Filename extension .webm
Internet media type video/webm,
Developed by Initially On2, Xiph, and Matroska; later Google
Initial release May 18, 2010 (2010-05-18)[1]
Latest release
(January 4, 2017 (2017-01-04))
Type of format Video file format
Container for VP8/VP9/AV1 (video)
Vorbis/Opus (audio)
Extended from Limited subset of Matroska
Open format? Yes[2]
Website www.webmproject.org

WebM is an audiovisual media file format.[3] It is primarily intended to offer a royalty-free alternative to use in the HTML5 video and the HTML5 audio elements. It has a sister project WebP for images. The development of the format is sponsored by Google, and the corresponding software is distributed under a BSD license.

The WebM container is based on a profile of Matroska.[2][4][5] WebM initially supported VP8 video and Vorbis audio streams. In 2013, it was updated to accommodate VP9 video and Opus audio.[6]

Vendor support


Native WebM support by Mozilla Firefox,[7][8] Opera,[9][10] and Google Chrome[11] was announced at the 2010 Google I/O conference. Internet Explorer 9 requires third-party WebM software.[12] Safari for Mac OS X relies on QuickTime to play web media.[13] As of 2017 QuickTime did not itself support WebM,[14][15] but did with a suitable third-party plug-in.[16] In 2011, the Google WebM Project Team released plugins for Internet Explorer and Safari to allow playback of WebM files through the standard HTML5 <video> tag.[17] As of 9 June 2012, Internet Explorer 9 and later supported the plugin for Windows Vista and later.[18]

VLC media player,[19] MPlayer and K-Multimedia Player have native support for playing WebM files.[20] FFmpeg can encode and decode VP8 videos when built with support for libvpx, the VP8/VP9 codec library of the WebM project, as well as mux/demux WebM-compliant files.[21] On 23 July 2010 Fiona Glaser, Ronald Bultje, and David Conrad of the FFmpeg team announced the ffvp8 decoder. Their testing found that ffvp8 was faster than Google's own libvpx decoder.[22][23] MKVToolNix, the popular Matroska creation tools, implemented support for multiplexing/demultiplexing WebM-compliant files out of the box.[24] Haali Media Splitter also announced support for muxing/demuxing of WebM.[24] Since version 1.4.9, the LiVES video editor has support for realtime decoding and for encoding to WebM format using ffmpeg libraries.

MPC-HC since build SVN 2071 supports WebM playback with internal VP8 decoder based on FFmpeg's code.[22][25] The full decoding support for WebM is available in MPC-HC since version 1.4.2499.0.[26]

Android is WebM-enabled since version 2.3 Gingerbread,[27] which was first made available via the Nexus S smartphone and streamable since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.[28]

In September 2015, Microsoft announced that the Edge browser in Windows 10 would add support for WebM (Opus, Vorbis, VP9).[29]

iOS does not natively play WebM.[30]


WebM Project licenses VP8 hardware accelerators (RTL IP) to semiconductor companies for 1080p encoding and decoding at zero cost.[31] AMD, ARM and Broadcom have announced support for hardware acceleration of the WebM format.[32][33] Intel is also considering hardware-based acceleration for WebM in its Atom-based TV chips if the format gains popularity.[34] Qualcomm and Texas Instruments have announced support,[35][36] with native support coming to the TI OMAP processor.[37] Chips&Media have announced a fully hardware decoder for VP8 that can decode full HD resolution (1080p) VP8 streams at 60 frames per second.[38]

Nvidia is supporting VP8 and provides both hardware decoding and encoding in the Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i SoCs.[39] Nvidia announced 3D video support for WebM through HTML5 and their Nvidia 3D Vision technology.[40][41][42]

On 7 January 2011, Rockchip released the world's first chip to host a full hardware implementation of 1080p VP8 decoding. The video acceleration in the RK29xx chip is handled by the WebM Project's G-Series 1 hardware decoder IP.[43]

In June 2011, ZiiLABS demonstrated their 1080p VP8 decoder implementation running on the ZMS-20 processor. The chip's programmable media processing array is used to provide the VP8 acceleration.[44]

Also ST-Ericsson and Huawei have hardware implementations in their computer chips.[45]


