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Moscow State Releases First HEVC Comparison

By Jan Ozer

Over the last few years, the Moscow State University Graphics and Media Lab (MSU) has produced the most highly-respected H.264 codec comparisons available. In October, MSU released its first HEVC comparison, which promises to achieve the same significance with the new codec. During the testing, which involved 20 HD video clips encoded to an exhaustive array of configurations, MSU compared eight HEVC codecs, including x265 and two codecs each from Intel and Ittiam, while also assessing how HEVC compared to Google’s VP9 and the winner of most previous H.264 trials, x264. As usual, MSU described its findings in free and pro versions ($850) of a report.

The free version contains 29 figures and SSIM comparisons based upon the Y color plane, while the Pro version includes more than 5000 figures, and SSIM and PSNR comparisons measured on the Y, U, V and overall color planes. If you buy the Pro report, you can also download the source video clips for your own testing.

The report is significant in several key ways. Obviously, any company currently evaluating HEVC codecs will find the comparisons invaluable. In addition, the report also provides an interesting look at how HEVC compares to alternative codecs VP9 and x264. In this respect, the report might be a touch controversial.

To explain, MSU tested three scenarios. Fast transcoding required a minimum of 30 frames per second, Universal encoding required a minimum of 10 frames per second, and Ripping involved no speed requirements. For most VOD producers, the Ripping comparisons are the most relevant, and these are the ones shown in the chart below.

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