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VP8 Codec Coming To FFmpeg 218

Jim Buzbee writes "Interested in Google's VP8 codec? Well, so were the FFmpeg guys, so they went ahead and wrote their own native decoder in only 1,400 lines of unique code. They were able to keep the line-count low by relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase."
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VP8 Codec Coming To FFmpeg

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  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:10AM (#32715086)

    Is anyone else worried by..

    They were able to keep the line-count low by relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase."

    I bet the MPEG-LA will see that as proof that it violates their patents.

  • Good idea? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by surmak ( 1238244 ) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:11AM (#32715096)

    Is is really a good idea to advertise how similar VP8 and H.264 are? Send in the patent trolls.

  • It gets worse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:15AM (#32715126)

    Is anyone else worried by..

    They were able to keep the line-count low by relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase."

    I bet the MPEG-LA will see that as proof that it violates their patents.

    From tfa:
    since H.264 (the current industry standard video codec) and VP8 are highly similar, we can share code (and more importantly: optimizations) between FFmpeg’s H.264 and VP8 decoders (e.g. intra prediction).

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:32AM (#32715232) Journal

    so you're saying an x264 development blog by an x264 developer is going to be biased against vp8, has been quoted a million times, and has no real world tests (there are real world tests out there). color me surprised! /sarcasm.

    Here a real article, trollop. [streamingmedia.com]

    Saying that H264 is better or worse than vp8 shows straight up ignorance because they both have specific scenarios which they cater to. To avoid recognizing that is a lie.

    In the real world, studies have shown the two perform quite similarly, actually. Also, at the rate VP8 adoption is going MPEG is going to have to sue a lot of people, and they're going to lose in public image among other things.

  • Re:Length (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:47AM (#32715314)

    It may not be helping, but the situation here is interesting because this isnt Grandma's codec. This is Googles codec, and as such, MPEG-LA would have to actually fight for their rights. Even if MPEG-LA has an honest-to-goodness valid claim, they might still fail!

    All-in-all tho, H.264 is here to stay. Too much hardware support to choose anything else.

    Yeah, MPEG-LA might try to get Google/Youtube to pay its licensing fees. Then Do-No-Evil(TM) Google would fight the good holy war in court to invalidate every patent in the pool, right!

    Oh wait, Google has already paid the licensing fees, and is listed as a "licensor in good standing" on the MPEG-LA list of conquests.

  • Same codebase? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mystra_x64 ( 1108487 ) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:52AM (#32715352)

    What does "relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase" actually mean? For example, if you make some kind of new a superfast array sorting algorithm for 1 project and 'reuse' it elsewhere it does not mean both projects are the same. [Of course I haven't RTFA.]

  • Send in the trolls? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @09:02AM (#32715416)

    Who the heck do you think is paying for these kinds of claims to be made?

    The whole post is moronic. Ffmpeg's VP3 support is smaller than VP8 code and it shares with nothing. The bink codec is 1012 lines and svq3 is 1084 lines and these are weird codecs which have almost no sharing potential. ffv1, a state of the art lossless codec is 1200 lines.

    The only thing vp8 has which is all that similar to h264 is the intra prediction modes and even the x264 guy was forced to admit that the intra prediction modes significantly pre-date h264 and are thus UNPATENTABLE.

  • Re:Same codebase? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Monday June 28, 2010 @09:21AM (#32715550) Homepage

    What does "relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase" actually mean?

    It means exactly what it says: The developers added a VP8 decoder to FFmpeg, and only had to write very little of completely new code, while making extensive use of the code that already exists in FFmpeg. This way, VP8 decoder will improve when the rest of FFmpeg improves, and all codecs that share the same bits of code benefit from those improvements.

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Monday June 28, 2010 @09:35AM (#32715644) Homepage Journal

    Vorbis isn't any worse than the competition. Certainly better than mp3, and AFAIK with better encoders than AAC. Quality isn't the reason why Apple refuses to support it. Denying competition is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:22AM (#32716248)

    Utter nonsense. VP8 is codec number 8 of a series of On2 codecs that goes way back before H.264. Google On2 and see for yourself. On2 began marketing VP3 in 1999.

    Alternative method:

    1. Look at your existing technology in codec VPn that existed before MPEG LA, and think of an improvement.
    2. Immediately apply for a patent on the improvement.
    3. If said patent application is rejected because of an existing patent, think of another entirely method to achieve the same result, and go back to step 2.
    4. If the patent was rejected due to prior art, or even better if the patent was awarded to you, then implement the improvement using the cleared methods.
    5. Rinse and repeat from step 1 until a significantly improved codec emerges.
    6. Release and market the new codec as VPn+1.

    After a number of iterations, you have collected a few patents of your own, and developed a pretty good codec which avoids any patents which you don't own.

  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday June 28, 2010 @10:51AM (#32716572) Homepage

    Let me guess, you have reading comprehension problems? Here, let me duplicate the post I was responding to, in full:

    If VP8 is supposed to be free there can be no conflict surely. greedy mpegla owns odd coyrights on certain encoding rules not written code, right? So that a line of code ("Print 'hi!'") can be reused isn't really relevant is it?

    Emphasis is obviously mine.

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Monday June 28, 2010 @11:05AM (#32716740) Homepage

    But only if Google really have inherited some killer On2 patents as part of their acquisition. I hope they have - it would make sense of their strategy and confidence in VP8 if this kind of thing were going on in the background.

    Even though it's speculation, I'm strongly suspecting that you're going to find that this is the case. Combine that very possible reality along with many of the patents not being actually patentable, for varying reasons including in re Bilski being upheld in some fashion, and any delay impairing any ability TO enforce, and you see the picture as we see it.

    MPEG-LA members rumbling about patents and doing NOTHING about it, and Google forging forward without any comments about the noise from the "other camp".

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sl3xd ( 111641 ) * on Monday June 28, 2010 @07:12PM (#32724194) Journal

    There is a difference between a specification and a standard.

    The patent-encumbered AAC, MP3, H.264, etc. are actual standards, governed by a recognized standards body. Vorbis, Theora, and VP8 are self-published specifications, much like Windows Media. The fact that Vorbis, et al. are more open than Windows Media does not make them a "standard". Until it is recoginized and ratified by an actual standards body, it isn't a standard; it's yet another vendor specification.

    I can crap in a box and call it a "standard." That doesn't mean it is a standard.

    Don't get me wrong -- Vorbis is excellent, Theora is pretty good. VP8 is still a train wreck that needs cleaning up, but at least it creates decent video. None are recognized standards. They are self-published specificaitons, and in the case of VP8, the specification consists of a reference implementation and nothing else.

    On the other hand, AAC and H.264 are standards, goverend by a recognized standards body. There is a legitimacy given by the standards body that doesn't exist for a self-published specification, and there is merit to the process. There is a full specification (that goes into agonizing detail) that is entirely separate from a reference implementation.

    A gratis published specification is not necessarily an open standard.

    An open standard doesn't have to be gratis, nor does it have to be patent free.

    Apple and Microsoft are supporting actual open, standards-body controlled audio and video standards, and are choosing to ignore a few self-published fiat specifications. There is prudence in sticking to ISO standards, even if it irks the Free Software world, and I respect the decision.

    I'm for free software; I support Vorbis, Theora, and VP8. They are great pieces of free software. A couple even have a decent written specification. But until I see a recognized standards body give a stamp of approval, and more importantly, the turning of the standard over to the standards body (rather than the parent company - Xiph or Google, retaining it), I won't see Vorbis, Theora, or VP8 as anything other than a free software alternative to the actual standardized formats.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard