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New VP8 Codec SDK Release Improves Performance

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the frame-job dept.

Google 168

An anonymous reader writes "Google released a new version of the VP8 codec SDK on Thursday. They note a number of performance improvements over the launch release including 20-40% (average 28%) improvement in libvpx decoder speed, an over 7% overall PSNR improvement (6.3% SSIM) in VP8 'best' quality encoding mode, and up to 60% improvement on very noisy, still or slow moving source video. In other WebM news, Texas Instruments has a demo of 1080p WebM video playing on their new TI OMAP 4 processor, in both Android and Ubuntu."

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168 comments

1st to to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078192)

I hope other hw manufacturers follow!

Re:1st to to say (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078220)

My Samsung 7 Series TV doesn't even support vorbis. :(

Re:1st to to say (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078564)

My Samsung 7 Series TV doesn't even support vorbis. :(

Nevermind; people may call you a traitor for your support of proprietary codecs but don't listen to them. You traitor.

How about quality? (1, Informative)

halex-ab (1045040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078202)

They may have managed to increase performance, but the real question is have they increased the actual output quality (without having to tweak the crap out of it):
http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/archives/377 [multimedia.cx]

Also, I thought we've determined that PSNR is NOT a very good measure on the quality of a codec...

wtf? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078230)

When i read the stuff you wrote, i begin to ask myself... did he really not read the article?

Re:How about quality? (4, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078284)

Neither is SSIM: the unfortunate truth is that all the current objective and quantifiable measures of encoding quality have only a vague relation to the subjective visual quality. There is no reliable metric for comparing the quality of output between two encoded files other than a large sample size double-blind test. All those 'quality' graphs you see in encoder comparisons aren't very useful except in the most stark cases.

Re:How about quality? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079944)

How about the total of each difference between the R, G and B values of every pixel to the source. It's not 100%, but I bet that would get pretty close.

Before we can give 'fitness' scores to the algorithm, it's really important that we define properly what 'fitness' actually means.

It probably will never reach AVC in quality (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078354)

But it doesn't need to. For one, all you have to do is be "good enough". This idea that every last bit has to be wrangled out of codecs is silly these days. Storage and bandwidth are cheap. So long as it is good enough, meaning performs like similar codecs (AVC, VC-1 and so on) it is fine. Remember that streaming Flash video was VP6 for a long time, and much of it still is.

However what it offers is a free option, truly free. Encoders, decoders, streaming, all have no royalties and never will. That is important. If you think AVC is free just because of x264 all that means is you aren't doing your homework. Go have a look, you have to pay to have encoders and decoders.

WebM is useful, if for no other reason than it puts pressure on MPEG-LA not to be dicks about patent licensing. However that aside, it may well be the smart choice for streaming out web based video (once it gets integrated in to browsers) since you don't have to worry about issues in the future.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (4, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078510)

I'll give you that storage is cheap. But bandwidth is definitely not, at least not where latency is concerned. If you're willing to say "I want to watch this video in 12+ hours" then bandwidth is cheap, but if you say "I want to start watching this video within 15 seconds and never stop to buffer again before the end" then bandwidth is a huge cost, and improving encoding efficiency 10% could have a significant practical difference.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079110)

Yet if you want to watch that same video in six months time, because of bandwidth capacity improvements, that efficiency has become moot.

Now, that doesn't mean efficiency isn't important. The real point of efficiency comes when you consider the sheer scale of bandwidth used on video worldwide. Right now, online streaming video is probably the single largest user of bandwidth worldwide (with the possible exception of bittorrent). Gaining 10% efficiency here means a huge amount for the internet as a whole and and this scale, it becomes hugely important to save every last bit.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078676)

> WebM is useful, if for no other reason than it puts pressure on MPEG-LA not to be dicks about patent licensing. However that aside, it may well be the smart choice for streaming out web based video (once it gets integrated in to browsers) since you don't have to worry about issues in the future.

WebM is already included in Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera browsers. It will also be supported by IE9 if the user installs a codec for it, and there is absolutely no doubt that Google will offer a free codec for download as soon as IE9 is released.

This will end up giving WebM a wider installed base in browsers than H.264.

Since WebM is free for anyone to implement, and the code to implement it is freely available, it will start appearing in all other browsers soon.

Safari might be a hold-out for a while, but I doubt that any browser can afford to be the only one that doesn't support WebM. Even if Safari does try to hold out, it won't be long before someone produces a patch or a plugin, and that will be it. Universal support for HTML5/WebM in client browsers.

Use your browser for a video recording application:
http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Mozilla-Labs-launches-browser-add-on-for-A-V-recording-1127702.html

Free to use and/or implement for anyone in any role, such as the example above.

Game over.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079780)

Of course h.264 is already supported in IE9, Safari, Chrome. Also opera supports it on linux, and you can get it in firefox if you use the IE Tab, or google chrome frame add-ins. Also, it's supported in Adobe Flash for playback, and it's what the largest media corporations already have their video libraries encoded to.

