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Google Opens Up VP8, Launches New Container Format

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  • #31
    Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
    Yeah but what are the chances of including the VP8 codec in a default IE9 installation? (Safari will be able to use VP8 as a QuickTime plugin, too. The million-dollar question is whether the codec will be available out of the box.)
    I think that as far as IE9 are concerned, Microsoft are genuinely going to cooperate - not out of altruism, but because they need it to win back some of the mindshare other browsers have taken from them.

    So if every other browser is settling on supporting WebM/VP8, they'll go along with it too. In the past they could have relied on their numbers to influence content providers, and likewise if the other browsers remained split over H264 vs Theora. But if their rivals are becoming united over what the "one true web video codec" should be, I don't think Microsoft can ignore that...

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    • #32
      I think all of you are forgetting that Windows has a Flash player that "sucks noticeably less", so unless youtube yanks both html5 with mp4/h264 AND the flash player (yah right), MS will do an Adobe and sit on their arses.

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      • #33
        Long live free software

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        • #34
          Finally! This news is so full of win!

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          • #35
            This is great. Damn important for a free internet! Thanks Google!

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            • #36
              Ohh man.. WebM, first I was like... YAY.. and then I was like ehhh....

              So google bought up on2, who brought us vp3/theora and vp6 all of which are OK, but not super great, everyone was hoping they would open source vp8 and shove it out there saving us from the horrors of the h264/aac proprietary / patent hellworld we live in. My response is best summed up point by point.

              1) The name WebM sucks.

              2) WebM is based on the MKV / Matroska container, this is FANTASTIC. MKV is a great container, you can shove many audio tracks/subtitles into it with ease and it supports _real_ streaming (unlike the MP4 container), chapters ETC, Divx adopted MKV for Divx7 (Divx seems to be just a name for manufactures to plaster on there portable/dvd/mediacenter/whatever players to mean 'will play random shit you download from the net' but that is besides the point) MKV is the de facto standard for all the HD bootlegs you will find out there on the torrent interweb but I havn't seen it really used outside of that.

              3) WebM uses Vorbis audio. This is super FANTASTIC, vorbis is the best lossy audio codec that there is, better than MP3 and AAC. Its also probably actually immune to patents due to its quite different design from other codecs(whatever that could ever mean, since, in my mind software patents are 100% bullshit), to my ears the breakdown from a low vorbis bitrate sounds like Vinyl or FM radio more than the screetchyness of mp3 or AAC. At high bitrates I can't tell the difference between vorbis and lossless. A side note here is that although there are open source AAC encoders, they suck.

              4) A note about h264 and x264... x264, the open source h264 encoder, is actually BETTER than any proprietary h264 encoder! ha! But of course, it hurts someones feelings because it violates patents.

              5) WebM uses the newly paid for (around 125 million dollars) VP8 codec for video, should be great. But uhm.. Maybe not so great after all. After reading a particularly technical review by an x264 guy, it seems that a) VP8 is pretty close to h264, close enough to be in 'patent danger' whatever that means, and VP8 is essentially a crappier h264. Hrm fuck. Of course, the flaws could be fixed up by the open source community, but the way google is talking the 'spec is final today'. So my understanding is, for there to be real improvements, the bitstream needs to change and therefore won't be exactly VP8 anymore. Somethings got to give here.

              http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/?p=377

              Summary: Vorbis/MKV rock, WebM is a stupid name, VP8 is much better than theora but wack in many ways. HTML5 video is having one hell of a painful birth, but I suppose thats what happens when you have 4 mothers trying to have the same baby.

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              • #37
                Was there a reason to rename mkv? Well it would be nice when MS would support mkv by default then you don't need to install something else. vp8 is something that nobody really needs, but why not use it as long as Firefox does not support h264...

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                • #38
                  I'm not seeing any samples anywhere (dead links on the x264 dev page),
                  but it seems like a letdown. Basically hoping it's sufficiently close to h264 quality eventually.

                  Of course, all the patent bullshit keeps it from using the best methods. Really sad, but of course that would be bound to happen. As a researcher it hurts me to see capitalism hurt progress so much.

