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31 July 2012, 15:19

Google proposes VP8 and Opus for WebRTC standard

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In an email to the WebRTC development mailing list, Google has proposed the VP8 video codec in conjunction with the Opus audio codec as the new standards for the real-time communication framework. WebRTC is currently supported by Google's Chrome browser and Opera. Firefox and Internet Explorer both have implementations that are being worked on. The standard is designed eventually to allow applications to provide voice and video chat as well as file sharing without the use of plugins.

Since WebRTC is in draft status, the actual codecs used differ between implementations. Google, which had open sourced VP8 in 2010, is proposing it as the "only viable royalty-free option" for a video codec used on the web. Currently, the WebRTC Codec and Media Processing Requirements draft only requires specific frame rates and resolutions to be supported, with most implementations using the H.264 codec at the moment. Google itself is using VP8 in several of its technologies and Skype has also started to use the technology since last year.

As far as audio codecs are concerned, the draft already specifies Opus as a required codec. But Google is suggesting that it should also be named as mandatory-to-implement. The IETF, which is partnering with the W3C on the WebRT standardisation process, has itself recently approved the Opus codec for standardisation. According to Google's email, there are "remaining licensing issues" that need to be worked out, but pending a positive outcome, the company recommends the Opus codec, saying that it presents the best choice among available audio codecs.


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