May 19th, 2010


Google frees VP8, announces WebM (with a little help from Collabora Multimedia)

This morning I was thrilled to hear that Google has opened up their high-performance video codec, VP8 and announced WebM, a container format with VP8 video and Vorbis audio. So now we've got a media format that's high-performance (not Flash), has low-power-requirements (not Flash) and is fully open and freely usable (not Flash, not H.264). The only missing piece is making sure it's widely supported (like Flash and, to a slightly lesser extent, H.264). So if this takes off, we can expect a much better experience for audio, video, animation on the web and on our phones.

There are a number of important players supporting this effort, including Collabora (GStreamer and our projects that use GStreamer, like Telepathy for multimedia calls), Google (YouTube, Android, Chrome, Chrome OS), Mozilla, Opera, Skype, Adobe (through Flash, surprisingly) in terms of software. And practically every major hardware player as well (AMD/ATI, ARM, Broadcom, Freescale, Logitech, nVidia, Qualcomm, TI, and more). This should make the problem of hardware support (which has traditionally been a problem for open media formats) a moot point.

Collabora Multimedia and Entropy Wave have added WebM/VP8 support to GStreamer, so support is already available for the open desktop.

Exciting times!