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Google Enables VP9 Video Codec In Chromium 161

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-patent-free-video dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last month, Google revealed that it was planning to finish defining its VP9 video codec on June 17 (today), after which it will start using the next-generation compression technology in Chrome and on YouTube. The company is wasting no time: it has already enabled the free video compression standard by default in the latest Chromium build."
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Google Enables VP9 Video Codec In Chromium

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  • Firefox support (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:09AM (#44036415)

    A very positive development, to be able to get away from flash and that nasty proprietary plugin. With Adobe basically thumbing their nose at Linux users, getting away from flash is something that ought to be encouraged. So When will Firefox add this for those who prefer that browser?

    • Re:Firefox support (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:34AM (#44036497)

      I went to the Mozilla IRC [irc] (have Chatzilla [mozilla.org] installed before clicking) and typed this:

      firebot: vp9 bugs

      and got this:

      Bug https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=833023 [mozilla.org] , , nobody, NEW, Implement VP9 video decoder in Firefox

      So it's not ASSIGNED to anybody yet, meaning "when" it'll be patched in isn't known.
      And now you won't have to ask about a Firefox bug on slashdot ever again, because you know a more reliable place to ask.

    • Re:Firefox support (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:02AM (#44036803)

      This allows you as much to move away from Flash as the current built-in support for H264 and other codecs. So until the Flash-based player UI is replaced by an HTML-based player UI, nothing will change.

      And you can for many years already watch YouTube videos without using Flash plugin in your browser.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Why, so we can have another half assed Flash wannabe?

      Look I'll be one of the first to stop installing flash on new builds but when and ONLY WHEN you can show me an actual flash REPLACEMENT, not some half assed "solution" that is anything but! First we had H.264, which didn't support animation or games, sucks twice as many cycles as a flash/spark or flash/vp6 at the same quality, in fact most H.264 videos will be a fricking slideshow on systems that will play flash just fine, and then of course there is the

      • by tepples (727027)
        The solution that handles games is not to try to make everything run in the HTML document viewer. Instead, make a native application for Windows, a native application for OS X, a native application for GNU/Linux, a native application for Android, a native application for iOS, and a native application for Windows Phone 8.
  • It's... OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:35AM (#44036505) Homepage

    It's not the disaster that VP8 was (which looked like a codec from 10+ years ago), but it seems to be at best in the same ballpark as x264. VP9 isn't really a viable replacement for h.265, but it might do better than their last attempt merely by not being a laughable joke like VP8.

    Mind you, I'm not saying VP8 is bad in and of itself. I certainly couldn't do better. But Google promoted it as being superior to h.264, which was an absurd assertion, hence the derision.

    • Got a citation for VP9 not being better or equal to h.265?

      I'm genuinely curious why you think that way.

      • Re:It's... OK. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Telvin_3d (855514) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:35AM (#44036715)

        Most of the early results show that, while VP9 isn't better than h265, it's within a percentage point or two. That's not its problem.
        Rather, there are two big issues towards VP9 adoption.

        First, there is no hardware support for it at all so far, where as the next generation of mobile and desktop chips already have h265 support announced. And since both VP9 and h265 have order-of-magnitude higher processing power requirements then their predecessors. If you're software processing it will be noticeable even on a decent desktop. So a year from now all the latest phones will already support h265. And since any site serving to them will already encode for that, why would they double up for a codec that does not perform any better?

        Second, Google may be selling this as a fully free and open codec, but that's what they said about VP8. And as soon as that was announced everyone yawned and bet that it walked all over h264 licensing. And a few months ago Google finally admitted it and paid out a big settlement to license h264 for their VP8 codec.

        So when Google says 'you don't have to pay a license fee' what it has meant in the past is 'we haven't done our due diligence to see what licenses you need'. And anyone who cares about paying or avoiding licensing costs would rather pay up a small known fee than worry about massive liabilities from trusting Google's word. Again.

