The XAVC family of codecs were developed by Sony and introduced together with the high-quality PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 digital cameras

This compression technology is used in various profiles for a range of applications. XAVC is comparable to Panasonic's AVC-Ultra-format family.

XAVC enables the processing of signals beyond 1080 / 50p up to 4K and supports various frame rates. To support film production and the demands of higher resolution productions (2K and 4K), XAVC was designed for recording in intra-frame compression.

With the XAVC range of codecs Sony sought to close the gap between MPEG4 SStP (Standard Studio Profile) for deliveries in high quality mastering and the higher compression MPEG2 variants. MPEG 4 SStP is better known as the HDCAM SR tape format or SR Memory, its file-based implementation. Supporting sampling rates between 4:2:0 and 4:4:4 and quantisation of 8 to 12 bits, the XAVC format caters for a wide range of applications, from consumer to professional.

The consumer AVCHD format is not part of the XAVC family even though both formats use the same compression technology (MPEG4 AVC / H.264 ). They are similar but not compatible. AVCHD is limited to 28Mbit/s and only provides a sampling rate of 4:2:0 and 8 bits up to HD resolution. Signals with these properties are not suitable for delivery to broadcasters.

XAVC uses the MXF OP1a wrapper already used for MPEG2 and MPEG4 / SStP. This standard ensures a high degree of compatibility with professional applications used in post production thanks to its industry-wide adoption.

XAVC S is the "light" version of the codec and is limited to a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, sometimes referred to as QFHD (Quad Full HD). XAVC S encodes exclusively in long-GOP compression, as there is no intra-frame variant. It uses an MP4 container instead of the MXF wrapper as it is designed for maximum compatibility in consumer workflows.

XAVC 4K Profile

  • Resolutions: 4096x2160, 3840x2160, 2048x1080
  • Framerates: 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p
  • Chroma-Subsampling: 4:2:2, 4:2:0
  • Bit depth: 10-bit/ 8-bit

XAVC HD Intra Profile

  • Resolutions: 1920x1080, 1440x1080, 1280x720
  • Framerates: 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p
  • Chroma-Subsampling: 4:2:2, 4:2:0
  • Bit depth: 10-bit/ 8-bit

XAVC HD Profile

  • Resolutions: 1920x1080, 1140x1080, 1280x720
  • Framerates: 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p, 100p, 119.88p, 50i, 59.94i
  • Chroma-Subsampling: 4:2:2, 4:2:0
  • Bit depth: 10-bit / 8-bit