This article is part 19 of the "21 Thoughts on Video Streaming in 2021"-series.

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar (Founder at OTTVerse) shares his 2021 thoughts on the Codec Wars. πŸ‘‡

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and people being stuck indoors, the number of hours spent watching videos has surged. Adults and kids alike, are consuming a lot more video than before, and, this provides a situation ripe for innovation and some bold moves.

So, what do I find most exciting and what am I looking forward to in 2021?

The Codec Wars.

With the decade-old H.264/AVC still ruling the roost, HEVC's patent problems, AV1 slow and steady progress, and three exciting new codecs (EVC, LCEVC, VVC) coming through, it is going to be amazing to watch how the compression landscape evolves in 2021 and beyond!


The "Codec Wars" is about the battle of supremacy among the video codecs. When comparing video codecs, people usually like to compare the following parameters:

  • Compression efficiency: which one is objectively better than the other one?
  • Device support: which devices support the video codec Today?
  • Royalties and costs: what's the patent pool and licensing situation like? What are the encoding costs like?
  • Complexity (for encoding and decoding): how difficult is it to build an efficient encoder and decoder?

Searching Google for "Codec Wars" gives you a couple of cool hits.

The oldest mention I could find dates back to the 4th of August in 2004 at This article is more about the War On Codecs than the War Between Codecs though. :-)

Another one from 2006 reads:

It participates in geopolitical codec wars (e.g., China’s AVC codec, versus the increasingly popular H.264, versus other versions such as Microsoft Windows VC- 1β€” Windows Media 9).

Another fun one is at

And, finally, let's not forget about Krishna's article at πŸ™Œ