How to Convert H.264 to MPEG

by Garrett Unglaub

H.264 is an MPEG 4 standard used in new camcorders and Blu-Ray discs. H.264 allows for a small file size, but can be difficult for older computers to playback. MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 are the formats used for VCDs and DVDs. Conversion between the two formats is typically difficult because of the containers the codecs are housed in. Even though H.264 is MPEG 4, it is held inside of an Avi or Quicktime file, while MPEG 1 and 2 are their own containers. Adobe's Media Encoder, which ships free with Adobe's other video products, offers an easy solution.


Open Adobe Media Encoder. You can find it in the Adobe folder. It may take a minute to load everything up. Once loaded, look over the interface. You should see a category for Source Name, Format, Preset, Output File and Status.


Click the "Add" button. A Windows explorer interface will pop-up. Navigate to where the file you wish to convert is located and select it by clicking "Open."


Click the triangle icon under the category "Format." This will allow you to choose which format to encode to. Example presets include MPEG 1, MPEG 2, MPEG 2 DVD and MPEG 2 Blu-Ray. If you are converting H.264 to play on a standard DVD drive, the MPEG 2 DVD setting is appropriate. For conversion to VCD for burning to a CD-R, MPEG 1 is the correct setting. If you have a Blu-Ray burner and need a compliant file, the H.264 Blu-Ray or MPEG 2 Blu-Ray presets will work well.


Click the triangle under the "Preset" category. Select the preset that matches your source file. For example, if you had a progressive widescreen H.264 file, you would select the "NTSC Progressive Wide Screen High Quality" Setting. If the file is from a country other than the USA, such as England, the "Pal High Quality" Setting would suffice.


Chose the directory to output your video file by clicking the link under the "Output File" category. Save it somewhere you can find it later. Also name it appropriately.


Click the "Start Queue" button to start the conversion of the file. You should now have an MPEG file with the parameters of your choosing.


  • check Since transcoding between different codecs and formats is a time-consuming process for even the newest and most expensive computers, add multiple files to the queue before pressing the "Start Queue" button. This will allow you to walk away from the computer and leave it to crunch the numbers and convert without monitoring from you.

Items you will need

About the Author

Garrett Unglaub has been writing professionally for more than five years. Unglaub's articles can be found in "The Menifee Times" and "Living by the Gulf." He attended Edison State College and Florida Gulf Coast University and has won numerous awards for his short stories, music and poetry.