Sony, Intel, Other Companies Rally Behind Google's VP9 4K Video Format

Google's VP9 4K, a video format that consumes close to half the bandwidth necessary to stream high-definition videos, is getting a round of support pledges from several TV manufacturers, the likes of Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Panasonic, Philips, LG, and Sharp, as well as chip makers Nvidia, Qualcomm, Intel, Imagination, Marvell, MediaTek, RealTek, M-Star, and Broadcom.

Large-screen TVs able to support Google's VP9 video codec are already unveiled. During the International CES show in Las Vegas, LG, Panasonic, and Sony will be streaming 4K video from YouTube at their booths.

In the 4K format, videos will be rendered at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Google's VP9 will enable device manufacturers to stream 4K video from online video services with less buffering and less bandwidth.

Supported by the International Telecommunications Union, the H.265, or the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), competes for adoption as a 4K video standard with Google's VP9.

Applications processors and graphic chips that enable PCs, smartphones, and tablets to play back VP9 4K content are also set to be introduced. Nvidia now has developed 4K-equipped mobile chips, while Qualcomm has already unveiled its 4K-capable Snapdragon 805 mobile processor. Smartphones from HTC, LG, Nokia, and Samsung are powered by Qualcomm processors. Meanwhile, ARM-based chip manufacturer Rockchip will support both the VP9 and H.265 hardware decode capabilities.

Although new chips are set to offer support for the 4K video format, it is uncertain whether or not they will contain on-chip decoders or will entail specially designed accelerators. This is because chips rely on different forms of technology in order to read video formats fast.

VP9 acceleration is already supported by the Mozilla Firefox browser and the Videolan media-playing software.

Talking to TechCrunch's Frederic Lardinois, Francisco Varela, Google's global director for platform partnerships, said that VP9 native support is expected in the 2015 models of certain TVs and Blu-ray players. Throughout 2014, computers and mobile devices would also support the new Google video codec. For the majority of laptops and high-end mobile devices, a software decoder is available, so hardware support becomes optional. Varela, however, recommends hardware support because it ensures the longest battery life. (KOM) Link. Link.

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