BDTI H.264 Decoder Benchmark

Apples-to-apples comparison of H.264 decoders


The H.264 video compression standard has become widely used in video-oriented applications.  As its popularity has increased, so too has the number of vendors offering H.264 software, hardware, and  hardware/software solutions.  Vendors and users of H.264 solutions need to be able to make accurate comparisons of solutions' performance, but this is often difficult because different vendors use different assumptions and metrics when reporting performance.

BDTI's H.264 Decoder Benchmark is the first independent benchmark designed to provide apples-to-apples comparisons of H.264 decoders. It is appropriate for vendors and users of H.264-oriented chips, hardware IP, and software IP—any company that needs reliable, comparable, and credible data.

For example results, please see the BDTI H.264 Decoder Benchmark Certified Results page.

Why Use the BDTI H.264 Decoder Benchmark

The growing number of H.264 decoders available on the market has created challenges for both decoder vendors and system developers. A key problem is that H.264 performance data can be difficult to interpret and is often impossible to compare. Even with standards-based functions, there’s no standardization of performance claims. In reporting the performance of their solutions, each vendor may use different:

  • Algorithm variants
  • Frame sizes, frame rates, bit rates
  • Test streams
  • Metrics

As a result, system designers find it difficult to assess which solution is the best choice, and solution vendors find themselves faced with skeptical customers.

The BDTI H.264 Benchmark addresses the concerns of both sides of the table. It provides vendors with an independent, credible method of assessing and reporting the performance of their H.264 solution, and it provides system designers with apples-to-apples performance data.

Technical Details

BDTI licenses the BDTI H.264 Benchmark Specification, which contains guidelines for configuring an H.264 decoder for certification by BDTI. The specification defines:

  • Application functionality
    The specification defines the functionality and operating parameters of the H.264 decoder. If the H.264 decoder has already been implemented, vendor compliance with the specification requires modest effort—the vendor need only configure its existing solution so that it operates with the specified parameters. For H.264 decoders, the specification sets specific frame sizes, frame rates, and bit rates.
  • Test data
    For each set of standard parameters, BDTI provides a set of input and output test data. To obtain certification, a solution must process the input test data and generate output data that matches the test output data provided by BDTI within the specified tolerance.
  • Performance measurements
    The specification defines measurement of performance. Performance may be measured in terms of processor loading, total program and data memory use, cost, and energy consumption.

BDTI can implement the H.264 Decoder Benchmark on a target platform or can certify existing implementations.  In the latter case, BDTI carefully verifies the vendor's implementation and results by reviewing the configuration, validating functionality, and repeating the measurements taken by the vendor. As part of the basic certification service, BDTI repeats vendor measurements of processor loading, total program and data memory use, and cost. As an additional service, BDTI can also measure energy consumption.

If appropriate, BDTI certifies the performance of the solution. In order to facilitate certification, BDTI provides vendors with a template for reporting information about their solutions.

Next Steps

To license the BDTI H.264 Decoder Benchmark, initiate an analysis engagement, or discuss your benchmarking needs, please call us at +1 925 954 1411 or contact us via the web.