Game was over before it began.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079176)

This post should be modded +5 decadent.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079204)

It probably will never reach AVC in quality

But it doesn't need to. For one, all you have to do is be "good enough".

Yet a lot of people spit on Theora despite it being good enough for web video. It isn't significantly worse than AVC.

Personally I prefer Theora because a lot of open source effort has gone into it already and it's very fast to decode. This opens web video to a very wide range of devices.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (3, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079480)

You are several replies are all correct in many ways.

#1. Internet bandwidth increases ~50-60% year-over-year. Will 10% less bandwidth used for video stream matter?
#2. Many *customers* rarely get a 50% speed boost every 3-4 years. reducing video load time by 10% can help dramatically
#3. On a whole scale, video streaming is a large part of internet bandwidth. Even if bandwidth increases 50%, the average resolution of streamed videos will increases to consume that extra bandwidth. ie, 480p one year, 720p the next and 1080p the next. If the video quality was static, then bandwidth would make codec efficiency moot very easily, but people keep increasing the bit rate of the videos to instantly consume that extra bandwidth.
#4. If video streaming is 10% of internet bandwidth, and we're talking about many many teratibts of backbone bandwidth, then reducing that by 10% would free up 1%, which is still a large amount.

Re:It probably will never reach AVC in quality (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079798)

And it matters on today's 3G mobile phones that won't be seeing any bandwidth upgrades for the next 2 years.

Who cares? (0, Troll)

gabriel (2115) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078212)

From the complete lack of comments am I right to think that - after H.264 became eternally free for streaming - no one cares about VP8 anymore?

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078242)

Doubtful. H.264 is still subject to patent trolling and royalties later on. And as long as that's the case it shouldn't be the standard we use. The only made it free in one respect which is streaming. As far as I can tell they didn't make any guarantees about the ways that matter.

Also may be of interest to cheap devices (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078396)

So you'll notice that WebM is getting built in to hardware, just like AVC. Means soon portable/embedded devices will be able to decode it too. Ok so just another format right? Well sort of. You have to pay per decoder (up to a maximum) for AVC and VC-1 and so on. You don't for WebM. So a company is developing really cheap devices, they don't want to pay that royalty. It adds unit cost. Maybe they decide not to, and instead use WebM because it doesn't cost anything. Sure it saves only a few bucks per unit in licensing but that can add up to $5-10 when you are talking sale price and that can be a big deal in cheap devices. Maybe they sell streaming kiosk/info devices that are $40 where the best a competitor does with AVC is $50 or $60.

There is no doubt AVC is here to stay. It has good quality, never mind the massive installed base and standards behind it. Professional (and consumer) cameras are using it for shooting video in the form of AVCHD and AVC-Intra. Blu-Rays are by and large encoded in it these days (you have a choice of MPEG-2, VC-1 or AVC) and so on. It isn't going to die. However WebM may become preferable when cost is key. No encoder, decoder, format, stream, or any costs of any kind ever for any application. That's worth something.

If I ran a video website, I'd seriously think of looking at moving to it once browsers got support. It would ensure that I don't get fucked with fees at some point in the future.

Re:Also may be of interest to cheap devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078664)

So what your saying is VP8 is now the Walmart of video codecs.

Nice...

Re:Also may be of interest to cheap devices (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078782)

...and instead use WebM because it doesn't cost anything. Sure it saves only a few bucks per unit in licensing but that can add up to $5-10 when you are talking sale price and that can be a big deal in cheap devices. Maybe they sell streaming kiosk/info devices that are $40 where the best a competitor does with AVC is $50 or $60

That's a nice theory but it's not how stuff actually works.
Take MP3 for example. You want MP3 decoding in your device? Well, you'll have to pay licensing fees. If you want something free use Vorbis. So according to you there should have been some companies that produce cheap media players that support Vorbis and maybe WAV/PCM, FLAC, Musepack, ect., but no MP3 and no AAC. Remeber how that didn't happen?
Why? Because if your player only supports niche formats it won't sell. Sorry, you can't listen to that audio stream on our device. No, you can't watch that Let's Play either.
Furthermore you can't really cut costs that much by cutting licensing fees. I don't know about audio formats, but with video you won't save a few bucks per device by not using AVC and VC1 your are going to save $0.40 and that only if you somehow managed to fall into the maximum licensing fee bracket for both formats. If you include all popular video (AVC, ASP) and audio formats (MP3, AAC, AC3) that are commonly found on the web in your device you'll probably pay less than a dollar extra for licensing. More likely you won't actually use your own decoder where you can easily select what formats you include. You'll buy some dedicated multimedia chips from Sigma Designs or some other company that will decode every format that has seen wide use in the last 20 years, so whether you use it or not the manufacturer already payed the licensing fees and is passing them right on to you.
What will actually happen is that all devices that support WebM will also support AVC. The number of devices that support the latter, but not the former will depend on how popular WebM gets. I personally expect that WebM will have wider support than Vorbis, although Apple will probably not support it unless there is a large number of sites that use it exclusively. There might be an app for that.

