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Old 18th June 2013, 21:26   #201  |  Link
Bloax
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Well as of the current, my experience with VP9 is that encoding is glacial - and decoding either whines about lacking FPS settings (despite vpxenc.exe outright refusing to work if you use the --fps xx/--fps=xx switch) or just outright refuses to be output.

i must be doing something horribly wrong
except it's not told anywhere so joke's on them
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Old 18th June 2013, 22:12   #202  |  Link
benwaggoner
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Originally Posted by Bloax View Post
Well as of the current, my experience with VP9 is that encoding is glacial - and decoding either whines about lacking FPS settings (despite vpxenc.exe outright refusing to work if you use the --fps xx/--fps=xx switch) or just outright refuses to be output.

i must be doing something horribly wrong
except it's not told anywhere so joke's on them
I think it's just that VP9 and HEVC are really at similar development stages right now. If Google puts the productization resources into VP9 that HEVC is getting, the bitstream will get a good shake.

The risk is that, like with VP3-9, we'll see a potentially promising bitstream get hobbled by having on a single vendor focused on it with an unhealthy PSNR bias, competing with a whole lot of other companies making big bets on making the best implementation for particular scenarios of the mainstream MPEG/ITU codec.

Single-developer codecs have been successful in the past; RealVideo and Windows Media did quite well in their eras, and certainly help their own and more versus MPEG-4 Part 2. But things were different with H.264. Momentum begats momentum, and when you have 90% of the world's best encoder developers focused on a particular bitstream, implementations get better fast.

I believe that if Microsoft had a sustained, coordinated effort around improving VC-1 after 2007 it would have remained quite competitive for some time (dynamic frame resizing was a hugely effective feature and much more friendly for software decoders than H.264's expensive in-loop deblocking). But there weren't any other companies in the wings to take lead in implementation when Microsoft progressively disbanded the Digitial Media Division and its component parts until there was simply no center of excellence for digital media instead Microsoft; just a lot of little teams solving their own local problems with the staff at hand and with very little coordination.

A successful VP9 will see multiple third parties competing hard to make the best implementation for particular scenarios of note. Even if it had a bitstream with 10% more raw potential, real-world results from having 10 focused encoding companies trying to make HEVC better would easily swamp that 10%. Psychovisual and scenario-specific tuning can drive 50% efficiency improvements in a couple of years.
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Old 18th June 2013, 23:49   #203  |  Link
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I'd say it isn't completely the same. They were frantically working on the bitstream itself for this whole first half of this year, whereas HEVC was virtually done since january... which means codec developers have had a head start. Ateme, MainConcept, Vanguard, Cyberlink, Elemental and some other broadcast guys already announced their stuff, and that is just software. There are probably more players preparing to announce their encoders (and working on the code)...

What I wholeheartedly agree with is that as long as the only VP9 vendor is Google, the real produced encodes won't be anything spectacular, for the reason you described. I admit that I haven't been following how much VP8 changed over the three years that it was supposed to be on market (but was it? Google pushed it for yt, but that is opt-in for users, and of course it is natural for Google to deploy it, even if it sucked completely). But what I see now is still a codec with no psychovisual tuning - how much progress has there really been on the video quality? So if I had to judge based on VP8, then no, VP9's quality isn't really going to see much progress
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Old 19th June 2013, 10:59   #204  |  Link
Bathrone
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Well as of the current, my experience with VP9 is that encoding is glacial
The discussion list for the project clearly says that they are not optimizing the code right now. Up till recently the focus of the project has been the bit stream. Optimization is the next phase.

Gee you critics are needlessly harsh. No one seems to recognise that here we have a competitor to HEVC, but we can legally use it without patent claims. x264 was always legally unclear in many countries because H.264/AVC is covered by lots of patents which some countries would enforce. Now we have a next gen codec that is totally free of patent encumberment. That alone makes it worth more interest than HEVC so we arent writing cheques out to media cartels
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Old 19th June 2013, 13:37   #205  |  Link
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Google have committed to using it on Youtube and that internal usage alone should be enough to drive performance increases since they're accepting 100 hours of new video every minute (and encoding it in multiple resolutions). That's possibly enough money coming out of some department's budget to pay for the engineering time by itself. Though, having said that, I'm guessing they're relatively happy with single-threaded code, since they've got plenty of other videos they can use the spare cores for.

