H.264 and VP8 Compared

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by John_Keck, May 23, 2010.

  1. John_Keck

    John_Keck Limp Gawd

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    VP8, the video codec free of royalties thanks to Google’s WebM Project, is a strong competitor to the H.264 codec. While H.264 still offers better quality, VP8 is not far off at all.

     
  2. Silverghost

    Silverghost 2[H]4U

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    I would say there are quite a ways off, but that is at a low bitrate, higher they may be equal.
     
  3. phide

    phide [H]ard as it Gets

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    VP8 is competitive with H.264's Baseline profile. It isn't competitive with the H.264's Main or High profiles, but there's certainly room for improvement.

    For web video, VP8 is totally usable.
     
  4. r45k

    r45k [H]Lite

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    I definitely wouldn't want to use VP8...

    Huge marketing scheme going on... the only thing going for it is that its open source.
     
  5. r45k

    r45k [H]Lite

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  6. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Bottom line like it normally is, you'll use VP8 when cost is the driver and H.264 when quality is the driver and have the money, not that complicated.
     
  7. Snowknight26

    Snowknight26 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I love how On2 claims that VP8 is up to 50% better (PSNR) than H.264 when it's literally the other way around. Have to love marketing.
     
  8. ianken

    ianken [H]ard|Gawd

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    For enthusiasts and end users this is all irrelevant. H.264 playback support is free and in the box. On win7 you even get hardware playback for free. For folks doing encoding there is x264. Every major edit suite supports h.264.

    The only people who will use this are large web video folks who don't want to pay, don't care about fidelity and hope their users have the codec. MSFT has vc1 and smooth streaming, which is pretty sweet. Apple uses h.264.

    Considering what an IP minefield video compression is I find the "royalty free" claim dubious. If they use DCTs and vector based motion comp and estimation, well if it walks like a duck and quacks like one...
     
  9. adonn78

    adonn78 Limp Gawd

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    i still think DivX is the best mpeg4 codec. You can get higher quality HD at a smaller size with DivX.:D
     
  10. zeroARMY

    zeroARMY [H]ard|Gawd

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    Useless comparison. WTF is Squeeze encoder? X264 encoder or GTFO.
     
  11. ICOM

    ICOM 2[H]4U

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    Squinting to see the tiny difference..
     
  12. Bahamut

    Bahamut n00b

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    VP8 will prove useful for streaming purposes only, in my opinion. Those of us that do things like create backups of our media content for use on PCs, home theater systems (PC-based), that sort of thing will continue to use x264 (that's an encoder, you know, which creates h.264 encoded content) and other methods for such purposes.

    VP8 is just another streaming format as far as I'm concerned; I'd never touch it for archival/backup/media purposes on my own hardware. x264 has that covered and is way far ahead in terms of development - and most importantly actual image quality.

    VP8 has a place, just like h.264 does. I don't really see an issue with both co-existing for years to come. Apple will never give up it's footing with h.264/QuickTime so, they'll most likely be the strongest proponent for its continued use, while most everyone else is either already onboard or planning to jump ship soon to VP8 for online purposes.
     
  13. Advil

    Advil [H]ard|Gawd

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    Without looking at the technical deatils of the settings involved, those two pics are worlds apart in quality.

    The H264 is vastly better. The circled areas don't even begin to cover it.

    1) look at the railing behind him on the right. Crisp and in focus on H.264. A blurry mess that blends into the background on VP8.

    2) Defined fingers showing on his hand in H264, blurry in VP8.

    3) The logo on his shirt. Almost legible on the right, no chance on the left.

    4) The sign behind his legs. Defined and in focus on the right, blurry on the left once again losing its definition and just bleeding away into the background.

    5) Color. The SKY has is purple and has bad artifacting on VP8. It is mostly a normal blue tint on H.264.

    No comparison.
     
  14. glutto

    glutto Limp Gawd

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    Most of those screenshots don't match up. Some are off by several seconds. Normally you match exact frames.
     
  15. piscian18

    piscian18 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Im confused. X.264 is free H.264 is not?
     
  16. phide

    phide [H]ard as it Gets

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    x264 is an H.264 encoder.
     
