YouTube Ogg Theora+Vorbis & H.263/H.264 comparison

On Jun 13th 2009 Chris DiBona of Google claimed on the WhatWG mailing list:

“If were to switch to theora and maintain even a semblance of the current youtube quality it would take up most available bandwidth across the Internet.”

Everyone who has ever encoded a Ogg Theora/Vorbis file and in parallel encoded one with another codec will have to immediately protest. It is sad that even the best people fall for FUD spread by the un-enlightened or the ones who have their own agenda.

Fortunately, Gregory Maxwell from Wikipedia came to the rescue and did an actual “YouTube / Ogg/Theora comparison”. It’s a good read and a comparison on one video. He has put his instructions there, so anyone can repeat it for themselves. You will have to start with a pretty good quality video though to see such differences.

4 thoughts on “YouTube Ogg Theora+Vorbis & H.263/H.264 comparison

  1. Well there is an issue with hardware decoding. For example my phone has mpeg4 decoding inbuilt ….. it doesn’t have theora…..

    1. Dave

      MPEG4 support in a phone means there is some software installed that provides that support. It is possible to implement such support for Ogg Theora/Vorbis, too. And future phones could have that software pre-installed or installable, too. In fact, there are already implementations for some mobile phone platforms. It’s not an unsurmountable challenge.

  2. I’m wondering if they might be basing this on what videos look like if you’ve transcoded from MPEG4. They *do* look terrible if you do that. But if you transcode from a good-quality original source (e.g. DVD, DV), they come out great.

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