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The Real Codec Battle is VP9 vs H.265 - And VP9 is Winning

Last week we did our Kranky Geek WebRTC Show, which was successful. Google, in its session had a lot of useful information and news – some of it regarding VP9.

You can find the video of the session here:

Some things to note from this video:

• Google is planning to introduce VP9 to WebRTC by year-end
• VP9 already accounts for 60% of all YouTube videos delivered
• 100 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every minute

This shows the ubiquity of VP9 in both encoding and decoding, and how this is used outside of labs and research centers in real, live production systems today.

Competition from H.265, on the other hand, is rather late to the party. The dominant MPEG camp is huddled around H.264 these days, with spotty support of H.265 here and there. The only references I could find for H.265 include a Netflix announcement of planned support of H.264 in 4K resolutions and many codec vendors coming up with H.265 support.

There is no real product on the market - at least not YouTube-sized (or even a tenth of its size).

Over a year ago, I noted that the real battle is between H.265 and VP9 and not H.264 and VP8. With the delays in the standards in selecting a mandatory video codec, it seems like Google is marching along, prepping VP9 as the real alternative.

In the beginning of 2015, you will have two options:

1. Use a high-end video conferencing system with H.264 HD video
2. Use a browser to make that same call with VP9 HD video at 70% the bandwidth

Which one would you end up using?

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