Description image

Will the Google-Supported WebM Open-Source V9 Video Codec Surpass H.265?

05.21.13 @ 5:41PM Tags : , , , , , ,

WebM VP9 Video Compression CodecLet the next-gen online video compression wars begin. H.265, the codec that was approved earlier this year as an ITU-T standard and claims to be 50% more efficient than its predecessor H.264, now looks to have some competition in the Google-partnered WebM open-source V9 format, a step up from the highly adopted V8. Read on to watch some side by side comparisons and find out what this codec might do for you.

Thanks to xooyoozoo Smith for these tests:

While many will argue the point of viewing side-by-side comparisons on YouTube, where it’s getting re-encoded anyways, my eyes can see the difference in sharpness. I think. Here’s a still from the lossless file, downloadable here. (Thanks to Luke)

V8 V9 h264 h265

According to Cisco, video data will be 55 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2016. With that much data traversing networks, efficient video compression will be more important than ever, especially on mobile networks. We are very excited about the new VP9 codec, which delivers better video quality at lower data rates than competing technologies. Furthermore, VP9 was developed entirely in the open as a royalty-free technology. In this session you will learn how VP9 performs against H.264 and other codecs in quality and decoding speed, how to create WebM videos with VP9 and the new Opus audio codec, and how to deploy VP9 content to Chrome users in HTML5 video.

Here’s the aforementioned hour-long demonstration straight from Google, and yes, if you watch this whole thing, you’re a true video nerd. Welcome to the club:

So what does this all mean? Moving video on the internet is something that is here to stay, and the desire to increase efficiency to keep up with increasing file sizes is very much alive. The VP9 codec should start to roll out in the next few months.

Thoughts? Join the discussion in the comments below.

Link: WebM — Open Source Video Format


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 33 COMMENTS

  • Just what we needed, more codecs.

    • Dave Kendricken on 05.21.13 @ 9:47PM

      Seriously. I can’t remember a time I ever had compatibility issues playing VHS tapes in VCRs, except when I tried to put SVHS tapes into them

  • Chris Lambert on 05.21.13 @ 5:46PM

    Looked slightly sharper on some pauses less on others but more jaggies and think overall h265 looked better to me

  • If I’m not wrong on counting bottom-right is H265…so…for me it looked way better than the others but it would be great to be able to download the orignal files to finally compare…but h265 it looked much better and if it weights half is just awesome!!

    • bottom left is h265, I agree though the right looks better, with the youtube compression things get nasty making this pointless even if it had good intent

    • Actually H.265 it is bottom right:
      “From top-left, clockwise: VP9 (experimental), VP8, H.265/HEVC, x264.”
      But I agree that viewing it at this stage is pointless and I can’t tell the difference between any of them.

  • Google themselves sais it was not as good, 95% or so of h265.

  • My computer struggle while editing H.264 lol. Sometimes, all those news seems like from dream-world for me :)

  • You gotta love the youtube video for comparison. hahaha.

  • That’s “Big buck bunny” a short film made by the Blender Foundation some years ago.

  • This matters more to distributors and marketers.

    V9 is Google’s play to own the data and tagging infrastructure on the codec. They have tremendous leverage with YouTube. If they dictate that YouTube will be V9 only on mobile and tablet, and not H265, then many browsers may have to accomodate them.

    But browsers have their leverage as well, that stems from symbiotic relationships with other major companies that see benefit to a truly open standard that won’t require license fees for plug-ins designed to extract data for marketers.

    Right now H24 has serious momentum and inertia, and H265 will definitely have wide adoption. It may be years until V9 or it’s successor, may have that kind of footprint.

    In the meantime, you wouldn’t shoot, or edit in any of these codecs.

    • This is a great point.

    • From what I understand, Google’s codec was created to bypass paying royalties for H.264. They ended up paying royalties anyway for their V8 codec, as parts of it used patented technology.

      Not sure if V9 strayed away from that, or if they will pay the same royalties. If not, that might be a major selling point.

  • I’m very happy to see anything that will help make true 4k a reality on the internet.

    • I think the problem with internet video is not a lack of resolution, but too much crappy compression. It will be great to have codecs that deliver higher quality HD at a lower bandwidth.

