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H.264 and VP8 Compared

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the one-has-4-chars-and-a-dot dept.

Media 337

TheReal_sabret00the writes with a snippet from StreamingMedia.com: "VP8 is now free, but if the quality is substandard, who cares? Well, it turns out that the quality isn't substandard, so that's not an issue, but neither is it twice the quality of H.264 at half the bandwidth. See for yourself."

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What a horrible test file (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312142)

480x360 and some really old video, seriously? If you're going to compare then at least compare with HD resolution, and even then you should probably compare with all low, medium and high bitrates.

However, it looks like H.264 kicks VP8's butt with high motion video. Some of the VP8 pictures were quite blocky too.

Re:What a horrible test file (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312236)

This actually is exactly the point. VP8 is aimed *specifically* at this kind of resolution. It's why it's great for YouTube, and why it competes well with H264 main profile. Unfortunately; it has no competitor to h264 baseline profile, so will always use higher power to decode, and has no competitor to h264 high profile, so will never be able to deal with high bandwidth super quality things like blurry disks in the same way.

Re:What a horrible test file (0, Redundant)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312276)

I'm not so sure it would be great for YouTube for that reason. Maybe for the 360p videos, but at least I always watch 720p or 1080p version if it's available. This will be even more important when YouTube starts to have movies and TV shows that you can rent.

Most of the web video content will be moving towards 720p or 1080p too, so you should really compare future codec candidates towards those.

Re:What a horrible test file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312288)

Except that VP8 doesn't clarify anywhere it should only be used for less-than high def video. Mozilla foundation and others obviously want it for resolutions higher than 480x320. The test is bunk.

Re:What a horrible test file (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312292)

Right, my point was that VP8 is *good* at this kind of resolution. Meanwhile, h264 is good at all kinds of resolutions thanks to it's different profiles.

Re:What a horrible test file (4, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312300)

This actually is exactly the point. VP8 is aimed *specifically* at this kind of resolution. It's why it's great for YouTube,

Why is this great for YouTube? Apart from the moronic user comments, the biggest problem YouTube has is the crappy resolution and blocky compression. Ditching that shit quickly would be the best thing for YouTube.

Re:What a horrible test file (1, Redundant)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312474)

so will never be able to deal with high bandwidth super quality things like blurry disks in the same way.

Tee hee.

Re:What a horrible test file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312904)

Possibly the most effective way to push the codec would be to offer future YouTube resolution upgrades for WebM viewers only, though.

For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312154)

MPEG LA, the group that formed a patent pool for H.264, does not protect their licensees against all patent infringement - but just against patent infringement suits by their [mpegla.com] licensors [mpegla.com] , and only then in the limited case of the specific case of patents included in the pool, and only then for limited times.

Q: Are all AVC essential patents included?

A: No assurance is or can be made that the License includes every essential patent. The purpose of the License is to offer a convenient licensing alternative to everyone on the same terms and to include as much essential intellectual property as possible for their convenience. Participation in the License is voluntary on the part of essential patent holders, however.

So you are in no way more protected by using the restricted H.264 license than you are by using the open VP8 license in the US. In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents, so the only issue is which one of these is technically best.

And now MPEG LA is trying to form a patent pool for VP8 [allthingsd.com] . Will wonders never cease? Patents are broken. Let us hope that Monday SCOTUS rules that software patents are void in RE Bilski.

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312254)

In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents

Oh boy you are naive.

There's the US and recently Germany joined the club of corporate lapdogs. Since you can now officially patent software in Germany, by extension this means the EU will follow (thanks to the fucks at the European Patent Office, which is neither an official institution, nor a European one, yet they pretend to be either and certainly no politician is going to stop them as long as the bri...favours keep coming).

The EU only refused to patent software because of massive protests. Now that a precedent has been set in Germany and many software patents become valid, the EU will "grudgingly" allow them "because you cannot invalidate so much innovation that has already been patented" and other bullshit.

That's how it works in politics when you get too much opposition. Create lots of - at the time illegal - facts and nobody will dare to undoe them. It's not as if anybody in power would actually want to do so. There are enough "it wasn't me" scapegoats to sell to voters.

Add to that the fact that countries without software patents will then be coerced by the above two to follow suit and you'll have a rather rude awakening. What you thought the benefit of the population is more important than corporate bri...interests? Hah!

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (5, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312310)

In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents

Yeah, most of the civilized world except the US, EU, UK, Japan, South Korea, and others...

