Daala: Mozilla and Xiph to develop free video codec

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 25, 2013
Updated • Jun 25, 2013
Music and Video

The goal of the Daala project is to create a new video compression technology that is free to "implement, use and distribute".  The two major video codecs that will change the web in the near future, H.265 and V9, are not free which is a problem in itself. While Google announced that its VP9 video compression standard will be royalty free, Nokia believes that it is violating patents the company holds so that at least some uncertainty remains for now.

Daala aims to deliver what Mozilla, Xiph and Skype already did with Opus, a royalty free audio codec that has been standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as RFC 6716 about a year ago. This time though, the aim is to create a royalty free video compression codec.

That is however not the only thing that makes Daala interesting. The developers aim to deliver performance that is one generation ahead of current generation formats such as VP9. Unlike VP9 which rely on a basic codec design that dates back more than 20 years to H.261, Daala will introduce a new "codec design" and new coding techniques that the other codecs do not take advantage of.

Check out this page on the Xiph website if you are interested in a - very - technical introduction of Daala and the technologies that the developers aim to use.

Daala tries for a larger leap forward— by first leaping sideways— to a new codec design and numerous novel coding techniques. In addition to the technical freedom of starting fresh, this new design consciously avoids most of the patent thicket surrounding mainstream block-DCT-based codecs. At its very core, for example, Daala is based on lapped transforms, not the traditional DCT.

Daala development code is available on the project's working repository.

A time line has not been posted so that we do not know yet when a first version of the codec will be made available to the public, let alone when it will be integrated into the Firefox web browser.

Clear is however that the project partners want the codec to be standardized by the IETF, and that it will eventually land in Firefox. (via Sören Hentzschel)


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  1. sades said on June 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Another fragmentation and now it’s even for yet to be developed technology, just great.

    1. Tonino said on October 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      Yeah great!
      So let’s stop innovating so that we don’t have fragmentation…
      An open source next generation codec is one of the best things that could happen.

  2. lainiwaku said on June 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    that look good,
    h264/VP8 was for 720p video (1080p still heavy for a h264 movie)

    h265/VP9 will be for 1080p movie (and not for 4k like some people said, codec compress just 50% better not 200% ^^)

    and daala codec, will help 4k coming (2016-2017)

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