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H.264 and VP8 Compared 337

Posted by timothy
from the one-has-4-chars-and-a-dot dept.
TheReal_sabret00the writes with a snippet from StreamingMedia.com: "VP8 is now free, but if the quality is substandard, who cares? Well, it turns out that the quality isn't substandard, so that's not an issue, but neither is it twice the quality of H.264 at half the bandwidth. See for yourself."
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H.264 and VP8 Compared

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:06AM (#32312142)

    480x360 and some really old video, seriously? If you're going to compare then at least compare with HD resolution, and even then you should probably compare with all low, medium and high bitrates.

    However, it looks like H.264 kicks VP8's butt with high motion video. Some of the VP8 pictures were quite blocky too.

    • by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:22AM (#32312236)

      This actually is exactly the point. VP8 is aimed *specifically* at this kind of resolution. It's why it's great for YouTube, and why it competes well with H264 main profile. Unfortunately; it has no competitor to h264 baseline profile, so will always use higher power to decode, and has no competitor to h264 high profile, so will never be able to deal with high bandwidth super quality things like blurry disks in the same way.

      • by dangitman (862676) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:39AM (#32312300)

        This actually is exactly the point. VP8 is aimed *specifically* at this kind of resolution. It's why it's great for YouTube,

        Why is this great for YouTube? Apart from the moronic user comments, the biggest problem YouTube has is the crappy resolution and blocky compression. Ditching that shit quickly would be the best thing for YouTube.

        • by Draek (916851) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @07:37AM (#32313114)

          For you. For 99% of the world's population however, Youtube's default resolution is quite acceptable.

          Guess which market Google is aiming at.

        • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @08:03AM (#32313218)
          I doubt that would help, most of the poor quality that you see in Youtube videos comes from the person making the videos. They don't generally use high quality equipment hence the poor quality. It doesn't matter what codec they use, even if they were to stop re-encoding it would still look blocky on most videos.
      • by sprins (717461) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @07:17AM (#32313026)

        VP8 is aimed *specifically* at this kind of resolution. It's why it's great for YouTube...

        Youtube and the like are all moving towards HD. 480p is normal already, 720p and 1080p are becoming normal really fast on the web.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          >>>>>VP8 is aimed *specifically* at this kind of resolution. It's why it's great for YouTube...
          >>
          >>Youtube and the like are all moving towards HD.

          And cutting-off people with basic services like 1 Mbit/s cable internet, DSL, or slow 56k dialup. Forcing people to faster speeds that they either don't have, or don't want, is irresponsible of the website owner. Youtube and others should always provide the OPTION for a low VHS-quality image for people who don't feel the need to watc

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:50AM (#32314130) Journal

        The article reads:
        In higher motion videos, though, H.264 seems superior..... In this very high motion skateboard video, H.264 also looks clearer.....

        Well then that's it then. Any codec, even the ancient MPEG2, can look good on static or slow-moving subjects. It's when there's lots of motion that MPEG2 breaks down (see Water Polo during NBC Olympic broadcast), and apparently the same is true for VP8. The newer, latest MPEG4 AVC/h.264 codec is better.

        AUDIO: The author didn't discuss this, but his encoding used Vorbis versus AAC. Vorbis will beat AAC, but numerous listening tests have shown it will not beat AAC+SBR (HE-AAC) which can produce FM quality sound as low as 28 kbit/s, and AM quality at only 12 kbit/s:

        FM - http://yp.shoutcast.com/sbin/tunein-station.pls?id=322507 [shoutcast.com]
        AM - http://www.radiojackie.com:11209/listen.pls [radiojackie.com]

         

      • by Snover (469130) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:05PM (#32315588) Homepage

        The H.264 video on this comparison site is encoded using Baseline Profile, which is really only for low-power mobile devices, and is not representative of what H.264 is actually capable of. Switching to Main or High Profile gives us CABAC coder (10-20% improvement), bi-directional frames (20-40% improvement), adaptive 8x8 DCT (3-5% improvement). A MP or HP H.264 will blow VP8 out of the water every time. The fact that H.264 manages to look better in most cases despite being encoded using Baseline Profile (and Sorenson Squeeze, which doesn’t seem to have ever been compared to other H.264 encoders and probably is not as good as x264) is a pretty damning assessment of how good VP8 actually is—that is to say, not very.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:07AM (#32312154) Journal

    MPEG LA, the group that formed a patent pool for H.264, does not protect their licensees against all patent infringement - but just against patent infringement suits by their [mpegla.com]licensors [mpegla.com], and only then in the limited case of the specific case of patents included in the pool, and only then for limited times.

