Choosing a codec


WebM: It's Forgotten but Not Quite Gone

I recently taught several seminars on producing video for HTML5, and I started my preparation with some research to see how the WebM codec was being used to determine the focus and scope of my WebM-related materials. In case you’ve forgotten — and you wouldn’t be the only one—WebM is the open source format Google launched in 2010, built around the VP8 video codec that Google acquired in its purchase of On2 Technologies.

Power to the Patent Trolls

In April 2011, the Department of Justice began investigating the MPEG Licensing Association (MPEG LA) to learn whether or not the group is unfairly trying to damage Google's competitive prospects with the WebM video format. But maybe MPEG LA would be...

How to Encode To WebM

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for StreamingMedia. Even if you don't believe all the hype about HTML5, sooner or later, you'll need to start encoding some video to WebM format. Maybe for internal experimentation, for a pay-per-view or ...

Interview on WebM and HTML5 at StreamingMedia West

ScribeMedia.org produced a number of video interviews at StreamingMedia West, including an interview with StreamingLearning Center's founding visionary, Jan Ozer (sorry, couldn't resist, writing in the third party is so freeing). As the title suggests, host Peter Cervieri and I discuss WebM, HTML5 and several other issues. Click over to the main article to see the video.

WebM vs. H.264 Bakeoff - Presentation and Handout

I just finished my H.264 vs. WebM Bakeoff presentation - you can download the PDF below.

You’ve heard the hype about VP8, but how does it really compare to H.264? This session compares quality, encoding speed, and playback requirements. It also details access to VP8 encoding from within live and on-demand encoding tools, the availability of hardware playback acceleration, and features like adaptive streaming. The session also reviews VP8 usage by YouTube and other websites.

WebM vs. H.264: A First Look

This article compares H.264 to WebM, Google's implementation of the VP8 codec, using three variables (encoding time, compressed quality, and CPU requirements) for playback on three personal computers. Here's the CliffsNotes version of the results: Using Sorenson Squeeze to produce both H.264 and WebM, the latter definitely took longer, but there are techniques that you can use to reduce the spread to less than 25%, which is pretty much irrelevant. Though H.264 offers slightly higher quality than the VP8 codec used by WebM using the aggressive (e.g., very low data rate) parameters that I tested, at normal web parameters, you couldn't tell the difference without a score card. Even compared to H.264 files produced with x264, VP8 holds its own.

Click to the main article to read the rest of the story. 

VP8/WebM - A Collection of Resources

WebM/VP8 is Google's recent entry into the codec market. Here's a roughly chronological list of resources about the codec/technology.

VP8 vs. H.264 vs x264 Comparisons

As part of my First Looks review of VP8 and WebM for StreamingMedia.com, ran a bunch of VP8 and H.264 comparisons, initially using the MainConcept H.264 codec, since that's the codec included with Sorenson Squeeze, which I used to produce the VP8 files. Then, I added some comparison files produced using the x264 codec, encoding via the QuickTime-based x264Encoder version 1.2.13 (dated 6/27/2010). 

You can read the StreamingMedia article here. In this article, I present the frame comparisons that were too big to fit in the StreamingMedia article, plus present URLs for the streaming files that I created and compared. 

First Look: H.264 and VP8 Compared

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

Google Open Sources VP8 Codec

As expected, Google open sourced the VP8 codec today at their IO conference in San Francisco. You can read my overview article for StreamingMedia.com here, or check out www.webmproject.org, a site that details the announcement. Briefly, as you may re...