Though offering virtually the same picture quality, VP8 (WebM) and H.264 are distinct codecs that have occasionally divided WebRTC developers (Source: Streaming Learning Center)
Last year, the IETF Working Group for WebRTC settled a crucial video codec debate that has paved the way for more WebRTC development. At question was whether VP8 or H.264 should be implemented as WebRTC's video codec of choice. Ultimately, the IETF ruled that WebRTC browsers must incorporate both codecs in order for the browser to be fully WebRTC compliant. Their full conclusions were:
- WebRTC compatible browsers must incorporate both VP8 and H.264.
- WebRTC devices must implement VP8 and H.264.
- WebRTC-compatible endpoints are free to implement any video codec they see fit.
The ruling has given developers more clarity and leeway when they work with WebRTC. But what exactly separates VP8 from H.264 in the first place?