    Q: Are all AVC essential patents included?

    A: No assurance is or can be made that the License includes every essential patent. The purpose of the License is to offer a convenient licensing alternative to everyone on the same terms and to include as much essential intellectual property as possible for their convenience. Participation in the License is voluntary on the part of essential patent holders, however.

    So you are in no way more protected by using the restricted H.264 license than you are by using the open VP8 license in the US. In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents, so the only issue is which one of these is technically best.

    And now MPEG LA is trying to form a patent pool for VP8 [allthingsd.com]. Will wonders never cease? Patents are broken. Let us hope that Monday SCOTUS rules that software patents are void in RE Bilski.

    • by Dahamma (304068) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:41AM (#32312310)

      In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents

      Yeah, most of the civilized world except the US, EU, UK, Japan, South Korea, and others...

      And there is no point in pretending software is not patentable in the EU - precedent has LONG been established that software solving a "technical" problem as opposed to a "business process" is patentable. Video and audio codecs are already among those issued. (a big part of that is that codecs are not necessarily "software" patents, in that they are fairly straightforward algorithms that can be implemented in "hardware"/firmware/etc as well as software).

      Feel free to count the number of countries in this list, but I think it's over 25... http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/avc/Documents/avc-att1.pdf [mpegla.com]

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        And now MPEG LA is trying to form a patent pool for VP8 [allthingsd.com]. Will wonders never cease? Patents are broken. Let us hope that Monday SCOTUS rules that software patents are void in RE Bilski

        Eh, just so as not to sound completely pessimistic about software patents, I hope so, too :)

      • by FrostedWheat (172733) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:51AM (#32312582)

        EU, UK

        Neither of these allow software patents (despite what the European Patent Office might tell you). Germany does unfornatually but they're not the EU in the same way the UK isn't.

      • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @05:32AM (#32312698) Journal

        Add India and Pakistan to China, and they're most of the civlized world. They're actually more than half of all the people in the world. None of them care about your list (Yes, I know Chinese patents are on your list - even the Chinese don't care about them - China has differring views on intellectual property that are difficult to describe here but can be summarized as: meh).

        We forget sometimes in the US that our entire country is not as old as a decent British country house, nor a Taiwan temple, nor even a Chinese family land lease. Hell, the US is not even as old as most decent books. We are not most people and we're never going to be. Our inflated estimate of our importance is the cause of much misunderstanding in the wider world. The sooner we let it go the better.

        We've got some decent insight on human interaction to share, but others may be rightfully suspicious of new ideas when they have a system that's similar that is proven to work over a span of 5,000 years. To those folk a quarter millenium is still just a "noble experiment", and frankly looking at what we're doing with it, we might not make it to a half millennium so who are we to say they're not civilized?

        • by malice (82026) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @08:08AM (#32313232) Homepage

          We forget sometimes in the US that our entire country is not as old as a decent British country house, nor a Taiwan temple, nor even a Chinese family land lease. Hell, the US is not even as old as most decent books. We are not most people and we're never going to be. Our inflated estimate of our importance is the cause of much misunderstanding in the wider world. The sooner we let it go the better.

          I agree with the notion that the US should not have an overly inflated estimate of our importance... however your reasons why are beyond silly.

          "Old" doesn't make something better. Ask any of the younger generations in the countries you've cited, you'll find that they by in large eschew all of this glorious ancient tradition (if they're even aware of it), and are more interested in modern (read: Western) style living.

          Simply occupying the same bit of dirt on the planet for a length of time doesn't translate into some type of magical wisdom. Indeed, entities and institutions that have existed for too long very frequently exhibit backwardness and retardation from centuries of inbreeding.

          We've got some decent insight on human interaction to share, but others may be rightfully suspicious of new ideas when they have a system that's similar that is proven to work over a span of 5,000 years. To those folk a quarter millenium is still just a "noble experiment", and frankly looking at what we're doing with it, we might not make it to a half millennium so who are we to say they're not civilized?

          Please read up on the history of India, China, etc. and the myriad of failed systems that have existed in the countries (India, China, etc) you've cited over the past 5,000 years. Then consider restating your opinion.

          Again, I have no issue with your statement that the USA can often be caught up in its own hubris, which we should avoid. But the rest of your statements sound like something right out of the "noble savage" nonsense.

          • Please read up on the history of India, China, etc. and the myriad of failed systems that have existed in the countries (India, China, etc) you've cited over the past 5,000 years.

