WebRTC hammers out compromise on video codec standards


Story by Paul Krill

Proponents of WebRTC, the Web standard for real-time communications via browsers, are clearing a long-standing hurdle the effort has faced, with the choice of two different video codecs.

For purposes of WebRTC backing, browsers must now support both H.264 and VP8, said Andreas Gal, CTO at Mozilla, in a blog post Sunday. “Both codecs have merits. On the one hand, VP8 can be deployed without having to pay patent royalties. On the other hand, H.264 has a huge installed base in existing systems and hardware,” Gal said. “That is why we worked with Cisco to develop their free OpenH264 plug-in and as of October this year, Firefox supports both H.264 and VP8 for WebRTC.”

The potential of WebRTC has been constrained by the lack of a video codec, even as audio codecs – G.711 and Opus – were chosen more than two years ago, Gal said.

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