http://newteevee.com/2010/04/12/google-to-open-source-vp8-for-html5-video/ Why X264, while "royalty free" isn't free: http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2010/02/royalty-free-codec-still-needed-despite-no-cost-h264-license.ars And the FSF's note: http://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/google-free-on2-vp8-for-youtube For those that are wondering how this breaks down, the short: On the web you have several video formats, but primarily they are: WMV/ASF/VC1: Streaming branching CODECSs, sponsored by MS, and then later made open, now under a governing body. The only purpose for these at this point is bi-directional communication (think video conferencing), or security monitoring, because of their ridiculously small bandwidth.. but as a result, putting aside vc1, not so good quality. MPG: The age old, the only universal support, but low quality. FLV/Flash: Flash Video. Adobe. H264: MPEG-LA's patent holding CODEC, currently used pretty much everywhere. Royalty free on distribution (though initial licensing as etc. must be paid to the body, normally not by the end user) OGG-Theora: An Open Source CODEC, about 7 years old. Widespread support. Not so good quality. VP8 is On2's format. Pros: * Completely open source as the patent holder is saying it intends to go permanently royalty and licensing free. * Equal to slightly higher quality then x264. * Very, very low CPU usage in comparison to other products to get 1080P at a much lower bitrate while maintaining quality: http://www.dspdesignline.com/214303691?printableArticle=true (example: a 60Mhz ARM decodes 1080P) * More then Apple's announcement today, opening up VP8 is a killer for something like Flash. Unlike H264, the easy implementation of user-led encoding with much faster encode times and smaller files make it more available to the average joe consumer. Cons: * It's again, a new format. This will be an easy adoption for open devices because if Google does make this open, you can count on this showing up on every Android phone, used in Youtube, etc. But new formats mean locked devices will have difficulty joining in. * Your early supporters are: Google (of course), Mozilla, Opera. Who's not in that list? Apple and Microsoft. If Google decides to move Youtube toward a VP8 standard instead of H264 - which is possible, especially since the encoding process and storage would immediately mean less pressure on their servers, you'd have another row about what content is now available where. * HTML5 is not ratified. And one of the sticking points has been video standards. Despite the thought that "oh, it's H264", it isn't. There have been numerous who have argued for Ogg-Theora, because of it's open standard. If google and Mozilla back VP8 over H264, and make it licensing free, they could win the backing of several other providers, and their access to content could change the idea of what web video is. But now that this appears a done deal, as it had been rumored all through this morning, but word is on everywhere that VP8 is coming to all Android and google will make it open, this may make a very positive change for web creation.