H.264 offers significant benefits to the user and system designer. However, the extra complexity of the implementation comes at extra cost. So H.264 will not replace MPEG-4 overnight, but sit alongside it providing a wider choice of solutions to the end user. Even though MPEG-4 and H.264 compression standards are not compatible, IP networks allow both systems to co-exist and many video management and recording software systems can directly understand both bitstreams.
About the author: Before joining video surveillance vendor IndigoVision as Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in 1999, Barry Keepence worked for over 10 years in the space industry and at 3Com as a system architect. He is based in Edinburgh, England.