        And it's an interesting fight for the 'free as in freedom' crowd, because while h264/5 are not 'free as in beer' they are entirely open specs and many of the best h264 tools have been open source right from the start. The professional tools don't care about the minor licensing costs and the hobbyist tools don't bother paying.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          This is exactly what I was wondering. Why bother? Just for some minor patent issue? And yes it's minor as I've never had to touch the issue as an end user: it just works. Videos play, without me having to pay anyone anything.

          On the one hand I am glad to see competition, different approaches to the same problem, let the best one win. More codecs, more attempts to find the perfect video compression, that's a good thing. However when it comes to standards, it's gettig trickier. How many standards to support? W

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Gaygirlie (1657131)

            The good, ol' "It doesn't affect me, therefore it is irrelevant!" - argument. You do realize how silly and short-sighted an argument that is?

            • by wvmarle (1070040)

              It may be silly and shortsighted - it is the argument any regular consumer will pose you.

              How is VP9 better for me as end user than H264/H265? Because Google pays for the patent license instead of some consortium gives out free licenses? Both are totally opaque to me (and either license can be withdrawn at a whim), and both have to do with companies from the opposite side of the world (remember, the US has 5% of the world's population).

              • by Telvin_3d (855514)

                either license can be withdrawn at a whim

                They really can't. Once something is released like this it can't be withdrawn and license terms can not be changed. Any attempt would be instant bad-faith and crash-and-burn in the courts.

                • by wvmarle (1070040)

                  Which takes me back to original: why bother? It seems that in this respect both codecs are equivalent. VP9 is marketed as "not patent encumbered" but there almost certainly are patents that cover bits and pieces of the codec, just considering the sheer amount of patents out there.

                  So now the status appears to be that both are equivalent in patent coverage, both have similar performance in video quality and compression, but H264/265 is widely used and well supported by most modern hardware, while V9 needs a h

                • "Any attempt would be instant bad-faith and crash-and-burn in the courts."

                  Prevailing "in the courts" takes this pretty far out of the hands of ordinary users, "regular consumers"

                  The advantage of non-encumbered codecs is that you never end up in court for using them.

              • by roca (43122)

                VP9 will be better than H265 for you as an end user because Youtube will support VP9 and not H265. Google has said so.

                • by wvmarle (1070040)

                  Now just hope that my devices can handle the VP9 decoding... it does handle H264 just fine (likely has some special hardware to decode that). And just have to see whether VP9 decoding hardware will be included.

                • and we all know how well that's worked... with Adobe dropping Flash support on Linux, Chrome is the only browser that reliably plays all of the videos on Youtube. How long ago, again, did they announce they were switching to html5/vp8?

                  • by Nutria (679911)

                    Chrome is the only browser that reliably plays all of the videos on Youtube.

                    Please point to YT videos not playable by Linux Firefox with the current (v11.2.202.291, released on 14-Jun-2013) Flash plugin.

                    • Well, firefox, doesn't play the video actually, flash does.

                      In case it won't run on your PC (because you've insuficint CPU, or not the SINGLE arquitecture they support), then firefox won't play anything flash-based, because flash won't run.

                  • by kriston (7886)

                    Flash Video is not Adobe Flash. It's just VP6 and H.264, among other codecs, that are using Flash as a container. On Apple iOS devices, Adobe Flash isn't even in the picture--it's just H.264.

          • by slim (1652)

            You do pay. All those devices that play/create h.265, have a licence payment to the MPEG Group burned into their retail price.

            To keep the price down, Raspberry Pi disables the MPEG-2 hardware decoder that happened to be present on their SOAC. You can buy a licence and enable it for £2.40. If they'd kept it enabled throughout, the base price for the Pi would have been that much more expensive.

            £2.40 isn't much to you. But Firefox's purpose is to make Web content available to as many people worldwi

            • To keep the price down, Raspberry Pi disables the MPEG-2 hardware decoder that happened to be present on their SOAC. You can buy a licence and enable it for £2.40. If they'd kept it enabled throughout, the base price for the Pi would have been that much more expensive.

