What are VP6, VP7, VP8 and VP9 formats?

VP6, VP7, VP8 and VP9 are proprietary high-definition video compression formats and codecs developed by On2 Technologies and used in platforms such as Adobe Flash Player 8 and above, Adobe Flash Lite, Java FX and other mobile and desktop video platforms. A video codec is a device or software that enables compression or decompression of digital video, audio and metadata including subtitles and closed captioning.

Digital video codecs are found in DVD players and recorders, video CD systems, in emerging satellite and digital terrestrial broadcast systems and in various digital devices and software products with video recording or playing capability. Online video material is encoded by a variety of codecs, and this has led to the availability of codec packs, a pre-assembled set of commonly used codecs combined with an installer available as a software package for personal computers.

On2 TrueMotion VP6 is a proprietary lossy video compression format and video codec. It is an incarnation of the TrueMotion video codec, a series of video codecs developed by On2 Technologies. This codec is commonly used by Adobe Flash, Flash Video and JavaFX media files. The VP6 codec was introduced in 2003. Later incarnations of this codec are VP7 and VP8. With the Google acquisition of On2, VP8 is licensed as open source. Earlier versions such as VP6 remain unsupported.

VP7 is a proprietary lossy video compression format and video codec introduced as a successor to VP6 in 2005 with improvements in compression of digital video, making file-sharing for such uses as archiving and transcription of video source material more convenient. Move Networks used the VP7 codec in its Move Media Player plug-in for Firefox and Internet Explorer, used by ABC and Fox networks for streaming of full network television shows.

VP8 is a video compression format owned by Google and created by On2 Technologies as a successor to VP7. In 2010, after the purchase of On2 Technologies, Google provided an irrevocable patent promise on its patents for implementing the VP8 format and released a specification of the format under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. That same year, Google also released libvpx, the reference implementation of VP8, under a BSD license.

VP9 is an open and royalty-free video compression standard developed by Google. VP9 is a successor to VP8. Chromium, Chrome, Firefox and Opera support playing VP9 video format in the HTML5 video tag. Development of VP9 started in 2011 with one of its goals being to reduce the bitrate by 50% compared to VP8 while having the same video quality.