            Your analysis of history belongs in the early 20th century! Seriously, read a newer history book! China was developmentally ahead of the western world in many areas (statism, literature, economy) for centuries before the west figured out how to build guns and decent boats and subsequently conquer the world. The Chinese actually had the first two before us, but lacked the ambition to do the latter. Had the emperor not ordered him to stop, Zheng He could have gone to Europe and made us crap our pants with his huge fleet.

            You talk of failed systems, but do you believe that the current dominant political and economic systems are not doomed to failure as well? As history indeed shows, all systems of governance have failed and been replaced by more efficient ones, so what makes you say the current western system is the best that humanity will ever discover? Our descendants 500 years from now will look upon the present western notion of superiority as just as ridiculous as that of the ancient Chinese and Roman rulers.

            • by malice (82026) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:51AM (#32314140) Homepage

              Your analysis of my post belongs in left field. I never stated any of the straw man assertions you raised.

              I never stated our current system might not fail. I never stated that the current western system is the best humanity will discover.

              Frankly, I don't even understand how you could glean that from reading my post. Please read the initial post that I was responding to, then read my post and understand it was in response to that.

              Afterwards, perhaps a cold martini and some reflection, and you'll understand my points (and cease making up things which I did not say or imply, so that you can refute them).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bartwol (117819)

          they have a system that's similar that is proven to work over a span of 5,000 years

          Care to estimate how much capital they've been able to create through the use of intangibles, and compare that to our ability to do so?

          Our intellectual property laws allow our economy to realize the value of intangibles, to the recipient of the intangible at the time that he realizes the value, and to the producer at the same time. That puts food on people's tables, clothes on their backs, roofs over their shoulders.

          There

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        Yeah, most of the civilized world except the US, EU, UK, Japan, South Korea, and others...

        Wait, we have software patents in the UK? The last I heard on the matter was an official government statement saying that they were harmful to innovation and would not be introduced. Admittedly we've had a new government since then, but they've only been in power for a couple of weeks, and I'm sure I'd notice if they'd done something like this...

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by EyelessFade (618151)

          No, but you have other patents, codecs etc, which where introduced for cameras and other physical objects. For instance the only patent in this pool that is valid in Norway are Mitsubishis very general patent (NO 310850) about coding video with a delta from one picture to the next in "encoding equipments"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Patents are broken.

      Software patents are broken; patents for physical items are maybe a little jankety, but not completely broken (yet).

      When it comes to software patents, it comes down to the thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters eventually pounding out the complete works of Shakespeare; it may not be in chronological order, either. The same holds true with software; enough people coding things will ultimately come up with a way of doing things that looks similar to another way for doing the same things, but there's

      • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:08AM (#32312424) Journal

        No, patents are broken. They're intended to work for limited times, but a number of strategies for extending them have arisen that make them indefinitely persistent. They're broken. Even in the best case they prevent progress. Look at the early example of the steam engine [thefreemanonline.org]. The late movement to change them from first invention to first to patent promises to bring innovation to a grinding halt.

        Even Tesla's invention of radio was for a long time blocked by Marconi's patents and only recognized after his death [pbs.org]. Patents not only are broken, they have always been. Patents prevent progress, and the prevention of progress is the opposite of the purpose and justification for patents.

        Patents are patently bad. The US Constitution grants to Congress the power to grant patents and copyrights - but it does not require Congress to do so. We can fix this.

      • by Arker (91948) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:10AM (#32312430) Homepage

        Software patents are broken; patents for physical items are maybe a little jankety, but not completely broken (yet).

        No, the whole system is broken. [google.com]

        Even when the patent system worked as the founders intended, it was debateable whether there was any benefit. Pretty much every major invention came more-or-less simultaneously to several different people, one of them got the patent, everyone else got screwed. But today it's ten times worse. The only function the patent office serves in 2010 is to help large corporations perpetuate an oligopoly where only the chosen few with large patent pools can enter entire markets.

        • by Yfrwlf (998822)
          +1000000000 Awesome.

          Seriously, patents are very broken for so many reasons. If they'd only be abolished, real competition could much more easily occur and it would be a major blow to monopolies which take more and more of your pie, slow progress, and deteriorate the quality of life for everyone. The government has become a tool wielded not by citizens to protect themselves, but by corporations to squeeze citizens and destroy competition. It is your own government that you should be pissed at for allow
        • I want to know why there isn't liability for the patent attorneys that clearly are incompetent (There are more than 6 of these cat entertainment devices patented) or the patent office for incompetence. Finally engineers that knowingly apply for non inventive/prior art/trivial patents and confuse the issue with jargon (like the attorneys) should also be liable.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)

      In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents

      Unfortunately this becomes less and less true. In EU swpatents are illegal but accepted by the EU patents office (a big WTF, yes), in Japan they are legal, lobbyists are at work about everywhere, ACTA continues to be negociated, etc...

