Advanced Video Coding (AVC)

What is Advanced Video Coding (AVC)?

AVC, or Advanced Video Coding, refers to the file format or a standard for storing video contents. Usually, this video compression standard uses much lower bit rates as compared to the earlier standards while encoding high-quality videos.

Technically, it is a method where an encoder changes the video into a compressed format and a decoder converts it back to the original. It follows a prediction process to encode and transform to create a compressed H.264 bitstream.

Understanding AVC (Advanced Video Coding)

Advanced Video Coding

Advanced Video Coding, also referred to as H.264 sometimes, is a standard video encoding and digital video compression format.

This specification was designed and developed in 1998 jointly by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU-T). However, its official approval came in, and it was launched in 2003.

This standard, however, does not stipulate the algorithms for encoding video contents. It is for the manufacturers to decide. The use of AVC is also free to the users.

Versions and formats

There have been different versions of AVC launched over time, ranging from Version 1 to Version 27, since it was first launched on May 30, 2003.

It is also designed and used in different derived formats by different manufacturers, such as:


Today, this specific video compression standard is used by almost all streaming protocols in the world. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Out of the above streaming protocols, HLS in particular works only with AVC, while the others still support different video compression standards apart from H.264.

The AVC specification is most commonly used to set the typical syntax for video formats used in:

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The main objectives for designing this particular standard are to offer:

Characteristics and features

The files stored in this particular format have a lot of similar characteristics of the MP4 files with reference to the methods for:

It is because of these similarities that the AVC files are often considered to belong to the MP4 family.

However, as the experts point out, H.264 is an outstanding alternative to the MP4 format. This is because, when the two are compared, AVC seems to beat the latter in several aspects, such as:

However, it needs greater central processing power.


There are a few notable features included in the AVC standard, such as:

Encoding and decoding

The actual job in AVC is done by the encoder and the decoder. Here, the encoder works in three discrete phases, such as:

On the other hand, the decoder produces the final video output by following the other complementary processes, which include:

The underlying mechanism of AVC breaks the video content down into some sort of a machine language. This allows it to be stored and accessed easily by a wide range of diverse technologies.


AVC defines profiles, or sets of capabilities, for identifying the requirements of different bitstreams.

Though the most common profiles used in the high profile, there are also a few other significant profiles used, such as:

Can AVC be Uploaded to YouTube?

Usually, no. If you have shot a video with your HD camcorder, which typically supports files in AVCHD format, you will not be able to upload it to YouTube because the channel does not support it.

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You will actually need to convert it into a format supported by YouTube, following the specific encoding settings recommended by the channel for their optimal conversion.

If you do not know which specific file format you should save your video file in so that you do not get an error message saying “invalid file format” while uploading it on YouTube, here is the list of supported formats:

So, go ahead and convert your AVCHD file into one of the above formats and share it on YouTube.

The process is simple when you use a reliable third-party AVCHD to YouTube converter.


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Does AVC Support 4K?

Usually, no. The regular AVC standard supports MPEG-4 at its highest level.

However, the XAVC version may support 4K resolution, which is either 4096 × 2160 pixels in the digital cinema sector or 3840 × 2160 pixels in UHD, at a maximum of 60 Frames Per Second (fps).


Advanced Video Codec, also commonly referred to as H.264, is a specific type of format or standard for video compression launched in 2003 and used widely for Hi-Fi video recording, compression, and broadcasting.

It is usually the codec for Blu-ray discs but is also used in modern video recorders (DVRs) as the main codec.