Google sure works fast.

Back in April the tech giant showed off a new compression algorithm called VP9 that promised to cut internet traffic by as much as 25 per cent, by reducing the data used by streaming by half. Now, not even five months later, one of Google’s engineers has announced VP10, an algorithm that’s even better in an interview with CNET.

Google’s James Bankoski told CNET that VP10 reduces the amount of data needed to stream online video in half again. That’s double the amount that VP9 cut earlier this year.

That’s huge, especially for South Africans who have to deal with connections of 4mbps and slower. It means they will soon be able to enjoy watching 4K videos online, without having to wait all day for those videos to cache.

Even ignoring relatively slow local internet connections, South Africa’s severe data constraints and less-than-generous data caps streaming 4K movies, online video will require less bandwidth, and that’s fantastic news indeed.

There is a catch, however; VP10 is only expected to be up and running by the end of 2016, after which it will be up to non-YouTube online video platforms to integrate it into their services.

Fortunately, just as with VP9, using VP10 is entirely free to use so it won’t discourage platform holders from adopting it, unlike competing algorithms like Apple’s patented and therefore pay-to-use H.26x codecs.

This development is just part of the story of the transition from traditional mediums (DVDs, decoder-based pay-TV subscriptions and the like) to an entirely online model. The race is on to see whose technology will become the de facto standard for manufacturers of smart TVs and online video platforms.

To get the lowdown on how that’s progressing, the latter half of CNET’s article is lengthy and detailed and it’s highly recommended that you give it a read.

However the transition pans out, one thing you can be sure of is that lovers of online video will be the winners, as video quality gets better and network usage and bandwidth requirements drop as the big tech giants continually refine their code. And with South Africa making good progress on deploying fibre connections to businesses and homes, our online video future is looking bright.

All that’s left is to convince VOD providers to ditch Adobe Flash in favour of far more efficient technologies, and we’ll be well on our way to online video heaven.

[Source – CNET, Image – YouTube]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.