Higher Bitrates

It’s important to note that while x265 may provide higher compression efficiency and better visual quality, it may not be as compatible with as many devices and platforms compared to x264. Additionally, encoding time for x265 is slower than x264.

While we’ve covered the main differences between these video codecs, it’s also worth noting that the choice ultimately depends on factors specific to each individual’s needs and requirements. For those requiring high compatibility or faster encoding times, x264 may be a better choice. However, for those focused on achieving higher compression efficiency or visually superior content, x265 could be the preferable option. Overall, the choice should be made based on careful consideration of all relevant factors.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between x265 and x264 video coding?

X265 and x264 are both video codecs used for video compression. The main difference between the two is the level of compression they provide. X265 can provide superior compression compared to x264, resulting in a smaller file size while maintaining the same level of visual quality.

2. Is x265 better than x264?

This depends on the intended use of the video. For high-resolution content, x265 is generally considered better due to its higher compression efficiency. However, for lower resolution content or devices with limited processing power, x264 may be a better choice.

3. Does x265 provide better visual quality than x264?

Both x265 and x264 can provide high-quality video output, but x265 can achieve the same level of quality at a lower bit rate due to its better compression. In general, x265 is considered to provide slightly better visual quality than x264.

4. Can all devices play x265 encoded videos?

No, not all devices can play x265 encoded videos, as it requires software or hardware support for decoding. However, most modern devices including smartphones, tablets, and computers support x265 playback.

5. Is it necessary to switch from x264 to x265?

It is not necessary to switch from x264 to x265, especially if you are not working with high-resolution content or have limited processing power. However, if you require better compression efficiency and smaller file sizes without sacrificing visual quality, then x265 may be a better choice.

6. Can x265 and x264 be used together?

Yes, x265 and x264 can be used together through a process called “hybrid encoding”. This involves encoding a video with both codecs and selecting the best parts of each to create a final video with superior quality and compression efficiency.

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