The original WebM license terminated both patent grants and copyright redistribution terms if a patent infringement lawsuit was filed, causing concerns around GPL compatibility. In response to those concerns, the WebM Project decoupled the patent grant from the copyright grant, offering the code under a standard BSD license and patents under a separate grant.[46] The Free Software Foundation, which maintains the Free Software Definition, has given its endorsement for WebM and VP8[47] and considers the software's license to be compatible with the GNU General Public License.[48][49] On 19 January 2011, the Free Software Foundation announced its official support for the WebM project.[50] In February 2011, Microsoft's Vice President of Internet Explorer called upon Google to provide indemnification against patent suits.[51]

Although Google has irrevocably released all of its patents on VP8 as a royalty-free format,[52] the MPEG LA, licensors of the H.264 patent pool, have expressed interest in creating a patent pool for VP8.[53][54] Conversely, other researchers cite evidence that On2 made a particular effort to avoid any MPEG LA patents.[55] As a result of the threat, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) started an investigation in March 2011 into the MPEG LA for its role in possibly attempting to stifle competition.[56][57] In March 2013, MPEG LA announced that it had reached an agreement with Google to license patents that "may be essential" for the implementation of the VP8 codec, and give Google the right to sub-license these patents to any third-party user of VP8 or VP9.[58][59]

In March 2013, Nokia filed an objection to the Internet Engineering Task Force concerning Google's proposal for the VP8 codec to be a core part of WebM, saying it holds essential patents to VP8's implementation.[60] Nokia listed 64 patents and 22 pending applications, adding it was not prepared to license any of them for VP8.[61] On 5 August 2013, a court in Mannheim, Germany, ruled that VP8 does not infringe a patent owned and asserted by Nokia.[62]