They've also announced their intention to push it for video chat in Chrome via WebRTC project. This also gives them motivation (from within yet another separate team within Google with it's own objectives to meet) to optimise for realtime and multithreaded encoding on various chipsets.

Same applies for decode in Chrome, (primarily at first with content from Youtube) but I don't know if anyone's complained about that being slow yet, or if it actually is or not (I seem to recall this being a relative strong point of VP8). If anyone is going to feel that pressure though it's the Chrome team, particularly on netbooks and mobile.

So I wouldn't worry about it too much, particularly based on a bitstream that's just been frozen.
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Old 19th June 2013, 21:23   #206  |  Link
benwaggoner
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The discussion list for the project clearly says that they are not optimizing the code right now. Up till recently the focus of the project has been the bit stream. Optimization is the next phase.
Correct. The slow speed of the current encoder shouldn't be considered intrinsic to the technology itself. That said, the VPx series has typically lagged in speed @ quality performance.

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Gee you critics are needlessly harsh. No one seems to recognise that here we have a competitor to HEVC, but we can legally use it without patent claims.
It may be found to be true that VP9 doesn't infringe on any patents, but experience suggests it'll be some years and lots of patent attorney billable hours before there's a clear answer to that.

Both VP8 and VC-1 wound up with lots of patent claims being asserted that weren't anticipated during standardization.

Quote:
x264 was always legally unclear in many countries because H.264/AVC is covered by lots of patents which some countries would enforce. Now we have a next gen codec that is totally free of patent encumberment. That alone makes it worth more interest than HEVC so we arent writing cheques out to media cartels
One upside to MPEG-LA licensed technologies is that all the major patent owners in the video space agree to not assert any patent claims against anyone who has licensed the technology. So while there is the cost of licensing, the potential attack surface of patent claims is much, much smaller.

Sometimes it's cheaper to pay a known amount with relative security than it is to pay nothing but have to account for a higher risk of patent claims. Even if a patent is invalidated, defending against them is expensive, time consuming, and adds business risk.

The last popular "patent free" codec was MPEG-1. Since then, the industry has repeatedly voted that "free" has the potential of being way too expensive to be worth it.

Companies hate unbound risk. And AFAIK, no company that has a MPEG-LA license for H.264 has ever had a meaningful economic hit from losing a patent suit.

That said, there's lots of stuff that Google could do to mitigate those risks, like indemnifying all VP9 licensees. Thus they'd defend all VP9 patent claims and reimburse companies for any actual damages they were required to pay. Or a patent pool could be formed. It wouldn't have to be the MPEG-LA model; Google could potentially just pay a one-time fee for indemnification from the major patent-holding companies.

The licensing side of things strikes me as too ambiguous to worry about too much right now. The real question is whether VP9 will be a competitive bitstream, and for which scenarios.

If there's important stuff that VP9 can do substantially better than HEVC, there will be a lot of momentum to take care of licensing issues one way or another.
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Old 19th June 2013, 21:31   #207  |  Link
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No one seems to recognise that here we have a competitor to HEVC, but we can legally use it without patent claims.
I can legally use an HEVC, H.264, etc. codec without worrying about patent claims. So VP9 gains me nothing in that area.

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x264 was always legally unclear in many countries because H.264/AVC is covered by lots of patents which some countries would enforce.
It was pretty much known from the beginning that you had to license MPEG-LA patents in order to distribute x264 binaries or that using x264 to do commercial distribution of video (such as VOD, commercial Blurays, etc.) would require royalty payments in the United States. The MPEG-LA was quite upfront about the terms with regards to H.264. There was never anything "legally unclear" unless you were willfully ignorant.

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Originally Posted by Bathrone View Post
Now we have a next gen codec that is totally free of patent encumberment.
Again, irrelevant for most people here.

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Originally Posted by Bathrone View Post
That alone makes it worth more interest than HEVC so we arent writing cheques out to media cartels
I've yet to write a single check to a "media cartel" to use H.264 or for the HEVC test encodes I've done. So apparently this "interest" is lost on me.

