Google’s Clever Video Codec VP9 Cuts the File Size of a Video in Half
Google and YouTube’s new VP9 video codec is going to have a huge impact on video and the internet. A video codec is an algorithm that takes raw video data and shrinks it down to a manageable amount of data, a trade off between quality and video size. And as you probably know, growing video streaming from services like Hulu and Netflix places a huge burden on internet service providers and in the US many do not have access to fast broadband like fiber optic FiOS and Google Fiber. The new codec will not only help speed up video on YouTube but it is open source so it may soon be utilized by video on demand and streaming services like Netflix.
This is a huge benefit for all internet users, especially those that like to upload and produce video on YouTube or their own sites, and those that don’t have access to fast broadband. For some that previously could stream 480p video over their poor internet connection, they’ll now be able to get 720p and better viewing experience. A Gizmodo article explains, “Over half of internet traffic is video; if you can cut the file-size of those videos in half, you decrease total internet traffic by a quarter.” With some brilliant math, Google now has done the equivalent of spending tens of millions on improving infrastructure by laying new fiber optic cable over thousands of miles. Also, as we’ve all experienced with mobile, our 3G and 4G networks cannot provide anywhere near the speed we can get with fiber – and growing mobile usage and growing video demand means we NEED smaller video files.
It will also have an impact on smartphone users who like to take video, starting with the Galaxy S6. With VP9 users’ videos will be smaller in size, being easier and faster to share with less storage taken up.
You have to love technology with advancements and achievements like this, and similar achievements in data storage. It wasn’t long ago that a small flash drive could only hold 1 or 2MB and cost was high, now for a fraction of the cost you can get a thumb drive or even a micro SD card the size of your fingernail that holds 64MB – or spend more and get a 128MB or even 512MB on a micro SD!