Open source Ogg Theora video codec completes beta phase
After a one year beta phase, the Xiph Foundation's free Ogg Theora video codec has been released in its final, "mainline", version 1.0. Rather than redesigning the open source compression algorithm from scratch, Xiph.org worked on enhancing the "Truemotion VP3.2" codec released under an open source licence by On2 Technologies. "Open media formats are critical for ensuring a future where everyone can create and share media freely," says Kat Walsh, Wikimedia Foundation board member. Wikipedia uses Theora for all its video content.
The decoder included in the reference implementation supports the entire Theora specification and is said to be considerably faster than the beta version. The source code of libtheora 1.0 is available to download on the developer page under a modified BSD licence.
In version 1.1, the developers intend to replace the entire encoder with a backwards compatible but optimised new codec called "Thusnelda". The focus with "Thusnelda" is catering to users who are more concerned with quality and bitrate, as opposed to the Theora focus of freedom and CPU consumption. First examples are already available showing the quality differences with the new codec.
The Xiph developers named the codec after Theora Jones, a character played by Amanda Pays in the 1987 TV series Max Headroom.