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

bomanbot (980297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078478)

Call me jaded, but the way the patent system is right now (meaning "fucked up"), as far as I am concerned, everything is subject to patent trolling until tested in court (and even then, sometimes another troll shows up later :-P)

Now considering that, why exactly should I assume that H.264 should be subject to patent trolling later and while WebM remains (patent) troll-free? Just because Google said so? Just because Google has an army of lawyers and money in the bank? Guess what, all of those arguments apply to H.264 too (the MPEG LA also says they have all the patents for it, they have lawyers and money in the bank from the license fees). And what Googles promises and their lawyers are actually worth, we will sadly see soon when the Android patent trials against Oracle gets started.

Also, since we already know that WebM and H.264 are technically very similar, I personally think that possible patent lawsuits coming from future patent trolls might be directed at both systems simultaneously, which would make any perceived advantage from WebM moot in that regard.

Now, WebM still has a lot of merit as an open and royalty-free web video codec. But as far as I am concerned, until either of them gets really tested in court against a patent troll, both codecs are still susceptible to litigation and H.264 may actually have an advantage in that regard as it has been on the market (and thus as a target for patent trolls) longer.

Not only that... (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078640)

The outcome of patent trials isn't 100% dependent on pesky facts, people can win and get injunctions because the other guy's lawyer was having a bad hair day or because the judge was too busy playing with his penis pump or any number of "human factors".

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

horza (87255) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079240)

Do I think WebM will be better able to defend itself against patent trolls just because Google has an army of lawyers and money in the bank?

Um... yes? Plus the due diligence they did to ensure it was not infringing before they bought it.

As far as I am concerned, this planet may not be habitable after an asteroid hits until it gets tested. However, if you are going to live your life in fear then you will never get anything done.

I agree with Google that the recording and playing back of moving images and sound is too fundamental to society and to the web to put a toll gate in front of.

Phillip.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078342)

When did they provide free codec use for Linux? Oh I guess you didn't mean free.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078518)

> H.264 became eternally free for streaming

No it didn't. H.264 is only free for users ... everyone else still has to pay, including web content providers (video makers), video hosing sites and authors of web browsers and video players.

Another interesting point is to count how many court cases have arisen over someone's use of H.264 versus any use of WebM.

H.264 is a million miles away from being free.

Re:Who cares? (2, Interesting)

AusIV (950840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079056)

H.264 may be eternally free for streaming, but not for encoding or decoding. Companies that want to encode video with H.264 to stream on their site still have to license the encoder. Browser vendors that want their browser to decode H.264 still have to license the decoder on a per-browser basis. So you can stream video that you've already got in H.264 to people with browsers that support H.264, but that hardly solves the other issues.

Re:Who cares? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079144)

eternally free for those who only transfer the data. Not free for those who want to create or view data.

But hey, let's not get stuck in details -- who'd want to create or view videos?

What's the point? (-1, Troll)

ericdano (113424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078216)

Ok, so we have mkv files, mp4....and now this? Why would I want to use it when mp4 is totally free and is pretty much the best and the standard?

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

u17 (1730558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078228)

Because the people in control of mp4 are pricks.

Re:What's the point? (-1, Troll)

ericdano (113424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078274)

Why is that? Because they are allowing everyone to use it for free?

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

JackAxe (689361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078314)

Everyone? FireFox can't use it, because it requires a "paid" license and they're a "free" browser.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078430)

Firefox can use it. They can decode it using the codec framework of the OS (DirectShow, Quicktime, GStreamer), they could pass off the decoding to a plugin or let the decoder hardware that every GPU released in the last couple of years comes with do it.
As long as they don't distribute (more than 100k) decoders (per year) there is no cost involved and there is no reason for them to distribute decoders at all.

New operating systems come with them, there are free and legal downloads for old operating systems and they are available with GPUs.
The only case where you don't have a free decoder is when you are running Linux on old hardware. In that case you can buy one from Fluendo.
In reality if you are running Linux you probably have ffmpeg anyway so it's not really a problem.

Of course Mozilla said using system codecs is a horrible security risk so they won't do it. Makes one wonder why that's what they've been working on for Fennec, their mobile browser.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078558)

> Firefox can use it.

Hardly the point. Firefox won't use it because H.264 is only free to end users, and it is not free at all to anyone else in the chain.

For Mozilla to support H.264 in Firefox would be to go against Mozilla's manifesto:

http://www.mozilla.org/about/mission.html

Therefore, because H.264 is not free for everyone in every role, Mozilla won't support it.

(Opera won't support H.264 either, but that is just a decision based on costs).

Anyway, because Mozilla won't support it, WebM will always have far better support than H.264.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078594)

100,000 decoders per year?

http://gigaom.com/2010/05/27/firefox-downloads-active-user-metrics/
> Firefox’s daily downloads fluctuated between 1.39 million and 1.81 million — averaging out at about 1.5 million downloads a *day*.