And there is no point in pretending software is not patentable in the EU - precedent has LONG been established that software solving a "technical" problem as opposed to a "business process" is patentable. Video and audio codecs are already among those issued. (a big part of that is that codecs are not necessarily "software" patents, in that they are fairly straightforward algorithms that can be implemented in "hardware"/firmware/etc as well as software).

Feel free to count the number of countries in this list, but I think it's over 25... http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/avc/Documents/avc-att1.pdf [mpegla.com]

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312400)

And now MPEG LA is trying to form a patent pool for VP8 [allthingsd.com]. Will wonders never cease? Patents are broken. Let us hope that Monday SCOTUS rules that software patents are void in RE Bilski

Eh, just so as not to sound completely pessimistic about software patents, I hope so, too :)

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (3, Informative)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312582)

EU, UK

Neither of these allow software patents (despite what the European Patent Office might tell you). Germany does unfornatually but they're not the EU in the same way the UK isn't.

In the US we have an inflated estimate of US (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312698)

Add India and Pakistan to China, and they're most of the civlized world. They're actually more than half of all the people in the world. None of them care about your list (Yes, I know Chinese patents are on your list - even the Chinese don't care about them - China has differring views on intellectual property that are difficult to describe here but can be summarized as: meh).

We forget sometimes in the US that our entire country is not as old as a decent British country house, nor a Taiwan temple, nor even a Chinese family land lease. Hell, the US is not even as old as most decent books. We are not most people and we're never going to be. Our inflated estimate of our importance is the cause of much misunderstanding in the wider world. The sooner we let it go the better.

We've got some decent insight on human interaction to share, but others may be rightfully suspicious of new ideas when they have a system that's similar that is proven to work over a span of 5,000 years. To those folk a quarter millenium is still just a "noble experiment", and frankly looking at what we're doing with it, we might not make it to a half millennium so who are we to say they're not civilized?

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312760)

Yeah, most of the civilized world except the US, EU, UK, Japan, South Korea, and others...

Wait, we have software patents in the UK? The last I heard on the matter was an official government statement saying that they were harmful to innovation and would not be introduced. Admittedly we've had a new government since then, but they've only been in power for a couple of weeks, and I'm sure I'd notice if they'd done something like this...

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (2, Informative)

EyelessFade (618151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312886)

No, but you have other patents, codecs etc, which where introduced for cameras and other physical objects. For instance the only patent in this pool that is valid in Norway are Mitsubishis very general patent (NO 310850) about coding video with a delta from one picture to the next in "encoding equipments"

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (2, Interesting)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312358)

Patents are broken.

Software patents are broken; patents for physical items are maybe a little jankety, but not completely broken (yet).

When it comes to software patents, it comes down to the thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters eventually pounding out the complete works of Shakespeare; it may not be in chronological order, either. The same holds true with software; enough people coding things will ultimately come up with a way of doing things that looks similar to another way for doing the same things, but there's better than even odds that they came to it a different way--thus why god knows how many viable filesystems exist, computing architectures exist (and have gone by the wayside), and so forth.

I won't go as far as to say that software patents shouldn't exist; they should, however, be required to be extremely specific, demonstrative, and as narrow in scope as possible. Patenting a concrete, complete, polished product is one thing; patenting a method, a concept, an abstract is completely another.

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312424)

No, patents are broken. They're intended to work for limited times, but a number of strategies for extending them have arisen that make them indefinitely persistent. They're broken. Even in the best case they prevent progress. Look at the early example of the steam engine [thefreemanonline.org] . The late movement to change them from first invention to first to patent promises to bring innovation to a grinding halt.

Even Tesla's invention of radio was for a long time blocked by Marconi's patents and only recognized after his death [pbs.org] . Patents not only are broken, they have always been. Patents prevent progress, and the prevention of progress is the opposite of the purpose and justification for patents.

Patents are patently bad. The US Constitution grants to Congress the power to grant patents and copyrights - but it does not require Congress to do so. We can fix this.

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312430)

Software patents are broken; patents for physical items are maybe a little jankety, but not completely broken (yet).

No, the whole system is broken. [google.com]

Even when the patent system worked as the founders intended, it was debateable whether there was any benefit. Pretty much every major invention came more-or-less simultaneously to several different people, one of them got the patent, everyone else got screwed. But today it's ten times worse. The only function the patent office serves in 2010 is to help large corporations perpetuate an oligopoly where only the chosen few with large patent pools can enter entire markets.

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312944)

I'm reminded of the North American vulture and the African variety. Both of them look similar and much more closely related then they really are because of the evolutionary pressures. When studied further they diverged like long ago. I wonder what would have happened if one of them had patented the biotechnology for method of eating without getting excessive guts lodged in difficult to clean places.

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312614)

So you are in no way more protected by using the restricted H.264 license than you are by using the open VP8 license in the US

Except you are, because virtually all of the big players have agreed not to sue you whereas VP8 has gone from patent free to MPEG LA looking to form a patent pool in less than a month. Further, lots of companies with sizeable checkbooks that should be targets for infringement claims are already using H.264 successfully.

Why switch to VP8 if everyone already does H.264 in software and in hardware and VP8 also becomes subject to MPEG LA patent licensing?

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312752)

Why switch to VP8 if everyone already does H.264 in software and in hardware and VP8 also becomes subject to MPEG LA patent licensing?

Because VP8 doesn't belong to MPEG LA. It is owned by Google, and Google has granted all of us not only a freely distributed, royalty free source code reference implementation from which we may derive our own implementations, but an eternal payment free license to use all of the Google patented technologies involved - forever. That is substantially different and advantagious in a number of ways. It extends the uses to which the platform can be put, from what the licensors allow to "whatever the heck you can think of". The difference is important. It's meaningful. It's impactful. It's valuable. In short, it's Progress. You remember Progress, don't you? It's what we had before software patents were the norm.

Re:For the patent FUDsters sure to follow.... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312834)

In most of the civilized world there's no such thing as software patents

Unfortunately this becomes less and less true. In EU swpatents are illegal but accepted by the EU patents office (a big WTF, yes), in Japan they are legal, lobbyists are at work about everywhere, ACTA continues to be negociated, etc...

Bunk test (2, Insightful)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312168)

Once again someone is comparing a codec to H264 using some small as hell resolution.
Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

Re:Bunk test (5, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312186)

Once again someone is comparing a codec to H264 using some small as hell resolution.
Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

On a cell phone, that's not true.

Re:Bunk test (3, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312266)

And there are a few hundred million cell phones out there that support H.264 but not VP8, so good luck taking over that market any time soon.

VP8 will need to prove itself on the desktop where software decoders are possible before it's going to get any traction in embedded devices...

The life span of a cell phone platform=24 months (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312356)

I think we need not worry about this in the long term. In the short term people are accustomed to the fact that their 9 month old phone doesn't have the latest technology - it's a phone, and they got it for cheap on contract. When their contract is up they go for the hot new stuff, which next week will include VP8 compatibility on Android phones and iPhones, which are both of the platforms that drive tech today. RIM will come around to whatever's hot because they don't want to lose share. As for the desktop, who needs it? Desks are not comfortable and they're not mobile. We move about now. We go where the work is, or we work wherever we happen to be.

Since I'm posting I might as well throw in some gems I've gleaned from the news. The ringtone hopes of phone vendors of being media content providers is pretty much dead. In the 2009 numbers online distribution has surpassed physical distribution for the first time (and we're not going back). Most audio is now bought online. One in four tracks purchased is bought through iTunes now. Amazon MP3 at about 1% is still in the top 10, but it's not going to be the wunderkind of media distribution once hoped.

If iTunes gets serious traction on video sales we're on our way to an iTunes culture. From my POV that would be unfortunate.

Re:The life span of a cell phone platform=24 month (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312450)

Given their track record on other types of content I agree that having Apple drive the future of video distribution would be very unfortunate...

As far as H.264 vs VP8 support in the future, you do have a point that the cellular market will adapt more quickly than most. Though you have ot take into account that Apple now controls an impressively large percent of that in a few short years, and as of yet they have pretty much laughed at VP8...

By "desktops" I really meant "PCs" - in the loose sense of full featured computers, whether they are workstations or laptops, Windows, Mac or Linux. Cell phones and TVs aren't going to replace those just yet. Tablets may start to cut in to them, but Apple is already sitting pretty there, so see above as to that resistance to VP8...

For the other big non-desktop market, TVs/STBs - that's going to be the biggest resistance to anything non-H.264 (and I say this working in that industry...) The cable and satellite industry just spent a huge amount of money converting all of their broadcast systems and set-tops to H.264, and they don't like doing that very often. Additionally, the chips that go into all TVs and Blu-Ray players all support H.264 (and MPEG2, etc) but not much else - which means the current VOD services that run on them like Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, YouTube, etc are all H.264 based.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see the politics play out... after reading a whitepaper on VP8 they are doing a lot of cool things with it, and if anyone can make it succeed, it's Google.

