Choosing a codec

WebM vs. H.264: A First Look

This article compares H.264 to WebM, Google's implementation of the VP8 codec, using three variables (encoding time, compressed quality, and CPU requirements) for playback on three personal computers. Here's the CliffsNotes version of the results: Using Sorenson Squeeze to produce both H.264 and WebM, the latter definitely took longer, but there are techniques that you can use to reduce the spread to less than 25%, which is pretty much irrelevant. Though H.264 offers slightly higher quality than the VP8 codec used by WebM using the aggressive (e.g., very low data rate) parameters that I tested, at normal web parameters, you couldn't tell the difference without a score card. Even compared to H.264 files produced with x264, VP8 holds its own.

Click to the main article to read the rest of the story. 

VP8/WebM - A Collection of Resources

WebM/VP8 is Google's recent entry into the codec market. Here's a roughly chronological list of resources about the codec/technology.

VP8 vs. H.264 vs x264 Comparisons

As part of my First Looks review of VP8 and WebM for, ran a bunch of VP8 and H.264 comparisons, initially using the MainConcept H.264 codec, since that's the codec included with Sorenson Squeeze, which I used to produce the VP8 files. Then, I added some comparison files produced using the x264 codec, encoding via the QuickTime-based x264Encoder version 1.2.13 (dated 6/27/2010). 

You can read the StreamingMedia article here. In this article, I present the frame comparisons that were too big to fit in the StreamingMedia article, plus present URLs for the streaming files that I created and compared. 

First Look: H.264 and VP8 Compared

VP8 is now free, but if the quality is substandard, who cares? Well, it turns out that the quality isn't substandard, so that's not an issue, but neither is it twice the quality of H.264 at half the bandwidth.

See for yourself

Google Open Sources VP8 Codec

As expected, Google open sourced the VP8 codec today at their IO conference in San Francisco. You can read my overview article for here, or check out, a site that details the announcement. Briefly, as you may re...

Microsoft Sends Ogg Down for the Count; What's Mozilla to Do?

In a recent blog post, Microsoft stated "We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only."  Though Mozilla currently enjoys (by far) the largest HTML5-compatible installed base of any brows...

Time to Switch from VP6 to H.264

Got an email today from a colleague today that triggered the headline thought (time to switch from VP6 to H.264). His rationale was that now that MPEG-LA has extended the royalty-free period for free H.264 Internet video, it was time to change over t...

Ogg, MPEG-LA and Submarine Patents

A few weeks ago, I published an interview with MPEG LA CEO Larry Horn on the patent group's decision not to charge for free content encoded with H.264. Then I got a note back from a reader who stated: I'm disappointed. The interview seemed to be pr...

Another Ogg to H.264 comparison

I recently posted an H.264 vs. Ogg comparison, which you can see here. I got lots of good feedback and am in the process of reworking my tests, primarily (I hope) to use a m...

Ogg vs H264 - Round One


Updated findings below.

Ogg Theora and HTML5 have been top of mind for me over the last few weeks, and one consistent question was how Ogg compared to H.264 in terms of quality. So, I spent a few hours this past weekend encoding and comparing. Click through to the main article to see what I found.