Google to Open Source the VP8 Codec for HTML5 Video

NewTeeVee is breaking the news that Google will be officially announcing that it intends to open source the advanced VP8 codec acquired through its purchase of On2 in August of 2009 at next month’s Google I/O developer conference. What’s significant about the news is that VP8, usurping Ogg Theora, will compete directly with H.264 as the default HTML5 video codec. Main benefits: VP8 reduces CPU load by 40% compared to H.264, has a smaller file size footprint, and it will be royalty/license-free (unlike H.264 whose creators currently have a moratorium on collecting licensing fees until 2016 [PDF]). Without a doubt this is going to ruffle Steve Jobs’ feathers since the iPad and the Safari browser intentionally only support H.264 HTML5 video. Nevertheless, the Mozilla Foundation (proponents of Ogg Theora and the developers behind Firefox) and the Free Software Foundation are ecstatic by the move (you may want to read FSF’s open letter to Google regarding VP8). If all goes according to plan, consumers may also benefit from lower priced consumer electronics because the chips required to power VP8 compatible devices are less demanding than those that support H.264 and Flash 10.1 content.

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