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Tom Laughlin
WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 20, 2010 at 2:41:33 pm

Fellow Creative Cow Users

A friend of mine emailed me an article about this hyped WebM codec that I wanted to see if you knew any information about this new codec. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, good or bad, or theoretical.

Here is the article:

http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/19/webm-google-h-264/



Google, Mozilla, And Opera Take On H.264 With The WebM Project, A New Royalty-Free Video Codec

by Erick Schonfeld on May 19, 2010


Just when the H.264 video codec is starting to take over a large portion of new Web videos, along comes Google to shake things up again. Today, along with Mozilla and Opera, it is launching the WebM Project, an open, royalty-free codec that can run in HTML5 browsers without the need for Flash.

Up till now, the battle between Flash and HTML5 video has centered around the H.264 codec, which is gaining broad adoption. Apple supports H.264 in all of its devices such as iPads and iPhones, and it is one of the technical reasons Steve Jobs cites for why there is less and less need to support Flash. H.264 is a modern codec, fast and light. It’s great except for one thing. It is owned by the MPEG-LA consortium, which doesn’t charge royalties for its use today, but currently plans to start enforcing royalties in 2015. The royalty threat is the reason Mozilla supports an older open codex called Ogg Theora in Firefox instead of H.264.

But Google is donating a much better codec, called VP8, which it acquired with its purchase of On2 Techchnolgies. The WebM Project is a new container file format for Web video. It includes the VP8 video codec, the open Vorbis audio codec, file extensions and a new mime type. Any video player can adopt it, including Flash. And, in fact, Flash is one of the 40 launch technology partners supporting WebM.

Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers will all support WebM, and Google will give it a big push by making YouTube videos support it as well. Will Safari and IE join as well? Apple is pushing H.264 pretty hard, but there is no reason it couldn’t support WebM as well in the future. If it doesn’t, we might have a Web video standards war on our hands.

Other launch partners include Skype, Nvidia, Qualcomm, AMD, ARM, Brightcove, Encoding.com, Kaltura, and HD Cloud.






Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel


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Daniel Low
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 20, 2010 at 5:42:58 pm

I wondered how long it would be before there'd be a post asking about this overly hyped 'new' 'format'.

I think this article sums it all up perfectly.

http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/?p=377

If you can't be bothered to read it all, skip to the summary's at the bottom of page.



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Daniel Low
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 20, 2010 at 6:25:27 pm

It gets better:

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-apple-webm-vp8-h264-2010-5



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Craig Seeman
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 20, 2010 at 7:43:48 pm

There are so many facets to this battle. I do with VP8 would just "go away" though.

It's in part Microsoft vs Mozilla.
IE9 went with H.264 because Mozilla was supporting Theora. IE was loosing market share to FireFox and IE would have gained back share over time and driven people to Bing and the resultant ad revenue.

There's also Apple vs Google (and Android) and ad revenue related to that. Google may position Android to handle HTML5 VP8 advertising (AdMob) while Apple iPhone uses HTML5 H.264 (iAd or whatever they're calling their ad services).

So Google placates Mozilla with VP8 so they don't hang with loser Theora this putting Apple and Microsoft into position of a major codec war which will likely impact search engine and smart phone ad revenue.

As a compressionist H.264 was a safe thing to use because it worked in Flash, HTML5, Silverlight, iDevices so the client might have to consider multiple web pages (because FireFox won't handle HTML5 H.264 as one issue) but at least they could minimize the number of encoded files.

Both Squeeze and Episode will be supporting VP8. Adobe Flash will too.
Google YouTube may implement VP8 on both Flash and HTML5 further forcing the issue.

It's either going to become a world war of codecs or somebody is going to concede (not likely) between H.264 and VP8. Maybe MPEG-LA will swiftly come to a "we wont charge" state (for web use at least) or there's going to be a mega lawsuit against VP8 patents (and that lawsuit would happen soon).



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Daniel Low
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 20, 2010 at 8:44:33 pm

Spot on Craig, as usual.

You really have to wonder why anyone would introduce a codec which is:

Lower quality than we are currently used to.
Slower to decode than we are currently use to
Currently unsupported
Not proven
Not ready for 'prime time'
Full of patent pitfalls (Too much is copied from H.264 - Microsoft and Apple and the rest will have a field day!)
Currently 'unnecessary'
Yet another format and wrapper (MKV)



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Tom Laughlin
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 21, 2010 at 2:05:41 am

Guys, this stuff here you've all posted is pure awesomeness!

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel


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Chris Blair
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 21, 2010 at 8:16:48 pm

I hate to be the dissenter in the group, but in the business world, just because something is technically better, it doesn't always become the market winner.

Considering they have Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers plus Google & YouTube all behind them, along with launch partners like Skype, Nvidia, Qualcomm, AMD, ARM, Brightcove, Encoding.com, Kaltura, and HD Cloud, I'd have to say they have some considerable clout in their camp.

Another dubious point the original article makes is that "H.264 is a modern codec, fast and light..." There are a lot of tests out there that show the "fast and light" claim depends very much on the computer hardware and the OS. Jan Ozer has done at least two pretty extension tests on this claim over the years.

For me, the whole issue isn't much different than 3 or 4 years ago when H264 first started gaining traction, or 4 or 5 years ago when Flash video first started being used for video delivery. Nobody knew much about them and in the case of flash codecs, they were initially terrible. They've improved tremendously since then.

In the end, consumers don't really care that much about the quality difference between H264 and On2VP6. They didn't care 2 years ago when YouTube video quality was jaw droppingly awful. They also don't care about which standard is adopted, they just want their videos to play in their browsers and on their mobile devices and on their pad based computers.