Re:The life span of a cell phone platform=24 month (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312580)

For the other big non-desktop market, TVs/STBs - that's going to be the biggest resistance to anything non-H.264 (and I say this working in that industry...) The cable and satellite industry just spent a huge amount of money converting all of their broadcast systems and set-tops to H.264, and they don't like doing that very often. Additionally, the chips that go into all TVs and Blu-Ray players all support H.264 (and MPEG2, etc) but not much else - which means the current VOD services that run on them like Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, YouTube, etc are all H.264 based.

All of the major video providers on the Web - even the porn ones - are now migrating to HTML5 and seem ready to offer their content on whatever Codec you have handy. They're not choosy. They don't have a dog in this fight. They're all about getting eyeballs on their content so they can sell ads against that, or sell access to their content. They really don't care. If you have flash, they'll give you flash. If you have VP8 or H.264, they'll give you that. They can afford to transcode and store three copies, or transcode on demand. We are after all paying them to serve us up the video we desire.

So have you heard about Google TV [google.com] ? It seems Google is about ready to offer TV over IP. That's going to hose up the business model for most cable TV providers. It's disruptive. If Google delivers TV well I'll be moving to IP only on my Comcast cable connection (right now I have the triple play), and I imagine I'm not alone there. I've got 50Mbps down, and that's more than fine both for my web surfing and to drive all of my TVs with video. It will probably put the brakes on the one hour a year of local programming I usually watch, but I won't miss it.

Re:Bunk test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312302)

I guess you haven't seen my cell phone! *SLAM*

Re:Bunk test (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312308)

Once again someone is comparing a codec to H264 using some small as hell resolution. Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

On a cell phone, that's not true.

You're right, on a cell phone, nobody ever cares.

Re:Bunk test (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312704)

On a cell phone you want a certain quality of video at as low a bitrate as possible. if you can get the same quality at a lower bitrate with a given codec then you want to use that one.

Re:Bunk test (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312188)

Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

So why are cell phone cameras (still and video) so popular?

Re:Bunk test (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312248)

Because modern camera phones record video in HD resolutions?

Re:Bunk test (1)

eviljolly (411836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312404)

Only a handful by my count, most of which are not out yet. Even my "modern" Motorola Droid or a Nexus One only records at 720 x 480.

Re:Bunk test (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312512)

only records at 720 x 480.

pWhich is larger than 480 x 360, is it not?

Re:Bunk test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312938)

"HD" is a minimum of 1280x720. So fuck off.

Mobile Phone Cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312250)

Because the Mobile Phone Makers Marketing Departments decided that they are a MUST HAVE item for every phone.
That means you have one with you whenever you have your phone with you which for some people these days is every moment of the day.

I have one on my phone only because there were no other new phones available when my last bit of Nokia crap went belly up. This means that when ever I visit more than 90% of my customers, I have to leave it in my car or at security as Camera Phones (except those used by employees) are banned.

The image quality is poor at best especially when compared to the Pro Nikon DSLR Bodies & Lenses that I take with me into said Customers for the very purpose of taking pictures....Which just happens to be my business.
Sigh, there sure ain't nothing as queer as folk.

Re:Mobile Phone Cameras (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312298)

You're allowed to bring with you a DSLR (heck, and use it)...but not cameraphone, due to "security"?

Re:Bunk test (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312306)

So why are cell phone cameras (still and video) so popular?

They aren't. From my experience, hardly anybody actually uses phone cameras, unless they are really desperate and have no alternative camera at hand.

Re:Bunk test (3, Funny)

Scaba (183684) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312454)

And by that you mean, the only friend you have, you, records everything with something sophisticated? You know they all hate you, right?

Re:Bunk test (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312538)

And by that you mean, the only friend you have, you, records everything with something sophisticated? You know they all hate you, right?

No. I mean the majority of my friends, acquaintances and colleagues, which is a large number and a diverse range of ages and demographics. They might not use something "sophisticated" (i.e DSLR), but when they want to take photos, they use a dedicated camera, typically a compact digital point-and-shoot camera. For video it's usually something like a Flip, a Kodak Zi8, or an old DV camera.

Re:Bunk test (3, Insightful)

dotwhynot (938895) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312562)

So why are cell phone cameras (still and video) so popular?

