Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th May 2010 11:40 UTC
Intel One name was conspicuously absent from the list of companies backing Google's WebM project and the VP8 codec. Despite other chip makers and designers being on the list, like AMD, NVIDIA, ARM, and Qualcomm, Intel didn't make an appearance. Yesterday, the company made its first careful commitment to the WebM project.
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Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

I haven't seen anyone here pushing H.264 for political reasons.

The question I asked is if the "MPEG-LA and the industry backs it, hence it has to be great" unconscious thought does have a strong influence.

If MPEG-LA backed VP8, and if H.264 lovers took exactly the same Park Joy frame and told "look, the grass is blurry", I think that VP8 backers would say "No, you're just wrong, videos can't be compared based on still frames, it's images in motion. You won't ever see the blurry grass in the moving picture. Video algorithms are made to optimize the look of the video, not of the still frames which composes it". And then H.264 backers would argue "Dammit you're bought by the MPEG-LA, come on, still frames are the absolute reference in terms of video quality".

Don't you think so ?

If anything the debate here has been Theora advocates vs people who want whichever codec has the best quality.

The whole video quality discussion is a joke launched by H.264 backers like x264 devs in order to hide the real issue. If quality really mattered on the web, Youtube (which use H.264 by the way) wouldn't be #1 video site on the web.

It's all about the politics of media industry, really. It's royalty-free vs widely distributed. Getting things done right vs getting things done fast.

No one here has a vested interest in H.264. Of course the ideal would be a completely unrestricted codec that provides the best quality but such a codec doesn't exist.

My opinion is that the W3C should specify two codecs, H.264 and VP8. There should be a codec built into browsers that can be used for commercial purposes without the permission of MPEG-LA.

They cannot. It's written in the web standard definition by the W3C itself that a web standard has to be royalty-free. This has been made so in order to avoid enduring the Unisys incident again in the future. So either the MPEG-LA makes the definitive statement that H.264 is royalty-free, which is not going to happen because those rats want to make money on what looks to them like a juicy media, or the H.264 will remain a non-standard way to display video on the web, like the Flash player which introduced it in the first place.

Edited 2010-05-29 07:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Preston5 Member since:
2010-03-19

The whole video quality discussion is a joke launched by H.264 backers like x264 devs in order to hide the real issue. If quality really mattered on the web, Youtube (which use H.264 by the way) wouldn't be #1 video site on the web.


The quality issue came about when YouTube refused to use Theora because of its quality/bandwidth usage. Adamant Theora supporters believed that the average user would not have noticed that Youtube's video quality had tanked or that the videos took longer to buffer. If Theora was a credible alternative, more sites would be using it. However, it is not, which explains why over 60% of the web's video is in H.264, and Theora has 4%. If Theora was supported by Flash (as H.264 is, and VP8 will be?), I believe it would have had a higher penetration.

It is good to see that VP8 appears to be a credible alternative to H.264. Companies can freeload on H.264 for the next 5 years, while deciding when/if to migrate to VP8. It might even mirror instances where companies would pretend to be eyeing Linux in an attempt to get a better deal from Microsoft ;) .

Who knows ... maybe there will be an H.265 by then, or devices get powerful enough to start using H.264 Mainline/High profiles, and we all will be having this spat all over again :-s.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

The quality issue came about when YouTube refused to use Theora because of its quality/bandwidth usage. Adamant Theora supporters believed that the average user would not have noticed that Youtube's video quality had tanked or that the videos took longer to buffer.

I'd gladly mod you up as informative if I could. I forgot about that episode, having x264dev's post about how high tech and incredible H.264 is and how crappy Theora is as the most distant thing in my memory on the subject.

If Theora was a credible alternative, more sites would be using it.

This does not take into account things like video conversion costs. MPEG-4 is around since the DVD days I think, whereas Theora is much younger. Most of the established video playing infrastructure on the web is based on H.264, and changing it would prove to be quite difficult, unless a big company like Google pushes change forward.

Then there's the visibility problem : honestly, who knew about Theora before trying multimedia on linux ?

These two problems are adressed by VP8, not because of its quality but because of the big company backing it. If google provides money, security through proper support, mature encoding software, FUD against the MPEG-LA, and cheaper licensing, chances are that VP8 will make it as the codec for the web.

Again, it's got nothing to do with quality, except when it's very bad (which Google argued about Theora. Don't know if it's true), it's about which company or organism is stronger ;) If Apple ruled the W3C, the whole video codec issue would never have occurred because the royalty free requirement would have been silently removed in some way ^^

(Actually, it's quite worrying to rely on companies owned and directed by a single man for everything, when you think of it)

Edited 2010-05-29 13:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1