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H.264/AVC video coding standard can achieve roughly half of the bit-savings over MPEG2 and MPEG4 for a given quality. However, this comes at a cost in considerably increased complexity at the encoder and thus increases the difficulty in hardware implementation. The high redundancy that exists between the successive frames of a video sequence makes it possible to achieve a high data compression ratio. Motion estimation (ME) plays an important role in motion compensated video coding. A fast motion estimation algorithm for H.264/AVC is proposed based on centered prediction, called centered prediction based fast mixed search algorithm (CPFMS). It makes use of the spatial and temporal correlation in motion vector (MV) fields and feature of all-zero blocks to accelerate the searching process. With the initialized searching point prediction, adaptive search window changing and searching direction decision, CPFMS is provided to reduce computation in block-matching process. The experimental results show that the speed of CPFMS is nearly 12 times of FS with a negligible peak signal-noise ratio (PSNR) loss. Also, the efficiency of CPFMS outperforms some popular fast algorithms such as hybrid unsymmetrical cross multi-hexagongrid search and a novel multidirectional gradient descent search evidently.