The world of digital media and video encoding has been resonating with one buzzword over the last decade – WebM. Better known as Google's groundbreaking royalty-free and open-source video format, WebM or Web Media File is a revolutionary video file format with a bright future ahead.
With that in mind, let's discuss the WebM video format, features, advantages, specifications, and applications. All these start from the question: what is WebM?
In this article
What Is WebM Format?
WebM or Web Media File is an innovative Matroska-based, open-source, royalty-free video media file format for storing audio/video content. Developed by Google in 2010, WebM is an online video file format designed for modern-day virtual streaming environments.
Google developed WebM as an open-source alternative to the once-popular H.264 video codec. Since using H.264 in HTML5 audio and video incur licensing fees, WebM is a royalty-free alternative that provides better performance, higher video quality, and streaming convenience without additional costs.
Thanks to that, WebM supports various commercial and non-commercial use cases.
Technical Information About the WebM File Format
WebM digital streams include integrations of audio and video-compression technologies, such as Vorbis, Opus, VP8, and VP9. Because of that, WebM video file format is compatible with a wide range of web browsers, online media players, and operating systems.
You can play WebM files in:
- Common video players like Winamp, Kodi, and VLC;
- Latest Android versions;
- YouTube HTML5 player;
- Browsers like Internet Explorer and Safari (third-party plugins are required);
- Leading web browsers like Firefox, Opera, Chrome, etc.
Here's a brief overview of the WebM file format technical specifications:
- Audio codec – Opus and Vorbis.
- Video codec – VP8 and VP9;
- Uniform type identifier – org.webmproject.webm;
- Audio-only MIME-type – audio/webm;
- MIME-type – video/webm.
Below are the key features and advantages of using the WebM video file format.
Advantages of WebM
WebM offers a few advantages compared to other widely popular video formats like AVI, MKV, and MP4. Here are a few benefits you should know about.
👍Top video quality and small file sizes
The WebM format utilizes advanced video compression techniques to support smaller file sizes without sacrificing video quality. It can deliver top-grade videos with relatively small file sizes.
That's why WebM is the preferred video format for streaming platforms such as Vimeo, Twitch, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, etc.
👍Reduced webpage size
The internet is all about speed. Businesses invest a lot of time, effort, and resources to ensure their optimized web pages open as quickly as possible. However, the loading time will depend on the size of the page.
With WebM, you can speed up the load times of your web pages by reducing the size of web page elements, like large videos, heavy files, etc.
Online video streaming requires web-optimized video formats that differ from those for traditional offline media playback and broadcasting. WebM meets these unique internet-based video requirements by supporting high-quality, real-time video delivery across different platforms and devices.
👍HTML 5 standards
WebM complies with the latest HTML 5 standards, allowing you to activate WebM for different web browsers and platforms.
WebM is highly convertible due to its high-grade compatibility with various tools, players, devices, and browsers. You can easily convert any media content to WebM.
Main Applications of the WebM Format
Let's take a closer look at some of the main use cases for WebM, such as video streaming, web applications, and online communication.
Web Use of WebM
WebM supports open web standards. Its immense accessibility, compatibility, and interoperability ideally match the open web principles. Because of that, anyone can use and access WebM videos without the need to search for proprietary technologies.
More importantly, these traits make WebM highly compatible with major online platforms and web applications. The WebM multimedia format is highly compatible with an array of well-known web browsers and can play videos directly in your preferred browser using HTML5.
The list of compatible browsers includes:
- Microsoft Edge;
- Internet Explorer;
- Safari (iOS);
- Android browser;
- Opera Mobile;
- Chrome and Firefox (Android);
- Samsung Internet.
WebM and Streaming Services
WebM is one of the preferred royalty-free, open-source, top-grade video formats for offline and online video streaming due to superior audio and video compression efficiency without sacrificing video quality. Though WebM videos are small in size, they maintain high resolution. Thanks to that, WebM can greatly simplify video streaming.
WebM is highly compatible with various well-known online streaming services, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, etc. It also supports an extensive selection of video players, such as VLC, Filmora, Winamp, Media Player Classic, KMPlayer, MS Media Player, etc.
WebM for Online Communication
Since WebM is highly compatible with various streaming platforms and web apps, you can use it in most video conferencing tools. That makes WebM an ideal video file format for online communication, including sharing and delivering top-class video content on the web.
Google developed WebM as a unique video file format for HTML5 to ensure it works well on online communication platforms and websites.
WebM vs. MP4
Though WebM and MP4 share some similarities, they are quite different. Compared to WebM, MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4) is a container format that follows ISO/IEC standards with one difference – it offers higher levels of compatibility. MP4 supports subtitles, audio, video, and images. It also supports multimedia components, such as user menus and interactivity.
