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H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding (MPEG-4 AVC) is a video coding format that is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content. The final drafting work on the first version of the standard was completed in May 2003, and various extensions of its capabilities have been added in subsequent editions.

H.264 is perhaps best known as being one of the video encoding standards for Blu-ray Discs; all Blu-ray Disc players must be able to decode H.264. It is also widely used by streaming internet sources, such as videos from Vimeo, YouTube, and the iTunes Store, web software such as the Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight, and also various HDTV broadcasts over terrestrial (Advanced Television Systems Committee standards, ISDB-T, DVB-T or DVB-T2), cable (DVB-C), and satellite (DVB-S and DVB-S2).

H.264 is typically used for lossy compression in the strict mathematical sense, although the amount of loss may sometimes be imperceptible. It is also possible to create truly lossless encodings using it—e.g., to have localized lossless-coded regions within lossy-coded pictures or to support rare use cases for which the entire encoding is lossless.

H.264 is protected by patents owned by various parties, whose licensing is administered by patent pool MPEG LA. Commercial use of H.264 technologies requires the payment of royalties to MPEG LA, although the group has allowed the free use of H.264 technologies for streaming internet video that is free to end users.

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