Great, we can distribute for about 2 hours on January 1, and then go home for a year, having exhausted our license.

Fennec gets WebM just like Firefox does.

There's a third party (a cell phone vendor) which is sponsoring support for GStreamer at this time. Mozilla is or has done code reviews but is *not* driving this feature. It's also unclear whether such a feature could be enabled in a product which has Mozilla's official branding.

Are you actually claiming that codecs (or system codecs) aren't security risks? Which rock have you been hiding under?
      1.
            Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-062 - Critical: Vulnerability in ...
            14 Sep 2010 ... Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For information about how to edit ... A codec can consist of two components: an encoder and a decoder. ...
            www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms10-062.mspx - Cached
           
      2.
            Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-055 - Critical: Vulnerability in ...
            The Cinepak codec is a media encoder and decoder supported by the Windows ...
            www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms10-055.mspx - Cached
      3.
            Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-052 - Critical: Vulnerability in ...
            Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected ...
            www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms10-052.mspx - Cached

Vulnerability in Microsoft MPEG Layer-3 Codecs Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2115168)

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2010/05/19/another-follow-up-on-html5-video-in-ie9.aspx
> Codecs have been a source of security and reliability issues (link1, link2, link3, link4) for some users.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2010/05/03/follow-up-on-html5-video-in-ie9.aspx
> We’ve read some follow up discussion about support for more than the
> H.264 codec in IE9’s HTML5 video tag.

> For web browsers, developers can continue to offer plug-ins (using NPAPI
> or ActiveX; they are effectively equivalent in this scenario) so that webpages
> can play video using these codecs on Windows.

> A key motivator for improving the codec support in Windows 7 was to reduce
> the need that end-users might have to download additional codecs.

> The security risks regarding downloadable codecs and associated malware
> are documented and significant.

> By building on H.264 for HTML5 video functionality, we provide a higher level
> of certainty regarding the security of this aspect of browsing and our web platform.

The general understanding of the post was that while one could install codecs for use w/ WMV and friends, and one could install plugins which provide codec support, one wouldn't generally be able to add random crappy codecs to the browser by installing them into the system, and Microsoft is indicating that this is a good thing (and it is!).

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078830)

Wow.
What Microsoft is saying is that they are going to provide codec support so every application on the planet doesn't have to reinvent the wheel and that endusers don't have to download codec packs from 3rd parties!

Mozilla could use the provided codec frameworks on each platform to provide h.264 support. The reason they will not is simply one of politics.
Choice is a good thing so let the endusers decide. First time they got to play and h.264 video give them the choice of using the internal codec frame work or not. And in a security warning if you wish.
If not I see a lot of folks going with Chrome.

Re:What's the point? (2, Insightful)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079232)

Mozilla could use the provided codec frameworks on each platform to provide h.264 support. The reason they will not is simply one of politics.

Important politics. They want an open web. Supporting web video through a proprietary codec goes against that goal. It amazes me how many miss that point.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078552)

Firefox couldn't use it for free if Firefox wanted to include an encoder, and at some point that's quite likely to happen.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079912)

Ok there an easy solution to that, don't use Firefox.

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078504)

It is "free" in that sharing a file that has been encoded is free. Encoders are most certainly not "free." Decoders are not "free." So "everyone can use it for free" is simply wrong.

Re:What's the point? (4, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078236)

MP4 is not free. Its encumbered by patents.
WebM/VP8 on the other hand, Google says its not encumbered by patents and the MPEG people say it is patent encumbered.

Until such time as the MPEG people can show proof that WebM/VP8 is in fact patent encumbered, I not inclined to believe them.

Re:What's the point? (1, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078336)

The thing is, it doesn't matter what you think. MPEG LA isn't going to sue you for using VP8.

It matters what the companies that want to use it think, and they think they're going to get sued, and have actually been threatened by MPEG LA. Therefore, for them, they don't want to take the risk of getting sued (in this economy, that may well be reasonable,) so even if VP8 doesn't infringe a single patent, it might as well infringe all of them.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078444)

A great deal more companies and people have been threatened by MPEG LA over their use of H.264 than WebM.

In fact, I haven't heard of a single case of use of WebM resulting in someone having to go to court. That is miles form the situation with H.264.

H.264 is "free" only for users. This is not the case for every other party involved in web video.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

"On August 26, 2010 MPEG LA announced that H.264 encoded internet video that is free to end users will never be charged for royalties. All other royalties will remain in place such as the royalties for products that decode and encode H.264 video. The license terms are updated in 5-year blocks."

"...isn't going to sue you for using VP8." (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078646)

Or at least ... not yet. Not until there's a billion users and the whole web depends on it.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078256)

This is /., so my pedantry is fairly mandatory, but what the fuck do you mean by mp4? MPEG4 video? The MP4 container?

What?

