Wednesday, 20 April 2011

YouTube announces change to encoding format

YouTube Blog: Mmm mmm good - YouTube videos now served in WebM

All new videos uploaded to YouTube will be encoded to WebM an open, royalty-free, media file format for the web, based on On2's VP8 codec for video and Vorbis for audio. It uses the Matroska file structure.

Supported web browsers are Firefox 4 and later, Opera 10.6 and later, Chrome 6 and later and IE 9 (with plug-ins) So no Safari?

So what does this mean to the average YouTube user? Well... nothing. YouTube will still continue to work in the same way it always has.

In the future it means that browsers will have to support WebM and it removes any licensing issues that YouTube might have had with other codecs. I think it is also going to make it easier for YouTube to support live streaming of events.

For professional users who want to be able to encode their material for YouTube so as to maintain the highest possible quality it means we need to find an encoding solution that enables output as WebM. At the moment I can encode to VP8 for video and to Ogg Vorbis for audio but I don't have a tool to combine them into a WebM file. There are some tools mentioned on the WebM site here but I will need to experiment.

As usual any comments gratefully received.

Thanks for reading, Neil

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