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Filename extension
Internet media type
Developed byInitially On2, Xiph, and Matroska; later Google
Initial releaseMay 18, 2010; 11 years ago (2010-05-18)[1]
Latest release
(December 19, 2019; 23 months ago (2019-12-19))
Type of formatVideo file format
Container forVP8/VP9/AV1 (video)
Vorbis/Opus (audio)
Extended fromLimited subset of Matroska
Open format?Yes[3]

WebM is an audiovisual media file format.[4] 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.[3][5][6] WebM initially supported VP8 video and Vorbis audio streams. In 2013, it was updated to accommodate VP9 video and Opus audio.[7]

An example of a WebM video

Vendor support[edit]


Native WebM support by Mozilla Firefox,[8][9] Opera,[10][11] and Google Chrome[12] was announced at the 2010 Google I/O conference. Internet Explorer 9 requires third-party WebM software.[13] In 2021, Apple released Safari 14.1 for macOS, which added native WebM support to the browser.[14] As of 2019, QuickTime does not natively support WebM,[15][16] but does with a suitable third-party plug-in.[17] 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.[18] As of 9 June 2012, Internet Explorer 9 and later supported the plugin for Windows Vista and later.[19]

VLC media player,[20] MPlayer, K-Multimedia Player and JRiver Media Center have native support for playing WebM files.[21] 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.[22] On July 23, 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.[23][24] MKVToolNix, the popular Matroska creation tools, implemented support for multiplexing/demultiplexing WebM-compliant files out of the box.[25] Haali Media Splitter also announced support for muxing/demuxing of WebM.[25] 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.[23][26] The full decoding support for WebM is available in MPC-HC since version 1.4.2499.0.[27]

Android is WebM-enabled since version 2.3 Gingerbread,[28] which was first made available via the Nexus S smartphone and streamable since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.[29]

In September 2015, Microsoft announced that the Edge browser in Windows 10 would add support for WebM (Opus, Vorbis, VP9).[needs update][30]

On July 30, 2019, Blender 2.80 was released with WebM support.[31]

iOS did not natively play WebM originally,[32] but support for WebM was added in Safari 15 as part of iOS 15.[33]

The Sony PlayStation 5 supports capturing 1080p and 2160p footage in WebM format. [34]


WebM Project licenses VP8 hardware accelerators (RTL IP) to semiconductor companies for 1080p encoding and decoding at zero cost.[35] AMD, ARM and Broadcom have announced support for hardware acceleration of the WebM format.[36][37] Intel is also considering hardware-based acceleration for WebM in its Atom-based TV chips if the format gains popularity.[38] Qualcomm and Texas Instruments have announced support,[39][40] with native support coming to the TI OMAP processor.[41] Chips&Media have announced a fully hardware decoder for VP8 that can decode full HD resolution (1080p) VP8 streams at 60 frames per second.[42]

Nvidia is supporting VP8 and provides both hardware decoding and encoding in the Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i SoCs.[43] Nvidia announced 3D video support for WebM through HTML5 and their Nvidia 3D Vision technology.[44][45][46]

On January 7, 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.[47]

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.[48]

ST-Ericsson and Huawei also had hardware implementations in their computer chips.[49]


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.[50] The Free Software Foundation, which maintains The Free Software Definition, has given its endorsement for WebM and VP8[51] and considers the software's license to be compatible with the GNU General Public License.[52][53] On January 19, 2011, the Free Software Foundation announced its official support for the WebM project.[54] In February 2011, Microsoft's Vice President of Internet Explorer called upon Google to provide indemnification against patent suits.[55]

Although Google has irrevocably released all of its patents on VP8 as a royalty-free format,[56] the MPEG LA, licensors of the H.264 patent pool, have expressed interest in creating a patent pool for VP8.[57][58] Conversely, other researchers cite evidence that On2 made a particular effort to avoid any MPEG LA patents.[59] 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.[60][61] 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.[62][63]