Re:What's the point? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078258)

H.264 isn't free. Never has been and never will be. It's only free to end users, not to the people that actually produce the software. Meaning that after you paying via the copy of the software you use, they're magnanimously choosing not to charge you again for the streaming.H.264/MPEG-4 AVC - Patent licensing [wikipedia.org]

Re:What's the point? (1)

the Hewster (734122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078304)

It will be when the patents expire. That is, unless patent duration goes the same way as copyright...

Re:What's the point? (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078370)

Can you believe we still have 7 years before the mp3 codec becomes royalty free? Still need to pay for the content though....

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078400)

One year, in fact. The MPEG-1 Audio Layer 2 and 3 algorithms were all published in 1991. Patents last at most 20 years, so the last ones will be expiring in 2011.

Also it should be noted (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078332)

That they didn't make the announcement on no royalties until AFTER WebM hit the scene. Before that, there weren't royalties, but it was a "grace period" thing that they could rethink the license terms every 5 years. They can still do that with regards to license costs for encoders and decoders.

That this happened after WebM came out is not a coincidence. They finally had some competition. The plan was likely to try and make AVC the one and only standard, then start charging more streaming royalties (there were streaming royalties when it first came out). However they realized if they kept that ambiguous, WebM might take over.

Also initially I think they figured they could brow beat Google in to playing along, because they are under the belief they have patents that cover all video compression. However you know Google did their homework both before they bought On2 and after they got the technology and before they released WebM. They checked, and Google is precisely the organization that is good at the data mining and searching needed to determine if any patents applied. They likely either found that none did, or that if any did they were subject to prior art, or that Google had patents that they could use against AVC.

Whatever the case, AVC is now free to stream forever, but not completely free. So now we have two choices and that isn't a bad thing. For commercial software/hardware, AVC is probably the better choice since it seems to be higher quality. You buy the license, life is good. For free software, WebM is the way to go as the license is explicit that you can do as you please, no royalties.

Re:Also it should be noted (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078374)

That they didn't make the announcement on no royalties until AFTER WebM hit the scene. Before that, there weren't royalties, but it was a "grace period" thing that they could rethink the license terms every 5 years. They can still do that with regards to license costs for encoders and decoders.

I'd like to add that watching H.264 content is free for end-users at the moment as long as they are using a licensed decoder. If you are using an unlicensed one though the company behind H.264 still retains their right to sue your pants off. If you live in a country which honors US software patents and the company could prove you're using for example VLC to decode H.264 streams they could legally sue you. Rather daunting.

Re:Also it should be noted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078464)

That's actually not true. There are no licensing fees for users of de- and encoders. There is only licenses for distribution of de- and encoders as well as broadcast paid distribution of content. If anything they could sue Videolan for the distribution.

Re:Also it should be noted (2, Insightful)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079020)

> free for end-users at the moment as long as they are using a licensed decoder

In other words, free as long as they have already paid for it, right? ;)

commercial H.264 license (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079236)

I'd like to add that watching H.264 content is free for end-users at the moment as long as they are using a licensed decoder.

If you purchased (say) Final Cut Studio from Apple to make a movie, television show, ad, or other "commercial" video, you have to buy—on top of what you paid for the software—a licence from the MPEG to legally make that video:

15. H.264/AVC Notice. To the extent that the Apple Software contains AVC encoding and/or decoding functionality, commercial use of H.264/AVC requires additional licensing and the following provision applies: THE AVC FUNCTIONALITY IN THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED HEREIN ONLY FOR THE PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF A CONSUMER TO (i) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE AVC STANDARD ("AVC VIDEO") AND/OR (ii) DECODE AVC VIDEO THAT WAS ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY AND/OR AVC VIDEO THAT WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE AVC VIDEO. INFORMATION REGARDING OTHER USES AND LICENSES MAY BE OBTAINED FROM MPEG LA L.L.C. SEE HTTP://WWW.MPEGLA.COM.

http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/finalcutstudio2.pdf

Ditto for iMovie in the iLife suite: http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/ilife09.pdf

So yes, if you're just making a movie of the kid for the grand-parents, you're fine. If you want to do anything more and make some cash, be prepared to fork over some cash.

To the OP: How is that "free"?

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078268)

both mp4 and mkv is only containers, it doesn't have any content. Newsflash WebM uses mkv containers. Sure they don't use that suffix, but its only a name.

Re:What's the point? (2, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078276)

Because MKV and MP4 are containers, whereas VP8 is a codec... I'm more than half convinced that you're just trolling.

Re:What's the point? (2, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078286)

MKV and mp4 are containers, not CODECs (and neither are they encoders or decoders).

