WebM codec 'outperforms' H.264

August 25, 2010 // 10:16 a.m.

Tags: #codec #flash #h264 #html-5 #html5 #streaming-video #video #video-compression #vp8 #webm

Videoconferencing specialist VideoPort has conducted some tests which should give Google's WebM video codec a shot in the arm - demonstrating, as they do, that in certain scenarios the open source codec can outperform the proprietary H.264 codec.

According to the company's tests, the WebM codec - previously known as VP8 when it was being developed by On2 Technologies before the company was bought by Google and the codec renamed and then released under an open source licence - surpassed the performance of the popular H.264 video compression codec in high bit-rate scenarios on their video conferencing platform.

The tests - which will now see the company integrate the WebM codec into its products, alongside VideoPort's own proprietary codec Cyclone which still has the edge in low-bandwidth or low-resolution scenarios - validate Google's decision to standardise on the WebM codec, and show that a future free from proprietary video compression codecs isn't completely impossible.

The news will likely come as an unwelcome surprise to Apple, which has been championing the use of H.264 video streaming through HTML 5 as an alternative to Adobe's Flash - ostensibly in order to get away from the fact that "Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary."

With increasing numbers of web browsers choosing to implement WebM for in-browser video playback via the HTML 5 'video' tag - and the possibility of hardware acceleration - the future of expensive licensed codecs such as H.264 and Adobe's Flash technology looks pretty uncertain.

Are you pleased to see that WebM appears to be a worthy competitor to H.264, or does its open source nature mean that it would always be your codec of choice even if it failed to outperform its proprietary rivals? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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