                  Rebranding matroska is also a dickmove.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by oneman View Post
                    4) A note about h264 and x264... x264, the open source h264 encoder, is actually BETTER than any proprietary h264 encoder! ha! But of course, it hurts someones feelings because it violates patents.

                    5) WebM uses the newly paid for (around 125 million dollars) VP8 codec for video, should be great. But uhm.. Maybe not so great after all. After reading a particularly technical review by an x264 guy, it seems that a) VP8 is pretty close to h264, close enough to be in 'patent danger' whatever that means, and VP8 is essentially a crappier h264. Hrm fuck. Of course, the flaws could be fixed up by the open source community, but the way google is talking the 'spec is final today'. So my understanding is, for there to be real improvements, the bitstream needs to change and therefore won't be exactly VP8 anymore. Somethings got to give here.

                    http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/?p=377
                    I'm sure the x264 dev is a very talented coder and knows what he's talking about and they do make a wonderful encoder. But still he's an x264 dev, and for me at least there's still the appearance of bias. So I wouldn't take his word as gold on this subject, but rather see an independent analysis of the quality.

                    Not that it matters though. Google and its partners are probably powerful enough to push this trough, whether you like it or not.

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                    • #40
                      The h.264 guys are poopin bricks and of course are going to shoot down vp8.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by monraaf View Post
                        I'm sure the x264 dev is a very talented coder and knows what he's talking about and they do make a wonderful encoder. But still he's an x264 dev, and for me at least there's still the appearance of bias. So I wouldn't take his word as gold on this subject, but rather see an independent analysis of the quality.

                        Not that it matters though. Google and its partners are probably powerful enough to push this trough, whether you like it or not.
                        Yeah, I don't think he's purposely trying to shoot down VP8 or anything, but just the fact that he knows his x264 so well and has spent so much time on it is likely to give him a little bit of an unconscious bias.

                        Anyone who thought VP8 was going to outperform h264 was misled, anyway. That was never realistic. The point was to get something good enough for actual use on the web. The fact that Hulu, for example, already uses VP6 at certain resolutions makes the old "everything besides h264 isn't good enough" argument bunk. If VP8 can just outperform h264 baseline, (and it appears it probably can), then that's good enough for the web. h264 is more important for things like blu-ray where absolute quality matters so much more.

                        It sounds to me like a lot of the oddities that x264 developer pointed out are probably left out for patent reasons. Someone commented there that it's probably better for On2 to base their work on h264 so they know exactly which patents apply, and then they can work around them one by one by small changes that invalidate each of them. Doing something a little more original, ironically, would leave them more open to submarine patent threats.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Kano View Post
                          Was there a reason to rename mkv?
                          They're not just renaming it, but constraining the spec and giving that subset a new name. The idea apparently is to ensure that if someone (or some piece of software) encounters a WebM file, that immediately implies not just the container format, but also the audio and video codecs. That is, there shouldn't be any such thing as partial or conditional support for WebM files - either you support it or you don't, and if you support it, all WebM files work (given the somewhat fantastic assumption that the spec is 100% complete and unambiguous, but any such issues will probably be worked out among implementers in time). In principle I'm not thrilled with the idea of Yet Another Media Container, but I can see where they're coming from in a practical sense of wanting to get implementers, service providers, and users to sign on. Considering that the whole effort is largely a compromise to begin with, what's one more compromise?

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                          • #43
                            Mostly fantastic.

                            As has already been said, Vorbis/MKV is a great combo. VP8, well, I didn't read the x264 dev post past "VP8 doesn't support B-frames". That is crazy! B-frames, while not always applicable, can be very bandwidth friendly.

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                            • #44
                              I have only one thing to say: Thanks Google!

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by liam View Post
                                As has already been said, Vorbis/MKV is a great combo. VP8, well, I didn't read the x264 dev post past "VP8 doesn't support B-frames". That is crazy! B-frames, while not always applicable, can be very bandwidth friendly.
                                Not to mention patented to hell and back.

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