Codec wars – Apple drops the hammer on VP9, chooses H.265 and takes a decision for the industry

The most import aspect is finally, the smartphone, which is the game changer. Other than PayTV content, which is mostly consumed on the STB, content is consumed on mobile devices, smartphones and tablets. And here is where definitely codecs are decided. The fact of the matter is that Apple decided to support only H.265 for 4K content even for devices which are a few years old. This decision alone creates a huge and healthy user base supporting H.265, and H.265 alone. On the other hand, we have Android devices, and here we have the same old story: Google added VP9 support within Android itself, which means that from new and high end devices, to old or low end devices, all support VP9, even if you consider a slideshow as video. However, most current high end devices, the ones which are actually able to decode H.265 or VP9 either on software or hardware, do already support then both on hardware. This however doesn’t mean that things are equal from H.265 and VP9. Not so high end devices, or mid of the market devices, using Snapdragon 810-class or Exynos-7 CPUs.

The inevitable conclusion is that there is only one 4K codec which most mobile devices will ever support: H.265, and there’s little Google can do to prevent this, except actually forbid Android manufacturers from supporting it…

Added the mobile market with the STB market, which is already biased for H.265 means that the industry will inexorably elect H.265 as the next generation codec, rendering VP9 to a market niche. From this day on, H.265 will be the codec to choose. Don’t bother with any other until H.267 comes…


Also published on Medium.