              That's interesting, and certainly a fair decision on their part. Out of curiosity, is there a way for those of us in countries without software patents to reenable the MPEG-2 hardware decoder?

            • by wvmarle (1070040)

              I think that's a serious chunk of cash to be paid just to use MPEG-2 decoding.

              Considering there are billions of DVD players on this planet, plus billions of general computing devices (such as PCs, laptops, tablets, phones) and TV's that can decode MPEG-2 out of the box.

              To those MPEG people really rake in several billions a year just in license fees? Or is that 2.40 including a serious overhead fee from the Raspberry Pi resellers?

          • This is exactly what I was wondering. Why bother? Just for some minor patent issue?

            It's really a matter of principle. Plenty of people care about openness, that's why we have free software and all that. The same applies here.

            And yes it's minor as I've never had to touch the issue as an end user: it just works. Videos play, without me having to pay anyone anything.

            Sure you have to pay someone. You just don't do it directly, you pay the hardware manufacturer, who, in turn, payed someone else.

            On the one hand I am glad to see competition, different approaches to the same problem, let the best one win. More codecs, more attempts to find the perfect video compression, that's a good thing. However when it comes to standards, it's gettig trickier. How many standards to support? Which one is to be "the standard"? And with H264 as it is - for me as an end user completely free and doing the job well - I don't see much room for VP9, really.

            It's not always the best that wins, but rather the one with the largest company backing it up, or the one with better marketing.

        • Erm Google paid the fee SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO.

          They didn't pay just for themselves.

        • Re:It's... OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by VirtualVirtuality (2895477) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @03:14AM (#44037009)

          Ehh, what 'big settlement' did Google pay? Google and MPEG LA announced an agreement, there's been no disclosure of any big settlement, and I seriously doubt there was one.

          MPEG LA was actively looking (as in advertising for) any patents which could be used as a patent pool against VP8, and had they actually managed to create a strong portfolio then I don't think we'd ever seen this agreement take place. Also, given how long On2 (the company Google bought for their codec technology) have been active in video compression aswell as the patents they hold, it's not as if Google is just entering the video compression arena from scratch, and they may very well hold patents on which h264 and h265 could be found infringing.

          And as far as licencing costs, there's no indemnification from patent trolls with MPEG LA licencing either, and MPEG LA's saber rattling turned out to be just that, no 'massive liabilities' ended up facing anyone.

          This notion you try to sell that you would somehow be 'safe' with MPEG LA licencing, while opening yourself up to 'massive liabilities' if you use VP8/VP9 is just typical scare tactics as I see it.

          Now I don't think VP9 will be quite as good as h265, but that's not really important. The important thing is that MPEG LA won't be able to corner the entire online video compression market, and that there is an actual competitive alternative (and that this competition is also open source and royalty free is a huge bonus).

          Because the day there isn't, the companies who make up MPEG LA will start to collect heavily on their investments, massive-greed style. Which in turn will affect us end users as the increased cost will inevitably be shifted unto us, one way or another.

          Furthermore it will lead to stagnation, as in: 'we will bleed this technology dry before we introduce the next generation', all in an effort to maximize profit with less effort.

          So yay for VP9, may it (and it's later incarnations) live long and prosper.

          • by gsnedders (928327)

            This. A thousand times this.

            If you look back to the original H.264 debate on public-html (the HTML WG's mailing list), you'll see those against implementing VP8 aren't doing against it because they consider the patent risk greater than H.264, it's that they aren't doing it because the risk of H.264 *is a sunk cost*. They thought both were likely to result in a risk of "massive liabilities", and hence wanted to minimize their risk by not taking more on than needed.

        • You know ARM chipsets are going to have it because it is going to come bundled with Android. As for PCs you can program your decoder in CUDA or OpenCL so "hardware support" is not very important.

