Google to push royalty-free VP9 4K video codec as H.265 alternative for YouTube

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2014
While VP8, Google's initial attempt at a royalty-free video codec, failed to gain much traction, the search giant is now focusing its efforts on ultra-high-resolution 4K video with its new VP9 codec, with a large-scale unveiling with YouTube multiple hardware partners set to take place next week, according to a new report.

VP9


At next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev., Google is expected to debut the new VP9 codec as an alternative to H.265, capable of streaming 4K video on YouTube with fewer bandwidth needs, according to GigaOm. The company is said to already have a slew of hardware partners that have pledged support, including ARM, Intel, Broadcom, Marvell, Nvidia, Samsung, Sony, Sharp and Toshiba.

Unsurprisingly not among the list of initial hardware supporters: Apple.

The successor to VP8 has been in development at Google for some time, and the company has suggested its intention is not to completely replace H.265. Instead, Google says it hopes to create a royalty-free alternative that would ease bandwidth issues associated with 4K video content on its popular streaming site YouTube.

Francisco Varela, global director of platform partnerships at YouTube, dismissed speculation that VP9 versus H.264 would be "war of the video codecs." He suggested that YouTube could add support for H.265 in the future, alongside VP9.



Varela claimed YouTube's main goal is to reduce the amount of data necessary to stream ultra-definition 4K video. The new VP9 codec aims to reduce bandwidth necessary by half, and went as far as to predict that YouTube users will be "surprised" whenever a video has to stop to buffer by 2015.

Google last attempted to push its own royalty-free codec in 2010, when the company announced its WebM format, also known as VP8. That codec was acquired by Google as part of the technology portfolio of On2.

Critics, however, contended that VP8 offered no real advantages over its established alternative, H.264, aside from being royalty free. Apple, for example, opted to stick with H.264 and continue paying the low royalty fees, rather than embrace VP8.

Google was later forced to settle a patent dispute with MPEG LA, the group that manages the licensing of H.264 patents, over its use of VP8. That meant that although VP8 was initially pushed as a "free" alternative to H.264, Google had instead begun paying licensing fees for related streaming video patents.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 164

    I guess it will be a nice sort of academic exercise to see YouTube choke and stall on another codec for a change.

     

    YouTube has turned into garbage.

  • Reply 2 of 164
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,213member
    Demonstrating V9 against H.264 speaks volumes to the disigenuous nature of Google. Compare it to H.265: we know the outcome--inferior.
  • Reply 3 of 164
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    Any way of telling these fuckers to mind there own and not put H.265 six feet under? Truly 80's Microsoft all over again.
  • Reply 4 of 164
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 323member

    So what other code did Google steal to make VP9 4K?  You know they stole something.  Epic fail nonetheless.

  • Reply 5 of 164
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,691member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ceek74 View Post

     

    So what other code did Google steal to make VP9 4K?  You know they stole something.  Epic fail nonetheless.


     

    And what sort of data mining code did they include in this VP9 codec? You know damn good and well Google never does anything without insuring themselves an advertising revenue stream.

  • Reply 6 of 164
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,009member
    For what it's worth VP9 isn't just for YouTube. It wouldn't hurt to read up on it before dismissing it out of hand. YouTube will probably support h.265 too whenever it's gets done too according to articles.It's not an either/or video codec war.

    By the way, the articles author is making a bit of a stretch saying Google admitted that VP8 infringed on any MPEG-LA IP based on their being offered a license particularly since there's never been any mention by them that Google would pay any royalties. Google has never wavered from saying that VP8 was free of any patent encumbrances from outside parties.

    Perhaps Google did pay them something and perhaps they didn't, but it obviously wasn't much if anything since Google can freely sub-license any h.264 IP to any VP8 or VP9 user at no charge.
  • Reply 7 of 164
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    Seeing the words 'free' and 'Google' in the same sentence seems ...off.
  • Reply 8 of 164
    See...

    http://iphome.hhi.de/marpe/download/Performance_HEVC_VP9_X264_PCS_2013_preprint.pdf

    "A performance comparison of H.265/MPEG-HEVC, VP9, and H.264/MPEG-AVC encoders was presented. According to the experimental results, the coding efficiency of VP9 was shown to be inferior to both H.264/MPEG-AVC and H.265/MPEG-HEVC with an average bit-rate overhead at the same objective quality of 8.4% and 79.4%, respectively. Also, it was shown that the VP9 encoding times are larger by a factor of more than 100 compared to those of the x264 encoder."
  • Reply 9 of 164
    d4njvrzfd4njvrzf Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

     

    And what sort of data mining code did they include in this VP9 codec? You know damn good and well Google never does anything without insuring themselves an advertising revenue stream.


    This question makes no sense because VP9 (like VP8 or x264) only specifies an algorithm. There is no code. 

  • Reply 10 of 164

    Typical working day at google's offices worldwide:

     

    KEEP THROWING SHIT AND SEE WHICH ONE STICKS!

