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Difference between MPEG2 and MPEG4 with table

We explain the difference between MPEG2 and MPEG4 with table. MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Experts Group. This is a body that develops standards for video coding. The two main standards are MPEG2 and MPEG4.

MPEG2 was developed to facilitate the encoding of DVD videos. DVD media was an emerging platform when MPEG2 was developed. Later, online streaming came into play. MPEG2 was not compatible with streaming videos from the Internet and therefore MPEG4 was developed.

The limitations of MPEG2 were overcome by MPEG4. It could easily stream the videos online even though both MPEG2 and MPEG4 could keep the video quality.

MPEG4 was useful for portable devices like mobile phones and media players, unlike MPEG2. This is also a preferred format as it provides video files of smaller sizes.

the difference between MPEG2 and MPEG4 is that MPEG2 is suitable for encoding videos and is compatible with DVD media. On the other hand, MPEG4 is suitable for portable devices and streaming videos from the Internet.

Comparison table between MPEG2 and MPEG4 (in tabular form)

Comparison parameter MPEG2 MPEG4

Coding For DVD encoding, MPEG2 is used. For the encoding of portable devices and Internet transmission, MPEG4 is used.
Size The size of MPEG2 videos is larger compared to MPEG4. The size of MPEG4 videos is smaller compared to MPEG2.
Bandwidth requirement MPEG2 requires a wider bandwidth compared to MPEG4. MPEG4 requires less bandwidth compared to MPEG2.
Quality MPEG2 video files are of higher quality. MPEG4 video files are not as good as MPEG2 video files.
Extensions Examples of MPEG2 extensions are: .mp2, mp3, .mpeg, etc. Examples of MPEG4 extensions are: .m4a, .m4b, .m4r, .mp4, etc.

What is MPEG2?

In 1995, MPEG2 was developed for encoding videos on DVD media. It uses a block-based eight-by-eight DCT for video encoding compression in its algorithm. In 1995, the DVD platform was booming, which is why MPEG2 is ideal for encoding DVD video. The advantage of MPEG2 is that it maintains the high quality of the video files. The downside of MPEG2 is its inability to reduce file size. This is because MPEG2 files are generally used for DVD storage, which results in larger file sizes.

In general, MPEG2 video files are more massive. They are ideal for DVD and TV broadcasts. That is why it is a preferred format for over-the-air televisions such as Dish Network, etc.

MPEG2 is better than MPEG4 in terms of quality. It has a bit rate in the range of 5 to 8 Mbits / sec and also requires a wider bandwidth compared to MPEG4 files. MPEG2 bandwidth is typically up to 40MB / second. It used H.262 encoding.

MPEG2 encoded video files usually have the following extensions: .mpeg, .m2v, .mp2, mp3, .mpg.

MPEG2 uses a simple algorithm for file compression and provides superior image quality. For video compression, MPEG2 discards the information in chunks so that the image frame does not change. Then you only save the part where new information is included. Therefore, it has a simple algorithm compared to MPEG4. MPEG2 is also used for Blu-ray discs.

What is MPEG4?

MPEG4 was released long after MPEG4 in 1999. This was the time when the Internet was picking up speed. Online videos were emerging and video streaming over the internet became popular. MPEG2 was not compatible with portable devices and therefore a need arose for a better standard. The limitation of MPEG2 was overcome by MPEG4.

It was a format compatible with portable devices such as mobile phones. It was also suitable for media players. This is due to its sophisticated algorithm, unlike MPEG2. This also allows it to be a more versatile format compared to MPEG2.

MPEG4 offers the additional benefit of compressing the file in such a way as to reduce its size. This is essential for transferring and streaming videos over the Internet. Uses H.264 encoding.

MPEG4 is lacking in one area, which is the quality of the videos. Since it compresses the file size to facilitate smooth transfer of video files over the Internet, it also reduces the quality of the files.

It also requires a lower bandwidth and bit rate compared to MPEG2. Its bit rate requirement is rated in kilobytes per second, unlike MPEG2. Its bandwidth requirement is also around 64 kbps, which is very low compared to the bandwidth requirement of MPEG2 files which is around 40 Mbps.

Therefore, MPEG4 emerged as a universal format for video files due to its small size and low transmission requirements.

Main differences between MPEG2 and MPEG4

  • MPEG2 video files are suitable for DVD media and television broadcasts. In contrast, MPEG4 files are compatible with portable devices such as phones and media players.
  • MPEG2 provides better video quality compared to MPEG4.
  • MPEG2 has a bandwidth requirement of approximately 40 Mbps, while MPEG4 has a bandwidth requirement of approximately 64 Kbps.
  • MPEG4 is more suitable for streaming videos over the Internet compared to MPEG2.
  • Examples of MPEG2 file extensions are: mp2, mp3, .mpeg, etc. Whereas, examples of MPEG4 file extensions are .m4a, .m4b, .m4r, .mp4, etc.

Final Thought

MPEG2 and MPEG4 are formats that are used worldwide. MPEG comprises parts ranging from MPEG1 to MPEG7 and MPEG21. In these, MPEG2 and MPEG4 tend to be the most prominent and most widely used.

MPEG2 is more suitable for DVD files and television broadcasts due to its high quality. But it is not suitable for streaming video from the Internet due to its large file size and bandwidth requirements. It is also not compatible with portable devices.

MPEG4 was subsequently developed to overcome these limitations. It was compatible with portable devices and also provided a smaller file size with lower bit rate and bandwidth requirements. This enables the smooth transfer of files over the Internet. Both formats are very useful in their particular areas, but since the world is shifting to online streaming, MPEG4 tends to be a more versatile format.

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