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H.264 profiles and levels (Stanley posted on April 28th, 2008 )

H.264 Profiles

The standard includes the following seven sets of capabilities, which are referred to as profiles, targeting specific classes of applications:
  • Baseline Profile (BP): Primarily for lower-cost applications with limited computing resources, this profile is used widely in videoconferencing and mobile applications.
  • Main Profile (MP): Originally intended as the mainstream consumer profile for broadcast and storage applications, the importance of this profile faded when the High profile was developed for those applications.
  • Extended Profile (XP): Intended as the streaming video profile, this profile has relatively high compression capability and some extra tricks for robustness to data losses and server stream switching.
  • High Profile (HiP): The primary profile for broadcast and disc storage applications, particularly for high-definition television applications (this is the profile adopted into HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, for example).
  • High 10 Profile (Hi10P): Going beyond today's mainstream consumer product capabilities, this profile builds on top of the High Profile—adding support for up to 10 bits per sample of decoded picture precision.
  • High 4:2:2 Profile (Hi422P): Primarily targeting professional applications that use interlaced video, this profile builds on top of the High 10 Profile—adding support for the 4:2:2 chroma subsampling format while using up to 10 bits per sample of decoded picture precision.
  • High 4:4:4 Predictive Profile (Hi444PP): This profile builds on top of the High 4:2:2 Profile—supporting up to 4:4:4 chroma sampling, up to 14 bits per sample, and additionally supporting efficient lossless region coding and the coding of each picture as three separate color planes.
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