Google's VP9 Makes Its First Appearance Outside Google's Walls
January 02, 2013
By Tabitha Naylor, Contributing Writer
At the center of a techno-political controversy, the successor to Google's (News - Alert) VP8 video compression technology, VP9, has made its first appearance outside Google's walls. Though only in an early-stage version of the browser for developers, Google has built VP9 support into Chrome.
Having the potential to improve voice communications and music streaming on the Internet, it also added support for the new Opus audio compression technology, in another change. Enabling efficient use of limited network or storage capacity, VP9 and Opus are codecs that are used by technology to encode streams of data into compressed form then decode them later.
In a blog post earlier this month, a developer on Google's Chrome team, Peter Beverloo, pointed out the new codec support. A chance to improve the video-streaming performance and improve other aspects of VP8 will be given to Google by releasing VP9.
In competing with today's prevailing video compression technology, H.264, and with a successor called H.265 or HEVC, this is important. Moreover, across the electronics and computing industry, it has the potential to attract broad support with better compression performance.
Codecs might seem an uninteresting nuts-and-bolts aspect of computing, but they actually ignite fierce debates that pit those who like H.264's convenience and quality against those who like that Google offers VP for free use.
H.264 is used in video cameras, Blu-Ray discs, YouTube (News - Alert), and more. However, a group called MPEG LA that licenses H.264-related patents on behalf of their many owners; receives patent royalties paid by most organizations that use it.
The adoption of VP8 was stirred by Google, which it released for royalty-free use. However, H.264's dominance was not dented by VP8 instead in an attempt to specify VP8 as the way to handle online video, its allies failed. Therefore, in a standard way, HTML5 video can be invoked, yet Web developers can't easily be assured that a browser can properly decode the video in question.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman