H.264 versus Google’s VP8

April 16, 2011
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We have H.264, the tried-and-true industry codec for high-quality multimedia compression that has found itself caught up in a larger battle of open versus proprietary versus licensed standards for Web multimedia distribution. But let me just give you a short definition of the two codec.

The H.264 is a standard for video compression, and is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of high definition video while the VP8 is defined as a high quality, royalty free, open source codec deployed on millions of computers and devices worldwide.

According to Encoding.com, 66 percent of all the videos the service delivers—of more than 5 million videos in 2009, reports TechCrunch—are encoded in H.264. Ogg Theora makes up a whopping 4 percent of videos encoded, and VP6, the chief codec driving the video playback in Adobe’s Flash Player 8, takes up 23 percent.

It’s far too early to run the same kind of comparison of scale for H.264 versus VP8. However, Streamingmedia.com has run a series of quality tests between the two codecs to get a sense of just how well they stack up against one another.

However, the author of the comparison, Jan Ozer, concludes by noting that, “H.264 still offers better quality, but the difference wouldn’t be noticeable in most applications.”

You can download, test files and determine the quality winner for yourself. Ofcourse, you want to first make sure that you’re running a browser that supports WebM playback via HTML5, you can find a list of applicable applications on the WebM site.

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