VP8 is the name of royalty-free video codec for lossy compression of video data. It builds on the development set to True Motion, a series of video codecs developed and marketed by the company On2 Technologies.

Along with the audio codec Vorbis and Matroska container format building on forms VP8 WebM Google's recommendation for the Internet. On the intra-frame coding of VP8 based image format WebP the.


VP8 is a classic block-based transform process. According to On2 At the time of the first performance of VP8 included the loop filter and the Golden frames to the novelties compared to its predecessors. However, the first definition of such a filter was already in the H.263 standard, Golden Frames have been used in VP5 and VP7. The VP8 implementation of On2 support in the first published version of multi-core processors with up to 64 cores simultaneously. According to the statement of On2 Technologies dual decoding speed is possible compared to VP7 with the same quality. According x264 developer Jason Garrett -Glaser is the VP8 decoder - in the original published open-source version of Google - slower than the H.264/AVC-Decoder from the FFmpeg project.

Compared to H.264/AVC

According to On2 VP8 is to H.264/AVC competitive. VP8 has much in common with H.264/AVC, for example, some prediction modes. On2 stated, VP8 have comparatively dramatically superior quality. A published by On2 Technologies comparison video to demonstrate the improvements over ( an implementation of the standard) H.264/AVC. On the other compared a x264 developer VP8 with the quality of H.264/AVC Constrained Baseline. In the first independent tests, VP8 and H.264/AVC proven in the lowest profile "baseline" as equivalent, these results have been questioned in other articles, however. In the first published test that uses an objective metric ( SSIM ), could VP8 for some sample videos at high bit rates Xvid - a codec which implements the older MPEG-4 ASP standard - not beat ( at low bit rates is VP8 always clearly superior ), and it cut for all sample videos from worse than x264. Only for a video it could - at a significantly slower rate - similar, but inferior, quality as x264 reach. This test performs VP8 on only in an appendix, because the current version is too slow to reach the required speed for a fair comparison criteria can even come close.

Patent situation

To Patent freedom, there are different views - including doubts about the Unencumbered awareness, ranging up to the statement that the important techniques for video compression are covered by patents so that all video codecs are concerned. There was the predecessor Theora fears about so-called submarine patents, which prevented some large companies from using them. Currently, the MPEG LA patent pool together, which is to bundle claims against Theora and other free codecs. Also from the free software scene, there are different views. The x264 developer Jason Garrett -Glaser came to his analysis of the process to the conclusion that having too many similarities to H.264/AVC, in order not to be affected by the same claims. Christopher Montgomery ( "Monty", developer of Vorbis and Theora ), however, considers the patent threats for experience has shown that no substance.

A member of the Joint Technical Committee 1 of ISO and IEC shall come in his analysis concludes that On2 has certainly made ​​great efforts to infringe any patents, but he also points to the difficulties with a modern video codec no injuries to commit. He also considers it due to the current legal situation in the U.S. is unlikely that the public ever learns how the company's internal investigation, the patent situation have looked closely.

Apart from the difficult situation of patents the original software license VP8 was not compatible with the requirements of the Open Source Initiative. Google has removed the controversial article from the license file on June 4, 2010.

On March 7, 2013 Google met with MPEG LA a financially -based agreement in order to avoid possible claims and the formation of a VP8 patent pool. It is therefore up to Google, both VP8, and to spreading the successor VP9 open source and free of charge.


Published in 2008 On2 Technologies as a successor to their previous VP8 codec, True motion video codec series as VP6 and VP7 last. It should lead to an improvement of the compression while reducing the complexity. VP8 was originally developed as proprietary, royalty-bearing technology and disclosed pursuant to the takeover by Google Inc..

Since becoming aware of Google's efforts to take over the manufacturing company On2, there were expectations that VP8 was to be released after the business takeover. After 19 February 2010, the takeover was sealed for 134 million U.S. dollars months later, there was intensified speculation about the release. Following the acquisition invited the Free Software Foundation ( FSF) Google on April 30, in an open letter to the release of the video technology and spoke of a chance, dependence on patent- loaded video codecs such as H.264 and proprietary Flash technology from Adobe on the Internet push back. Such a step Google could give with his popular ( largest ) video portal YouTube debates over the future standard codec for web video with HTML5 new impetus. Google has released to its developers conference Google I / O on 19 May 2010 the codec as free software in the source code to the ( patent ) free use for anyone under a modified BSD license and at the same time the new, based on Matroska WebM container format for the presented using the Internet, in which used alongside VP8 Vorbis for audio compression.

The release represents a major advance in the field of patent-free video compression software, where VP8 can take the place of quality significantly inferior Theora next to the less suitable for real-time applications Dirac. The manufacturers of most of the popular web browsers ( Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome) have announced with release to support the format in conjunction with HTML5 at the next (main) version, and partly also released developer versions with built in support.

Since June 23, 2010 FFmpeg includes a native VP8 decoder. After one month of optimization, this implementation requires between 20% and 40 % fewer resources for decoding a VP8 video decoder than Google.

Skype introduced in Version 5 as a VP8 codec for video compression with telephone calls.

Under the project name VP -Next Google began to develop the codec VP9 as a successor for VP8. He is a proposal for a basis for a future Internet standard to the IETF in the discussion. The end of 2012 was incorporated support for VP9 in Chromium.