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MPEG-4 vs. H.264: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 19, 2024
MPEG-4 is a multimedia encoding standard supporting low bitrates and 3D content, while H.264 is a more advanced, efficient codec primarily for high-definition video.

Key Differences

MPEG-4, a broad multimedia standard, encompasses various aspects of multimedia creation and streaming, including video, audio, and 3D graphics. H.264, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC, is a part of the MPEG-4 standard, specifically designed for high-efficiency video compression, making it ideal for HD content.
MPEG-4 supports lower bitrates and is versatile in handling different media types, while H.264 focuses on delivering higher quality video at lower bitrates, making it a preferred choice for online streaming and HD broadcasts.
MPEG-4 includes several parts, each covering different multimedia aspects, such as MPEG-4 Part 2 for video compression. H.264 is renowned for its advanced compression techniques, offering significant improvements over previous standards, including earlier parts of MPEG-4.
In terms of compatibility, MPEG-4 is widely supported across various devices and software, but H.264 has become the industry standard for video compression, especially in areas where high-definition content is required.
MPEG-4 was a step forward in multimedia technology when introduced, providing a comprehensive framework for audio-visual data. In comparison, H.264 further advanced the field by enabling high-quality video transmission even over bandwidth-limited scenarios.

Comparison Chart

Standard Type

Multimedia encoding standard
Advanced video codec

Part of MPEG-4 Standard

Encompasses entire standard including various parts
Specifically MPEG-4 Part 10

Primary Use

Versatile for audio, video, and 3D content
Focused on high-efficiency video compression

Quality and Bitrate

Supports lower bitrates effectively
Higher quality video at lower bitrates

Adoption and Usage

Broad compatibility in various media
Industry standard for HD video

MPEG-4 and H.264 Definitions


A multimedia encoding and compression standard.
MPEG-4 is commonly used for video streaming on the internet.


Offers better quality at lower bitrates than previous standards.
H.264's ability to maintain quality at lower bitrates revolutionized video streaming.


Offers good quality at lower bitrates.
MPEG-4 is effective for mobile streaming due to its bitrate flexibility.


Known for its high efficiency in video compression.
H.264 significantly reduces file size without compromising video quality.


Includes several parts addressing different multimedia aspects.
MPEG-4 Part 2 is widely used for encoding video in digital broadcasts.


Widely used in online streaming, broadcasting, and Blu-ray discs.
Most online streaming services rely on H.264 for efficient video delivery.


Supports various media types including video, audio, and 3D content.
MPEG-4's versatility allows it to handle complex multimedia applications.


An advanced video compression standard for high-definition content.
H.264 is essential for streaming high-definition videos smoothly.


Facilitates multimedia applications in various devices and platforms.
MPEG-4 compatibility ensures broad support across different playback devices.


Also referred to as MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC (Advanced Video Coding).
H.264, or AVC, is a major advancement in MPEG-4 standards.


Is H.264 a part of MPEG-4?

Yes, H.264 is also known as MPEG-4 Part 10.

What is MPEG-4?

It's a multimedia encoding standard for audio, video, and 3D content.

What types of media does MPEG-4 support?

MPEG-4 supports video, audio, and 3D graphics.

Is H.264 compatible with most devices?

Yes, it's widely supported across devices.

Is MPEG-4 good for mobile streaming?

Yes, due to its lower bitrate effectiveness.

What does H.264 primarily focus on?

H.264 specializes in high-efficiency video compression.

Why is H.264 preferred for online streaming?

Due to its high compression efficiency and quality.

Does MPEG-4 support 3D content?

Yes, it includes support for 3D graphics.

Can MPEG-4 handle HD video effectively?

Yes, but H.264 is more efficient for HD content.

Are MPEG-4 files generally smaller than H.264?

No, H.264 typically produces smaller files.

How does MPEG-4 compare to older standards?

It offers better quality and versatility.

Are MPEG-4 and H.264 still relevant today?

Yes, they are widely used in multimedia applications.

Can H.264 reduce video file sizes significantly?

Yes, it's known for its high compression ratio.

Can MPEG-4 be used for professional video editing?

Yes, it's versatile for various multimedia applications.

What's a common use of H.264?

It's widely used in HD video streaming and Blu-ray discs.

What's the advantage of H.264 in broadcasting?

Its efficiency in delivering high-quality video.

Does MPEG-4 have different parts for various applications?

Yes, it includes multiple parts for different media types.

Are MPEG-4 and H.264 compatible with each other?

Yes, as H.264 is a part of the MPEG-4 standard.

Is H.264 good for long-duration video streaming?

Yes, it's efficient and maintains quality over time.

What makes H.264 stand out in video compression?

Its ability to deliver high-quality video at lower bitrates.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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