  17. Bahamut

    Bahamut n00b

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    H.264/h.264 is a codec/format, like Xvid, Divx, MPEG2, etc. It's the format for the final encoding - which requires an encoder to create such content.

    x264 it the most popular (and most extensively developed) h.264 encoder out there.

    More info on x264 at:

    http://x264.nl/

    but that's not the only source for info/development.
     
  18. Druneau

    Druneau [H]ard|Gawd

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    why is the timestamp off in the comparaison pictures?
     
  19. Bahamut

    Bahamut n00b

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    Because the person that did the comparison wasn't doing it with frame-accuracy, another issue with the results as many diehard encoder aficionados have pointed out all over the place. ;)
     
  20. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't what the writer's on, but I think h.264 is clearly better in that picture.

    I agree that the first picture both look about the same. The last picture, which he gives to VP8, is hard for me to tell...especially since I'm not sure what I'm looking at.
     
  21. #1RAGE

    #1RAGE Limp Gawd

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    If we're doing a single frame comparison, shouldn't we be comparing the same frame? The time stamp for the VP8 is 00:01:26:07 and for H.264 it is 00:01:26:08. Either way I think it probably makes more sense to compare VIDEO codecs with actual video.
     
  22. Sycraft

    Sycraft [H]ardness Supreme

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    x264 is an open source implementation of the H.264 standard. It is free, as most open source things are, however actually using it without an H.264 license is illegal. Encoders require a patent license from MPEG-LA to be legal.

    Also videos can require a license as well. Currently if the video is distributed for free, it requires no license. However that is valid only until 2015, at which time it may change.

    That is actually the reason for Google's interest in VP8. H.264 isn't free. Many users think it is because they illegally use tools without a license, but that doesn't make it so. Google is also concerned what happens in 2015, if H.264 has become the one and only standard. Perhaps they change their licensing. I mean originally the terms were you had to pay per person who watched a streaming video.

    So the idea of VP8 (or rather the WebM standard Google is pushing) isn't to be better than H.264. It is to be good enough and to not have any fees associated with it. Encoders, decoders, content, etc all will be cost free.
     
  23. Bahamut

    Bahamut n00b

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    So, being somewhat idiotic here, perhaps all the h.264 developers and the VP8 developers should get together and create some VP.264 thingamabob and just make one damned wicked awesome unbeatable monstrously efficient codec once and for all that is completely free for everyone from start to finish, period.

    Enough with the games, developers, get it going on... ;)
     
  24. stiltner

    stiltner [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Its the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray 2.0 fight.

    No matter who wins, it won't matter after the transition is given time to promulgate through the system.

    May the best man win, or the one with the most money and power, whichever has more influence
     
  25. Bloodgod42

    Bloodgod42 Gawd

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    Thats exactly what i was thinking...1 frame off could mean a world of difference.
     
  26. chrnochime

    chrnochime Gawd

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    You probably want to read Sycraft's post above you...
     
  27. Bahamut

    Bahamut n00b

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    I read it just fine, but VP8 currently is technically inferior, hence mine suggesting that all parties involved in all encoding "standards" should actually come together and get the shit straight once and for all with one standard that is the best of everything across the board.

    And HD DVD is a superior format, with better quality too. Ah, so many good ideas with good technology behind them always being supplanted by inferior tech pushed by organizations with agendas and profits as the only thing that matters. Sad...
     
  28. SmokeRngs

    SmokeRngs [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2008

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    You're missing the point. VP8 and h.264 for streaming purposes will have similar qualities regarding video and VP8 probably has room to grow considering it's not as mature as h.264 at this point. From a quality standpoint, there's a good chance the majority of people probably couldn't tell the difference between the two for streaming.

    Now that that is explained and taken care of I can move on to the actual meat of the discussion. This has nothing to do with which codec has the absolute highest quality. This has nothing to do with physical HD media. This has to do with a streaming codec to be used for things like youtube, hulu, netflix and other video streaming services. If I am understanding correctly, those services do not have pay any license fees or royalties in order for people to view their h.264 encoded videos although they do have to pay to encode the videos in the first place. However, in the future, this may not be the case. If VP8 comes into the picture, the use of the encoder will be completely and totally free so there will be no license fees for that part. There will also be no license fees for people to view those videos when encoded with VP8.