          • As for PCs you can program your decoder in CUDA or OpenCL so "hardware support" is not very important.

            Mobile GPUs are also programmable, but without knowing the details of the algorithms involved it's hard to say what kind of speedup you'll get from a GPU. In general, later generations of video CODECs require inferring more from larger areas and so are less amenable to the kind of access that a GPU's memory controller is optimised for. Just doing something on the GPU isn't an automatic speedup, and until we see real implementations it's hard to say exactly how much better it will be.

          • > You know ARM chipsets are going to have it because it is going to come bundled with Android

            Looking over the list of common ARM SoC's using in Android, I see that about 50% support VP8 decode, and about 5% support encode. The relative numbers for H.264 are 100% and (something smaller I can't really quantify).

            It's too early to call for VP9, of course, but VP8's update was poor to middling. The "just because it's google" argument is not a strong one.

            • Most of those are old and obsolete superseded by other chips which do have VP8 support.

              • When it comes to Android phones, "old and obsolete" is very, very likely to be not only still in use but still sold by the carrier. The last time I checked a couple months ago, prepaid carriers were still selling Android 2.x phones.
          • by hairyfeet (841228)
            Citation please, as I have yet to see support for a codec that wasn't already supported out of the box to be added later by using OpenCL. Is it possible? Sure but just because something is possible doesn't mean anybody has actually done it or will do it in the future.
        • Most of the early results show that, while VP9 isn't better than h265, it's within a percentage point or two. That's not its problem.

          Bull. Percentage points mean diddly squat when comparing different video codecs. Visually, VP9 doesn't even come close to h.265 (HEVC).

          Convince yourself: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=1620230#post1620230 [doom9.org]

      • Right now h264 is as good as you'll get, but that isn't because the standard is intrinsicly better. It's just that the encoder is much more refined than any other. It has x264, which has been under active development for many years perfecting every detail.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Got a citation for VP9 not being better or equal to h.265?

        I've got a citation that h.265 is about twice as good as h.264 (50% of the bandwidth for equal quality), but I dont see Google claiming that VP9 is a big improvement over VP8 .. VP9 mainly just seems to just use larger macro blocks than VP8.. looks like they rushed it out to try to get traction before devices support h.265

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        By looking at a few comparisons myself and observing that while VP9 isn't up to par with HEVC, it does seem to be roughly on par with h.264. There's nothing stopping you from looking at comparisons yourself. My impression was that VP9 was better at hiding artifacts than h.264 (similar to HEVC in that respect), but worse at preserving detail; the combination of the two factors means that the difference comes out in the wash. Compared to HEVC, it appears as though VP9 maintains significantly less detail in hi

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Question:What EXACTLY was wrong with VP8? I'll be the first to say it couldn't replace flash (neither could H.26x as both AFAIK suck at animation) but while I haven't seen many videos use VP8 I have to say that videos with flash+VP6 used less cycles than H.264 while having decent picture quality so what went wrong with VP8?

      Also does anybody know of any free and easy to use encoders for VP9? That was the problem I had with VP8, no easy to use encoders, whereas there are plenty that will do VP6 in a flash w

  • that will allow the community to build their own encryption schemes into the product? I would feel better knowing this isn't just another secret solution like Skype.
    • VP9 will be completely open. Just remember that creating video codecs is very complex process on its own, so adding things like encryption schemes will likely require a bunch of professional engineers.
      • by slew (2918) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:40AM (#44036733)

        VP9 will be completely open. Just remember that creating video codecs is very complex process on its own, so adding things like encryption schemes will likely require a bunch of professional engineers.

        I'm not sure what to take away from that statement about "professional engineers".

        It seem like you implying that since VP9 didn't want/need "the community" (of presuably unprofessional folk) in its development that somehow the current developers of VP9 don't feel that "the community" can develop an encryption schemes (being the unprofessional folk we are)?

