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WebRTC and the Codec War

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The codec war is raging now more than ever before. The increased popularity of the proposed WebRTC protocol and the implied royalty costs make this a hot topic. Google, Cisco, Microsoft and now …

The codec war is raging now more than ever before. The increased popularity of the proposed WebRTC protocol and the implied royalty costs make this a hot topic. Google, Cisco, Microsoft and now finally Apple are promoting their preferred technology and attempting to influence the choice to be made for WebRTC. The choice is far from clear especially in light of the latest technology advances, the transcoding infrastructure costs involved and the impact on mobile devices. In this session, Weemo will share its multi-year experience developing on top of the leading video and voice codecs. The speaker will provide some perspective on the advantages of each across devices taking into account hardware and software based video acceleration and the impact each have on the end user.


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  • WebRTC clients are required to implement Opus and G.11 in that order of preference.
  • Transcript

    • 1. WebRTC and the Codec War Prepared for WebRTC Summit Wednesday, November 6th Soufiane Houri houri@weemo.com @houri VP of Product Weemo, Inc. @weemo slideshare.net/weemo
    • 2. Agenda a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Real-Time Voice and Video Codecs Codecs proposed for WebRTC today Top of mind issues in the industry Tipping the scale Video codec future Experience and prediction References
    • 3. Opus H.264 G.729 Vorbis G.711 H.263 Theora Speex VP8 G.722 VP7 H.261
    • 4. Opus H.264 G.729 Vorbis G.711 H.263 Theora Speex VP8 G.722 VP7 H.261
    • 5. Top of mind issues        Bandwidth consumption, Video quality, CPU load Hardware acceleration Low level API control Interoperability, Transcoding Licensed or open and royalty free Open Source libraries and proprietary binaries Mandatory to Implement (MTI) codecs
    • 6. Tipping the scale Not actively implementing WebRTC in their browsers today! VP8 H.264
    • 7. "We continue to believe that open platforms should encourage open and royalty free technology. There is strong industry momentum behind the open, royalty free VP8 video format. We hope that the IETF community will come together in voting against royalty encumbered technology as they slow down the pace of innovation on the web and on the internet.” Google spokesperson October 2013
    • 8. Looking to the future Opus H.265/HEVC VP9 Daala
    • 9. Experience and Prediction  From Theora/VP4 & H.263 to VP8 & H.264  Libraries: libvpx and x264  The industry should set its sights on VP9 and find a way to pave a royalty free path for H.265/HEVC.  Minimum of 30 – 40% improvement  Hardware acceleration is only a minor issue today on mobile devices but soon it will be a moot point. For WebRTC to gain adoption by Apple and Microsoft, Google needs to support H.264 and hope that VP8/9 will equally be accepted.
    • 10. Helpful Links  H.264 as Mandatory to Implement Video Codec for WebRTC  http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-burman-rtcweb-h264-proposal03  Updated: October 22, 2013  VP8 as RTCWEB Mandatory to Implement  http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-alvestrand-rtcweb-vp8-02  Updated: October 6, 2013  WebRTC Audio Codec and Processing Requirements  http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-rtcweb-audio-03  Updated: October 15, 2013