As a wise old business friend of mine has told me over the years, the vast majority of consumers want "good enough." And while that's certainly not a particularly inspiring lesson to preach to a business owner or innovator, more often than not, "good enough" wins out over "great" when it comes to market share.


Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Daniel Low
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 21, 2010 at 11:04:53 pm

Always, Chris, always....

[Chris Blair] "Considering they have Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers plus Google & YouTube all behind them, along with launch partners like Skype, Nvidia, Qualcomm, AMD, ARM, Brightcove, Encoding.com, Kaltura, and HD Cloud, I'd have to say they have some considerable clout in their camp.
"


Considerable but missing the two biggest market leaders and influencers: Apple and Microsoft. After all, the reason Google has done this is because of Apple!

In the end, I'm not sure what your point is Chris, I can't tell whether you are behind the new format or not.

Ultimately people want high quality products that work with the minimum of fuss without chewing up batteries or bandwidth. As such, in this instance, WebM is not the answer. HTML5 with H.264 is.

[Chris Blair] "As a wise old business friend of mine has told me over the years, the vast majority of consumers want "good enough." And while that's certainly not a particularly inspiring lesson to preach to a business owner or innovator, more often than not, "good enough" wins out over "great" when it comes to market share. "

What do you think the technological landscape would be like if Steve Jobs took your wise old friends attitude?

There'd be no GUI
No mouse
No Pixar
No iPod
No iPhone
No iPad.
From Apple being worth nothing a decade ago to now being with 4 x more than Dell and selling more phones than Motorola.

All of the above excel. None of the above were just 'good enough'.

Your old friend is a total loser (and so are you) if he thinks that 'Good enough' wins over 'great'.

All that said, I don't see what your point is apart from trolling.

VP8 is a step back from H.264.

The real point here is about HTML5 vs Flash and which can offer a better experience on a broader range of devices.

Not just throwing in the towel and saying I can't be bothered anymore 'cause that's good enough!

But considering where you are in the world, nothing you say surprises me in the slightest!


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Chris Blair
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 22, 2010 at 12:58:07 am

Daniel Low: In the end, I'm not sure what your point is Chris, I can't tell whether you are behind the new format or not.

I don't really have an opinion and don't feel a need to be "behind" any particular format.

Daniel Low: Ultimately people want high quality products that work with the minimum of fuss without chewing up batteries or bandwidth.

The vast majority of people want products that work at affordable prices. Most people would love to buy a BMW, but most cannot. Many people would love to buy a Mac or an iPad or even an iPhone, but they can only afford less expensive alternatives.

Daniel Low: Your old friend is a total loser (and so are you) if he thinks that 'Good enough' wins over 'great'. All that said, I don't see what your point is apart from trolling.

Market share in virtually every industry says otherwise, especially as the price of the item goes up. The best selling cars are most often the ones offering the best value.

Also, you don't know my friend (he's a multi-millionaire with a legion of successful companies he's built, bought and revived, and bought and sold) so I don't think you're in a position to judge him. Second, I've won Emmy awards, have owned and operated my own company for 14 years and have scores of loyal clients...so you have no business judging me.

Daniel Low: The real point here is about HTML5 vs Flash and which can offer a better experience on a broader range of devices.

WebM supports HTML5.


Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Daniel Low
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 22, 2010 at 8:09:58 am

[Chris Blair] "I don't really have an opinion"

You could have fooled me!

[Chris Blair] "Also, you don't know my friend (he's a multi-millionaire with a legion of successful companies he's built, bought and revived, and bought and sold) so I don't think you're in a position to judge him. Second, I've won Emmy awards, have owned and operated my own company for 14 years and have scores of loyal clients...so you have no business judging me. "

I wasn't judging you, I used the word 'if'. ("Your old friend is a total loser (and so are you) if he thinks that 'Good enough' wins over 'great'".)

I still don't get your point. By what you've written, you are stating that you have won Emmys and have a successful business by being 'just good enough'.


[Chris Blair] "WebM supports HTML5. "

Wrong. That's like saying that H.264 supports Flash. What you should have said is HTML5 supports WebM. - If you'd done your homework you'd know that WebM is a container format. Like AVI or MXF.



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Daniel Low
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 21, 2010 at 11:48:21 pm

"Now that Google has been booted from the Apple boardroom - it's funny that their only playbook is MS. How MANY businesses are Google in that make NO money? Chrome? Android? Google TV? YouTube? Google music "store," Google's closed "video" store ... Google like MS is a one trick pony and the tactics that took down MS (free everything) simply do NOT work with Apple because unlike MS users who tolerated the products and were anxious to switch to ANY competitor that was slightly better, Apple is no MS or yahoo. The Google photo of 10 pasty (er, white guys) old dudes sitting on stage was so MS and so sadly hilarious. I think it's safe to say for Google it's all downhill from here. While ALL of Google's revenue hinges on the hope taht no one knocks them off their search perch (97% revenue from ads), Apple meanwhile in 11 years has built FIVE Multi-billion dollar business units from ZERO - ipod, iphone, ipad (crssing billion anyday now), itunes, and retail ... add in the Mac, you have six ... how many billion dollar business units at google outside of search? Office apps? YouTube? Chrome? android? all free or nearly free giveaways ... so Google better be sure no one sneaks up on them on search while they are trying to be Apple ... they are hopelessly outclassed and outgunned there. What's next, a google retail store?"

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Daniel Low
Re: WebM Article, can anyone comment on this?
on May 22, 2010 at 8:20:32 am

That Google post was from http://kara.allthingsd.com/20100521/viral-video-googles-laughable-but-not-f...



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