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Google's New VP8 Codec SDK Is Better, Faster

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  • Google's New VP8 Codec SDK Is Better, Faster

    Phoronix: Google's New VP8 Codec SDK Is Better, Faster

    Following Google opening up the VP8 video codec specification in May and launching the WebM container format, in July the developers behind FFmpeg created the ffvp8 decoder that was much faster than Google's own VP8 decoding library. Google has now, however, provided a new version of the VP8 Codec SDK that they have codenamed "Aylesbury" and it's designed to be better and much faster than their original release...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODc0MQ

  • #2
    FFMPEGs implementation still has its pros: it does not just use x86 optimizations, but also leverages existing DSP code for other platforms. For example I don't see any mention of ARM NEON optimizations done by Google, so they do not yet care about Android phones.

    And Google has yet to prove that WebM is any better on the patent front than H.264. How comes there have been no news on this since May?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by sturmflut View Post
      And Google has yet to prove that WebM is any better on the patent front than H.264. How comes there have been no news on this since May?
      What do you mean? The only way someone can PROVE there's no patent infringement is in a court of law. Obviously Google wouldn't release Webm if they thought it was a patent liability, so only way we will find out for sure is if someone (MPEGLA) tries to sue them and then having it decided in court.

      On the licencing side Webm is of course 100% better than h264 since Google gives everyone a worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free patent license to use Webm.

      Great to see they're improving on the codec, a free web video codec evens the playing field and allows video content sites without huge backing capital to compete.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by sturmflut View Post
        And Google has yet to prove that WebM is any better on the patent front than H.264. How comes there have been no news on this since May?
        I'm guessing it's because the patent trolling was just a pile of FUD.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
          On the licencing side Webm is of course 100% better than h264 since Google gives everyone a worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free patent license to use Webm.
          Actually, the license was cooler than that.... it contained a single exception that overrode everything else -- if you look at it with the intention of, or use information pulled from it to attack google, then screw you, you have no right to even THINK about it and we'll sue your ass for license/copyright infringement until you're bankrupt.

          Now the real situation regarding patents and licensing is like this;
          Google it the one facing mpeg on this, effectively protecting everyone else. If mpeg attacks google, google is simply too big and no doubt has a bunch of patents in its portfolio that can PROBABLY be used to free up h.264. mpeg surely wouldn't attack google on this because if they did, google could probably force them to let h.264 out under GOOGLE'S licensing terms.

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          • #6
            So, Google's going to drop the ball sometime around the beginning of next year, huh? Sorry, had to say it...

            Anyway, that's good. I wonder what the ffmpeg people think about it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nobu View Post
              So, Google's going to drop the ball sometime around the beginning of next year, huh? Sorry, had to say it...
              Drop what ball? They just made a new release 'Aylesbury' which contains speedups and better video quality, next year in Q1 they will make the next release 'Bali'. I saw nothing exceptional in the release plans for 'Bali', it will be focused on encoder speed (which is definately good since the current one is pretty slow imo), so what is this 'dropping the ball' talk?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
                Drop what ball? They just made a new release 'Aylesbury' which contains speedups and better video quality, next year in Q1 they will make the next release 'Bali'. I saw nothing exceptional in the release plans for 'Bali', it will be focused on encoder speed (which is definately good since the current one is pretty slow imo), so what is this 'dropping the ball' talk?
                He was making a pun. 'Bali' is only 1 letter off from 'Ball'. To release a version of a product could in this case be called a code drop.

                So:
                Release the version codenamed 'Bali'
                Becomes:
                Drop the ball.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sturmflut View Post
                  FFMPEGs implementation still has its pros: it does not just use x86 optimizations, but also leverages existing DSP code for other platforms. For example I don't see any mention of ARM NEON optimizations done by Google, so they do not yet care about Android phones.

                  And Google has yet to prove that WebM is any better on the patent front than H.264. How comes there have been no news on this since May?
                  I'm not sure about what was in the release notes, but there's been work being done on the ARM front for WebM. I don't know what the current status of NEON support is, but there's run-time CPU detection in place for ARM at this time, and plenty of asm optimization in place for ARM machines.

