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September 8, 2015

Announcing VP9 support coming to Microsoft Edge

Today, we’re excited to announce that WebM/VP9 support is now in development in Microsoft Edge. VP9 is an open source video format that offers efficient compression to stream HD content at lower bitrates, and is well suited to UHD streaming. Initial support for VP9 will be available in Windows Insider Preview builds soon. This is part of our continuing effort to expand codec offerings in Windows. We continue to evaluate other formats and look forward to receiving feedback as we work on implementing them.

VP9 Support

Our initial VP9 implementation in Microsoft Edge will support adaptive streaming using Media Source Extensions, and will be detectable using the MediaSource.isTypeSupported() API. It will be specifically targeted to meet the needs of websites that use VP9 to deliver video in combination with MP4/AAC or other audio codecs already supported by Microsoft. We are working on future support for VP9 for media tags and local playback, as well as considering support for additional audio formats likely to be used with VP9 such as Opus.

VP9 Usage

Our implementation of VP9 will support software decoding and, when supported by the device, hardware decoding. Since decoding video is computationally complex, the best experience with the software decoder will be seen on more powerful desktop and laptop computers.

Given this, VP9 will initially be implemented behind an experimental flag in Microsoft Edge as we continue to work with industry partners on broader support for hardware decoding, and as we evaluate support for additional audio formats. Users can view their current experimental flag settings and change the defaults by navigating to “about:flags” in the browser. A setting will be available that alternatively enables or disables VP9 support.

Other Formats

We are committed to continually adding new formats to Microsoft Edge to ensure our customers have the best streaming experiences. As part of this commitment, this week Microsoft became a founding member of the newly formed Alliance for Open Media. This announcement represents a commitment from Microsoft and other member companies to specify and develop new open technologies and formats that meet the needs of future media applications. VP9 and other video technologies, such as Thor and Daala, will be a starting point for this new media format work.

Beyond this, there are other existing open source audio and video formats we are evaluating, beginning with OGG, Opus, and Vorbis. We will continue to regularly update Microsoft Edge Platform Status page to identify formats that are in development or under consideration for future releases.

A preview implementation of WebM/VP9 will be available in an upcoming Windows 10 Insider Preview release. We’re eager for your feedback so we can further improve our media format support in Microsoft Edge!

– Andy Glass, Principal Program Manager, Silicon, Graphics & Media
– Jerry Smith, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge