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VP9 Codec

Published Date: 5 December 2022

What is VP9 Codec?

VP9 is an open-source video codec technology used in video streaming over the internet. It is a royalty-free coding format released by Google which is known to decrease data transmission bit rate by 50% without causing video quality deterioration. VP9 is developed for higher video resolutions (above 1080p or UHD) and also facilitates lossless compression.

VP9 Coding Profiles

There are multiple variants or "coding profiles" of the VP9 format, which progressively enable greater functionality and features. It starts with the basic profile 0 variant, which is least demanding on the hardware:

profile 0 color depth: 8 bit/sample, chroma subsampling: 4:2:0
profile 1 color depth: 8 bit, chroma subsampling: 4:2:2, 4:2:0, 4:4:4
profile 2 color depth: 10–12 bit, chroma subsampling: 4:2:0
profile 3 color depth: 10–12 bit, chroma subsampling: 4:2:2, 4:2:0, 4:4:4

VP9 vs VP8

VP9 is a successor to VP8 and is currently the built-in codec in WebRTC. While VP8 requires lesser storage space and computing power to compress videos, VP9 is superior where the output quality of the compressed video is concerned. It is recommended to switch to VP9 if you are looking to reduce the network bitrate and ensure higher video quality.

VP9 vs H.264

Like H.265/HEVC, VP9 is twice as advantageous as H. 264, but VP9 still has an upper hand over HEVC when it comes to resolutions beyond HD. This makes VP9 a better choice for videos of different sizes and higher resolutions.

VP9 Use-cases

  • YouTube is the biggest distributor of digital content encoded using VP9.
  • Streaming Goliath like Netflix also leverages the VP9 Coding format in video streaming and downloads.
  • The online streaming platform JW Player uses VP9 alongside H.264 for delivering on-demand video.
  • VP9 can leverage hardware decoding when it comes to Intel and ARM devices.

Related Terms

Video Quality

In simple terms, video quality is the characteristic of a video that determines how clear, crisp, and detailed the video transmitted to the viewer is.

Video Watermark

A video watermark is a digital copyright tool used to identify the video's copyright owner or prevent illegal distribution.


1:1 is a commonly used aspect ratio in videography. It produces videos that are a perfect square; the width and height of the video image are the same.

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