WebM is a video file format. It is primarily intended to offer a royalty-free alternative to use in the HTML5 video tag. 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. WebM initially supported VP8 video and Vorbis audio streams. In 2013 it was updated to accommodate VP9 video and Opus audio.

WebM logo.svg

Vendor support


Native WebM support by Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome was announced at the 2010 Google I/O conference. Internet Explorer 9 requires third-party WebM software. Safari for Mac OS X relies on QuickTime to play web media, which as of 1 April 2011, does not support WebM unless a third-party plug-in is installed. In January 2011, Google announced that the WebM Project Team will release plugins for Internet Explorer and Safari to allow playback of WebM files through the standard HTML5 <video> tag. As of 9 June 2012, a public preview version of this plug-in is available for Internet Explorer 9.

VLC media player, MPlayer and K-Multimedia Player have native support for playing WebM files. 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. On 23 July 2010, Fiona Glaser, Ronald Bultje, and David Conrad of the FFmpeg team announced the ffvp8 decoder. Through testing they determined that ffvp8 was faster than Google's own libvpx decoder. MKVToolNix, the popular Matroska creation tools, have implemented support for multiplexing/demultiplexing WebM-compliant files out of the box. Haali Media Splitter has also announced support for muxing/demuxing of WebM. As of version 1.4.9, the LiVES video editor has support for realtime decoding and for encoding to WebM format using ffmpeg libraries.

MPC-HC as of SVN 2071 and higher builds supports WebM playback with internal VP8 decoder based on FFmpeg's code. The full decoding support for WebM is available in MPC-HC since version 1.4.2499.0.

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

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

iOS does not natively play WebM.


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

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

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.

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.

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


An example of a WebM video
  • YouTube offers WebM videos as part of its HTML5 player. All uploaded files are encoded into WebM in 360p, 480p, 720p and 1080p resolutions. YouTube has committed to encode its entire portfolio of videos to WebM. The YouTube app for the Nintendo Wii uses WebM for streaming videos or H.263 as a fall-back option.
  • Wikimedia uses WebM for the HTML5 player.
  • Skype has implemented the VP8 codec into the Skype 5.0 software.
  • 4chan has supported WebM (VP8 only) files on all boards since 6 April 2014. Only files without audio tracks are permitted on most boards, as the container's role on the site is meant as a replacement for the older GIF filetype and not for sharing video.


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

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

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

See also

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