Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Google Releases Free WebM Video Codec as Alternative to H.264

Google released WebM, a high-quality video + audio codec, under a BSD-style, 100% royalty-free license. WebM is positioned as a new media format for the open web and as an alternative to H.264.

The WebM uses the VP8 video codec and is capable of adapting to the varying processing and bandwidth conditions of the Web. It also uses the Vorbis audio codec. The WebM file structure is based on the Matroska container. The developers said the relative simplicity of the codec will make it easy to integrate into video projects.

Aside from Google and its Chrome browser, other backers include Adobe, Mozilla (Firefox), Opera, ARM, Brightcove, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Skype, Sorenson, and Texas Instruments, amongst others.

  • The VP8 video compression technology was developed by On2 Technologies, which Google acquired in February 2010 for approximately $106.5 million. On2's video compression codecs are used in a range of desktop and mobile applications and devices. On2 customers include Adobe, Skype, Nokia, Infineon, Sun Microsystems, Mediatek, Sony, Brightcove, and Move Networks. The company is based in Clifton Park, New York.