Last edited by paradoxical; 19th June 2013 at 21:33.
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Old 20th June 2013, 12:28   #208  |  Link
dapperdan
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Or a patent pool could be formed. It wouldn't have to be the MPEG-LA model; Google could potentially just pay a one-time fee for indemnification from the major patent-holding companies.
This (may have) already happened. There's some vagueness about the strength, number, essential-ness and validity of the patents and that impacts on how much Google paid them but the companies that came forward for MPEG-LA's patent pool seem to have opted for the latter approach rather than the standard usage fee based pool which points to either weak patents or a big bag of cash from Google (or some combination thereof).

http://blog.webmproject.org/2013/03/vp8-and-mpeg-la.html

List of the companies involved (which wasn't made available at the time the story initially broke):
http://www.webmproject.org/cross-license/primary-licensors/

Google seems to have demonstrated it's commitment to fighting/paying off anyone it needs to so I'm not sure the remaining suits from Nokia make VP8 any worse in this regard than H.264 given the Motorola suits.

(Note the pool was formed around VP8, but the agreement covered VP9. Maybe other companies outside that group will claim patents on VP9 incremental improvements over VP8, but that seems much less serious than hassle from the big players)

Last edited by dapperdan; 20th June 2013 at 12:31. Reason: add link to announcement
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Old 20th June 2013, 13:10   #209  |  Link
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Wasn't there something about Nokia refusing to join the VP8/9 patent pool, leaving Google a bit in an awkward position?
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Old 20th June 2013, 14:01   #210  |  Link
dapperdan
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Wasn't there something about Nokia refusing to join the VP8/9 patent pool, leaving Google a bit in an awkward position?
Yeah, they're currently suing HTC over Android using a bunch of patents, some of which is VP8 related.

They also listed 12 or so patents at the IETF that they claim VP8 infringes (though there's no business reason for them to be truthful here and some other highly respected names in IP spam pretty much any related IETF disclosure since there's no downside to claiming too much)

https://datatracker.ietf.org/ipr/2035/

list with clickable links to actual patent filings:

http://mdpaste.appspot.com/p/agdtZHBhc3Rlcg0LEgVQYXN0ZRjJoxYM

And some more background info:

http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20130324162902177

So Google has to work around, pay for, invalidate or win in court (and/or the court of popular opinion), or call Nokia's bluff on those patents for VP8 (and I'm assuming they apply, or not, roughly equally to VP9) and it's very possible Nokia have more "encoding video *on a phone*" type patents they could dig up if they really wanted to.

Last edited by dapperdan; 20th June 2013 at 14:12. Reason: link for better list
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Old 20th June 2013, 17:27   #211  |  Link
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so I'm not sure the remaining suits from Nokia make VP8 any worse in this regard than H.264 given the Motorola suits.
That is sadly not true. Motorola was contractually obliged to license those patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to any implementer. (Their suit with MS was most likely a breach of that and the courts will beat them into submission.)

However, VP8 as a proprietary 1-vendor made codec is different. Nokia has no obligations at all with regards to 1) giving the license at all 2) asking ridiculous sums of money 3) withholding the license from select subjects (f.e. based on if they are competition to Nokia).

Basically, Nokias patent once found infringed are (can be used as) a show-stopper, Motorola's patents just mean paying a small royalty.
Naturally, there is a chance that Google will buy the needed license to those patents as it did with the MPEG-LA-related companies.
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Old 20th June 2013, 18:59   #212  |  Link
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I don't believe it's been fully settled that you can't use those kind of patents to block imports. Even if it finally goes that way, that's been a long time that people have been able to throw crippling legal threats about that would be enough to sink most small players and had the big players worried enough to go running to the government for help.

There's also Microsoft vs Alcatel-lucent that's been rumbling on for years and with awards of up to 1.5 billion which was all about MPEG patents too. I believe part of the argument there is similar in that they were supposed to be signed up for MPEG-LA but thought they could do a bit better out of the deal by trolling instead.

Bottom line is, lots of patents + lots of money leads to lots of problems, and MPEG-LA isn't the panacea it's often made out to be
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Old 20th June 2013, 20:01   #213  |  Link
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Well, with MPEG-LA, you have at least the promise of FRAND licensing by MPEG-LA players - and luckily, by other subjects too - because you enter into such an obligation when you license H.264 from them (and H.264 licensing is extremely wide-spread thanks to its ubiquity).

