On the October 2021 episode of WebRTC Live, Arin welcomed Google Senior Software Engineer and co-editor of the WebCodecs and MediaCapabilities web specifications, Chris Cunningham, to explore what WebRTC developers need to know about WebCodecs.

WebCodecs is a low-level API that exposes encoders, decoders, video frames, and similar interfaces at the JavaScript level. As WebCodecs is built on top of the API, it is a unified interface for using a variety of codecs like VP9 or AV1.

Chris’ presentation centered around defining WebCodecs, where you can find it, what types of real-time communications apps it is useful for and at what scale, where it is not so useful, and where the API is heading.

WebCodecs is currently available in Chrome94 and Edge. Firefox is planning on introducing it in the current year. No word yet on Safari!

Like any media API on the web, the codec support is going to vary across browsers and to some extent across the platform even for a common browser. His presentation includes a chart of the current state of codec support for Chrome.

Chris helped us understand the motivating uses for WebRTC, including:

  • You want more control over the way WebRTC does quality adaptation for network/CPU fluctuations.
  • You want to configure specific encoder settings, for example a specific flavor of SVC or if you wanted to customize the latency of the encoder

Questions from the viewers included real world use cases, frame size, video overlays using canvas vs WebCodecs, and WebGPU. 

At the end of the episode, Chris encouraged everyone to take a look at the spec and identify gaps. He knows the work is not done. “File a bug!” he enthused. 

For more more about the code behind WebCodecs, watch WebRTC and Real-Time Applications Web Codecs and the Next Generation of Web Media APIs, from the 2021 Real Time Communications Conference at IIT.

Save the date for WebRTC Live #61 on November 10 with Varun Singh!

Watch Episode #60!

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Never miss an episode of WebRTC Live, our webinar series hosted by WebRTC.ventures Founder and CEO, Arin Sime. We feature the latest use cases and technical updates to this increasingly popular coding standard for live video. Watch past episodes on our WebRTC Live page, our YouTube channel, and on our blog. Better yet, use the form in the right sidebar to join our mailing list and be among the first to know about upcoming episodes and the latest news in WebRTC!

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