Re:What's the point? (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078604)

Do we REALLY have to do this every single time someone talks about codecs? When was the last time you saw a RM file in an MP4 "container"? Or how about an ASF in a MKV? lets be honest guys, this is that same kind of pedantic bullshit we get with "Linux is a kernel" when someone talks about Linux as a platform. Newflash: Sure you CAN put different things in, but NOBODY actually does, at least not enough to even make a micro blip on the radar. when we are talking about the 99.9995% of MP4 files out there we are talking DivX and its derivatives, just as when we are talking MKV 99.9995% of the time we are talking H.264 with AAC. If WebM actually gains any traction at all we might be seeing WebM with AAC, but so far I haven't seen folks tripping over themselves to switch, anymore than I saw MP3 player manufacturers jump to switch to Vorbis even though it isn't patented and MP3 is.

So can't we just accept MP4 is DivX style video, MKV is H.264, and Linux is a platform for purposes of discussion and be done with it? does anyone actually think a dozen "X is a container" posts help or drive the discussion forward in ANY way? And frankly it really doesn't matter what we in the USA have to jump through with regards to patents, because all the stuff that uses them is made in China now and they don't play our little reindeer games. That is why Chinagrabber is full of MP3/MP4 players and set top boxes that play MKV. Does anybody here HONESTLY think that if you put an ASF or RM into any of those above MP4 and MKV players they will actually play? The public don't care if it is a "container" or not, they just want the video to play. If it says Mp4 on the box it plays DivX or the various DivX knockoffs like Xvid, and if it says MKV it plays H.264 and AAC. Is that really so hard to accept?

Re:What's the point? (2, Informative)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078714)

Well, MKV has been around for a while, and having an Xvid file within MKV was very common before being used to encapsulate h264. I really don't care what the public think when the discussion becomes technical. Being accurate never hurts, and if you want to look dumb when trying to have a tech conversation about digital video that's your problem...

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078810)

"Linux is a kernel" when someone talks about Linux as a platform. Newflash: Sure you CAN put different things in, but NOBODY actually does, at least not enough to even make a micro blip on the radar.

So Android (no GNU there) is a micro blip on the radar? Where do you get your data, so I can avoid it?

when we are talking about the 99.9995% of MP4 files out there we are talking DivX and its derivatives

Youtube isn't exactly "small" and uses MP4 with H.264, so no.

And frankly it really doesn't matter what we in the USA have to jump through with regards to patents, because all the stuff that uses them is made in China now and they don't play our little reindeer games.

Anyone who wants to sell a decent device in the US as opposed to $5 player needs to pay royalties to the MPEG-LA, regardless of where it was built.

Re:What's the point? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079172)

When was the last time you saw a RM file in an MP4 "container"? Or how about an ASF in a MKV?

No one has ever seen any of that since RM, MP4, ASF and MKV are all containers.

. when we are talking about the 99.9995% of MP4 files out there we are talking DivX and its derivatives, just as when we are talking MKV 99.9995% of the time we are talking H.264 with AAC.

When people say DivX they generally mean a file using the avi (or divx) container containing ASP video and MP3 audio. Nobody with any clue conflates DivX and MP4. MP4s generally contain AVC video and AAC audio. DivX doesn't use either of those. DivXHD uses them, but they use the MKV container and it's use isn't widespread.
Going to MKVs I suspect the majority of them use AC3 for audio. AAC is probably the second most popular audio choice followed by DTS.

If WebM actually gains any traction at all we might be seeing WebM with AAC

This is unlikely. The only codecs the WebM container supports are VP8 and Vorbis. Since it is based on MKV it can be easily extended to support other formats, but I don't see Google doing this.

As a further note Xvid isn't a DivX knockoff. Both are implementations of the MPEG4 ASP standard. Both were derived from the same opensource codebase. Xvid was widely considered to be the superior implementation while it was still in development.

Conflating containers with formats only creates ambiguity and therefore problems. There are plenty of players that support AVC and AAC. There are more players that support those two formats in a MP4 container than in a MKV container. This is a minor hassle since switching containers is easy. If you think that because it says MP4 on the box it will play DivX style video than you can easily get yourself into trouble. Such a player might play a DivX (ASP/MP3/AVI) or DivXHD(AVC/AAC/MKV) file, but there is no guarantee it will.

Re:What's the point? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078294)

Fucking retard.

Re:What's the point? (1)

imroy (755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078296)

Firstly, perhaps you should learn the difference between codecs (SP, ASP, AVC/h.264, VP8, etc) and container formats. You can put MPEG-1 content into an MP4 or MKV file but it doesn't change what's actually played. Secondly, WebM uses the Matroska container format.

Re:What's the point? (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078328)

SP and ASP aka mpeg4 part 2. AVC/h.264 aka mpeg-4 part 10. SP and ASP are not different codecs. They are different profiles of the same codec. If a decoder supports ASP then it probably will support SP.

Re:What's the point? (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078520)

They are different codecs, just like Word 97 and Word 2007 are different file formats. They're related and often interoperable, but they're quite distinct and it's not unreasonable to address them as individual formats no matter their common naming or heritage.

Re:What's the point? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078416)

Because mp4 over the web is only free for recipients.

