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13 May 2013, 10:28

VP9 nears completion at WebM

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The contributors to the Google-sponsored WebM project have announced their release plans for the VP9 video codec. VP9 is the next generation video compression codec that has been in development at the project, originally under the name VP-Next, since 2011 and is set to replace VP8. The development goals included reducing the bit-rate by up to 50 per cent and allowing for higher quality video without increasing bandwidth. The developers have ended the beta period for the bitstream of the codec and are now accepting final comments from contributors. In a blog post, the developers say that a draft specification of the bitstream "is well underway".

The WebM contributors plan to freeze the VP9 bitstream code on 17 June, which will then allow the Chromium project (the basis for both Chrome and Chrome OS) to enable VP9 as a default for WebM video; development versions of Chromium already include a disabled-by-default VP9 decoder. At a summit meeting for VP9 at the start of May, representatives from YouTube announced that the video platform plans to support the new codec as soon as support for it is available in Chrome. VP9, like its predecessor codec, is covered by Google's patent licensing deal with the MPEG LA, which ensures that the codec is covered under a licence from the patent pool company.

Interested developers can find out how to build the experimental VP9 code by looking at the documentation on the WebM site. The VP9 source code itself is available to browse from the Chromium project.

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