      • I hate it when people use biased wording to get a point across...

        In EU swpatents are illegal but accepted by the EU patents office (a big WTF, yes)

        Software Patents in the EU are *not* illegal, they are just not legally enforcable - that is a huge difference, and it completely changes your sentence. The patent office can take applications for software patents, and can issue patents for them but legally no court has jurisdiction to enforce them. They are issued because software patents may become enforcable in the future.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      So you are in no way more protected by using the restricted H.264 license than you are by using the open VP8 license in the US. In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents, so the only issue is which one of these is technically best

      Have you looked at the H.264 patent list? It includes patents from most tech countries in the civilized world.

    • Let us hope that Monday SCOTUS rules that software patents are void in RE Bilski

      If that was going to be the ruling, it would have been out long ago. Here's an interesting article [ipwatchdog.com] discussing the unusually long time its taken for them to rule, and what that might mean.

  • Bunk test (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LBt1st (709520)

    Once again someone is comparing a codec to H264 using some small as hell resolution.
    Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

    • Re:Bunk test (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3 AT phroggy DOT com> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:12AM (#32312186) Homepage

      Once again someone is comparing a codec to H264 using some small as hell resolution.
      Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

      On a cell phone, that's not true.

      • Re:Bunk test (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dahamma (304068) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:27AM (#32312266)

        And there are a few hundred million cell phones out there that support H.264 but not VP8, so good luck taking over that market any time soon.

        VP8 will need to prove itself on the desktop where software decoders are possible before it's going to get any traction in embedded devices...

        • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:52AM (#32312356) Journal

          I think we need not worry about this in the long term. In the short term people are accustomed to the fact that their 9 month old phone doesn't have the latest technology - it's a phone, and they got it for cheap on contract. When their contract is up they go for the hot new stuff, which next week will include VP8 compatibility on Android phones and iPhones, which are both of the platforms that drive tech today. RIM will come around to whatever's hot because they don't want to lose share. As for the desktop, who needs it? Desks are not comfortable and they're not mobile. We move about now. We go where the work is, or we work wherever we happen to be.

          Since I'm posting I might as well throw in some gems I've gleaned from the news. The ringtone hopes of phone vendors of being media content providers is pretty much dead. In the 2009 numbers online distribution has surpassed physical distribution for the first time (and we're not going back). Most audio is now bought online. One in four tracks purchased is bought through iTunes now. Amazon MP3 at about 1% is still in the top 10, but it's not going to be the wunderkind of media distribution once hoped.

          If iTunes gets serious traction on video sales we're on our way to an iTunes culture. From my POV that would be unfortunate.

          • by Dahamma (304068)

            Given their track record on other types of content I agree that having Apple drive the future of video distribution would be very unfortunate...

            As far as H.264 vs VP8 support in the future, you do have a point that the cellular market will adapt more quickly than most. Though you have ot take into account that Apple now controls an impressively large percent of that in a few short years, and as of yet they have pretty much laughed at VP8...

            By "desktops" I really meant "PCs" - in the loose sense of full fea

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by symbolset (646467)

              For the other big non-desktop market, TVs/STBs - that's going to be the biggest resistance to anything non-H.264 (and I say this working in that industry...) The cable and satellite industry just spent a huge amount of money converting all of their broadcast systems and set-tops to H.264, and they don't like doing that very often. Additionally, the chips that go into all TVs and Blu-Ray players all support H.264 (and MPEG2, etc) but not much else - which means the current VOD services that run on them like Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, YouTube, etc are all H.264 based.

              All of the major video providers on the Web - even the porn ones - are now migrating to HTML5 and seem ready to offer their content on whatever Codec you have handy. They're not choosy. They don't have a dog in this fight. They're all about getting eyeballs on their content so they can sell ads against that, or sell access to their content. They really don't care. If you have flash, they'll give you flash. If you have VP8 or H.264, they'll give you that. They can afford to transcode and store three c

            • Why exactly? Apple's previous track record with content is not only getting the music industry to agree to sell content on the internet, but to (eventually) do it without DRM. Even if they weren't the very first to offer it, they made it a profitable and viable model that broke the industry's mindset that was firmly "why would people pay when they can just get it off a p2p service".

