Today Microsoft announced that support for VP9 and the WebM container is in development for the Microsoft Edge browser that ships with Windows 10. Over the past couple of years the WebM container has become something of a de facto successor to animated GIFs as it allows for clips that run for several minutes to be put into a relatively good quality file with a small size, and doesn't suffer from the 256 color limit of standard animated GIFs. VP9 is also the default encoding used for videos on YouTube, which isn't surprising given that the VP8 and VP9 standards are developed by Google.

With the fate of HEVC uncertain due to potential issues with the costs required to license patents related to it (e.g. the creation of the rival HEVC Advance consortium), the importance of royalty free video coding formats like VP9 may grow substantially in the near future. And while current hardware support for VP9 is virtually non-existant in the PC space, that's slowly changing as the newest GPUs at least implement partial/hybrid support for the codec.

According to Microsoft, support for VP9 and the WebM container will be coming to Microsoft Insider builds of Windows 10 in the near future, with it rolling out to everyone else sometime later.

Source: Microsoft

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  • DanNeely - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    The risk with VP9/10 is that if it threatens to displace HEVC in a major portion of the market, the same companies that are trying to squeeze a lot more money out of HEVC than H264 will probably come out suing claiming that VP9/10 infringe on their patents. Google can absorb the litigation risk, but when smaller entities are given the choice between paying $Lots to switch to HEVC and take a license, paying $SeveralTimesMore for the trolls license to use their patents on VP9/10 (ofc they'll demand more in this case, since shifting users to HEVC is their objective), or $MakesTheLastNumberLookSmall to litigate it; most will probably fold. Reply
  • Mondozai - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    Not really Dan.

    The people behind HEVC are companies like Comcast, Time Warner and others. These people are notoriously against progress.

    Google, Netflix and others have always had a much more favourable stance towards Open Source. There are no guarantees in this world, but let's not fool ourselves that the risk here is the same. To see the development of these codecs being led by progressive IT companies rather than reactive placeholders is absolutely a great development.

    The faster we can bury HEVC the better. Google has already shown that they can develop new codecs that much faster on their own, imagine what they can do together with all these other companies. We need this if we are going to get 4K streaming at bandwidth rates that are doable. 20+ mbit/s for 60 fps@4K isn't sustainable if it will ever get broad adoption. We got to push down below 10 mbit/s for that and they - and only they - can do it.
    Reply
  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, September 09, 2015 - link

    >muh progress

    Are you enjoying your displacement yet, whitey?
    Reply
  • wicketr - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    This is huge news as Chrome (obviously) and Firefox (likely) will support it. That's about 90% of the desktop market. And with Android, they'll have at least 50% of the web market covered. Over the next few years, I would imagine most chips will support it as well.

    Apple will likely be the last holdout in all this.
    Reply
  • Ken_g6 - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    "Over the past couple of years the WebM container has become something of a de facto successor to animated GIFs as it allows for clips that run for several minutes to be put into a relatively good quality file with a small size, and doesn't suffer from the 256 color limit of standard animated GIFs."

    Can I put it in an <img> tag? Or a [img]...[/img] in a forum? Until I can, it's not a successor to GIFs.
    Reply
  • npz - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    More third party image hosting that's normally not for video increasingly support webm files of limited size as it's a much, much better replacement for animated gifs.

    As far as embedding, that's all up to your forum site. Anyone can embed webm videos in their own sites. Why the need for <img>? It's not an image. It's a video. The biggest problem was that specifying <img> for what are effectively video clips rather than static images was a mistake to begin with.
    Reply
  • tuqueque - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    There seems to be a major mistake/misunderstanding with VP9, VP8, WebM and WebP here... WebM is the container for videos, usually with VP8 and now mainly VP9... OTOH, similar to WebM/VP9, WebP is the image formar proposed by Google for images on the web; it tries to replace Jpeg, Gif and Png altogether with a single format with all of the advantages of them all (plus a few other ones). WebP is based on VP8 tech, but since its appearance, has implemented several specific stuff to make it much more robust and versatile. Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    If you go to 4chan or imgur you'll see WebM being used in the place of GIFs. WebP has no decent browser support. Reply
  • nandnandnand - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    There's also a similar image format using HEVC/H.265:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Vide...
    Reply
  • Sttm - Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - link

    Thats cool and all but when is it getting AdBlock and Last Pass so I would actually use it? Reply

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