Thursday, May 27, 2010

Inside WebM Technology: The VP8 Alternate Reference Frame

Since the WebM project was open-sourced just a week ago, we've seen blog posts and articles about its capabilities. As an open project, we welcome technical scrutiny and contributions that improve the codec. We know from our extensive testing that VP8 can match or exceed other leading codecs, but to get the best results, it helps to understand more about how the codec works. In this first of a series of blog posts, I'll explain some of the fundamental techniques in VP8, along with examples and metrics.
The alternative reference frame is one of the most exciting quality innovations in VP8. Let’s delve into how VP8 uses these frames to improve prediction and thereby overall video quality.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recapping WebM's First Week

The WebM project launched last Wednesday with broad industry backing (watch video of the announcement). The list of supporters keeps growing with new additions such as the popular VLC media player, Miro Video Converter, HeyWatch cloud encoding platform, and videantis programmable processor platform. We're also happy to see that future versions of IE will support playback of VP8 when the user has installed the codec.

Our announcement sparked discussions in the community around the design and quality of our developer release. We've done extensive testing of VP8 and know that the codec can match or exceed the quality of other leading codecs. Starting this week, the engineers behind WebM will post frequently to this blog with details on how to make optimal use of its VP8 video codec and Vorbis audio codec. We are confident that the open development model will bring additional improvements that will further optimize WebM. In fact, the power of open development is already visible, with developers submitting patches and the folks at Flumotion enabling live streaming support in their product just three days after the project was launched.

Keep an eye on this blog for regular updates on the adoption and development of WebM. To participate in the conversation or to ask questions of the WebM team, please join our discussion group.

John Luther
Product Manager, Google

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Introducing WebM, an open web media project

A key factor in the web’s success is that its core technologies such as HTML, HTTP, TCP/IP, etc. are open and freely implementable. Though video is also now core to the web experience, there is unfortunately no open and free video format that is on par with the leading commercial choices. To that end, we are excited to introduce WebM, a broadly-backed community effort to develop a world-class media format for the open web.

WebM includes:
  • VP8, a high-quality video codec we are releasing today under a BSD-style, royalty-free license
  • Vorbis, an already open source and broadly implemented audio codec
  • a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container
The team that created VP8 have been pioneers in video codec development for over a decade. VP8 delivers high quality video while efficiently adapting to the varying processing and bandwidth conditions found on today’s broad range of web-connected devices. VP8's efficient bandwidth usage will mean lower serving costs for content publishers and high quality video for end-users. The codec's relative simplicity makes it easy to integrate into existing environments and requires less manual tuning to produce high quality results. These existing attributes and the rapid innovation we expect through the open-development process make VP8 well suited for the unique requirements of video on the web.

A developer preview of WebM and VP8, including source code, specs, and encoding tools is available today at

We want to thank the many industry leaders and web community members who are collaborating on the development of WebM and integrating it into their products. Check out what Mozilla, Opera, Google Chrome, Adobe, and many others below have to say about the importance of WebM to the future of web video.