H264 vs H265: differences and how to convert

H264 vs H265

In this article, we will compare H264 vs H265 and explore in detail what H265 does for your live broadcasts.

Have you ever streamed video online and experienced a sudden freeze on the screen and, thereafter, a reduction in picture quality? Annoying right? Nobody wants to deal with that.

Streaming online videos in locations where internet service providers (ISPs) enforce bandwidth caps can get even more frustrating.

Thus, it became imperative to have another technology in H.265, designed to meet the demands of evolving high-definition displays and applications without reducing the video quality despite removing unnecessary information from the videos.

Yes, it’s all about video compression standards used in recording and distributing digital video. With the recent technology known as H.265 or High-Efficiency Video Coding, the issue of abrupt loss in video quality is solved.

However, many people do not recognize this technology or how it fixes many issues. Also, it is impossible to talk about H.265 without talking about its predecessor, H.264.

And for every other video standard like H.263, MPEG-4, or MPEG-2, H.264 occupies nearly half of their video sizes.

Table of Contents

  1. H264 vs H265: differences and how to convert
    1. H.264 (AVC) – A Quick Introduction
    2. A Look at H.265 (HEVC)
    3. Difference between H.264 and H.265
    4. How to Convert H264 to H265
  2. Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
    1. Streaming in H.264 or H.265, which is better?
    2. Does H.265 consume higher CPU power?
    3. Which is the better option for YouTube between, H.264 and H.265?
    4. Does H.265 improve quality?
    5. Can you create high-quality streams with H.264?
  3. Wrap up

H264 vs H265: differences and how to convert

These two technologies are standards for video compression used in recording and distributing digital video.

The major difference between them is how they process information and the bandwidth consumption and video file size used in each of them.

For H.264, video frames are processed using macroblocks, while H.265 processes information with coding tree units (CTUs).

Coding tree units make all the difference in H.265 because they process information more efficiently, resulting in smaller file sizes and lesser bandwidth consumed when streaming videos.

We cover more about macroblocks, CTUs, and these two standards later on in this article.

H.264 (AVC) – A Quick Introduction

H.264, also called Advanced Video Coding (AVC), is a video compression standard that allows the recording, compression, and distribution of video content.

Beyond these characteristics, its core quality is the ability to process video frame rate using a block-oriented and motion-compensation-based video compression standard known as macroblocks.

These macroblocks that make up H.264 are made up of 16×16 pixel samples that can be further broken down into transform blocks and then further subdivided into prediction blocks.

In simpler terms, with the H.264 algorithm, it is possible to reduce bitrates than other standards, and it is the top choice of many online streaming sources like YouTube, iTunes, Vimeo, etc.

A Look at H.265 (HEVC)

H.265 is an upgrade to H.264, and it shows a higher level of advancement in many ways.

Also called High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), H.265 enables further size reduction, resulting in lower bandwidth, which means you do not need high bandwidth to stream videos.

H.265 also uses coding tree units (CTUs) to process information and process up to 64×64 blocks, making it possible to compress information more efficiently.

This is different from the macroblocks in H.264, which process between 4×4 and 16×16 blocks.

Beyond the larger CTU sizes, H.265 has improved motion compensation and spatial prediction than H.264.

This means viewers with H.265 compatible devices need lower processing power and bandwidth to enjoy high-quality streams.

Difference between H.264 and H.265

While there may be noticeable differences in the viewing experience when streaming videos encoded in H.265 (HEVC compression ) or H.264 (AVC compression), the differences between them are mostly technical.

Wwe will be taking a look at the differences between H.264 and H.265 from the angles of file size, compression ratio, macroblock, bandwidth utilization, and intraframe prediction.

File size

In the world of video production and encoding, research has shown that reducing bits reduces the file size while increasing bits reduces the image quality of the video.

In H.265, a lower bitrate is used, but the image quality of the video produced is similar to that of H.264.

This means that H.265 delivers a better video quality compared to H.264, especially when you compress the videos with the same bitrate.

Compression ratio

You will find nearly double the compression ratio of H.264 in H.265.

This means that H.265 possesses about twice the capacity to reduce the design flow to minimize the cost of storage and transmission.


H.265 uses the Coding Tree Units (CTU) technique which entails dividing the information of the original pixels from the previous frame into different sizes suitable for each scene.

By doing this, the spaces with information from another scene can go in 4×4 blocks and up to 64×64.

However, in H.264, these can only go up to 16×16. H.265 is known for its higher level of efficiency when encoding different resolutions and is a better option than H.264, which is less efficient with higher-resolution videos due to its 16×16 pixel macroblocks.

Bandwidth utilization

In a H265 codec, you require lower amounts of bandwidth compared to a H264 codec.

To get the best results, you need an internet speed of 15 Mbps to watch 4K video, while H.264 requires about 32 Mbps of internet speed to watch the same video resolution.

So, H.264 uses up more bandwidth than H.265.

Intraframe Prediction

Compared to H.264, H.265’s interframe prediction is broader and more comprehensive.

H.265 makes 33 directions of motion possible, while only nine directions of motion are possible in H.264.

How to Convert H264 to H265

There are different ways to convert H.264 to H.265, but for the scope of this article, we will look at an easily accessible method –  online conversion using AnyConv.

Learn more about this tool and follow the steps below.

AnyConv is an online video converter known for its ability to carry out any conversion task, including one that involves the conversion of H.264 to H.265. it has a user-friendly multilingual interface that delivers the encoding of H.264 to H.265 within a short time without a loss of quality.

  • STEP 2: Click on “Choose File” to import the video file you would like to convert video from, and your system’s File Manager will open so you can choose the file;
  • STEP 3: Browse your media library to choose files that are 100MB or lower;

  • STEP 4: Once you select the video you want to convert, and it gets added to the tool, choose your preferred output format. Set it to H.265, and then click “CONVERT”;

  • STEP 5: Your video will be uploaded and converted into HEVC format, and AnyConv will make available a “DOWNLOAD .H265” button to download the converted video.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Streaming in H.264 or H.265, which is better?

Live streaming in H.265 produces a higher-quality image and consumes less bandwidth.

So, streaming in H.265 will provide you with a higher-quality image while marking points on bandwidth saving. So, if possible, stream in H.265.

Does H.265 consume higher CPU power?

Streaming H265 video from a computer use more CPU power. So, yes.

Which is the better option for YouTube between, H.264 and H.265?

If you have a video encoder that can stream in H.265, then it is highly recommended that you do that.

However, YouTube being a third-party service may process your video differently depending on various factors.

So, always stream at the highest quality possible from your end for optimal viewing.

Does H.265 improve quality?

Yes. You get higher quality even with low network speed.

Can you create high-quality streams with H.264?

Yes, but you must have the correct network speed between 5 and 10mbps upload speed.

Wrap up

There are many advantages of using H.265 over H.264 but no surprises there because H.265 is an upgrade to H.264. H.265 supports up to 8K UHDTV (8192 x 4320 maximum), 300 fps, 4:4:4 chroma and 4:2:2 chroma sub-sampling. It also offers high-quality video even with low bandwidth.

Despite all these advantages, it also has a few downsides, such as taking longer to encode a video. Also, only a few devices recognize H.265 videos, so, currently, H.264 is still in high demand by many people.

However, H.265 is clearly the better option, and we hope we have done justice to that topic in this article.

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