In order to encourage developers and experiments, Google has opened a new branch of VP8 code tree. This action will help developers and coders to use the extended branch of VP8 to provide enhancements and improvement to the present coding.
In a similar pattern, Mountain View opened its VP8 codec around a month ago. According to the company it was in order to allow the development of a royalty free standard for web video streaming. The effort did lead into a larger media format known as WebM. This format is already being adopted by most developer-builds and beta browsers such as Google, Mozilla and Opera. Now Mountain View has granted Google the right to use the technique with other Google-owned patents as well. The entire acquisition process of VP8 along with video compression outfit On2 Technologies cost Google around $124.6 million
Trends in Video Streaming format
At present, the format of video streaming is fixed with VP8 bit stream. Now even while the branch of VP8 will focus on encoder and decoder tweaking, the main tree will follow the same format and bit stream. The experimental branch, most likely to be called VP9, will be focusing more on future versions of the same codec, while also looking for changes in the bit stream. According to Google, in order to keep the main codec stable while also looking for further improvements, they have added a new branch. So while the improvements and experimentation takes place with the new branch, the main version remains stable, keeping on with the performance. The users of the WebM community can easily use the unstable or added branch of codec VP8 and suggest changes and additions for better video codec, while also fighting the bit stream constraints. Once the experimental branch shows better performance, a new version of the codec will be introduced. The developers of Google are already on to the task of investigating and evaluating changes to the existing codec.
However, the question of finding a backing with the vendors in the market is a big question. While Mozilla and Opera are backing WebM, Apple and Microsoft are still sticking with H.264, a codec provided by MPEG LA. Of these, Microsoft has agreed to allow the users to use WebM if they wish. It will nevertheless, keep backing H.264. It is important to remember here that Apple and Microsoft are both the members of MPEG LA community backing H.264. MPEG LA too has announced its efforts to create a patent pool for VP8. If this happens, however, Google’s efforts to make a royalty free codec will go down the drain.
Google has already started the process of encoding larger videos using VP8. While the process has started with YouTube, several other developers are working towards developing hardware acceleration for the codec. According to the company, even though not many users are into employing hardware acceleration for videos, the market is seeing an increase in the number of such users. Therefore, it is best to begin finding ways to cater to such users as it is one of the rapidly growing segments.