Because mp4 isn't a web standard ... web standards are required to be royalty free for everyone.

Because users of Firefox, Opera, IE9, Chrome, Chromium, Konqueror, rekonq, midori, Arora and others will be able to play your WebM video, when they wouldn't if you had used H.264.

Because users of low-powered web devices such as tablets and phones will be able to play your video (even up to 1080p full HD resolution), when many such users wouldn't be able to if you had used mp4.

Because, basically, if you use WebM it will be available and free to use (even for you), but if you use H.264 it will cost more in performance, it will cost money to provide the video, and a good percentage of the potential audience will not be able to play it.

Re:What's the point? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078824)

IE9, Chrome (...) will be able to play your WebM video, when they wouldn't if you had used H.264.

Wait, what? Chrome will support both, IE only H.264.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079178)

IE9, Chrome (...) will be able to play your WebM video, when they wouldn't if you had used H.264.

Wait, what? Chrome will support both, IE only H.264.

IE 9 will support WebM, but needs 3rd party decoder to do it. H.264 will be supported out of box.

Teh Google FUCKIN OWNS YOU BOY !!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078288)

You are owned by Teh Google.

Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (5, Insightful)

dcposch (1438157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078438)

Google follows a really interesting pattern. As far as I can tell, all their software is reactive, rather than proactive.

It is the result of saying "Everyone's using X, but it sucks. We can do it better." They then take a very methodical, PhD-oriented approach to solving the problem. A few parts innovation, many parts simple engineering.

  • It started with just Larry and Sergey, working on their PhDs, using AltaVista and realizing that there was a capital-B Better Way.
  • Then, Gmail was a response to the festering bag of fail that was Hotmail. I distinctly remember the moment when I got my account, back at the very beginning when each one had two invites. I had been in middle of my annoying daily routine, cleaning my Hotmail inbox to get it under 2MB. Gmail had a gigabyte of storage and Google search. My 14-year-old mind was blown.
  • Google News was a response to all those spammy, human-curated news portals like Yahoo and MSN.
  • Google Maps was a response to MapQuest.
  • Chrome was a response to IE and FF just not being fast or stable enough.
  • Now, VP8 is a response to patent-encumbered codecs and shitty Flash.

Now they have 10000 employees, but the basic formula hasn't changed. Is there software that Google has made that hasn't been a direct response to an existing product?

That said, I think there's definitely a case to be made that Google is the software industry's first adult. Software's awkward adolescent foibles are on their way out. No more 90s, no millions and millions of VC dollars being spent on Pets.com, no more Netscape and Microsoft working furiously on really terrible codebases adding incompatible nonstandard crap to the internet. No more Myspace, no more Geocities. No more paperclips bouncing around asking me if I'm writing a letter; I'm using Google Docs now.

Google approaches software the way a civil engineering firm would approach a skyscraper: they are actual engineers. They collaborate with academia. They write papers. They sit on the W3C and help create standards. They have architects, PMs, devs, testers, and even lawyers to support their projects.

In a way, this is a sad thing. It was a magical time, when a university student in Finland could just sit down, write a simple OS for x86, and watch half the internet run on it a few years later. When a kid from Texas could create a whole new genre of games in a few thousand lines of C. Sometimes I worry that I was born a couple years too late.

Halfway through my CS degree, I hope that the era of cowboy coders isn't entirely done. It would be a terrible shame if CS became just another engineering specialization. At the same time, Google's professionalism is a breath of fresh air.

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078570)

There ARE still cowboy coders. Check out Minecraft. One guy writes a little Java game and sells 800K copies for 10 euros a pop. And still growing.

Except for Google instant search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078612)

Google instant sucks and serves no useful purpose.
Google jumped the shark with this annoying feature that is enabled by default.

You may have noticed, that the auto completion censors 'sucks', and other words.

For that, I say:

'google instant annoying'

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078626)

Is there software that Google has made that hasn't been a direct response to an existing product?

How about anyone else? Is there anything Microsoft has made that isn't a response to an existing product? Anything Apple has? OS, music player, phone, word processor?

Even leving the big players and looking at something revolutionary in its time, Visicalc was a reaction to word processors not being good enough for financial analysis. Word processors were a reaction to text editors. html was a response to ftp.

Did Einstein come up with any theories that weren't responses to other theories that weren't good enough?

I suppose the word "direct" in your post is intended to make all the difference but I don't really see it. Was Gmail really any more "direct" a response to hotmail than it was to the problem of email in general? What could they do that couldn't be characterised as a direct response to something else?

Relax (1)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078638)

I hope that the era of cowboy coders isn't entirely done

Judging from the world *outside* Google, it's cowboys all the way down.

Or, you've already made a start on the path to working *inside* Google, with your degree. Good luck!

Re:Relax (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078726)

Given Google's customer support I'd say they're not entirely professional. I think customer support should be the most important thing especially when asking people to try your new way of doing things. Leaving people virtually the only option of asking for help on message boards is pretty awful and their documentation appears to not get updated that much even when it starts becoming out of date.

