Category Archives: Multimedia PressWatch

Random articles relating to multimedia technology.

Wave Goodbye; What About VP8/WebM?

Some big news in the geek community this past week came in the form of Google’s announcement that it would no longer be caring about its vaunted Wave technology. I was mildly heartbroken by this since I had honestly wanted to try Google Wave. Then I remembered why I never got a chance to try it: they made it an exclusive club at the beginning. I really did try to glean some utility out of the concept by reading documentation and watching videos and I had some ideas about how I might apply it. Then again, I try to think of a use for nearly any technology that crosses my path.

It still struck me as odd: Why would Google claim that no one was interested in their platform when they wouldn’t give anyone a chance to try it out? A little digging reveals that Google did open it for general use back around May 18. That date sounds familiar… oh yeah, VP8 was open sourced right around the same time. Maybe that’s why I don’t remember hearing anything about Wave at the time.

But now I’m wondering about VP8 and WebM. How long do you think it might be before Google loses interest in these initiatives as well and reassigns their engineering resources? Fortunately, if they did do that, the technology would live on thanks to the efforts of FFmpeg developers. A multimedia format has a far more clear-cut use case than Google Wave.

VP8: The Savior Codec

This past week, the internet picked up — and subsequently sprinted like a cheetah withan unsourced and highly unsubstantiated rumor that Google will open source the VP8 video codec, recently procured through their On2 acquisition. I wager that the FSF is already working on their press release claiming full credit should this actually come to pass. I still retain my “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude. However, I thought this would be a good opportunity to consolidate all of the public knowledge regarding On2’s VP8 codec.

Pictured: All the proof you need that VP8 is superior to H.264
Update: The preceding comment is meant in sarcastic jest. Read on

The Official VP8 Facts:
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Google Funding VP3 On ARM

Some news is making the rounds that Google is funding ARM improvements for the Theora video decoder. It gives the free software faithful renewed hope. However, reading this news makes me wonder: Doesn’t FFmpeg already have ARM optimizations for Theora? In fact, it does, as indicated by the existence of the file libavcodec/arm/vp3dsp_neon.S. This has optimized IDCT transform/get/put and loop filter functions for NEON instruction sets. I know there are several different types of SIMD for ARM chips and I don’t know if NEON is the most common variety.

The most pressing reason for funding this effort is, of course, license purity.

Apple Screen Codec

In reading Ars Technica’s lengthy, thorough review of Apple’s new Snow Leopard, I noticed the addition of screen recording to QuickTime. The screenshots indicate that it is configurable for “medium” and “high” quality. Naturally, I bring this up because I wonder what format the video is saved in. QuickTime’s extensive suite of default video codecs does not include a lossless, screen video-oriented codec (per my recollection). And since the feature is out there, people are going to expect FFmpeg and all of its descendant apps to be able to transcode it.