The continuous advancement of information technology reached a turning point at the end of the 1990s, when it had become technologically feasible for computers to digitize, play and edit video, and also store and transmit them over computer networks. Video data is enormous in quantity compared to what was used before, so the need to economically store and transmit it fueled the creation of video compression algorithms.
This paper shows the history of video compression from the first open standards until the current state of the art, H.264 which is presented in detail. Based on that standard, the free and open source x264 video compressing library was created, which I inspect with an attention to technical details presenting several executing possibilities, and then test it’s capabilities with both quantitative and qualitative methods, on various platforms and test sequences in with regard to its capabilities and performance. Besides I introduce a number of tests previously executed by others.