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December 13, 2013

Firefox Gets Support for Google's VP9

Google’s VP9, an open, next-generation video codec from the WebM Project, first became available in June. In a major event its ongoing history, Firefox recently got support for VP9.

Firefox Aurora (alpha version) will soon be able to use the video codec. With the latest move by Firefox developers, users can watch VP9 video with the browser.

Overall, the video codec allows for compression or decompression of digital video. VP9 will be an option to the H.265 HEVC (high efficiency video coding) standard and provide for 4K video streaming.

There are some limitations with VP9 – at least for now. GigaOM reports that Firefox Nightly is limited to “extremely technical early adopters.” That’s because tests are ongoing. Things unfortunately “can and will break,” the report adds.

In the next key step in the process, VP9 support will be added to the Firefox beta version in February. Then in March, the version of Firefox, which is given to most end users, will get VP9 support.

Now for some more details on VP9. It is the newest version of Google’s open video codec. Google acquired On2 in 2009, which led to the video codec’s development. Google released On2’s VP8 codec in 2010. The On2 codecs and descendants were used in Adobe Flash Player 8 and more recent versions, Adobe Flash Lite, Java FX and other mobile and desktop video platforms.

At first, VP8 was supposed to be part of the Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC) standard. In fact, it was supposed to be the default codec for real-time video communication on the Web. But there were too many challenges, and the attempt failed. The WebRTC working group at Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) 88 in Vancouver has failed to come up with an agreement on a Mandatory to Implement (MTI) video codec for WebRTC.

However, Mozilla will implement H.264 through a partnership with Cisco. Also, Mozilla is coming up with its own next-generation video codec called Daala – more exciting news. Mozilla, according to GigaOM, hired Monty Montgomery, the Xiph.org founder, to come up with the video codec. Daala should be provided for end-user applications by the end of 2015.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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