The standard includes the following seven sets of capabilities, which are referred to as profiles
, targeting specific classes of applications:
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- 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.
The x264 profile option changes to the encoder settings to let the encoded bit stream comforted to specified H.264 profile (baseline, main, high).