This paper describes the details and the results of the subjective quality evaluation performed at EPFL, as a contribution to the effort of the joint collaborative team on video coding (JCT-VC) for the definition of the high efficiency video coding (HEVC) standard. The performance of twenty-seven coding technologies has been evaluated with respect to two H.264/MPEG-4 AVC anchors, for high definition (HD) test material. The test campaign involved a total of 494 naive observers and took place over a period of four weeks. While similar tests have been conducted as part of the standardization process of previous video coding technologies, the test campaign described in this paper is by far the most extensive in the history of video coding standardization. A detailed statistical analysis of the subjective results is provided. The results show high consistency and support an accurate comparison of the performance of the different coding technologies.