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Definition - What does VP9 mean?

VP9 is a video codec technology developed by Google. VP9 is an open-source technology and is free from royalty fees. The VP9 codec is mostly used for streaming videos over the Internet and claims to reduce the bit rate of video transmissions by 50% while maintaining a high quality. The VP9 codec, which is an improvement over the VP8 codec and was previously named "NGOV" (Next Generation Open Video), is supported by both the Chrome browser and YouTube. It is a native format in HTML5 and works with Opus audio and Ogg Vorbis codecs.

Techopedia explains VP9

The VP9 video format is a royalty-free video compression technology that is contained in the WebM open source project sponsored by Google along with VP8. The VP9 codec is similar to the HEVC (H.265) codec and supports parallel processing. It is capable of reducing the bit rate to half of the original figure without affecting the video quality and enables better streaming for low-end devices like smartphones. It is capable of compressing video files and streams at 4K resolution.

A video codec compresses raw video using an algorithm to make it fit for transmitting over the Internet. An ultra HD video has a huge amount of information, making it difficult to transmit over the Internet. VP9 provides an efficient way to compress such large video files without losing much of the quality. With VP9, it is possible to stream a 720p video over a channel that could previously handle only 480p videos.

It uses a 64×64 superblock which is subdivided into smaller blocks for compression. It supports four transform sizes: 32×32, 16×16, 8×8 and 4×4. The VP9 codec codes each frame into three sections, namely the uncompressed header, compressed header and compressed frame data.

The VP9 codec is already supported by many YouTube streams and Netflix video services. It has been announced that YouTube will be using VP9 as the standard format. It is supported by many tech giants like LG, Panasonic, Sony, ARM, Broadcom, Samsung, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Mozilla, Toshiba and many more. The major competitor to VP9 codec is the HEVC – High Efficiency Video Coding or the H.265 which is not an open-source codec. VP9 encoder solutions are also provided by many vendors.

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