  • Reply 11 of 164
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,343member
    Which ever codec gets used and is more popular/kills the other, it will have absolutely no bearing on us as users.
    Both codecs create a higher quality picture with less comparable bit rate.
    If Google bring out VP9 first, it'll have a good shot of being the main one, however, bringing out VP8 after a standard has been established was never going to work out.
    The cost of licensing was less than the work required to use a new codec, free or not.
  • Reply 12 of 164
    gprovidagprovida Posts: 247member
    VP8's IP issues remain a concern and the only reason not in court is the little adoption that would either be a MPEG-LA funding source or draw funding away. Google's cavalier attitude towards non-Google IP is notorious and I suspect will eventually be discovered. Therefore, the adoption VP9 will be slow and dependent on either clear assurances to cover IP costs for users/companies or clear proof that it is not IP encumbered, e.g., MPEG-LA saying it is not encumbered. Given the foundational nature of much of the H.264 patents it is hard to imagine they can avoid either paying or ending up in court.

    Therefore, given Googles track record it is hard to believe content producers, distributors, and in the end hardware designers can use VP9. I suspect Sony, et al have IP licenses to use MPEG-LA IP in VP9, not everyone has such broad IP licenses, in particular SAMSUNG another notorious abuser of IP.

    This should be interesting to follow. It is clearly a play to get around MPEG-LA already low IP license fees and so will be interesting on market responds especially when 4K becomes popular, my bet not for 5 years, look at the adoption rate of HD Blueray.
  • Reply 13 of 164
    Google has become the anti-Apple. Anything and everything Apple does, Google chooses to follow up with a low cost/free and inferior version.

    The Google/Motorola Moto G and X smartphones are being pushed out and promoted as good enough smartphones that are low-cost.

    The funny thing is the smartphones failed at a more expensive cost and were continuously lowered in price. The smartphones still did not sell well. Now the smartphones are being sold at prices that cannot be profitable (IMHO).
  • Reply 14 of 164
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,009member
    gprovida wrote: »
    VP8's IP issues remain a concern and the only reason not in court is the little adoption that would either be a MPEG-LA funding source or draw funding away. Google's cavalier attitude towards non-Google IP is notorious and I suspect will eventually be discovered. Therefore, the adoption VP9 will be slow and dependent on either clear assurances to cover IP costs for users/companies or clear proof that it is not IP encumbered, e.g., MPEG-LA saying it is not encumbered. Given the foundational nature of much of the H.264 patents it is hard to imagine they can avoid either paying or ending up in court.

    The licensing agreement between MPEG-LA and Google for VP8 from earlier last year also extends to VP9 AFAIK.
    http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/07/google-and-mpeg-la-sign-licensing-agreement-covering-googles-vp8-video-codec-clearing-the-way-for-wider-adoption/

    Quote: "The agreement allows Google to sub-license the techniques covered by the agreement to any VP8 user and also covers the next generation of the VPx codec. "
  • Reply 15 of 164

    Google? YouTube? 

     

    Is anybody still watching that crap anyway? 4k-crap is still crap.

  • Reply 16 of 164

    I wish YouTube would just die.  Google has no concept of quality software or the end user experience.  What else do you expect an advertising company to do to a video sharing site but turn it to shit.  Google has no history or background in video.  They know the web and they know how to track you and sell your information to advertisers and that's about it.

     

    Vimeo is a million times better.  I actually suggested Apple build a Vimeo app in the home screen of iOS but I don't think they will.

  • Reply 17 of 164
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,009member
    See...

    http://iphome.hhi.de/marpe/download/Performance_HEVC_VP9_X264_PCS_2013_preprint.pdf

    "A performance comparison of H.265/MPEG-HEVC, VP9, and H.264/MPEG-AVC encoders was presented. According to the experimental results, the coding efficiency of VP9 was shown to be inferior to both H.264/MPEG-AVC and H.265/MPEG-HEVC with an average bit-rate overhead at the same objective quality of 8.4% and 79.4%, respectively. Also, it was shown that the VP9 encoding times are larger by a factor of more than 100 compared to those of the x264 encoder."

    "On the other hand, when compared to the H.265/MPEG-HEVC reference encoder implementation, the VP9 encoding times are lower by a factor of 7.35, on average."
  • Reply 18 of 164
    See...

    http://iphome.hhi.de/marpe/download/Performance_HEVC_VP9_X264_PCS_2013_preprint.pdf

    "A performance comparison of H.265/MPEG-HEVC, VP9, and H.264/MPEG-AVC encoders was presented. According to the experimental results, the coding efficiency of VP9 was shown to be inferior to both H.264/MPEG-AVC and H.265/MPEG-HEVC with an average bit-rate overhead at the same objective quality of 8.4% and 79.4%, respectively. Also, it was shown that the VP9 encoding times are larger by a factor of more than 100 compared to those of the x264 encoder."

    This article is all about 4K encoding and none of the videos tested in that experiment were at 4K resolution. I have no idea whether these encoding codecs can be optimized for certain resolutions, but it's worth mentioning that discrepancy.
  • Reply 19 of 164
    Can Google do anything right?
  • Reply 20 of 164
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,647member
    ceek74 wrote: »
    So what other code did Google steal to make VP9 4K?  You know they stole something.  Epic fail nonetheless.

    What hasn't Google "borrowed without permission?"
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