              In their history they tend to go for (if patented) at least open codecs and formats (with the exception of Sorenson in Quicktime, but it didn't last long).

          • When their contract is up they go for the hot new stuff, which next week will include VP8 compatibility on Android phones and iPhones, which are both of the platforms that drive tech today.

            Would they inlcude hardware decoders for V8 too ? Why include new hardware if there is no clear quality advantage and vendors have already standardized on h264 ? Unless Google pulls a microsoft and starts aggressively pushing this tech on everyone at the exclusion of alternatives it isn't going anywhere.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hkmwbz (531650)
          All future Android phones will support VP8, and Android will take over bigger and bigger parts of the market. I think VP8 is covered just fine.
      • Once again someone is comparing a codec to H264 using some small as hell resolution. Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

        On a cell phone, that's not true.

        You're right, on a cell phone, nobody ever cares.

    • by SheeEttin (899897)

      Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

      So why are cell phone cameras (still and video) so popular?

      • by beelsebob (529313)

        Because modern camera phones record video in HD resolutions?

        • by eviljolly (411836)

          Only a handful by my count, most of which are not out yet. Even my "modern" Motorola Droid or a Nexus One only records at 720 x 480.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        So why are cell phone cameras (still and video) so popular?

        They aren't. From my experience, hardly anybody actually uses phone cameras, unless they are really desperate and have no alternative camera at hand.

        • by Scaba (183684) <`moc.aicnarfeoj' `ta' `eoj'> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:17AM (#32312454)

          And by that you mean, the only friend you have, you, records everything with something sophisticated? You know they all hate you, right?

          • by dangitman (862676)

            And by that you mean, the only friend you have, you, records everything with something sophisticated? You know they all hate you, right?

            No. I mean the majority of my friends, acquaintances and colleagues, which is a large number and a diverse range of ages and demographics. They might not use something "sophisticated" (i.e DSLR), but when they want to take photos, they use a dedicated camera, typically a compact digital point-and-shoot camera. For video it's usually something like a Flip, a Kodak Zi8, or an old DV camera.

        • Re:Bunk test (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dotwhynot (938895) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:47AM (#32312562)

          So why are cell phone cameras (still and video) so popular?

          They aren't. From my experience, hardly anybody actually uses phone cameras, unless they are really desperate and have no alternative camera at hand.

          I could say my experience is the complete opposite, which it is, but since both are just anecdotal it made me curious to find out if there are any data on this.

          According to Flickr usage statistics iPhone is the most used camera on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/cameras/ [flickr.com]

          Just one datapoint, I know. But seems at the very least to disprove the hardly used by anybody theory. I would guess, but have no data, that the complete different experiences people have on this comes down to demographic differences (mobile markets and usage very different from country to country, and age group to age group, etc).

          Myself I find I'm using my mobile camera more, they have gotten quite good, and regular camera less. But I could still agree with your claim it is just because I don't have another camera with me, because that is mostly true, I usually don't go around with a camera, but I absolutely always have my mobile with me (currently a HTC HD2, so not in the iPhone group myself)

          • My anecdotal evidence supports this. No one has a cheap camera anymore. People either have an expensive SLR (most digital, but one guy I know still develops his own film), and take a lot of care over their shots, or they use the camera on their phone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Welcome to the United States. We still have shitty internet access.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by moosesocks (264553)

      A loosely-compressed 480p video (ie. DVD) can look superior to a 1080p encode if said 1080p video is compressed to death.

      Similarly, 720p videos rarely look worse than 1080p videos, and occasionally manage to look better.

    • Re:Bunk test (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @05:04AM (#32312608)
      Come on. H264 fan boys use such a low bitrate for shootouts that you are often comparing crap with shit. I don't care how good that shit looks compared to crap. Its still crap and shit.

      By the time you get up to bitrate/resolutions combination that matter (ie *are* HD, rather than just HD pixel count), the difference in all codecs are much smaller.
    • by syousef (465911)

      Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

      Speak for yourself. I care. A lot. Especially for older stuff that wasn't recorded at high res.

  • The comparison seems to use sorenson squeeze (based on MainConcept if I am not mistaken).
    I don't believe it can mach x264's capabilities and speed.

    Using x264 for comparison would be much fairer.

    • by dangitman (862676)

      I don't believe it can mach x264's capabilities and speed.

