August 03, 2012

Google Backs its Open Codecs, VP8, as the Standard HTML5 Video Format

Two years after Google (News Alert) purchased and open sourced On2’s VP8 codec, Google engineers have volunteered the VP8 codec for the WebRTC project that could see a real-time communications protocol for the Web emerge.

 According to Google’s tech lead for WebRTC, Justin Uberti, the efforts of this emerging standards project “represents an unprecedented opportunity to establish a new real-time communications platform.” He said that the “sole mandatory-to-implement video codec in WebRTC should be VP8, the only viable royalty-free option,”

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) started authoring a pending HTML5 standard back in 2011 together with an accompanying open source framework that would be used to run real-time communications across the Internet. The W3C (NewsAlert) and the IETF has also been collaborating on the effort. Google on the other hand believes that an open royalty-free platform it offers has no compromises on quality and therefore sees no reason to include mandatory royalty-free codecs. The mobile equipment provider, Ericsson (News Alert), however voted in favor of the H.264 codec as one of the mandatory codecs. H.264 is often packaged in the MPEG-4 container and is used by Apple, Microsoft, Intel and Texas Instruments among others. The use of H.264 will, however, require developer licensing which Google and Mozilla (NewsAlert) among others have rallied against.

The split over which video codecs should be included in the HTML5 standard is part of the Web community larger split that has seen the VP8 gotten support from Mozilla and Opera. It is likely that the Web many never settle on a single codec. The wide variety of image formats such as JPEG, GIF and PNG supported by the Web will likely see multiple video formats having similar support. Website developers will simply need to add additional lines of code to deliver the correct format based on the browser. This is the likely the solution that will play HTML5 on every browser.

Want to learn more about HTML5? Then be sure to attend HTML5 Summit- a DEVCON5 Event, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. HTML5 has the potential to revolutionize user interfaces, challenge the status quo and change the future of both desktop and mobile web experiences. Join fellow web developers, designers, and architects, as well as technology leaders and business strategists who will gather in Austin to learn strategies and tactics to implement and execute HTML5. For more information on registering for the HTML5 Summit click here.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman


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