See also


  1. Release v0.9.0 – webmproject/libvpx – GitHub, Google, 18 May 2010
  2. 1 2 "WebM FAQ". 19 May 2010. WebM is an open media file format designed for the web. WebM files consist of video streams compressed with the VP8 video codec and audio streams compressed with the Vorbis audio codec. The WebM file structure is based on the Matroska media container.
  3. "The WebM Project – About WebM". webmproject.org.
  4. Doig, Jeremy; Jazayeri, Mike (19 May 2010), Introducing WebM, an open web media project, WebM Project, retrieved 19 May 2010
  5. Montgomery, Chris (19 May 2010), Xiph.Org announces support for the WebM open media project, Xiph, retrieved 20 May 2010
  6. "The WebM Open Media Project Blog: VP9 Lands in Chrome Dev Channel". webmproject.org.
  7. Shaver, Mike (19 May 2010). "Open Web, Open Video and WebM". The Mozilla Blog. Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  8. Blizzard, Christopher (19 May 2010). "Firefox, YouTube and WebM". Mozilla Hacks. Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  9. Lie, Håkon Wium (19 May 2010). "Welcome, WebM <video>!". Opera Labs. Opera Software ASA. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  10. Mills, Chris (19 May 2010). "Opera supports the WebM video format". Dev.Opera. Opera Software ASA. Retrieved 8 March 2011. On the day of the announcement, Opera released an experimental WebM-enabled build. This feature is now part of the core functionality of Opera 10.60 and all of our future desktop browser releases.
  11. Bankoski, Jim (19 May 2010). "WebM and VP8 land in Chromium". The Chromium Blog. Google Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  12. Hachamovitch, Dean (16 March 2011). "HTML5 Video Update—WebM for IE9". IEBlog. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 16 March 2011. IE9 supports HTML5 video using WebM for Windows customers who install third-party WebM support. As an industry, we still face many legitimate, unanswered questions about liability, risks, and support for WebM, such as [~snip~].
  13. "Safari HTML5 Audio and Video Guide: Audio and Video HTML". Safari Developer Library. Apple Inc. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2011. Safari on the desktop (Mac OS X and Windows) supports all media supported by the installed version of QuickTime, including any installed third-party codecs.
  14. "Apple – QuickTime – QuickTime Player – Tech Specs". Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  15. "Media formats supported by QuickTime Player in Mac OS X v10.6". Apple Support. Apple Inc. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  16. "Adding additional media format support to QuickTime". Apple Support. Apple Inc. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  17. Jazayeri, Mike (14 January 2011). "More about the Chrome HTML Video Codec Change". The Chromium Blog. Google Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2011. the WebM Project team will soon release plugins that enable WebM support in Safari and IE9 via the HTML standard <video> tag
  18. "WebM Media Foundation Components for Microsoft Internet Explorer". WebMProject.org. The WebM Project. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  19. VideoLan – VLC 1.1.0 Release, VideoLAN
  20. Add webm/VP8 support to native matroska demuxer., 5 June 2010
  21. ffmpeg 0.6 release, ffmpeg.org, 15 June 2010
  22. 1 2 Diary Of An x264 Developer: Announcing the world’s fastest VP8 decoder, archived from the original on 30 September 2010
  23. PATCH VP8♫ decoder, FFmpeg-devel, 15 June 2010
  24. 1 2 webm support in Matroska tools, Matroska.org, 20 May 2010
  25. Add : Internal VP8 Decoder, 23 June 2010
  26. "Changelog/1.4.2499.0", Media Player Classic Home Cinema, 7 September 2010, retrieved 28 August 2012
  27. Android 2.3 Platform Highlights, Android Developer, 6 December 2010
  28. "Supported Media Formats – Android Developers". developer.android.com.
  29. Monty Montgomery (2 September 2015). "Comments on the Alliance for Open Media, or, "Oh Man, What a Day"". Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  30. "Steve Jobs says no to Google's VP8 WebM codec". AppleInsider. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  31. WebM Video Hardware RTLs, WebM Project
  32. Metz, Cade (19 May 2010), Google open sources $124.6m video codec, The Register
  33. Broadcom Accelerates WebM Video on Mobile Phones, Newswire, 19 May 2010
  34. Shah, Agam (27 May 2010), Intel eyes hardware acceleration for Google's WebM, ComputerWorld
  35. Talluri, Raj (19 May 2010), Google's Impact on Web Video, Qualcomm
  36. Meehan, Joseph (19 May 2010), Our OMAP processors embrace WebM and VP8 with open ARMs, Texas Instruments
  37. Demo of WebM Running on TI OMAP 4 Processor, WebM Project, 5 October 2010, retrieved 15 October 2010
  38. Chips&Media delivers latest dual HD video IP core with VP8 hardware decoding capability, Design & Reuse, 18 November 2010
  39. "Tegra 4 GPU Whitepaper" (PDF). Nvidia. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  40. Introducing 3D WebM Support with NVIDIA 3D Vision, The WebM Open Media Project Blog, 26 May 2011
  41. YOUTUBE NOW IN 3D VISION, NVIDIA Blog, 26 May 2011
  42. Open 3D video comes to the web thanks to NVIDIA, YouTube and Mozilla, ThinkDigit News, 26 May 2011
  43. Rockchip and WebM Release RK29xx -- World's First SOC to Support WebM HD Video Playback in Hardware, PRNewsWire, 7 January 2011
  44. ZiiLABS VP8 Support Delivers Smooth Playback of 1080p WebM Video on ZMS Processors, ZiiLABS, 11 June 2011
  45. Aki Kuusela (2012-03-29). "WebM Gaining Momentum in Hardware". WebM Hardware Team. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
  46. DiBona, Chris (4 June 2010), Changes to the WebM Open Source License, WebM
  47. Lee, Matt (19 May 2010), Free Software Foundation statement on WebM and VP8, Free Software Foundation
  48. Smith, Brett. "Google's updated WebM license". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  49. "Various Licenses and Comments about Them – GNU Project – Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  50. Smith, Brett. "No double standards: supporting Google's push for WebM". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  51. "HTML5 and Web Video: Questions for the Industry from the Community". 2 February 2011.
  52. Metz, Cade (20 May 2010), Google backs open codec against patent trolls, The Register
  53. Metz, Cade (21 May 2010), Google open video codec may face patent clash, The Register
  54. Fulton, Scott M. (21 May 2010), Patent pool may be in the works for 'free' VP8 codec, Betanews
  55. Daffara, Carlo (25 May 2010), An analysis of WebM and its patent risk, carlodaffara.conecta.it
  56. Catan, Thomas (4 March 2011), Web Video Rivalry Sparks U.S. Probe, The Wall Street Journal
  57. Cheng, Jacqui (4 March 2011). "Report: DoJ looking into possible anti-WebM moves by MPEG LA". Ars Technica. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  58. "Google and MPEG LA make a deal over VP8 codec – Update". The H. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  59. "Google and MPEG LA Announce Agreement Covering VP8 Video Format" (PDF). 7 March 2013.
  60. "Nokia and Google clash on web video tech". BBC News. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  61. "Nokia Corporation's Statement about IPR related to RFC 6386". 21 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  62. "The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Good News from Germany". webmproject.org.
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