Google Hangouts switches to VP8, goes HD
Google has been upgrading its video conferencing Hangouts service lately. They’ve upped the resolution to 1280×720 entry-level HD. In addition, they’ve changed codecs, from H.264 to Google’s own VP8 standard, which the company acquired from On2 in 2009. VP8 is less computationally demanding, which enables the higher resolution.
In addition—and maybe even more importantly—Google believes VP8 to be royalty free, while H.264 is royalty bearing (although streaming is royalty free through the end of 2016). We’ve supported VP8 for quite some time, and the videantis v-MP4280 can decode 8 simultaneous 1280x720p 30fps bitstreams at a low-power 400MHz.