    That's the point being discussed here. This has nothing to do with Bluray or HD-DVD or DVD or Betamax or VHS or 70mm film or Polaroid instant cameras. This discussion is about an open source and free streaming video codec.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  29. Bahamut

    Bahamut n00b

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  30. Elledan

    Elledan [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010

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    Apple, who is part of MPEG-LA, has announced the creation of a patent pool for VP8 licenses. Considering the similarities between VP8 and H.264 as pointed out before, this shouldn't come as a surprise. A patent pool for Theora has also been mentioned by the MPEG-LA.

    There is no such thing as a 'free' or 'open' codec when software patents are involved. That's exactly why I started the Wild Fox project, to take a stand against the perversion of the patent system before it becomes a global issue.
     
  31. R0N1

    R0N1 [H]ard|Gawd

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    VP8 sounds good for being open source and patent free, or circumventing patents, if that is really true. I hope they will improve and optimize it over the time, to be a serious contender for h.264. Although h.264 is good and has the quality, the MPEG-LA is really evil with their patents and licenses. Hoping for the best.
     
  32. dr.kevin

    dr.kevin 2[H]4U

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    no contest there.

    vp8 sucks
     
  33. travbrad

    travbrad [H]ard|Gawd

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    VP8 looks significantly worse to me in the "action" scenes, but fairly similar in the slow scenes. Considering the whole point of a video is to show stuff moving that's not very impressive to be honest. It's not completely horrible, but they still have a long way to go.
     
  34. eeyrjmr

    eeyrjmr [H]ardness Supreme

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    why not just push Dirac for the html5 codec (which is what this vp8 vs h.264 is about)

    It is proven, it works well, it is free (which removes the issue of a licence tech used as the cornerstone of an international standard)


    its not about universally replacing h.264 (h.264 is fantastic), it is about finding a comparable, free solution for video playback in video streaming and such. Look at the VAST number of video's on youtube, the quality is crap, magically encoding them in h-264 won't make the pixilated camwhores less pixilated
     
  35. Elledan

    Elledan [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010

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    Dirac is meant for archiving, not streaming. It requires a lot of bandwidth to do its stuff. You can also bet that if Dirac were used more, it'd require a patent license as well.

    Face it, once you go with software patents you'll encounter them everywhere, like a cancerous growth.
     
  36. liquidtrance123

    liquidtrance123 2[H]4U

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    This is the first thing I noticed a lot can change in 1 second when comparing quality like this.
     
  37. Shadow2531

    Shadow2531 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes, indeed. Theora is usable too. I like Theora even better than VP8 (even though VP8 looks better) because watching Theora videos uses way less cpu. In the same way, I like VP8 better than h.264 because watching VP8 videos uses less cpu.

    Even if files containing VP8/Theora video are a little larger and take longer to download, I think that's a good trade for better performance.

    If I want the highest quality, h.264 for sure. But, for sites like youtube etc. I don't want the highest quality and would rather have VP8/Theora. h.264 is just too cpu-intensive.

    So, VP8 might be a good compromise between Theora and h.264.
     
  38. InorganicMatter

    InorganicMatter [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I find it deliciously ironic that the "free open source" alternative to H.264 has portions ripped straight off H.264, which puts it directly in the sights of a patent lawsuit. Isn't the whole point of VP8 to avoid the patent and royalties mess?

    Wouldn't be the first time that Xiph.Org has ripped off MPEG and tried to claim innocence. They've avoided lawsuits so far under obscurity, but I guarantee there's going to be a mess if their formats ever hit mainstream.
     
  39. phide

    phide [H]ard as it Gets

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    Xiph.org and VP8 have nothing to do with each other. WebM uses Vorbis for audio, which is a Xiph.org technology, but VP8 was developed by On2 (Google). On2 also developed VP3, which in use as Theora, but VP8 is a separate technology.
     
  40. trooper11

    trooper11 Limp Gawd

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    vp8 could very well serve as a viable alternative to h.264 for the lower bitrate/quality videos like on youtube, but for anything like youtube HD or hulu, users are expecting higher quality that looks like h.264 is only going to be able to provide for the forseeable future.

    performance is an important, but i think that computer tech is catching up awfully quick to the needs of web based video streaming, especially for HD and h.264. Now that we have onboard video that can offload the demand that h.264 might put on a system, most people wont have to worry about performance strictly.