As the costs for both processing power and memory have reduced, network support for coded video data has diversified, and advances in video coding technology have progressed, the need has arisen for an industry standard for compressed video representation with substantially increased coding efficiency and enhanced robustness to network environments.

This Recommendation represents an evolution of the existing video coding standards (H.261, H.262 and H.263) and it was developed in response to the growing need for higher compression of moving pictures for various applications such as videoconferencing, digital storage media, television broadcasting, Internet streaming and communication. It is also designed to enable the use of the coded video representation in a flexible manner for a wide variety of network environments. The use of this Recommendation allows motion video to be manipulated as a form of computer data and to be stored on various storage media, transmitted and received over existing and future networks and distributed on existing and future broadcasting channels