                  I just don't have any of the relevant hardware, so I don't really keep up with it myself, but I thought there was some support for NEON present.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah, actually I thought it's name was 'ball'. Guess it's time to look into a new pair of glasses. XD

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nobu View Post
                      Yeah, actually I thought it's name was 'ball'. Guess it's time to look into a new pair of glasses. XD
                      Heh, ok now I follow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The next VP8 release is mostly focusing on encoding speed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
                          I'm guessing it's because the patent trolling was just a pile of FUD.
                          As far as I remember, MPEG LA never even claimed that they did have patents covering WebM, just that they were "looking into" creating a WebM patent pool. The only stronger claim I saw came from an x.264 developer who was basically just making an argument from incredulity ("VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264"), while the rest of his post made it pretty obvious that On2 was trying very hard to avoid techniques patented by others.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ex-Cyber View Post
                            As far as I remember, MPEG LA never even claimed that they did have patents covering WebM, just that they were "looking into" creating a WebM patent pool. The only stronger claim I saw came from an x.264 developer who was basically just making an argument from incredulity ("VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264"), while the rest of his post made it pretty obvious that On2 was trying very hard to avoid techniques patented by others.
                            It's not terribly hard to avoid patents that you know about. Every patent controlled by MPEG-LA is documented and those documents (as well as revisions and communications with patent office, etc) is in the public domain.

                            The way a patent works is that it's divided up into:
                            "The Abstract"
                            "Claims"
                            "Dependent Claims"

                            The abstract is unimportant, other then it can be used to help define terms. The Dependent claims is irrelevant mostly for the purpose of patent avoidance.

                            The important part is the claims section.

                            In the claim that is were it describes the invention.

                            It usually goes something like this (paraphrasing):

                            In order to do X you need to do:
                            A) step 1
                            B) step 2
                            C) step 3
                            D) step 4

                            etc.

                            Each item in the claim is important. If you have software that does A, B, D, but not C... then you don't violate the patent. Your free and clear. That's it. People get confused and they read the beginning part of the patent, the abstract, and they get confused and think that that is were the patent is defined. It's not, it's just there so you get a better idea about the point behind the patent. The part that actually defines the patent, the actual part that you would have to fight in court is the claims section.

                            So therefore all the Vp8 people really need to do is copy H.264 almost exactly, EXCEPT go through each patent and find a slightly different way to do pretty much the same thing. As long as Vp8 people set out specifically to create a video codec that avoided all of H.264's patents then they could do that relatively easily as long as you had huge gobs of cash to pay for the lawyers and programmers needed. Which given the millions of dollars Google has poured into this....

                            It's the _Unknown_ patents that will fuck you. Its' the patents that nobody is licensing and they are just sitting on and waiting around for people to put enough investment in a particular piece of software to then jump out and start suing.

                            Vp8 is probably vulnerable to unknown patents.

                            But the trick is so are other codecs like H.264.

                            As far as MPEG-LA goes they are probably toothless. They will go after companies for licensing fees, but they will be very careful to only go after ones that will pay without a fight.

                            You see MPEG-LA cannot risk going to court... no matter what.

                            Could you imagine MPEG-LA trying to sue Google or other major player and end up LOSING?

                            It would utterly destroy them. It would prove that nobody has to pay them a single dime to get H.264-like performance.... they just have to switching to Vp8 instead.

                            MPEG-LA will continue to make noise, but it's just all barking at this point with no real teeth to back it up.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
                              The only way someone can PROVE there's no patent infringement is in a court of law.
                              No, it's called "patent research", and every company does either before they start developing something, or before they publish it.

                              Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
                              Obviously Google wouldn't release Webm if they thought it was a patent liability
                              Google is ALWAYS acting quite naive on the patent front. That's why they're being sued by Oracle over Dalvik now. A whole patent war has started around Android.

                              Nowadays it is extremely hard to develop a high-tech product which does not infringe any patents. Every major company lost at least one patent suit against somebody because they forgot/overlooked a patent. WebM is so similar to H.264, it is simply not possible that it does not infringe a whole bunch of MPEGLA patents. The FFMPEG guys showed us those similarities months ago, and Google never responded.

                              Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
                              On the licencing side Webm is of course 100% better than h264 since Google gives everyone a worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free patent license to use Webm.
                              Google could only give you that kind of license if they actually owned the patents, or settled an agreement with all parties owning patents.

                              The MPEGLA is IMO just keeping quiet for two reasons: They need some competition to win the monopoly law suit against Nero (how could you be a monopoly if there is another good video codec offered free of charge?), and as soon as that is over and WebM has gained some ground the patent suits will start going. Just like AMD is Intels protection against a monopoly lawsuit.

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