WebM VP9 video codec is almost complete, on its way to YouTube in near future

by: Andrew GrushMay 14, 2013


The future of online video compression technology is almost here. The Google-sponsored WebM Project has now announced it is putting the finishing touches on its upcoming VP9 video codec, with plans to finish defining it by June 17. After that date, Google will not only start pushing out the technology to the Chrome browser, but also intends to utilize it on YouTube.

So what exactly is WebM? Right now, WebM technology utilizes the VP8 codec and is Google’s royalty-free alternative to the dominant web video codec, H.264.

Of course, technology doesn’t stand still for long. In January, the H.265 standard arrived, bringing with it the ability to essentially cut a DVD-quality video down from a 700MB file size to as little as 350MB. With VP9, Google is hoping to bring a similar performance boost to its WebM technology.

So why does this matter to you? In short, it makes watching all those cuddly kitten videos all the more efficient.

This is especially important for those of us with slower mobile connections, such as 3G. It can also be important for countries where “high-speed Internet” isn’t exactly all that speedy. For those with faster connections, the technology can also open the door to higher resolution support down the road.

A royalty-free video compression tech with similar efficiency to H.265 sounds great, right? There’s just one potential problem, Nokia.

The Nokia Factor

Back in March, MPEG LA agreed to give Google a license on patents that are essential to VP8, and potentially to VP9 as well. In total, 11 parties signed the deal, out of the original 12 involved. Who didn’t sign? Nokia.

Since then, Nokia has come forward and said that they hold 64 patents and 22 pending patents that could pertain to VP8. They have also made it clear they aren’t interested in committing to a royalty-free or fair licensing agreement. This means that any one who intends to use VP8 or VP9 might have to face a lawsuit from Nokia in the future. This could be certainly be enough to hinder WebM’s adoption going forward.

What do you think of VP8 and VP9, how do you feel it compares to Advanced Video Coding (H.264) and High Efficiency Video Coding (H.265)?

  • Sudeepto Dutta

    I can’t blame Nokia for this ..NO..

    For a company with next to nothing up their sleeves to offer , they are bound to act

    like a child don’t you think…??

    Anything that benefits Google ,Nokia will say , “Scroogled !!”

    • MasterMuffin


  • Ruzveh

    Not surprising.. We already know that Nokia has been the pain in the aess coz if they can do good then let not others do the good..

  • matt_helm

    The reason H264 made such a big hit, was licensing was done correctly. (single source, simple rates, free playback for a few years) As far as I know, there is no such setup for H.265 so far, and at least a few companies have said “no deal”. Haven’t heard of any change on this in a LONG while.

  • QwietStorm

    Well such a move would keep Nokia relevant, so it’s no surprise.

  • Microsoftjunkie

    How is anyone blaming Nokia. If anything it should be Google to blame. Google always think their tech and software is better. What’s the problem going with Nokias alternative, they came out with it first and if its true that Nokia owns some of those patents or what not, then they have every right to try and hinder anyone from using it.

    Microsoft is doing it to android and Nokia should do ot to anybody who threatens their ip. Apple does it, the only problem is that Google wants to reinvent everything so that companies havr to come to them. Google barely has any patents to draw money out of anyone, that’s ehy they lose dam near every case.

  • franz

    I’m so confused with many video format today.
    can someone explain advantage/disadvantage between VP9, VP8, H265 ?
    compression, h/w requirement, cost, etc..

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      VP8 = shit, slow, inefficient, moderate hardware support, nobody actually uses it (for good reason)
      VP9 = probably shit, slow, inefficient, no hardware support yet
      h264 = very good, reasonable speed, universal hardware support
      h265 (aka “HEVC”) = ridiculously good, slow, no hardware support yet

      On2, the developer of VP8/VP9 has a long history of producing shit and calling it gold.

  • tuqueque

    I was (WAS) a big fan of Nokia… Until this crap!… I cannot stand this attitude from these guys. Google is doing an awesome and very positive job for the Internet with WebM and WebP… But stupid patent wars keep adding FUD to a smooth implementation of Open Source initiatives.

  • pagaopi

    tinyurl.com/d2tf87t hdds

  • tademao


  • tademao


  • perfectlyreasonabletoo

    VP8 and VP9 will probably never be relevant. VP8 was never any good, VP9 doesn’t look to be much of an improvement.