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Thread: Google Opens Up VP8, Launches New Container Format

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  1. #1
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    Default Google Opens Up VP8, Launches New Container Format

    Phoronix: Google Opens Up VP8, Launches New Container Format

    While there has been speculation about it for weeks, Google has announced today from their I/O conference that they have open-sourced the VP8 video codec. VP8 is the video codec that was developed by On2 Technologies and then Google got its hands on it by acquiring the company a few months back. The older On2 VP3 codec is what went on to become the Theora codec. Google has also announced WebM as a new container format that combines the VP8 video codec with Vorbis audio...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODI2OA

  2. #2
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    Wow. This is awesome.

  3. #3
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    This is probably the best web-related news I've heard all year.

  4. #4
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    This is the shit. They were silent all this time while coding the patches for FFmpeg, DirectShow, GStreamer plugins, Chromium, Firefox, Opera and getting support across the board. The list of hardware vendors supporting WebM includes AMD and Nvidia. BSD-style license...almost too good to be true.

    Vorbis audio, Matroska-based container. I can't wait for a comparison with H264. And I can't wait for the FFmpeg guys to put their hands over it.

  5. #5
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    This is a real success for the open web. We have to all thank Google here for doing the right thing, and not keeping it as some competitive advantage like certain other companies might have.

    I also like the way in which they've done this, buying On2, getting the behind the scenes work done, so it can mostly be used from the get go. Now it'd be great to see support for this in upcoming portable media players too.

    Transcoding all of the videos on YouTube is also another great win. It's really going to other video sites think about using VP8 and WebM.

  6. #6
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    Excellent news, however I would like to see some extensive 3rd party quality testing of the codec. So far it looks very promising and I am sure that with Google pushing hard we will see hardware decoders soon which would address the biggest non-quality complaint one sees with Theora.

    In other codec news, Monty put up a demo page showing off the upcoming Theora improvements here:

    http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/theora/demo9.html

    I'd love to see similar easy to understand explanatory postings on WebM as it progresses. Google tend to do this for a number of their projects such as Chrome so I have high hopes.

  7. #7
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    Sweeeeeet.

  8. #8
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    Patent challenges from the evil mpeg LA cabal, and technical badmouthing from the h.264 lobby (yeah, I know same people) are likely to follow. I hope an open codec is able to weather these.

  9. #9
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    I really don't see the need for the 'webm' format. Matroska is there, why do we need another container with more limitations when Matroska does it so well?

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    I couldn't make it to work with the developer preview builds of Firefox. Anyway. There are two licenses, one for the software--BSD-style--and other for the bitstream specification. They also ask for copyright assignment from contributors. It seems their legal department has been working hard to shield Google from patent litigation. This is the text of the bitstream specification license:

    Google hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise implementations of this specification where such license applies only to those patent claims, both currently owned by Google and acquired in the future, licensable by Google that are necessarily infringed by implementation of this specification. If You or your agent or exclusive licensee institute or order or agree to the institution of patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that any implementation of this specification constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, or inducement of patent infringement, then any rights granted to You under the License for this specification shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.
    So...if a licensee attempts to pursue patent litigation, their rights to WebM granted by this license are terminated. But how does this work with companies, say Apple? Can Google, as a content provider, force Apple and Microsoft to provide out of the box support for WebM and thus be safe from patent litigation? That would be genius.

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