      • I understand. And it sounds good….. but still, I want that 2 Gigabit internet Tokyo has through Sony.

  • This video test of 4 codecs is compressed in H.264 by youtube…

  • You can download a lossless version here:!LQ0wTKST!RHJqPC1oilk8aTIZp4T1gVO01chnoTo_JSX6zqNemfg

    The best comparison comes right at the end where Big Buck Bunny makes a thumbs-up. The rapid change in his stance pushes the codecs quite hard. v8 and h.264 fail pretty miserably at this point, but v9 and h.256 fare much better. Interestingly, v9 and h.265 seem to show different strengths here – h.265 has more stable edges, while v9 retains more detail. I suspect that perceptually, h.265 will tend to do better.

    Here’s a screengrab of what I’m talking about, from the lossless version.
    (Clockwise from top left: vp9, vp8, 265, 254)

    • Yeah, much better to download. Thanks for the screenshot, can definitely judge better from that.

    • Seems to me to be a matter of opinion. In the screenshot you provided, the motion appears better in the h265, but there is far more detail in the VP9. Look at the grass, for example – especially in the shadows at the base of the big tree. But in the video clip, the VP9 motion artifacting is downright awful. It seems to me that the two codecs are simply balanced a little differently – one favoring motion, the other detail. To my eye, h265 is the clear winner overall at low bitrates.

    • Luke, why is your screengrab a jpg?
      It should be in webP format.
      By the time you read this, they will
      probably have a new one!

  • There’s another issue with WebM/V9:

    How this will affect content creators, I don’t know.

  • h265 also does 4k and high framerates – wonder how v9 will do these?

    In terms of hardware decoding on devices, I think h265 has more industry support behind it since it’s been in the making longer and due to be rolled out next year

  • I downloaded the original .mkv file with the link provided. I watched it before knowing which was which. The bottom right image definitely looked the best with the top left one following. So to me, h.265 is a clear winner in quality, but both are very nice looking compared to the others, and hopefully will gain browser & application support quickly.

  • To me it is rather simple. H.265 currently out performs V9 slightly, even if google manages no tweaks before first full public release, the choice is simple. Would you rather use a codec controlled by $$$, which no one can use if they don’t pony up, leaving the option of being illegal or being controlled. But your files are 50-55% their former size @ quality x. Or would you rather have your media encoded in a free and open codec which any manufacturer, programmer, joe blow, can write you a program with that can then be legally distributed for free. And bumb the bitrate by 5% so your files are only 55-60% of their previous size @ quality x. I’ll give up the 5% of hard drive or bandwidth in exchange for the innovations that will come from removing one more restriction on the freedom to be innovative.

    But, we can all be innovative as is now can’t we? Sure, how much money ya got?

    Maybe something with music and mp3s. You want to legally make a (prog/device/game/etc)? Check out how much you have to pay just in royalty licensing for the privilege to make something that uses mp3′s codec legally. mp3licensing{dot}com/royalty/

    Want to know why your new fancy Windows 8 won’t play a fracking DVD on it’s own, when windows 7 did(premium and above)? Because microsoft no longer wants to pay MPEG LA a $2 license fee on every single copy of windows sold, just for the right to use MPEG-2 video decoder. Then paying Dolby(per unit cost not published prob about $0.50 per copy OR) $124 Million dollars per year for the right to use their audio codecs. So what do you do, you jump online and download VLC player. Problem solved right? If you live in France, Sweden, etc where the laws don’t apply to you due to local law, you are skippy. What if you live in US, UK, AU, JP, etc? You just committed a crime, in the USA, you have just violated the anti-circumvention subsection of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. You are now guilty of federal offense.

    What about H.264 or 265? How much depends on lots of stipulations down to how long the video encoded is. Under 12 mins, no fee, over 12, well how many copies ya making or users are you streaming to? How much are you charging them? Oh, yeah, they smart, they get a percentage of your income, just so you can use a product that hasn’t cost them a damn thing since 2003.

    So which do you want? To be controlled? To break the law? Or use a codec you have to bump the bitrate on by 5% or so that is free of all that? Seems like an obvious answer to me. But hey, maybe one less compression artifact on your phone is worth it.