With VP*, the only one promising anything to you is Google. Google's license has similar grant-back term, so people who use VP8 can't sue you for using VP8. However, Google hasn't been able to catch as many as potentially threatening parties on that hook, compared to MPEG-LA.

I agree that MPEG-LA doesn't give you certainty either, but there is a real difference there.
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Old 21st June 2013, 11:24   #214  |  Link
Bathrone
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Both VP8 and VC-1 wound up with lots of patent claims being asserted that weren't anticipated during standardization.
Ben you make some well founded points in your post, thanks for that

Im thankful for competition to HEVC and choice for us who want to use next gen codecs
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Old 21st June 2013, 12:21   #215  |  Link
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Well, with MPEG-LA, you have at least the promise of FRAND licensing

...

With VP*, the only one promising anything to you is Google.

...

Google hasn't been able to catch as many as potentially threatening parties on that hook, compared to MPEG-LA.
Unfortunately there's no actual legal definition for FRAND (which is crazy when you think about it). They're currently beating out some kind of compromise in the courts, but that's where it's happening *in courts*, during high profile legal cases with no guarantee of how things will turn out and with all sorts of threats of import bans (which were ruled legal by at least some courts, so not a total hail mary play) based on MPEG-LA FRAND patents.

...

I posted a link to the list of the people who are promising you their patents for VP8 at no cost above:

CIF Licensing LLC

France Telecom

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.

Fujitsu Limited

Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.

LG Electronics Inc.

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

MPEG LA, LLC

NTT DOCOMO, INC.1

Panasonic Corporation

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Siemens Corporation2

...

VP8 has been a core part of Android since 2.3, and basically everyone uses android, or builds chips for android so the list of non-vp8 users is shrinking fast. (Android is of course big in phones and tablets, but it's expanding to laptops, desktops, TVs etc.)

...

The difference is subtle and complicated while it is often represented as black and white.

Last edited by dapperdan; 21st June 2013 at 12:26.
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Old 29th June 2013, 21:21   #216  |  Link
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Did a quick 'spot-check' comparison of the latest 6/28 master commit. Long story short, nothing much has really changed, and I doubt much will change for months and years, as the 0.x-1% refinements take a while to add up.

This is versus an HEVC anchor clip: Kimono @ QP32. Matched bitrate and keyint as usual, and same settings as previous encodes but this time, preset was changed to Best (not sure if there's much of a difference...).

VP9 bitsream

Side-by-side comparison vs HEVC. Encoded at CRF10

This is only one point of data, so I can't give an all encompassing bd-rate number, but I can say that in this single instance VP9 needs ~32% more bits for the same quality.

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Old 29th June 2013, 23:56   #217  |  Link
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The VP9 encoder shows quite serious issues after the scenechange, so it might be rate-control messing up the results a bit. /Still not an excuse, since they want to push this format fast for example on youtube. The videos will be screwed there for years I guess /
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Old 30th June 2013, 00:11   #218  |  Link
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You can run the VP9 encoder in two-pass mode, probably that will fix the scene change problems
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Old 30th June 2013, 14:50   #219  |  Link
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You can run the VP9 encoder in two-pass mode, probably that will fix the scene change problems
Yes, from what I gather from reading the mailing list, they (Google) run all their VP9 encodes as two-pass, also cq-level and end-use=cq seems to be silently ignored (defaulting to end-use=vbr), I guess they'll work on cq at a later stage in development.
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Old 1st July 2013, 03:51   #220  |  Link
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You can run the VP9 encoder in two-pass mode, probably that will fix the scene change problems
I didn't realize the one-pass option is now enabled(?); it wasn't working for the longest time.

In any case, the sample above was with VP9's 2pass, as it'd be a lot more difficult to get matched bitrates otherwise.

Quote:
vp9enc $input -o $output.webm --codec=vp9 --target-bitrate=$bitrate \
--kf-min-dist=0 --kf-max-dist=$kint -p 2 --best --end-usage=vbr --static-thresh=0 \
--min-q=0 --max-q=63 --auto-alt-ref=1 --lag-in-frames=25 --limit=$frms \
--minsection-pct=0 --maxsection-pct=2000 --bias-pct=50 \
--arnr-maxframes=7 --arnr-strength=5 --arnr-type=3

Last edited by xooyoozoo; 1st July 2013 at 03:54.
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