Simple H.264 video codec questions.


Mar 6, 2005
What is the best H.264 codec?
Is it better/sharper/more compressed than Divx? 10x slower to encode?
I know there are lots of Divx vs. H264 compare tests, but that was a few years ago and divx has gotten much better since then. 2 pass, insane quality, motion compensation, etc.

Can any Portable Media Player that plays .avi / mp4 play H.264 ? Seems hand helds (pmps) players don't play H.264s.
If H.264 is completely different than mp4/Divx and won't work on PMPs, then perhaps I should not even bother with H.264 and stick with Divx?

Is x.264 so new, no hardware supports it yet?

I'm just looking for key-words so I can search myself or know if I should even bother looking if Divx looks good enough for me.


Aug 5, 2008
For a long time I have been in the DivX camp. That was before my mind left the 480p box. Since I’m now working with high definition content, and want better overall quality, I’m using h.264, and I’m very happy with it.

The h.264 codec is VERY nice! In the tests that I have seen, the quality surpasses DivX. It also stretches well to accommodate larger screens with less artifacting as you would see with DivX MP4 video. This is a definite plus for 24” screens like mine! The only caveat is that the h.264 codec requires a faster processor than a normal MP4 AVI file would need. A DivX file would usually generate 5% total CPU usage, whereas a h.264 file will generate 25% CPU usage depending on how big your player window is.

I have a Quad core 2.4Ghz processor and a typical 42 min movie takes about 1 hour to fully encode the movie using 2 passes at full quality. I use Nero 8 Ultra (Nero Recode 3) - it's a great program. It allows for custom presets, subtitles, movie trimming, chapter insertion, and even a remote shutdown feature for overnight rips. It's also very stable compared to other freeware programs.

Both the PS3 and XBox 360 both support the h.264 codec (although XBox 360 doesn't do 5.1 AAC surround sound), this also includes newer PMP’s like the PSP and Zune. Newer PMP’s will likely include h.264 support but aging ones will likely just support DivX MP4 (among others). Also, I wouldn’t expect to see any DVD players supporting the h.264 codec, as it requires lots of processing power. Instead they will be replaced by Blu Ray which does. As for me, I plan to rip my movies to a 1TB external drive and hook it up to a PS3 via USB and make it a media server.

In my opinion, the DivX MP4 codes is aging very quickly, and it will soon be surpassed by h.264. If you plan on getting any devices that support 720p or 1080p, or just want to future proof your video archive, go with h.264.



Mar 6, 2005
^ Thanks for the long post!
Yes, I am thinking beyond Divx and looking where to go next. My PC has plenty of muscle, so I can do more than Divx. Future-proof is also on my mind.
I also have Nero 8 Ultra. That works as well as any H.264 codec?
Working well enough to be read by compatible modern PMPs, PS3, 360, etc???? I assume so from reading your post.

I was just worried Nero, MainConcept, x264, Quicktime, etc where all a little different and make compatibility problems. (more so for playback devices)

From reading your post, I will continue to use the "Nero Recode 3" since it seems nearly as good as any.
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