They aren't. From my experience, hardly anybody actually uses phone cameras, unless they are really desperate and have no alternative camera at hand.

I could say my experience is the complete opposite, which it is, but since both are just anecdotal it made me curious to find out if there are any data on this.

According to Flickr usage statistics iPhone is the most used camera on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/cameras/ [flickr.com]

Just one datapoint, I know. But seems at the very least to disprove the hardly used by anybody theory. I would guess, but have no data, that the complete different experiences people have on this comes down to demographic differences (mobile markets and usage very different from country to country, and age group to age group, etc).

Myself I find I'm using my mobile camera more, they have gotten quite good, and regular camera less. But I could still agree with your claim it is just because I don't have another camera with me, because that is mostly true, I usually don't go around with a camera, but I absolutely always have my mobile with me (currently a HTC HD2, so not in the iPhone group myself)

Re:Bunk test (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312778)

My anecdotal evidence supports this. No one has a cheap camera anymore. People either have an expensive SLR (most digital, but one guy I know still develops his own film), and take a lot of care over their shots, or they use the camera on their phone.

Re:Bunk test (0, Redundant)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312882)

My anecdotal evidence supports this. No one has a cheap camera anymore.

Anecdotes are useless. I use my super zoom compact ($100, Fuji, 7MP) almost every day.

Re:Bunk test (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312226)

How about a 720p or 1080p test with a large group of birds flying over a body of water, reflection visible.

Re:Bunk test (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312318)

How about a 720p or 1080p test with a large group of birds flying over a body of water, reflection visible.

You seem to be lost.

Let me help you with a link: http://emoforum.org/ [emoforum.org] (disclaimer to general /. population: this was the first result from googling, don't blame me if opening it will kick you out of your job)

Re:Bunk test (2, Funny)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312520)

That site has been /.ed.

Re:Bunk test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312766)

Don't be so hasty to dismiss a clip that stresses motion. Or is it that you know VP8 would choke on such content?

Re:Bunk test (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312264)

Welcome to the United States. We still have shitty internet access.

Re:Bunk test (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312278)

Ah here come the H.264 fanboys that cry foul whenever somebody claims anything is remotely as good.

I wonder how many of these are actually paid PR drones; scum that they are.

Re:Bunk test (0)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312320)

Nope, the article said VP8 was comparable most of the time, but worse in high motion, it *didn't* claim it's good.

Meanwhile, it's just *factual* to point out that this article is testing VP8's sweet spot for quality; and a resolution that is getting increasingly less commonly used in favour of a resolution that h264 is likely to do *much* better at.

Re:Bunk test (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312416)

Yep, PR scum. You didn't actually answer the parent's comment at all.

Re:Bunk test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312390)

Not to mention we're only looking at stills? Last I remembered, H.264 and VP8 were for video, not for still images, so why would you compare their quality with stills? So dumb.

Re:Bunk test (1, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312418)

A loosely-compressed 480p video (ie. DVD) can look superior to a 1080p encode if said 1080p video is compressed to death.

Similarly, 720p videos rarely look worse than 1080p videos, and occasionally manage to look better.

Re:Bunk test (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312544)

That's great but we're not looking to replace Bluray anytime soon thank you very much.

Here's a quick test. Go to the 10 nearest non-geeks you know (because quite frankly the non-geeks outnumber us slashdotters by orders of magnitude). Ask them how many times they have streamed anything at all in 1080p off the internet. ANYTHING. I don't care if it's an advert, or a video trailer. Chances are you'll find that a few of them may have at some point seen a 1080p trailer on the quicktime website.

Now ask them how many times they have visited youtube, or looked at a youtube embedded video. Ask them how many times they've looked at one in high res. I think I would place $50 on which you're likely to get more of a response to.

Given how VP8 is being targeted as an in browser codec replacement for flash streamed quickly at the lowest acceptable bandwidth, and not designed really to compete with ultra high def content, I don't understand why you got modded insightful instead of flat out off topic.

Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p YOU'RE likely the only one who cares.

Re:Bunk test (1)

nadaou (535365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312606)

Once again someone is comparing a codec to H264 using some small as hell resolution.
Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

Because Google didn't buy this, YouTube doesn't exist, and the CEOs of Apple, Microsoft, Motorola, RIM, HP, and Amazon aren't falling over each other to position themselves as the portable media convergence device leader.

college students copying blue ray discs of the latest crappy Hollywood flick is the only market the codec industry is aiming to win.

uh huh.

