How to Understand the Difference Between MPEG2 and MPEG4 |

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12.04.2019 09:55:15 - MPEG4 is the preferred format for devices, as it yields a file that is under 1G for most full length movies. This is a far cry from MPEG2, which can only produce files with five times the size.

( - MPEG2 vs. MPEG4

The Moving Pictures Experts Group, or MPEG, is the body responsible for the standards that we often use for video encoding. MPEG2 is the standard that was created to encode high quality videos, meant to be used for the, then emerging, DVD media. MPEG4 was developed much later, as an encoding method for devices with limited resources. Portable


devices, like media players and mobile phones, use this format, as well as online stores who provide the hiring of video and audio files.

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MPEG4 is the preferred format for devices, as it yields a file that is under 1G for most full length movies. This is a far cry from MPEG2, which can only produce files with five times the size. Storing MPEG2 files will not be a problem on DVDs, as the usual DVD capacity is over 4GB, but is a major issue with portable devices. MPEG4 also made it practical to buy and download videos online, as MPEG2 videos are quite large, and take a long time to download. The small file size of MPEG4 files directly translates to a lower bandwidth needed, when streaming recorded or real-time videos through the internet.

Setting file size aside when considering the better format, MPEG2 wins hands-down, as it provides a far superior image quality. The difference in quality is minor when viewing the files through a tiny screen, like those installed in mobile phones and even netbooks, but when it comes to large displays, like most current HDTV displays, you can clearly notice the difference in the final picture. We can attribute this to the amount of data lost, since both MPEG2 and MPEG4 are compression methods that lose data. MPEG4 simply discards more information, which results in poorer picture.

MPEG2 compresses the video by discarding the information in portions of the image that do not change from one frame to another, and saving only the portions of the image where new information is added. The MPEG4 compression mechanism is a bit more complicated compared to that of MPEG2, as it needs better algorithms to scan and determine which pixels can be discarded, to reduce the data even further.

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1. MPEG2 is the encoding method for DVDs, while MPEG4 is the encoding method of choice for portable devices and online use.

2. MPEG2 encoded video files are much bigger compared to MPEG4.

3. MPEG2 requires a lot more bandwidth for streaming compared to MPEG4.

4. MPEG2 produces the best video quality compared to MPEG4.

5. MPEG2ís compression is much simpler compared to MPEG4.

Understanding the Difference Between MPEG-2 & MPEG-4 Encoders

In a world where technology is rapidly expanding the way that we send, receive, compress, and decompress data, it can be difficult to maintain a full understanding of formats and processes. One of the most common sources of confusion when it comes to video encoding arises when trying to understand the difference between MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Thankfully, our team at Radiant Communications Corporation, one of the best places to buy MPEG-2 encoders online, is well-versed on the subject. As a way of bringing clarity to this difference, we will explain how MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 encoders handle compression, file size, quality, and application.


MPEG-2 encoders have been around since the late 1990s and are responsible for great strides in the capabilities of video encoding as compared to their predecessor, MPEG-1. MPEG-2 video coding uses an algorithm for compression that uses a block-based 8 x 8 discrete cosine transform (DCT) and allows for high-quality, but restricts the ability to shrink file size, which has become integral in the world of digital multimedia. Due to the larger file sizes associated with MPEG-2 encoders, they are typically used with local video such as DVDs and broadcast cable. While the quality of MPEG-2 is more than capable of handling high-definition local video, there is a significant degradation in quality when applying MPEG-2 to online and device-based streaming.

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After passing over MPEG-3, the MPEG-4 video coding format was released to coincide with the massive expansion of the internet that occurred in the first few years of the 21st century. One of the most notable differences between the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats involves the use of an algorithm which has a 16 x 16 DCT, allowing for much a much higher rate of compression. This higher compression rate means that files sizes can be cut in half, opening the door for decreased bandwidth without losing picture quality. MPEG-4 is a step in the natural progression of encoding methods, as the internet has created an environment where online and mobile streaming are the primary forms of video consumption.

The Basics

Ultimately, both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 are capable of maintaining high-definition video quality. The difference, however, lies within the application. MPEG-2 is more than capable of handling video streams from local sources like DVDs and cable broadcasts, but due to the larger file size, it struggles with portable devices and internet streaming. MPEG-4, on the other hand, utilizes its high rate of compression and smaller file sizes to provide high-quality video and audio across mobile networks.

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