The most obvious differences between the two include:
- File size and quality – since WebM is an internet-optimized video format, it delivers a higher compression ratio and smaller files.
- Royalties – both formats deliver exceptional streaming quality. However, MP4 is patented, whereas WebM is royalty-free.
- Compatibility – compared to WebM, MP4 supports more web browsers and mobile and desktop devices. Most Apple devices, such as iPads and iPhones, don't support WebM playback.
Here's a comparison table on overall information on WebM vs. MP4.
|Low and optimized for the web (thanks to a higher compression ratio than MP4)
|Medium to high
|Patent encumbered (H.264)
|Supported audio and video codecs
|Audio codecs: Vorbis, Opus
Video codecs: VP8, VP9, AV1
|Audio codecs: AAC, AC3, ALS, SLS, MP3, MP2, MP1, CELP, HVXC, TwinVQ, TTSI, SAOL, Apple Lossless
Video codecs: AV1, MPEG–2, AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265), MP4V-ES, VP9
|Support for major browsers, platforms, devices, and streaming services; designed for web streaming and sharing; not compatible with iPads and iPhones
|All major media players, platforms, devices, and browsers
Tips: How to Manage WebM Video Files Effectively
Keeping your WebM files well-organized offers many advantages. First, nicely labeled and stored WebM files are easy to find – no more endless browsing through chaotic folders full of no-name files.
File organization also helps you manage your WebM files according to your needs. If you need to quickly edit a WebM video, it will be easier to fetch specific files and make editing much faster.
Here are some tips to help you organize and manage your WebM video files.
Label and date your files clearly
Find the most consistent method to name and date your WebM files to simplify file management and keep your WebM videos organized and easy to find.
Create a manageable folder structure
Keep different WebM video files in sub-folders and create different folders for all video projects to make it easier to differentiate between different projects. Ideally, keep image, audio, and video files in separate folders.
Use tags to organize your WebM files
Tagging can be extremely useful for tagging WebM video files with memorable and recognizable keywords. If you're a video production fan, use a professional video editing tool to tag video files and make them searchable in the file browser.
Have a recovery plan in case of data loss or file corruption
Many computer users have experienced these unpleasant data-loss scenarios, including WebM video files. Consider using a professional data recovery solution like Wondershare Recoverit to avoid such a risk.
It's a reliable and secure data and video recovery software service that can help you avoid data loss by significantly enhancing the prospects of data recovery in a variety of situations, such as:
- Accidental file deletion;
- Storage device or hard disk formatting;
- Virus or malware attack;
- Data transfer interruption;
- Disk corruption;
- Computer system crash;
- Partition loss.
Wondershare Recoverit can recover data of all types of files and file systems from over 2000 storage devices. The software gathers and pieces together the fragments of your videos to ensure successful photo and video recovery.
If any of the mentioned scenarios caused you to lose your WebM files, download and install Recoverit on your computer, then follow these steps to get your files back.
- Launch Recoverit on your computer and navigate the main menu to the File Recover section;
- Click Hard Drives and Locations to select a location to start file recovery;
- Click Start to initiate recovery;
- Wondershare Recoverit will scan the selected destination automatically to locate retrievable WebM files;
- Use available search filters to filter recoverable WebM files;
- Preview the retrievable WebM files and click Recover to get them back;
- Select a path to save the recovered WebM files and click Save.
WebM is one of the most effective video file formats for online video streaming due to its immense compatibility with multimedia players, online streaming services, web browsers, and devices. Thanks to its advanced audio/video compression capabilities, the WebM video file format is ideal for the web due to its top-quality picture and lightweight size.
Though it's not as compatible as MP4 with older browsers and devices, WebM is the future of digital streaming and online video encoding. In addition, WebM is more versatile than alternative file formats.
It's open-source, royalty-free, highly compressed, low in file size, and capable of producing top-quality visual output. It's also fully optimized for the web, making it the preferred choice for content creators, web developers, remote teams, etc.
Is WebM better than MP4?
Both video formats offer great advantages for users. So, it all comes down to the use cases for your video. If you need to upload videos for streaming, we recommend WebM.
It's compatible with modern web browsers and can stream HTML5. MP4, on the other hand, is a more appropriate option for ensuring higher compatibility with more devices and top-quality playback.
What frame rate does WebM support?The maximum supported frame rate for WebM is 240 FPS. That makes WebM an ideal video file format for high-speed video playback.
Can I convert other video formats to WebM?Yes, you can. WebM is compatible with a range of video formats. However, you'll need a reliable online video converter to perform video conversion. You can also use the VLC Media Player to convert video formats like MP4 to WebM.