Re:Bunk test (3, Informative)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312608)

Come on. H264 fan boys use such a low bitrate for shootouts that you are often comparing crap with shit. I don't care how good that shit looks compared to crap. Its still crap and shit.

By the time you get up to bitrate/resolutions combination that matter (ie *are* HD, rather than just HD pixel count), the difference in all codecs are much smaller.

Re:Bunk test (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312758)

Welcome to 2010, if it's not encoded at 1080p nobody cares.

Speak for yourself. I care. A lot. Especially for older stuff that wasn't recorded at high res.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312184)

Hmm.

Fairly inebriated, both encoding methods look 100% similar to me.

Let me check again with bloodshot, regretful eyes in the morning,.

Why use sorenson squeeze instead of x264 (1)

figleaf (672550) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312220)

The comparison seems to use sorenson squeeze (based on MainConcept if I am not mistaken).
I don't believe it can mach x264's capabilities and speed.

Using x264 for comparison would be much fairer.

Re:Why use sorenson squeeze instead of x264 (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312322)

I don't believe it can mach x264's capabilities and speed.

That's not surprising. Not even the fastest jet aircraft can reach Mach 264.

Re:Why use sorenson squeeze instead of x264 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312374)

The comparison seems to use sorenson squeeze (based on MainConcept if I am not mistaken).
I don't believe it can mach x264's capabilities and speed.

Using x264 for comparison would be much fairer.

The comparison is done by Jan Ozer. He's billed as a "video codec expert" but I don't think he has the technical expertise to, for example, make use of x264. His previous H.264 versus Theora comparison wasn't very impressive either. The x264 developers described Ozer's Theora versus H.264 comparison as "one of the worst articles they had ever seen" [multimedia.cx] .

Re:Why use sorenson squeeze instead of x264 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312718)

And the Theora developers agree.

Surely this is a moot point? (1, Informative)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312244)

The analysis over at Dark Shikari's blog [multimedia.cx] was conclusive in saying that VP8 is basically a poor mans H.264, borrowing bits of H.264s specifications and ultimately not quite as smart, so the comparison points in the article aren't that surprising. The quality point is moot however anyway, since it's pretty obvious that VP8 uses so much from H.264 that it's very likely of falling victim to the patent pool.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (4, Interesting)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312294)

How do you know that some of the differences (lacking certain block sizes, for example) are precisely to avoid certain patents?

Just because it is similar does not mean that it infringes patents. Look at inventions in the past (like the first steam engine, avoiding a patent by Watt).

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312312)

I've skimmed those patents. One of them is a patent on the concept of streaming compression. I do not believe it is possible to create a codec that doesn't infringe on a few, because getting a patent is very easy, even if the idea is obvious and prior art is widely known. Throw a few hundred of those bad patents together into a pool, and the cost of systematically invalidating every single one in court would be so great that it becomes cheaper to settle.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (5, Insightful)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312332)

Unless you're going up against Google, for example. They might consider it worthwhile to spend the money to invalidate a few hundred patents. In which case MPEG-LA would risk losing its revenue stream. There's risk on both sides of this battle, and I can't see either party entering into it lightly.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312742)

For a single user of the codecs, you are certainly correct. For companies that base their business on widely accessible video consumption/production, it is no longer a clear cut case: I'm pretty sure e.g. Google has actually thought about this before they opened VP8...

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (5, Insightful)

Amanitin (1603983) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312866)

Patent reform:
make the PTO legally responsible for the validity of the patent.
If the patent is attacked in court and ruled invalid, the PTO will cover legal fees, and return submission and upkeep costs plus interest.
Nothing else will make them do their job right.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312376)

Because FUD like that needs countering, repeatedly:
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2010-May/047795.html [wikimedia.org]

We are talking about a video codec which was *specifically designed* to avoid H.264-related patents. IMO, similarity makes it less likely for the patents to be infringed, because the choices are easy to compare.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312378)

I am almost certain that google will just use VP8 as a foundations for a new codec that will surpass both.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312422)

Yeah, because OMFGWTFBBQ!!! Google has just release something new and it must be a revolutionary product because I somehow conveniently forget their failures!!