        I gather that the Cathederal mechanism of development might be deemed necessary (by google) to avoid IP contamination of VP9, but as someone that does stuff in this area (video compression and encryption) professionally, what you seem to be implying is a bit condecending to "the community" of open source developers (many of whom are professional engineers in our day-jobs)...

        In fact, I might argue that encryption schemes are best done in the community (e.g., like the AES and the SHA-3 process) because an open competitive environment is the best way to assure the actual difficulty of cirvumenting the scheme is known (rather than assuming that some experts have it figured out).

        • Then you are the professional engineer. You have no reason to feel insulted. I didn't mean there is no skill in the community, but the gearheads smart enough to tinker with codecs don't grow in every tree. It's just too easy to always say that "the open source community" will do this or that, but behind something happening is actually hard work. Anyone known to actually hack a codebase knows this. And it certainly doesn't help that many of them are working for free or coping with random donations.
  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:01AM (#44036597)
    VP8 is really slow. Unknown if reason is lack of hardware support or if codec is actually poorly designed. What are reasons VP9 is good versus H264? Yes I know VPx is not "patent-encumbered" --- well except it is except Google made some sort of "deal" with someone to license applicable patents or something.

    Why is VP9 any good and why should people care? Is it poor man's H264 or is it H264's peer? Thanks to wise person who knows and answers this.
    • Alpha channel video sounds fun. As does depth channel video.
      I don't have a clue what people will do with it, but both are very very cool features that make it not yet another video codec.

      • by Telvin_3d (855514)

        Meh. Those are useful for professional video codecs because they are effectively lossless. One or two generations of even high quality VP9 encoding would render the alpha channel useless. And you'd never want to edit with it because of the extremely high processing overhead, even with hardware support.

        I'm sure someone will find something cute to do with it on a web page some time, but I'd be shocked if it is anything more than a gimmick.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        Alpha channel video sounds fun

        That would be a first, indeed.
        I mean... just think for a moment: a video channel that sounds!
        I wonder how long until a sound channel that videos?

        (ducks)

      • Alpha channel video would be useful in production work. Fewer files to send around when compositing effects.

        • by Telvin_3d (855514)

          Production level codecs like ProRes have always supported alpha channels (along with a bunch of other stuff). Besides, content publishing codecs like this are completely unsuitable for production work. After only a generation or two the artifacts would render an alpha channel effectively useless for production quality. Also, their massive processing overhead would be a complete deal-breaker all by itself. Pro codecs require lots and lots of RAM due to the bitrate, but they need ridiculously low processing p

          • Besides, content publishing codecs like this are completely unsuitable for production work. After only a generation or two the artifacts would render an alpha channel effectively useless for production quality.

            You do realize there's a lossless-mode in VP9? There are no worries with artifacting.

            • Likewise for h264. I was thinking more archival purposes, where speed isn't important but storage is expensive. Once the film is made, you'll still want to keep all layers and masks around in case it needs altering in future for any reason, or to re-use in future projects and hope no-one notices.

    • by Telvin_3d (855514)

      From a technical point of view it's basically h265's peer. That's partially because it's largely based on the same tech as h265, in the same way VP8 was largely similar to h264. And is speculated that it has the same licensing issues that VP8 had, for most of the same reasons.

      And the speed issue is entirely due to an almost complete lack of hardware support. And while h265 already has announced and demonstrated support, I am not aware of any VP9 support so far.

      And doing VP9 decode in software has order-of-m

      • by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @03:50AM (#44037103)

        From a technical point of view it's basically h265's peer. That's partially because it's largely based on the same tech as h265, in the same way VP8 was largely similar to h264. And is speculated that it has the same licensing issues that VP8 had, for most of the same reasons.

        And the speed issue is entirely due to an almost complete lack of hardware support. And while h265 already has announced and demonstrated support, I am not aware of any VP9 support so far.

        And doing VP9 decode in software has order-of-magnitude higher requirements than VP8. If YouTube serves up a VP9 video to your phone, you'll wish for the good old days of Flash video.

        From the q&a afterward, it is mentioned that average vp9 quality is within 1% of h.265, but it didn't sound like h.265 was anywhere near ready to roll out, with the only available option being a horrifically slow reference encoder. As for speed, they claim it is about 40% slower than vp8, which is twice as fast as h.264. As such, vp9 should handily outperform h.264 in software.

        The open source and royalty free vp9/opus [opus-codec.org] combination sounds like an very compelling option for the html5 video tag, and may become a de facto standard before h.265 is widely deployed. Hardware support for vp9 is also in the works, so if the codec lives up to the claims, there no longer appears to be any good reason to put up with the MPEG LA.

        • by MrMickS (568778)

          From the q&a afterward, it is mentioned that average vp9 quality is within 1% of h.265, but it didn't sound like h.265 was anywhere near ready to roll out, with the only available option being a horrifically slow reference encoder. As for speed, they claim it is about 40% slower than vp8, which is twice as fast as h.264. As such, vp9 should handily outperform h.264 in software.

          The open source and royalty free vp9/opus [opus-codec.org] combination sounds like an very compelling option for the html5 video tag, and may become a de facto standard before h.265 is widely deployed. Hardware support for vp9 is also in the works, so if the codec lives up to the claims, there no longer appears to be any good reason to put up with the MPEG LA.

          I'm assuming that the speed is speed of encoding rather than playback? This isn't something that many people are particularly worried about.

          As your information is all taken from Google please take it with a huge pinch of salt. Google are bound to present a rosy view of VP9 in comparison with h265 given their investment in it.

          Personally I'm not keen on this. I don't care if its royalty free and unencumbered by patents. I don't want a single entity in control of a standard and regardless of the open nature of

          • I'm assuming that the speed is speed of encoding rather than playback? This isn't something that many people are particularly worried about.

            I think the 40% slower than vp8 was for playback. However, encoding speed also has to be reasonable, or there will be no content. With youtube, google may have a good head start if they succeed in getting others on board.

            As your information is all taken from Google please take it with a huge pinch of salt. Google are bound to present a rosy view of VP9 in comparison with h265 given their investment in it.

            Of course, but if the presented videos are any indication, it looks quite good. It doesn't have to be perfect. As long as it is significantly better than h.264 and close to h.265, it should find widespread use. Opus is also an excellent audio codec with very low latency, which will ma

        • by westlake (615356)

          The open source and royalty free vp9/opus combination sounds like an very compelling option for the html5 video tag, and may become a de facto standard before h.265 is widely deployed. Hardware support for vp9 is also in the works.

          There about 30 h.264 licensors and 1200 h.264 licensees. The licensors are giants in manufacturing and R&D. The licensees are on the same scale --- with an enormous global reach in video production and distribution, consumer electronics, telecommunications, industrial and military applications, etc., etc.

          MPEG LA has two great strengths.

          The first it that it licensees advanced video codecs for all applications.

          The second is that its codecs are guaranteed universal support in hardware and software --- in

    • VP9 vs. H.264 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Camael (1048726) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:17AM (#44036857)

      VP9 is still a work in progress, so no hard numbers as yet. One of its goals is to achieve 50% better quality with the same bitrate compared to VP8. Another goal is to provide a better encoding efficiency than H.265 which has the same approach on achieving a better quality around 50% compared to H.264.

      Google actually did a direct comparison between VP9 and H.264 on a sample file at its recent I/O event and showed off a 63% reduction in file size. As for the quality, see the pic for yourself [favbrowser.com].

      As for the licensing issue, Google cut a deal with the MPEG-LA consortium that controls H.264 to licence their patents [webmproject.org] for VP8 and VP9. So there is low possibility of any user of VP9 of being bogged down by patent lawsuits.

