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

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.

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