You Tube Goes 4K Using VP-9

YouTube will be demonstrating 4K video at CES next week, reports GigaOm. But the ultra high-definition streaming will be based on VP9, a new royalty-free codec that Google has been developing as an alternative to the H.265 video codec that’s at the core of many other 4K implementations.

Google’s new hardware partners for VP-9 include ARM, Broadcom, Intel, LG, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, Panasonic, Philips, Qualcomm, RealTek, Samsung, Sigma, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba. Nvidia’s Tegra 4 was the first processor to fully support VP8.

Google says videos with VP9 use half the bandwidth of its older VP8 codec or the H.264 standard. That could make wireless delivery of HD videos much more practical.

Google has built VP9 support into Chrome, though only in an early-stage version of the browser for developers. Mozilla added VP9 support to Firefox on December 6, 2013.

WebM is an open source video format for the web. It’s a wrapper for VP8/9 video and Vorbis audio streams.

Google’s VP8 video codec was launched in 2010. It was supposed to become the default format for plugin-free video streaming, with Mozilla, Opera, Google and more than forty other publishers backing VP8 as the video format for HTML5 and for web video calling using WebRTC. But vested interests in video formats like H.264 largely kept it in the dark.

Android has been WebM-enabled since version 2.3 with VP8 and streamable since Android 4.0. KitKat supports VP9 software decoding. VP9 solutions are software based for now, since the standard was only finalized in June.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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