YouTube Transcodes All new Videos to WebM Format, Re-Encodes Existing Ones

YouTube has already worked on transcoding all videos with the highest views on YouTube to the WebM format. This transcoding covers nearly 30% of all YouTube videos and makes up for 99% of the total views on YouTube. As a rule, YouTube will now transcode all uploaded videos to WebM format too, thereby making the web more open when it comes to video content.

WebM is an open media file format for video and audio on the web. Its openness allows anyone to improve the format and its integrations, resulting in a better experience for you in the long-term.

The entire video catalog of YouTube is massive, given the fact that YouTube adds nearly six years’ worth viewing time of videos every day. The announcement post also boasts of a new processing infrastructure that effectively manages the load between existing YouTube videos and new user uploads, for transcoding and re-encoding to WebM. This ensures a fail-proof method of encoding all new videos, and updating existing videos in the background as well.

Apart from webM, Google also promises to continue supporting the H.264 encoding for videos. Additionally, it has expressed its wish to develop an HTML5 video player as well. You can opt-in for the HTML5 video player here.

This is a big step for YouTube as it tries to unify all its videos into a single codec. Now that Google videos is shutting down, YouTube can be Google’s focus for video content.



Winamp now supports WebM Playback

NO matter how many feature rich or lightweight media players come into the market, there are people who still swear by Winamp. Winamp is extremely popular because of its low memory footprint and for being a reputed media player for the last 12 years.

Winamp has a strong user’s base and has evolved with time continuously. Keeping up with this, Winamp has introduced a VP8 decoder in its latest build of version 5.581. This will allow Winamp to playback WebM videos.

WebM was introduced in May by Google and has between popular for the web in theory. However, Winamp being desktop software poses as an early adopter in adding native support for this video format. WebM is already available in VLC media player and Miro video player.

More information can be found at the  official Winamp blog, which explains WebM as,

WebM’s file structure is based on the Matroska container. WebM defines the file container structure, video and audio formats. The video streams are compressed with the VP8 video codec, while the audio streams are compressed with Vorbis audio codec.

This brings WebM as a strong contender for desktop videos unlike other formats like FLV, which have remained a web phenomenon right from their inception.

Intel to Provide Hardware Support for WebM

Intel has plans for supporting the hardware acceleration of WebM videos. This news was confirmed by an Intel executive who said that the technology will be available on an Atom CE Systems-on-Chips(SOC) if VP8 gains popularity.

This Atom SOC chip can be used on TV’s and set top boxes to provide Internet connectivity and streaming videos to these devices. Logitech poses as one prospective buyer of this new chip as it is gearing up for the launch of its Google TV set top boxes this fall. The Google TV platform will perform even better with this technology and Google can significantly cut down costs by offloading a greater part of the rendering job to the client end.

The SOC available as an Atom CE4100 chip already packs a GPU, a CPU, an audio processor, a cryptography acceleration and USB connectivity.

The decoding of VP8 is still possible without this chip by using alternate software solutions. Though, this hardware support makes the CPU more responsive and allows a generic video decoding which support many popular formats.

The CE4100 already supports DivX and Xvid and H.264 which are popular and are in wide usage. Support for VP8 gives consumers more options in choosing their products and gives a better user experience.


Mozilla Backing VP8 For Inclusion Into HTML5 Video

Mozilla is trying to incorporate the VP8 codec of WebM video into the HTML5 web video specification.


Mozilla Chief Executive John Lilly, replied on being asked about this saying,

We’d love for VP8 to be specified in the HTML5 standard. Once it’s in the spec, it can really get better traction from other players.

This is a bold move by Mozilla as most other browsers are in support of H.264 currently. If this change is made, adding videos into web pages will be as easy as adding jpeg images. The current implementation of HTML5 video has no standard for video encoding and requires the web page developer to incorporate all popular web formats for the video in the page to be available across all browsers.

Before Google released VP8, there was tough competition between H.264, preferred by Apple and Microsoft, and Ogg Theora, backed by Mozilla and Opera. Now, with its better quality and open source nature, VP8 has better winning prospects in this race.

The next move Mozilla needs to make is to get some allies to support VP8 alongside itself. VP8 already sees some favor from W3C which says,

WebM/VP8 has the potential of providing a solution for the baseline video format of HTML5.

Apart from Mozilla and a part of W3C, Microsoft also supports VP8 and we too expect to see VP8 as the default HTML5 video.

Chromium Now Supports WebM Videos

Google has just released its VP8 video codec it acquired a few days back as WebM. This acquisition came with the acquisition of On2, which was an expert in video compression technology.

As expected, the Chromium browser on Ubuntu now supports this new video codec. To try a WebM video, you will need to install the latest daily build from the Chromium daily build PPA at launchpad. The fastest rising Opera web browser also introduced support for WebM videos recently.

The added advantage in WebM videos, as spotted by d00d @OMG!Ubuntu is that the CPU usage for WebM decoding is minimal compared to Adobe Flash. This would make it ideal for mobile devices as well. He has also provided a link for you to try out some WebM videos on YouTube.

Now that a proper video converter is out with support for WebM videos, we expect to see this video format take over the world of online videos, in the next few months.

Will Google Open-source The On2 Video Codec VP8?

Newteevee has recently reported that Google will possibly open-source the VP8 video codec next month. VP8 was developed by On2, the company which Google acquired in February.


This news comes at times when there is an ongoing battle among the H.264 and the Ogg Theora video codecs to gain control of the Open Web’s video format. However, Google will introduce VP8 as a new and prospective candidate even though it had announced the H.264 video codec for YouTube earlier.

On2 video compression claims that,

With On2 VP8, we set out to increase compression performance over On2 VP7 and leading H.264 implementations by 20% while reducing playback complexity by 40%.

Ryan Lawler at Newteeve writes,

The move comes as online video publishers are gravitating toward standards-based HTML5 video delivery, bolstered in part by the release of the iPad. However, that acceptance has been slowed by the fact that the industry has yet to agree on a single codec for video playback, with some companies throwing support behind  Ogg Theora and others hailing H.264 as the future of web video.

This move totally dampens the battle between H.264 and Theora, the currently leading web video codecs. Experts believe that H.264 provides a better video quality and playback as compared to Theora. Though, Theora has got quite a following owing to its open-source nature and absence of licensing issues.

Currently, H.264 is supported on Internet Explorer 9 and Safari whereas Opera and Firefox support Theora. Google Chrome supports both these video formats. If things go as per this plan, Google Chrome and Firefox will be the first ones to see support for VP8.