Patent incumbent H.264 will soon lose its dominance as YouTube, the world's biggest online video content creator, switches to WebM, the free and open source codec.
A YouTube blog by James Zern, Software Engineer, states, "...all new videos uploaded to YouTube are now transcoded into WebM. WebM is an open media file format for video and audio on the web. Its openness allows anyone to improve the format and its integrations, resulting in a better experience for you in the long-term. As we work to transcode more videos into WebM, we hope to reduce the technical incompatibilities that prevent you from accessing video while improving the overall online video landscape."
The blog further stated, "Transcoding all new video uploads into WebM is an important first step, and we’re also working to transcode our entire video catalog to WebM. Given the massive size of our catalog - nearly 6 years of video is uploaded to YouTube every day - this is quite the undertaking. So far we’ve already transcoded videos that make up 99% of views on the site or nearly 30% of all videos into WebM. We’re focusing first on the most viewed videos on the site, and we’ve made great progress here through our cloud-based video processing infrastructure that maximizes the efficiency of processing and transcoding without stopping. It works like this: at busy upload times, our processing power is dedicated to new uploads, and at less busy times, our cloud will automatically switch some of our processing to encode older videos into WebM."
Major browsers such as Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome either way do not support H.264. Microsoft and its fremeny Apple which own, and charge royalty fee for, H.264 initially refused to adopt the free and open source video format exposing their agenda of keeping the web locked into their proprietary technologies.
Fortunately, both Apple and Microsoft are no more in the position to dictate the web. Google is pushing for free and open WebM and we can see it is already happening.
Don't worry that doesn't mean YouTube won't support H.264 anymore. "In keeping with our goal of making videos universally accessible, we will continue to support H.264 as an important codec for video on YouTube. We are also committed to continuing to develop our HTML5 video player that we announced last year, and if you’d like to join the opt-in trial, you can do so here," wrote Zern in the blog.
What it means is WebM will be the default format, H.264 the supported on.