Quick notes from #GoogleIO on the New WebM Video Format

20 May

These are quick notes taken live at #GoogleIO, on the session covering the new WebM format. Usual typo caveat and note I'm only aiming to transcribe what I've heard here.

<h2>Kevin from YouTube</h2>

<h3>Video Support</h3>

<video> gives us open source browser/player with an open source codec/container

HTML5 opt-in at http//ww.youtube.com/html5

WebM videos available on search with &webm=1 parameter

Chrome (h264+WebM)
Safari (h264)
Opera (WebM)
Firefox (WebM)
IE9 (when <video> exists
No advanced overlays yet (ads, annotations)
Caption support just added

<h3>Videos at YouTube</h3>

Both formats wil be supported for new uploads

H.264 – all videos available – with MP4 container @ 360,720,1080
?? and FLV all formats

?? New HD (720 and above) uploads WebM
?? Later enabled for all new uploass
?? Transcode existing over time
?? 360 and 720 over time


What doesn't work in HTML5 video?


Embedding <iframe> <object> fallback issues
?? iFrame best option but not always allowed

Live streaming not yet supported in HTML5

Stream management (fine gained control)

Content protection

Implementations and specs still in motion

Ads – no agreement on standards/ecosystem for ads, but do-able

<h2>Google (Jim Bankoski – Former On2 Engineer)</h2>

VP in its incarnations was used by Flash, Skype, others

WebM is a new video format optimised for the web. A media format with VP8 video codec, Vorbis audio codec.

Video?? Quality

Playback Performance

Live/2-way encoder performance

** Openness ** – no royalty

Hardware Device support

Content Creation Tool Support – e.g. Sorenson – providing encoders


Comparisons – compares to x.264 on most clips for both compression and performance. Caveats: not yet optimised for multi-core or hardware encoding.


Community effort – Check stuff in mkay


Tonight's Chromium nightly

Chrome dev build next week


<h2>David Mendels and Bob Mason from BrightCove</h2>

Brightcove solves the range of problems for companies wanting to publish video, optionally advertise, potentially customise player experiences etc etc.

Brightcove will support WebM, H.264, desktops, smartphones, connected TVs … whatever it takes!


<h2>Development experiences at YouTube</h2>

Add &Debug=true or &html=true for videos

&webm=1 on any search

Didn't use HTML5 semantic tags for now – not quite supported across browsers and lacking CSS support

CSS choices

Fallback content and source selection

Device support and inline HTML5

Variable speed playback

Seeking: Pause, Seek, Play

timeupdate/progress/buffering issues


Google did a thorough patent search, but it's open source – there won't be any indemnities

Audio supports Vorbis 5.1

Hoping that the codec will be used in academia etc and optimised further


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