Google has good coders who write awesome software with exceptional APIs and they have excellent ideas (yes, even Wave, imo) but they need to sort out their support.

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078644)

Is there software that Google has made that hasn't been a direct response to an existing product?

Well... sometimes it's easier to just buy existing products rather than "respond" to the market yourself.

Google Earth was bought from Keyhole and rebranded.

Youtube was bought and the brandname was kept.

Doubleclick was bought and the brandname was locked in a cupboard, and the key thrown away, the cubpoard was put in a seachest, the chest was put on a container ship and the ship towed out and scuttled on the high seas :)

AFAIK, Microsoft's Outlook mail and calendaring client was also a rebranded acquisition.

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078658)

If you had any experience you'd know that almost all human advances deal with the improvement of something existing. You rarely create something entirely new, and almost never invent entirely new concepts. The entirely new things and concepts are born in time after you've improved what you already have enough and you realize that it can be used in a way that you never before imagined. So what you said is mostly bullshit.

Google have helped to improve the WWW a lot, of course they've done it by improving over someone else's work. They have had their share of innovations and attempts at innovation, but they have either failed or are invisible somewhere underneath their services. See, you can't just say "let's innovate!" and design something entirely new. If you do, it's most likely to be a failure. Almost everything that can be thought of has been thought of. At least of the things we're currently capable of.

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (1)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078766)

Google has indeed shown us that reinventing the wheel can be innovation, if done properly. As someone who is only occasionally uncomfortable with their handling of privacy, it is for now a small price to pay - Especially when their innovations are not tied to advertising, such as this.

Google doesnt "reinvent" the wheel (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078870)

Google Search was not simply a re-invention of AltaVista. It is a vast improvement.

GMail was not simply a re-invention of Hotmail. It was a vast improvement.

etc etc. The term "re-invent the wheel" implies you are doing something identical via a new method. That is not what Google does. They make bigger, better wheels.

Google was inevitable (1)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078906)

If you think about how the 'incumbents' in the software industry work - their business models are not about technology or product quality, but about first capturing a monopoly (by any means available), then trying to hang on to it for as long as possible (by any means available).

Like a skyscraper shadowing a garden, this has the effect of making it almost impossible for small players to sprout or survive very long. The resources - sunlight, nutrition in the metaphor - just aren't enough.

However if an upstart can somehow beat that, growing sufficiently large while not being crushed, then they can occupy a viable niche, having resources to fight off the attacks of the other larger players (which include, as somebody commented above, doing due diligence upfront and being able to afford legal defences).

I agree that the jury is still out on whether this is long-run good for the end user. Will Google become just another complacent, evil monopolist?

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078890)

Funny but you have described IBM and DEC as well. Back when minis and mainframes ruled the earth that is how software was written for the most part. And no the wild west has just moved to the mobile space.
But I find your comments funny about no more Myspace or geocites. Myspace came after Google's social network Orkut ay nd Geocities was replaced in large part by Blogger.
And instead of Pets.com we have Twitter and FourSquare. FourSquare btw seems to have figured out how to make money which is good because I do like it so some things don't change. Don't get hung up on the past. Today you have access to things that in the early day of the internet people dreamed of. Cheap powerful servers, cheap powerful databases, cheap hosting, and many many millions of users that have high speed internet.
I am waiting to see the first internet video network to take off. Not YouTube but one where they produce sitcoms and dramas and stream them straight to the internet.
I do not think it will be any of the big networks but somebody will do it.

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079046)

Google's money is coming in from ads, that's their core business. Provided that income stream keeps going, their other focus is to reduce the income of their competitors (eg Microsoft) by turning everything they do into a commodity. Webmail, Office Suite, Maps, Browsers, Codecs, Instant Messaging... These are all products that someone else was profiting from.

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079274)

no more Geocities

This is actually a bad thing. GeoCities gave you a place to put your content and have complete control over it. No dumb blog software to get in your way. It was your creative outlet.

Re:Googlewin? My attempt at a nuanced opinion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079520)

Agree, but same can be said of all companies. Even Apple. iphone==better smartphone. ipad==better tablet. ipod==better portable music player. Good artists copy. Great artists steal. Not sure about your point though, but I do agree.

Better than ffvp8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078490)

If it is, wow. If it isn't, what's the point?

Hands on OMAP4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078554)

The OMAP4 platform looks really interesting. A couple of day ago a system on a chip, based on OMAP4 became available on pandaboard.org. It can be seen as the successor of the (OMAP3 based) beagle board. The pandaboard has a dual core ARM proc, 1 GB ram, WiFi and Ethernet. I ordered one and planning to use it as a media thing and multi purpose server (web, file, dns, ...) .

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with pandaboard in any way, just want want to let you know these things are available.

 

TI Supports Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078614)

At one point in the video he says "TI has long been a supporter of the open source community".

Just append ", unless of course you are hacking our devices".

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