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webm: the new Matroska sibling

Submitted by robUx4 on Tue, 2010-05-18, 18:10

Today marks a milestone in the history of Matroska. After years of great work from the coders and community to push the format forward, it has been selected as the basis for the new webm format.

webm stands for Web Media (not Web Matroska). It is a subset of Matroska with only the necessary features required for video (and audio) to play over the web. As of today, it is supported by web browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Some video websites like YouTube are already streaming 360p and 720p in the webm format using the HTML5 feature of these browsers. Our tools, like mkvalidator and mkclean, already support webm files; the new version of Haali's Media Splitter can handle webm files; and support in mkvtoolnix has already been added to the next release.

Again, all the Matroska team is thrilled to welcome this new sibling and wish it a long and fruitful life. The Matroska design is well suited for the web and an ever more strict version ensures a wide and consistent support in the whole web and hardware industry. Current Matroska parsers only have to support the new "webm" DocType and the VP8 video and Vorbis audio codec. All the rest is plain and simple Matroska. That allows for completely free and open technologies (specifications and source code) to conquer the web at no cost for users, encoders, or servers.

After a steady growth among the hardware devices that play HD content (Blu-Ray players and other network media players) the Matroska technology is set to play a big part in the future of the web. What started as a side project of a few people is now going to be an industry standard. It shows once again that with hard and passionate work open source developers, by way of open and free technologies, can really have an impact on the life of millions of people. We were often told that our project would never have much influence or support and that it wasn't worth the effort. But we knew the technology we designed was really a good piece of engineering. We kept pushing and the hard work has finally paid off. I would like to sit down for a moment and congratulate all the people who made Matroska what it is now.

-- Steve 'robUx4' Lhomme