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What are the VP8 and H.264: Here are the Differences Between Them

Jenefey Aaron Posted by Jenefey Aaron Oct 31, 2022

The most popular video codec includes VP8 and H.264, and there is always a debate about which is better in these two video codecs. VP8 is mainly for WebM videos, which has a smaller size and faster loading speed. While H.264 is always used in MP4, MKV, MOV, and other video containers. Don’t worry, this article with tell you the actual differences between VP8 and H.264 codecs so that you can choose your video codec as you like.

Part 1: What are VP8 and H.264 - Brief Introduction

What is VP8

VP8 is an open and royalty-free video compression format released in May 2010 after Google acquired On2 Technologies. Google provided an irrevocable patent promise on its patents for implementing the VP8 format.

VP8 only supports progressive scan video signals with 4:2:0 chroma subsampling and 8 bits per sample. In its first public version, On2's VP8 implementation supports multi-core processors with up to 64 cores simultaneously. Compared with H.264, VP8 has a comparatively lower resolution. With only three reference frame buffers needed, VP8 enables decoder implementations with a relatively small memory footprint. The format features a pure mode, i.e., using only independently coded frames without temporal prediction, to enable random access in applications like video editing.

What is H.264

The intent of the H.264 project was to create a standard capable of providing good video quality at substantially lower bit rates than previous standards, without increasing the complexity of design so much that it would be impractical or excessively expensive to implement. This was achieved with features such as a reduced-complexity integer discrete cosine transform (integer DCT), variable block-size segmentation, and multi-picture inter-picture prediction.

An additional goal of H.264 codec was to provide enough flexibility to allow the standard to be applied to a wide variety of applications on a wide variety of networks and systems, including low and high bit rates, low and high resolution video, broadcast, DVD storage, RTP/IP packet networks, and ITU-T multimedia telephony systems. H.264 is typically used for lossy compression, although it is also possible to create truly lossless-coded regions within lossy-coded pictures or to support rare use cases for which the entire encoding is lossless.

Part 2: VP8 VS. H.264: Comparison between These Two Codecs

There are so many differences between these two files, and there is a table about VP8 vs H.264. You can learn more about the quality, usages, and compatible video formats, etc.

Features H.264 VP8
Compatible Video Formats MP4, MOV, AVI, MKV Mostly are used in WebM format.
Quality Relatively high quality with the maximum 2K resolution. 20–30% lower quality on average.
File Size Larger than VP8, but still small enough for saving. Smaller than most files, which provides a faster loading speed.
Supported Player Almost all media player on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, and other portable devices.
Playable on browsers with HTML5 player.

Professional video players.

When comparing the encoding, VP8 also shows 5–25 times lower encoding speed. For example, x264 High-Speed preset is faster and has higher quality than any of the VP8 presets on average.

VP8 has almost no hardware acceleration, so it uses more CPU in some cases. H.264 has hardware acceleration on Apple devices, PCS, and Android. As for Google Chrome, it doesn't really use H.264 in WebRTC. So VP8 is actually the more widely used on websites.

Part 3: How to convert VP8 to H.264 with Higher Compatibility

The comparisons between VP8 and H.264 have been listed above; you can choose which video codec meets your requirements. And if you want to convert one video codec to another, you can use AnyRec Video Converter to make a conversion between the video codecs.

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Convert video formats while changing the detailed video codec as you like.

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Support high quality, including HD, 4K UHD, 5K, and even 8K with high quality.

Change video quality, encoder, resolution, frame rate, bitrate, and other settings.

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Step 1Click the Add Files button to import your video or audio files. Or you can drag and drop your files into the main interface.

Import Video

Step 2Click the Convert All to button from the top right corner to select which output format you choose. You can also click the Format icon on the right side of your video/audio file.

Select Video Format

Step 3And you can adjust the video encode in the adjust tab, you can click the Custom Profile button. It locates on the right side of this format profile. In the Edit Profile window, there is an encoder option which you can adjust the video encode.

Edit Video Profile

Step 4After that, go back to the main interface and click the Convert All button to start converting between H.264 and VP8.

Convert Video

Part 4: FAQs about VP8 and H.264


After the comparison of VP8 and H.264, you can see that H.264 encoded with the latest x264 offers notably higher quality while encoding almost twice as fast as VP8 encoded with the latest Libvpx offering. For better video quality, H.264 is a better video codec. And if you want to change the codec of a video, AnyRec Video Converter would be a better choice for you to use.

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