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This paper presents the results of compression comparison tests between the current state of the emerging High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) draft standard and the current dominant standard H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (High Profile) as an anchor reference. The conditions used for the comparison tests were designed to reflect relevant application scenarios and to enable a fair comparison to the maximum extent feasible, i.e. using comparable quantization settings, reference frame buffering, etc. The testing was generally configured in favour of using a relatively strong H.264/MPEG-4 AVC anchor reference. Several of the encoder optimizations currently found in the HEVC software are tested and shown to be helpful to improve the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC anchor performance. When compared to the improved anchor encoder configurations, the HEVC draft design currently provides a bit rate savings for equal PSNR of about 39% for random access applications, 44% for low-delay use, and 25% for all-intra use.