      That's not surprising. Not even the fastest jet aircraft can reach Mach 264.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:55AM (#32312374)

      The comparison seems to use sorenson squeeze (based on MainConcept if I am not mistaken).
      I don't believe it can mach x264's capabilities and speed.

      Using x264 for comparison would be much fairer.

      The comparison is done by Jan Ozer. He's billed as a "video codec expert" but I don't think he has the technical expertise to, for example, make use of x264. His previous H.264 versus Theora comparison wasn't very impressive either. The x264 developers described Ozer's Theora versus H.264 comparison as "one of the worst articles they had ever seen" [multimedia.cx].

  • by Whuffo (1043790)

    While you're doing that "see for yourself" stuff, take a close look at the data on how the files were encoded. I mean a really close look; put on your scientist hat and pay close attention. See for yourself that the test was staged to support the view that they're espousing.

    Maybe VP8 is comparable to H.264 or maybe not - but it's very hard to tell when the comparisons are so biased. I suspect that the real truth is that they're both about equivalent; either one is equally good at encoding video.

    In any eve

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:03AM (#32312406)

      How do you think the comparisons are staged, biased, and otherwise completely uninformative?

      Because your post was nearly as uninformative as the patent smears...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr_da3m0n (887821)

      While you're doing that "see for yourself" stuff, take a close look at the data on how the files were encoded. I mean a really close look; put on your scientist hat and pay close attention. See for yourself that the test was staged to support the view that they're espousing.

      Let's pretend my scientist hat is in the wash right now and not quite dry yet. Would you care to share what makes you believe that? Because I don't call a one kilobit difference in bitrate "staging".

      Unless perhaps you mean that equal bitrate doesn't necessarily mean equal quality due to different compression algorithms? That would be true, but it would be irrelevant in this case since I'm fairly sure the purpose of the test is to see which one can deliver the best quality within a certain bandwidth limit.

      Se

      • by NNKK (218503)

        How about the fact that the person supposedly doing this comparison isn't even the one who encoded the video? Instead, he relied on a third party with a vested interest in h.264 to do the encoding for him.

        In fact, he's such an utterly useless person that he claims he doesn't even "have access to a VP8 encoder".

  • I call shenanigans! (Score:4, Informative)

    by mindwhip (894744) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @05:16AM (#32312652)

    None of the comparisons are of exactly the same frame. 3 of the 6 images have different times in the corner.

    I suspect the writer selected frames so H.264 won, but gave VP8 one win at the end to not seem biased.

    Also his 'standard SD encoding test file that I've been using for years' would also be a source of suspicion. It is possible that his source file is already in a format that encodes better into H.264 than it does into VP8. And has already been mentioned here the resolution of the source is quite low for todays HD broadband world...

    He used Sorenson Media to encode the files. In all probability they may be just better at setting some of the encoding parameters in the codec they have had longer...

    And that was just a quick look. There are possibly other flaws that I haven't noticed yet.

  • I hate the article for not stating whether those are key frames or P-frames.

    • I hate the article for not stating whether those are key frames or P-frames.

      A typical user wouldn't know the difference, so why should the reviewer get to pick and choose? The whole point of the review is subjective visual comparison, blind to the implementation details.

      Give author Jan Ozer some credit: he's been Streaming Media's compression expert for a long time, and knows what he's talking about.

  • ... but I couldn't really see much difference between the images.

  • by SashaM (520334) <msashaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @08:32AM (#32313336) Homepage

    Who in their right mind would compare codec quality by encoding screenshots in a lossy image format??? To add insult to injury, the GIF image files in the article have a .jpg extension.

    This article, and the person who wrote it, are worse than useless.

  • by SD-Arcadia (1146999) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @08:36AM (#32313364) Homepage
    The immediate problem with this article is that it uses the Sorenson encoder rather than the state-of-the-art x264 encoder for h.264. If x264 was used, the h.264 encodes would demonstrate higher quality and the quality conclusions would most likely be more in favor of h.264. Since x264 is both the best h.264 encoder, and FOSS, it is the ultimate benchmark for any new video codec implementations, and that should be used. The point of VP8 however is that it is now the best free video codec, replacing Theora in that category (which is still being improved and will probably remain relevant in some niche scenarios still). The quality of VP8 is likely not going to surpass h.264, even with open source tinkering, but it will still revolutionize the web through html5 video, it will achieve widespread software support in a matter of a few months, and your devices will pick up support in a year or so (the next generation hardware). VP8 is free, and good enough to be in the ballpark of h.264 even if it is not as good. And that is a huge win.

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