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MPEG-2 or H.264 for Blu-ray disc?

Posted by Jeff Pulera
February 25, 2009
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When encoding video for Blu-ray disc, you can use MPEG-2 or H.264 encoding. MPEG-2 is used for DVD, but a much higher data rate is used for HD content on Blu-ray, so the image can be quite good.

The benefit of H.264 is that at the lower data rates used to fit long programs on a disc, H.264 is more efficient than MPEG-2 and will produce a better quality. At higher data rates though, this advantage is less apparent. Considering that H.264 takes about 5x as long to encode as MPEG-2, you must decide whether the content is worth the extra hours of encoding time.

If your workflow is such that you can do the encoding overnight, then H.264 becomes a more obvious choice, but when the production demands speed, MPEG-2 is quite suitable for most jobs. Either format is supported by all Blu-ray players per the official Blu-ray specification.

5 responses to "MPEG-2 or H.264 for Blu-ray disc?"

Peter Manojlovic (pmano71@...)
March 3, 2009 at 10:49pm

Hey Jeff....
I ran across a well respected website that claims 1440x1080x59.94i, 50i (16:9) is for AVC / VC-1 only..

Would that mean that HDV material coldn't be compressed to MPEG2 for BluRay playback?


Love your site.

Jeff Pulera (jeffp@...)
March 24, 2009 at 11:19am

Hi Peter,

As both MPEG-2 and H.264 (AVC) are fully supported for Blu-ray authoring, I don't see why MPEG-2 would work for some HDV formats and not others. If you have a link for the website you referenced, I'd be interested in reading the article.


Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor

Peter Manojlovic (pmano71@...)
March 25, 2009 at 5:28pm

Yes Jeff...
The website is a long standing one called VCDHelp.

Tex Bynum (amtechvideo@...)
June 19, 2012 at 12:06pm

Thank you for your posts. Question? As far as you know do all Blue Ray players play the BD-R DL? I ask as it's been a problem for years when I burn a client a DVD-R DL video. Some will play it and others not.

Tex Bynum
ATV Productions

Peter Manojlovic (pmano71@...)
June 20, 2012 at 8:03pm

I can't give you an answer on BD-R DL.

But if you're burning DVD's on DL, then DEFINATELY stick to Verbatim DVD+R DL. Make sure that the bitsetting is set to DVD-Rom within your burner options.
If you're using single layered DVD's then stick to DVD-R's and use Tayo Yuden brand discs.

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