What is the difference between MJPEG and H.264?

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If your IP camera supports both H.264 and MJPEG, you might be asking yourself: which format should I choose?

Let us help.

The technical side of things
The main difference between H.264 and MJPEG is that MJPEG only compresses individual frames of video, while H.264 compresses across frames.

MJPEG is the compilation of separately compressed JPEGs in a sequence, which leads to high quality outcome in terms of resolution.

With H.264, on the other hand, only some frames are compressed by themselves, while most of them only record changes from the previous frame. This can save a significant amount of bandwidth compared to MJPEG (which encodes each frame as new), but results in a video of lower quality.

H.264 pros/cons
+ reduces bandwidth and storage consumption significantly
+ adaptive video quality based on bandwidth
+ suitable for storage
+ / –  complexity setup – sometimes tricky to set up – streaming quality, frame rate and i frame rate. GOP, VBR, CBR etc.

MJPEG pros/cons
+ consistently great image quality
+ robustness, if one frame is dropped, then it does not affect the video
– no sound
– consumes much more bandwidth and storage
– no storage support at angelcam

In conclusion, when it comes to deciding whether to use MJPEG or H.264, it always comes down to what the consumer is looking for and where the camera is being installed. Although H.264 will be the preferred way for many, MJPEG may be a format of choice for those who seek higher quality with crisp details, but can’t support the H.264 stream.