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It Appears the End is Near for WebRTC Video Codec Wars

November 18, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Peter Bernstein / WebRTC-solutions

For those who follow WebRTC closely you are more painfully aware that even as WebRTC support is now part of over 60 percent of the world's browsers (Chrome, Fireox and Opera and soon Microsoft's Internet Explorer) there has been a disagreement over which video codec should be mandatory. Indeed, the battle between advocates of VP8 versus H.264 has been cited numerous time as one of the major, if the major obstacle to universal support and rapid market adoption, along with Apple and until recently Microsoft not supporting the standards work on WebRTC in their respective browsers.

The good news, at least on the video codec front, comes from a blog this past weekend posted by none other than Andreas Gal, Chief Technology Officer of Mozilla. And, this really is good news, if it is true that everyone has agreed to stop pointing their guns at each other and put them back in their holsters.

As Gal recites in his brief history of the challenge here, it was two years ago that the IETF RTCWEB Working Group with relative ease gave the nod to legacy codec G.711 and the newer and more advanced Opus codecs for audio. But, as noted, video has been a bone of contention, and Gal does a nice job of summarizing why. As he points out while both have merits, VP can be deployed without having to pay licensing fees, and H.264 has a massive installed base with license to contend with.

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