Google has packaged VP8 with the open source audio codec Vorbis as part of Google's wider open source initiative called WebM Project, that is a broadly-backed community effort being led by Google, Mozilla, Opera, and an impressive list of more than 40 industry partners. Among the supporters are software, hardware, video platform and publishing, and foundations, just to name a few that include: Adobe, AMD, ARM, Brightcove, Broadcom, Collabora, Digital Rapids, Encoding.com, Grab Networks, iLinc, INLET, Kaltura, Logitech, MIPS, Nvidia, Ooyala, Qualcomm, Skype, Sorenson Media, Telestream, Texas Instruments, Verisilicon, ViewCast, Wildform, plus many more and the list will surely grow.
Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch appeared at the i/O conference, and said Adobe will be incorporating VP8 into Flash, "We'll push it out to a billion people within a year of the release."
Notably absent from the list of supporters is Apple which backs H.264. But Microsoft, on the other hand who recently announced support for H.264-encoded HTML5 video in IE9, just followed up with an announcement that the company will support VP8 as well.
WebM defines the file container structure or container format. Video streams are compressed with the VP8 video codec and audio streams compressed with the Vorbis audio codec. The WebM file structure is based on the Matroska (.mkv) container and will have a .webm extension. VP8 uses 14 bits for width and height, so the maximum resolution is 16384x16384 pixels. VP8 places no constraints on framerate or datarate. Google, Mozilla and Opera are all adding WebM support to their browsers and all videos that are 720p or larger uploaded to YouTube after May 19th will be be encoded in WebM as part of its HTML5 experiment.
Google acquired the VP8 codec, when it bought the video codec company On2 Technologies last year for $124m and ultimately threw in an extra $26.5m for a total of $133m. Ryan Lawler broke the story last month that Google would open source VP8 at the annual developers conference. Many have speculated that this move would cause major disruptions within the online video space, and ultimately challenge H.264 as the de facto web video standard for HTML5.
According to The WebM Project Frequently Asked Questions
Will WebM files play on my TV, set-top box, PVR, etc.?
Stay tuned! The WebM community is working with hardware manufacturers to bring WebM support to a wide range of devices.
Are there any portable media players that can play WebM files?
But will it pose a major threat to H.264? Stay tuned as the story develops.There are none in the market today but we’re working with hardware manufacturers to bring WebM support to a wide range of devices.
- Open Video Alliance | Google Frees VP8 Codec for HTML5: the WebM project
- Google introduces new online video format - USATODAY.com
- Live From The Google I/O Keynote
- Google pounds the open standards drum during I/O keynote
- Google Open Sourcing VP8 as Part of WebM Project
- Theora Founder: WebM Project is ‘Wonderful’
- Google Wants to Save Web Video With the New "WebM" Format - WEBM - Gizmodo
- The Death of H.264 in HTML5? Google Opens WebM and VP8
- Google Reignites Codec Wars by Freeing VP8
- Google Open Sources VP8 - StreamingMedia.com