      Why should you care? Unlike H.265, VP9 is free for commercial use [osnews.com]. If your use is non-profit, there is no difference between the two.

    • VP8 is really slow. Unknown if reason is lack of hardware support or if codec is actually poorly designed.

      Do you mean compression or decompression? VP8's compression-end of things is slow by design -- more work is done at the compression-phase so that the decompression can be sped up and tests have shown several times now that decompressing VP8 is actually a bit faster and less resource-heavy than decompressing H.264, if done on the CPU. Now, neither AMD or NVIDIA provide VP8 decompression - support, so obviously H/W - accelerated H.264 will be faster, but that's not the fault of the codec, it's the fault of th

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Telvin_3d (855514)

        Great, so it's the fault of the manufacturers. But seeing as VP9 takes several times more processing power to decode in software than VP8, which would you serve up to a mobile phone: h265 that has hardware decode or VP9 that provides the exact same video quality/size but will choke on playback even as the battery life drops by the second?

        The difference isn't in quality of the codec, it's the quality of support. One has a massive group that has spent a decade making sure that it is supported by everyone ever

        • Great, so it's the fault of the manufacturers. But seeing as VP9 takes several times more processing power to decode in software than VP8, which would you serve up to a mobile phone: h265 that has hardware decode or VP9 that provides the exact same video quality/size but will choke on playback even as the battery life drops by the second?

          Oh, we have an oracle here, someone who can predict before-hand that there won't be hardware with VP9-support. That's nice. As for the question: I would obviously choose the one with H/W-support, whichever one it was.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrMickS (568778)

        Now, neither AMD or NVIDIA provide VP8 decompression - support, so obviously H/W - accelerated H.264 will be faster, but that's not the fault of the codec, it's the fault of the manufacturers.

        That's an interesting spin on the situation. It's not the fault of the manufacturers. Its that h264 was designed by an industry body that included the manufacturers with the intention of creating a single common codec to use across different applications and devices. VP8 was designed by a single entity to reduce its costs without giving a damn for end user experience as they could offload that to the bad manufacturers for not supporting it in hardware.

  • It may be a technically good codec (I have no strong opinion on that either way). But I see issues with the many devices (tablets, bluray players with usb input, set top boxes, phones...) available whose graphical processors are totally geared towards implementations of mp4 and h264. For example, I understand that an iphone would do battery-efficient hardware decoding of such files. I assume that dfor this new codec the processor will need to do all the work, with likely a much bigger impact on the battery.
  • VP8 implementation in chrome is a bit buggy and periodically crashes a tab - I suspect it doesn't get widely used or these issues would get solved more quickly.

  • I was looking at the API. I couldn't figure out what this function did:

    int streamCameraFeedToCIACommaNSACommaAndFBI();

  • If they suddenly give a crap about video, maybe they should fix that joke of a flash plugin so people can actually surf the web
  • If there must be a next-generation video codec, I'd prefer to see VP9 than H.265, due to the fact that VP9 isn't patent-encumbered (or rather, if it is, Google managed to hand-wave it away by shelling out some cash).

    But I don't see why we need that at all. What is wrong with H.264? We got major, substantial improvements moving from MPEG-2 to H.264, but going up from there to H.265 is going to give far less performance gains and require far more processing power in return – at a time when portable and

    • by AdamHaun (43173)

      But I don't see why we need that at all. What is wrong with H.264? We got major, substantial improvements moving from MPEG-2 to H.264, but going up from there to H.265 is going to give far less performance gains and require far more processing power in return – at a time when portable and low-power computing is increasing in popularity.

      H.265 improves compression over H.264 by about a factor of two on average. (H.264 vs. MPEG-2 was likewise about a factor of two.) Decoding will be done in hardware, so processing power isn't really an issue.

  • Does this mean they'll finally enable Opus [google.com] by default (a year or so after Firefox did)?

    Supposedly they're planning to use Opus for the audio in their new version of WebM alongside vp9 video.

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