Friday, May 21, 2010

Google announced to support royalty-free WebM video format

Google announced in I/O conference to support royalty-free VP8 WebM video format. The WebM video is the technology that Google acquired from the company On2.

WebM which base on On2 VP8 technology, expected to deliver a high video quality through online streaming. The WebM technology sounds promising but there are professional comment that VP8 is a mess.

If you are interested, you can access to youtube to take a quick look on how WebM video looks like. Since WebM is still new, it only supported by the developer version of Mozilla, Opera and Chrome.

These is what you need to do:

1. Download a browser which support WebM. Try Mozilla Developer Preview.

2. Enable youtube html5 support. Access, enable by clicking on the link "Join the HTML5 Beta".

3. Search for WebM video, by adding &webm=1 at url. eg.

WebM video on youtube
The WebM video on youtube looks good.
Notice HTML5.WEBM shown at the bottom

The html5 player and flash player looks similar, if you right click on flash player, the right click menu will show "About Adobe Flash Player...".

For WebM video, it will show "HTML5.WEBM" at the bottom of the player. It will only show "HTML5" if is not a WebM video but html5 video. Make sure you get WEBM for WebM video.

The different between HTML5 and WEBM (HTML5.WEBM) video is the WEBM video only supported by the latest developer version of few browsers. HTML5 video is supported by (later version of) Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari.

The video quality of WebM looks good. The WebM video is still new, it might take some time for the market to accept and support it.

Video encoding (and decoding) is a complicated and advance technology. Other than the technology, the support from the software and service provider is importance as well.

WebM is new, is too early to make any conclusion. As youtube is one of the largest and popular online video website, the support from youtube affect the video format used online in the future. Other than the online video website, support from the browser software is important as well.

Is no surprise Apple Steve Jobs say no to WebM video format, since WebM is still new and Apple has their own preference. I rather take it as no comment from Apple at this point of time.

Normal user like us, don't really care (or know) what video format that we are watching, as long as it can be deliver smoothly and nicely through web.