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September 16, 2008

On2 VP8 - better codec, same issues

Please note, this blog has been archived and now lives at www.discretecosine.com

On2 has announced VP8, the latest in their line of video codecs. Most folks are familiar with VP6, which was the standard Flash Video format prior to the adoption of H.264.

On2 is claiming that they can achieve H.264 performance at half the bitrate. I don't doubt that there are instances in which that's true, though with any codec comparison, there's lots of room to fudge the issue. Keep in mind that H.264 was initially approved in 2003, so it doesn't surprise me that On2 has been able to make improvements, though similarly in that time there have been many improvements to the H.264 standard which have not yet made it into mainstream software.

I think the time of proprietary, single source codecs like VP8, VP6, or Real (or even Sorenson) have passed. VP6 was a great stopgap which allowed Flash to deliver decent quality video in the browser, but it was always a pain to work with, with limited encoding options and non-standard tools. On2 is advertising VP8 as an alternative to the mucky patent world of the MPEG licensing association, but that process isn't nearly as difficult to traverse as they imply, and I doubt the costs to get a license for H.264 are significantly different than the costs to license VP8.

The great benefit of ISO standards like VC-1 and H.264 is that anyone can go get a reference encoder or reference decoder, with the full source code, and hack on their own product. When it times come to ship, they just send the MPEG-LA a dollar (or whatever) for each copy and everyone is happy.

Ok, that's enough rambling.

Posted by at September 16, 2008 10:10 AM | News


Keep in mind you are in school learning, it doesn't surprise me that Adobe is one of the fastest growing softwares and Flash has been a big part of that. Google is said to putting flash in the up and coming JavaFX. You do know how Java is important to mobile phones and newer digital devices. CS3 had great flash animation and interactive softwares.CS4 will add to the flash ecosystem. For advertising and things that pay for the internet flash still rules in UGC (user generated content). More flash was used broadcasting the Olympics world wide then the other codecs. How does your H.264 or VC-1 stream live anyway? Adobe is the clear leader in electronic documents and sotware creation for creative individuals. Adobe and ON2 is in a product cycle you might want to pay attention to and learn from. You might study the codecs that will be used when the FCC decides the fate and use of the OLD ANOLOG spectum. The devices and internet will make major steps in delivery/cost/coverage/structure and wireless infrastructures. It is said that their are networks that are like WIFI on steriods ready to be tested. New age in gaming, IPTV, webTV , conferencing , P2pTV, placeshifting, Livecasting, and mobile entertainment.

Posted by: Flashkid at September 17, 2008 1:19 PM

Wow, I have no idea what you're talking about ... but I think you might be a bit nutty, or perhaps just a troll.

I'm not anti-Flash. I love flash. (well, that's a bit much, but I recognize the strategic importance of flash). But, you may not be aware that Adobe is now pushing H.264 for flash video, rather than the old VP6 stuff. The FLVPlayback component will happily accept .mov and .mp4 in addition to .flv.

Posted by: Colin McFadden at September 17, 2008 1:39 PM

I think the time of proprietary, single source codecs like VP8, VP6, MPEG, h264 or Real (or even Sorenson) have passed . Its a multi format world out there. This is why you have to have the complete package of codecs. ON2 supports h.264 and Mpeg also. the only play to get them all, Same issues. Try to study the total package dilivered by ON2 and you will learn quickly what you dont understand in the last post. In some scenarios, H.264 make work out to be the best solution, but at other times, On2's solution would trump H.264. You may see flash come back with the new VP8 products as live events and broadcast become common place. I expect Adobe will fall in line with the VP8 and focas on the fastest growing mobile sector. Its about survival and providing new generation devices and social networking needs. Google will be a game changer with SUN. You may want to look at MSFT licencing Flashlite and what makes the mobile industry communicate. Flash will be a part of the future and future proofed as with many other codecs . On2 will give their current and future customers the option of supporting any and all technologies, whatever their needs may warrant.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 17, 2008 2:38 PM

Heh ...


Posted by: Colin McFadden at September 17, 2008 2:44 PM

The Javafx runtime includes On2 Video, not .264 or VC-1 for that matter.

Microsoft, a key investor in Move Networks, couldn't convince Move NOT to use VP8.

Cost of Codecs is not the issue, it's the flexibility in Licensing Terms which is spawning hundreds of VPx advocates. In the Myspace/You Tube era it won't take much to witness a tipping point of VP8 adoption. Skype anyone?

Posted by: Walk7 at September 20, 2008 12:09 PM


Watch, listen and become informed.

Posted by: Walk7 at September 20, 2008 12:11 PM

i'm a LifeCaster
on ustream.tv
& i thank you for the info that you have posted

also the the 2008 Olympics
was also done in microsoft silverlight
& that looked dam good :)

i think microsoft silverlight is going to kick Adobes ass

Posted by: E-TARD at September 20, 2008 10:33 PM

Actually, the Olympics used a Silverlight player skin, but the actual video inside was Move Networks, which also uses an On2 codec (VP7).

Posted by: John at November 10, 2008 1:46 PM

Sorry, the Olympics was Silverlight w/ VC1. It was the Democratic National Convention that used Move under the covers. My bad.


Posted by: John at November 10, 2008 1:51 PM

Direct link. There's other stuff on that site that is on YouTube.


Posted by: John at November 10, 2008 1:54 PM

"I expect Adobe will fall in line with the VP8.Google will be a game changer with SUN. You may want to look at MSFT licencing Flashlite and what makes the mobile industry communicate"
Hey, on2's bullshit promoter, stop to lie.

Adobe, Google, MSFT, Sun ... yeah yeah yeah ... STOP IT!!! Nobody beleive you, Steve.

1. Adobe clearly refused all possible upgrades of VPx codecs. VP7 is here from 2005 and it's not adopted by Adobe in flash and they won't do that. They said it CLEARLY: "NO, WE DON'T WANT ANYMORE VPx codecs".
2. Google has YOUTUBE and YOUTUBE is using H.263/H.264. NOT EVEN VP6. FORGET ABOUT VP7/8.
They DO NOT WANT IT. It's clear.
3. MSFT is supporting H.264/AAC.

ALL 3 companies (Adobe, Google, MSFT) are paiyng MPEG-LA license for using H.264. ..... and that's a fact.

Posted by: Jack at April 1, 2009 4:22 AM