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.[64] Nokia listed 64 patents and 22 pending applications, adding it was not prepared to license any of them for VP8.[65] On August 5, 2013, a court in Mannheim, Germany, ruled that VP8 does not infringe a patent owned and asserted by Nokia.[66]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Release v0.9.0 – webmproject/libvpx – GitHub, May 18, 2010
  2. ^ "Release 2020-7-30 v1.9.0 "Quacking Duck"". github.com. July 30, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "WebM FAQ". May 19, 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.
  4. ^ "The WebM Project – About WebM". webmproject.org.
  5. ^ Doig, Jeremy; Jazayeri, Mike (May 19, 2010), Introducing WebM, an open web media project, WebM Project, retrieved May 19, 2010
  6. ^ Montgomery, Chris (May 19, 2010), Xiph.Org announces support for the WebM open media project, Xiph, retrieved May 20, 2010
  7. ^ "The WebM Open Media Project Blog: VP9 Lands in Chrome Dev Channel". webmproject.org.
  8. ^ Shaver, Mike (May 19, 2010). "Open Web, Open Video and WebM". The Mozilla Blog. Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  9. ^ Blizzard, Christopher (May 19, 2010). "Firefox, YouTube and WebM". Mozilla Hacks. Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Mills, Chris (May 19, 2010). "Opera supports the WebM video format". Dev.Opera. Opera Software ASA. Retrieved March 8, 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.
  12. ^ Bankoski, Jim (May 19, 2010). "WebM and VP8 land in Chromium". The Chromium Blog. Google Inc. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  13. ^ Hachamovitch, Dean (March 16, 2011). "HTML5 Video Update—WebM for IE9". IEBlog. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved March 16, 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...
  14. ^ avis (April 29, 2021). "New WebKit Features in Safari 14.1". WebKit. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  15. ^ "Apple – QuickTime – QuickTime Player – Tech Specs". Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  16. ^ "Media formats supported by QuickTime Player in Mac OS X v10.6". Apple Support. Apple Inc. January 28, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  17. ^ "Adding additional media format support to QuickTime". Apple Support. Apple Inc. January 24, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  18. ^ Jazayeri, Mike (January 14, 2011). "More about the Chrome HTML Video Codec Change". The Chromium Blog. Google Inc. Retrieved March 8, 2011. the WebM Project team will soon release plugins that enable WebM support in Safari and IE9 via the HTML standard <video> tag
  19. ^ "WebM Media Foundation Components for Microsoft Internet Explorer". WebMProject.org. The WebM Project. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  20. ^ VideoLan – VLC 1.1.0 Release, VideoLAN
  21. ^ Add webm/VP8 support to native matroska demuxer., June 5, 2010
  22. ^ ffmpeg 0.6 release, ffmpeg.org, June 15, 2010
  23. ^ a b Diary Of An x264 Developer: Announcing the world's fastest VP8 decoder, archived from the original on 30 September 2010
  24. ^ PATCH VP8♫ decoder, FFmpeg-devel, June 15, 2010
  25. ^ a b webm support in Matroska tools, Matroska.org, May 20, 2010
  26. ^ Add : Internal VP8 Decoder, June 23, 2010
  27. ^ "Changelog/1.4.2499.0", Media Player Classic Home Cinema, September 7, 2010, retrieved August 28, 2012
  28. ^ Android 2.3 Platform Highlights, Android Developer, December 6, 2010
  29. ^ "Supported Media Formats – Android Developers". developer.android.com.
  30. ^ Monty Montgomery (September 2, 2015). "Comments on the Alliance for Open Media, or, "Oh Man, What a Day"". Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  31. ^ "Reference/Release Notes/2.80/Import Export - Blender Developer Wiki". wiki.blender.org. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  32. ^ "Steve Jobs says no to Google's VP8 WebM codec". AppleInsider. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  33. ^ "Apple Developer Documentation". developer.apple.com. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  34. ^ "How to change PS5 video capture formats". Android Central. November 16, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  35. ^ WebM Video Hardware RTLs, WebM Project
  36. ^ Metz, Cade (May 19, 2010), Google open sources $124.6m video codec, The Register
  37. ^ Broadcom Accelerates WebM Video on Mobile Phones, Newswire, May 19, 2010
  38. ^ Shah, Agam (May 27, 2010), Intel eyes hardware acceleration for Google's WebM, ComputerWorld
  39. ^ Talluri, Raj (May 19, 2010), Google's Impact on Web Video, Qualcomm
  40. ^ Meehan, Joseph (May 19, 2010), Our OMAP processors embrace WebM and VP8 with open ARMs, Texas Instruments
  41. ^ Demo of WebM Running on TI OMAP 4 Processor, WebM Project, October 5, 2010, retrieved October 15, 2010
  42. ^ Chips&Media delivers latest dual HD video IP core with VP8 hardware decoding capability, Design & Reuse, November 18, 2010
  43. ^ "Tegra 4 GPU Whitepaper" (PDF). Nvidia. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  44. ^ Introducing 3D WebM Support with NVIDIA 3D Vision, The WebM Open Media Project Blog, May 26, 2011
  45. ^ YOUTUBE NOW IN 3D VISION, NVIDIA Blog, May 26, 2011
  46. ^ Open 3D video comes to the web thanks to NVIDIA, YouTube and Mozilla, ThinkDigit News, May 26, 2011
  47. ^ Rockchip and WebM Release RK29xx – World's First SOC to Support WebM HD Video Playback in Hardware, PRNewsWire, January 7, 2011
  48. ^ ZiiLABS VP8 Support Delivers Smooth Playback of 1080p WebM Video on ZMS Processors, ZiiLABS, June 11, 2011
  49. ^ Aki Kuusela (March 29, 2012). "WebM Gaining Momentum in Hardware". WebM Hardware Team. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  50. ^ DiBona, Chris (June 4, 2010), Changes to the WebM Open Source License, WebM
  51. ^ Lee, Matt (May 19, 2010), Free Software Foundation statement on WebM and VP8, Free Software Foundation
  52. ^ Smith, Brett. "Google's updated WebM license". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  53. ^ "Various Licenses and Comments about Them – GNU Project – Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
  54. ^ Smith, Brett. "No double standards: supporting Google's push for WebM". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  55. ^ "HTML5 and Web Video: Questions for the Industry from the Community". February 2, 2011.
  56. ^ Metz, Cade (May 20, 2010), Google backs open codec against patent trolls, The Register
  57. ^ Metz, Cade (May 21, 2010), Google open video codec may face patent clash, The Register
  58. ^ Fulton, Scott M. (May 21, 2010), Patent pool may be in the works for 'free' VP8 codec, Betanews
  59. ^ Daffara, Carlo (May 25, 2010), An analysis of WebM and its patent risk, carlodaffara.conecta.it
  60. ^ Catan, Thomas (March 4, 2011), Web Video Rivalry Sparks U.S. Probe, The Wall Street Journal
  61. ^ Cheng, Jacqui (March 4, 2011). "Report: DoJ looking into possible anti-WebM moves by MPEG LA". Ars Technica. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  62. ^ "Google and MPEG LA make a deal over VP8 codec – Update". The H. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  63. ^ "Google and MPEG LA Announce Agreement Covering VP8 Video Format" (PDF). March 7, 2013.
  64. ^ "Nokia and Google clash on web video tech". BBC News. March 25, 2013. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  65. ^ "Nokia Corporation's Statement about IPR related to RFC 6386". March 21, 2013. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  66. ^ "The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Good News from Germany". webmproject.org.

External links[edit]