Google takes a shotgun approach to everything because all they need to do is get a few ideas to hang around long enough for them to generate additional ad revenue. As long as they release new products on a consistent schedule and keep people interested in at least trying it out, they're maintaining if not increasing their revenue stream which makes investors happy and makes everyone at Google happy. Sorry, but Google is not as altruistic as everyone likes to believe and they're also not flawless in their execution of new ideas.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312510)

Surely this point is moot?

Yes, google will be working on a new codec... So will the MPEG-LA.

The point is *now* we have Ogg Theora, VP8 and h264. Theora seems to be out of the race, given it's inferior quality to VP8 and lack of hardware decoding support, while being in no way superior to VP8.

Now the question is, which of h264 and VP8 is better. For now, the answer seems to be h264, by a whisker.

On2 was quite careful (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312508)

The company had been around since the early 1990's. They were well aware of video patents, and monitored patent filings quite closely. Many of their features were adopted on the day that the statutory 1 year gap between publication of a method and possible patent filing expired. Much of the VP8 codec is actually prior art for the patents in the H.264 pool. On2 codecs have been used in Theora, Flash and Microsoft video products. If MPEG LA goes after them, it seems likely MPEG LA will lose more than they win - especially since all of us will be against them. Additionally, they'll be in court facing off with their patents against Google, and I hear Google has a few folks who know how to look stuff up like prior art. Heck, Google probably did this looking up before they decided to spend a hundred million dollars on buying the company just to give away its technology. It seems likely Google did look some stuff up before they decided to transcode their entire YouTube library to VP8. They're diligent like that.

And so having done the math, MPEG LA is investigating creating a patent pool to support VP8 [betanews.com] . If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. It seems unlikely they'll find success in this, but they will try.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312618)

Who says that those (H.264) patents were not owned by On2 in the first place, or that On2 created that stuff before those patents were even written (e.g. prior art)

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312820)

Who says that those (H.264) patents were not owned by On2 in the first place

If On2 owned the patents on techniques that are in the H.264 pool, then they would be listed [mpegla.com] . If they owned even one relevant patent then Google could have had a massive PR bonus if they'd coupled the VP8 announcement with another saying that H.264 infringes their patents.

or that On2 created that stuff before those patents were even written (e.g. prior art)

More possible, but much harder to prove in court. Especially as it's now open source, the patent owners can go after individual distributors or even users of the CODEC, without needing to fight Google directly.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312632)

I dont think there is any doubt that there are a ton of patents that would be infringed, if they were upheld. But this thing has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb by legions of lawyers multiple times. There were patent lawyers involved from the beginning if I am not mistaken. There are so many over-broad patents out there it is pretty much impossible to do anything at all without 'infringing' these days. So what do you do? You throw out the ones that you can invalidate, then work around the ones remaining. And for a backstop, you build your own pool for counterclaims.

Google isnt stupid. They wouldnt have taken this step if they werent confident they would prevail in court if push comes to shove. MPEG-LA may talk some FUD cause that is easy and cheap. But filing suit would expose them to serious risk - of having their precious patent pool exposed and invalidated. Until and unless they put their money where their mouth is their FUD should be treated as hot air.

Re:Surely this is a moot point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312732)

Obvious, huh... The way On2 made codecs was this: take an existing codec, workaround the patents, release as new codec, create PR fluff around new codec. People may not like that but it seemed to work pretty well and they've apparently been pretty good at the "avoid the patents" phase.

So, could you point out how the infringement is obvious, considering that VP8 was by all accounts designed to work around the patents in question?

What a crock of crap (1, Insightful)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312272)

While you're doing that "see for yourself" stuff, take a close look at the data on how the files were encoded. I mean a really close look; put on your scientist hat and pay close attention. See for yourself that the test was staged to support the view that they're espousing.

Maybe VP8 is comparable to H.264 or maybe not - but it's very hard to tell when the comparisons are so biased. I suspect that the real truth is that they're both about equivalent; either one is equally good at encoding video.

In any event, the choice between these codecs will be made in many locations and often the consideration is going to be which is "legally solid" and which is "legally risky". With the continuing media campaign being waged to make VP8 seem to be infringing all kinds of patents, the outcome here isn't certain.

Re:What a crock of crap (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312406)

How do you think the comparisons are staged, biased, and otherwise completely uninformative?

Because your post was nearly as uninformative as the patent smears...

Re:What a crock of crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312686)

How about: the frames shown are not from the same time. Look at the timestamp shown in the video.

