Monday, December 15, 2014

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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Monday, August 5, 2013

Good News from Germany

Today a court in Mannheim, Germany, ruled that VP8 does not infringe a patent owned and asserted by Nokia. This decision is an important and positive step towards the WebM Project's ultimate goal: ensuring the web community has an open, high-quality, freely licensed video codec. Google's intervention in the underlying lawsuit (Nokia v. HTC) was a strong show of support for open standards like VP8.

We believe that the web succeeds through community-developed innovation. VP8 brings that principle to video: a codec that anyone can use and build upon. The WebM Project’s next-generation video codec, VP9, is already available and we look forward to continuing our work with the broader community to help video on the open web keep getting better, faster.

Matt Frost is Senior Business Product Manager for the WebM Project
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Monday, July 1, 2013

VP9 Lands in Chrome Dev Channel

VP9, the WebM Project's next-generation video codec, was recently enabled by default in Google Chrome Dev channel. A key goal of the WebM Project is to speed up the pace of video-compression innovation (i.e., to get better, faster), and the WebM team continues to work hard to achieve that goal. As always, WebM technology is 100% free, and open-sourced under a BSD-style license.

VP9 development began eighteen months ago. In the short time since, according to our internal tests, we've produced a codec that shows video quality that is slightly better than HEVC (H.265) and is 50% better than VP8 and the best implementations of H.264 high profile.

With the bitstream defined and VP9 deployed in Chrome, we'll begin work on refining the VP9 toolset for developers and content creators. VP9 is already available in the open-source libvpx reference encoder and decoder. We’ll now be working on optimizing libvpx for speed and performance, and working—with help from partners and the WebM community—to ensure that VP9 is positioned to integrate with the major encoding tools and consumer platforms, including mobile and embedded

Improved libvpx tools and documentation will roll out over the coming months. Monitor our progress on the VP9 summary page and our mailing lists.

Matt Frost is Senior Business Product Manager for the WebM Project
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Friday, May 10, 2013

VP9 Codec Nears Completion

Last week, we hosted over 100 guests at a summit meeting for VP9, the WebM Project’s next-generation open video codec. We were particularly happy to welcome our friends from YouTube, who spoke about their plans to support VP9 once support lands in Chrome.

As discussed at the summit, we’re putting the finishing touches on the VP9 bitstream and finalizing launch plans. We cut the beta bitstream on May 3, and are now accepting final contributor comments and making decisions about experimental code. A draft bitstream specification is well underway.

As always, anyone may study the latest VP9 code in the experimental branch* of the libvpx codebase using the instructions here, or browse recent commits to experimental.

We’ll freeze the VP9 bitstream on June 17, allowing Chrome and Chrome OS to enable VP9 by default. See our recent update on the webm-discuss mailing list for more about our plans as we approach the freeze, and follow the list to get further updates.

Matt Frost is Senior Business Product Manager for the WebM Project.
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* Please disregard the outdated vp9-preview branch.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Onward!

Giddy up!
Exciting things are happening with codec development here at the WebM Project. Of particular note is our recent announcement of an agreement with MPEG LA and eleven patent holders for a royalty-free license in support of VP8.

Now that the distractions of the MPEG LA licensing initiative are behind us, it's a good time to review recent improvements with VP8 and take stock of VP8 adoption and proliferation. In the coming weeks, we'll be posting a series of updates on this blog about important developments around the VP8 codec, as well as our plans for VP9.

But first, we’d like to clarify a few things about the MPEG LA agreement. While most observers quickly understood the nature of the agreement, a handful of bloggers have mischaracterized it. Let’s set the record straight.

We entered into the agreement for two reasons:

  • to dispel the cloud cast by MPEG LA's announcement of efforts to form a pool around VP8;
  • to build the strongest possible IP foundation under VP8 and VP9.
We realize that dramatic headlines attract readers, but despite some of the speculation, there was never any lawsuit, and there was certainly no "finding" or "admission" of infringement.

Understandably, we’ve had to keep quiet while the MPEG LA talks were in progress. Now that it’s settled, we will redouble our efforts to engage directly with the WebM community and open web platform developers around the world.

So stay tuned for more news!

John Luther is Product Manager of the WebM project.
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

W3C CEO Jaffe on VP8 Licensing

It's great to read supportive statements like this one from Jeff Jaffe stemming from our recent announcement of an agreement with MPEG LA and eleven patent holders for a royalty-free license in support of the VP8 video codec.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

VP8 and MPEG LA

Today Google Inc. and MPEG LA, LLC announced agreements that will result in MPEG LA ending its efforts to form a VP8 patent pool. The arrangement with MPEG LA and 11 patent owners grants a license to Google and allows Google to sublicense any techniques that may be essential to VP8 and are owned by the patent owners; we may sublicense those techniques to any VP8 user on a royalty-free basis. The techniques may be used in any VP8 product, whether developed by Google or a third party or based on Google's libvpx implementation or a third-party implementation of the VP8 data format specification. It further provides for sublicensing those VP8 techniques in one successor generation to the VP8 video codec. We anticipate having the terms of our sublicense ready in the next few weeks. When those terms are ready we will blog about them here, so watch this space. We launched the WebM Project in May 2010 with the goal of providing the web with a high-quality, open, royalty-free video codec that anyone can use, and that can inspire future innovators. Today's announcement is an important step toward that goal. Matt Frost is Senior Business Product Manager for the WebM Project.