Re:What a crock of crap (2, Insightful)

mr_da3m0n (887821) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312556)

While you're doing that "see for yourself" stuff, take a close look at the data on how the files were encoded. I mean a really close look; put on your scientist hat and pay close attention. See for yourself that the test was staged to support the view that they're espousing.

Let's pretend my scientist hat is in the wash right now and not quite dry yet. Would you care to share what makes you believe that? Because I don't call a one kilobit difference in bitrate "staging".

Unless perhaps you mean that equal bitrate doesn't necessarily mean equal quality due to different compression algorithms? That would be true, but it would be irrelevant in this case since I'm fairly sure the purpose of the test is to see which one can deliver the best quality within a certain bandwidth limit.

Seriously, do enlighten us instead of implying we are gobbling the data and aren't "true scientists" if we don't come to the same conclusion. Nice syllogistic fallacy.

Re:What a crock of crap (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312958)

How about the fact that the person supposedly doing this comparison isn't even the one who encoded the video? Instead, he relied on a third party with a vested interest in h.264 to do the encoding for him.

In fact, he's such an utterly useless person that he claims he doesn't even "have access to a VP8 encoder".

Re:What a crock of crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312640)

You need only look at one row of the encoding specs:

- Codec: MainConcept h.264

Yep, that explains it.

Decoding Power (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312334)

"but if the quality is substandard, who cares?" -- if VP8 is simpler than h.264 and as a result reduces the power consumption of your handheld device so that it can stream 20 hours playback of video, then you'd care.

Re:Decoding Power (3, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312516)

Yes, but it's not – as has been pointed out already, VP8 uses *more* power to decode, not less.

Re:Decoding Power (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312630)

VP8 uses *more* power to decode, not less.

That's interesting.
Does it use more power because of lack of hardware decoder, or you say that because VP8 is more complex to decode?

Re:Decoding Power (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312642)

The latter was the assertion made. Of note though, the seemingly obvious comment about being "less complex, and therefore using less power" is not as obvious as it first seems – decreased codec complexity == higher bit rate for the same quality == more processor power to decode.

Re:Decoding Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312634)

Indeed, go to youtube, enable the html5 thingy, and find a (preferably HD) VP8 encoded video. (add &webm=1 at the end of the URL). Now look at the CPU usage... My core 2 duo was having a hard time as soon as there was a bit too much motion in the video (the video was "freezing" during a few seconds).

Two basic truths (0)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312340)

Shit stinks, and these guys will get sued. Sad facts, you can flush them both but they still stink.

But for an Apple iThing - (0, Offtopic)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312342)

...is there an app for that?

I call shenanigans! (4, Informative)

mindwhip (894744) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312652)

None of the comparisons are of exactly the same frame. 3 of the 6 images have different times in the corner.

I suspect the writer selected frames so H.264 won, but gave VP8 one win at the end to not seem biased.

Also his 'standard SD encoding test file that I've been using for years' would also be a source of suspicion. It is possible that his source file is already in a format that encodes better into H.264 than it does into VP8. And has already been mentioned here the resolution of the source is quite low for todays HD broadband world...

He used Sorenson Media to encode the files. In all probability they may be just better at setting some of the encoding parameters in the codec they have had longer...

And that was just a quick look. There are possibly other flaws that I haven't noticed yet.

How did they chose the frames? (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312670)

I hate the article for not stating whether those are key frames or P-frames.

Re:How did they chose the frames? (1)

realinvalidname (529939) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312966)

I hate the article for not stating whether those are key frames or P-frames.

A typical user wouldn't know the difference, so why should the reviewer get to pick and choose? The whole point of the review is subjective visual comparison, blind to the implementation details.

Give author Jan Ozer some credit: he's been Streaming Media's compression expert for a long time, and knows what he's talking about.

Yeah yeah this H.264-Shit is so tight yo,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312712)

... but see for yourself.

http://imgur.com/4AFTe.png [imgur.com]

fonboys trolling, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312730)

x264 fanboys, get out!

this 1s goatsex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312738)

MOViEs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32312896)

YET ANOTHER lame as comparison between video formats using still images, the only way to watch a video in both comparing stills misses so much of the point for a good codec it's not even funny.

Encoders? (1)

nicodoggie (1228876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32312964)

I really don't follow developments in the video scene that often, so I thought I'd ask. Is there really something about the specifications of the H.264 format that makes it better (or worse) than VP8?

Could it be that the difference in quality between the two codecs be due to the maturity of the encoders for H.264? Because if I read it right, it's been there for much longer than VP8 has...

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