What is WebM and How to Work with It?

Alexandra Meyer
by Alexandra Meyer

WebM format was first introduced by Google in 2010. Since this media format is based on the Matroska container, it manages to support great video quality. As for the audio streams, it supports Vorbis audio. WebM format is initially designed for web as this format is supported in HTML5. The video streams of this format are compressed using VP8 or VP9 video codecs.

Our support team receives many questions concerning WebM as it is the default output format in Icecream Screen Recorder. Therefore, we decided to write this review in an attempt to answer all of the most asked question - what is WebM.

Why WebM?

WebM format provides excellent quality for video files. In addition to that, the playback of this video format is effortless. So the media in this format can be easily played even on machines or devices with low technical characteristics. This format is perfect for online streaming, and it’s free!

WebM format support

WebM videos are supported by Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers. Furthermore, WebM video files are compatible with YouTube, a primary concern for many influencers and channel creators.

Also, popular messengers such as Skype and ooVoo are compatible with this format. This is not a full list of the programs and services supporting the WebM video format. Among them are CoreCodec, Grab Media, Sorenson media, Tixeo soft, Ffmpeg, Adobe Flash Player, Oracle Java, and many others.

WebM vs MP4

The major difference between these two formats are the video codecs used. WebM uses VP8 or VP9 while MP4 is based upon H.264. Quality-wise, VP8 is better than H.264.

As for the size of the file, both formats provide relatively similar compression. So the difference in the sizes of the same files of MP4 and WebM formats is not that significant. However, WebM videos tend to be a bit smaller than MP4 files.

Another big question is the difference between the total number of devices and programs that support MP4 and WebM files. There is no doubt that MP4 format is more popular today and it is supported by plenty of smartphones. Whereas WebM is only supported by Android. The same can be said about software for the playback and editing of the files.

WebM vs MKV

MKV is a direct alternative to both MP4 and WebM formats, which means that we can’t really say that a WebM and an MKV file differ from each other a lot when it comes to quality for example. But there is still a disparity between WebM and MKV.

MKV is an open-standard free format that supports all sorts of codecs. You most probably wouldn’t need to install any codec packs to work with MKV which you might have to do with WebM files, as those codecs that are used by MKV are way more popular with media programs.

You won’t need a specific MKV player or converter. Another great superiority of MKV is that it supports AVC (Advanced Video Coding) also referred to as H.264, and this codec is used for HD quality.

WebM vs MOV

MOV is another popular video format today. The primary difference between WebM and MOV is in their coding. MOV is a high efficiency multimedia format that uses H.264 or MPEG-4 video compression alongside AAC or ALAC audio codecs to store data files.

When it comes to choosing a format for your video project, each of these has its own range of advantages and limitations. Compared to WebM files, MOV offers higher quality video and audio at larger file sizes. But it can be cumbersome when dealing with large movie files or presentations.

Using either of these formats can significantly improve your video streaming experience, while keeping your users satisfied. Ultimately, you need to weigh both options depending on the goals of your project to get the best possible results.

WebM vs AVI

AVI format is also available in screen capture software. AVI files offer wider software compatibility particularly with non-Apple products, making it a robust option for offline video editing. It supports a wide range of codecs and has excellent compatibility with Windows systems.

Both formats have unique advantages for different scenarios, so which one you should use depends on what you need.

  • If your priority is streaming or online videos, WebM format is an excellent choice.
  • If you’ll be editing videos offline and sharing with Windows users, then AVI may be the winner.

In any case, both formats come with the widely accepted benefit of being free and open source.

Media players to open WebM format

WebM video files can be opened in the most popular media players:

  • VLC;
  • KM Player;
  • Media Player Classic;
  • Winamp;
  • jetAudio Basic;
  • Moovida Core;
  • Reian; and
  • XMBC.

Examples of video editing software to edit WebM files

WebM is a great video format that offers high-quality videos. It is relatively compact in size, and is perfect for video streaming and using with YouTube.

What is WebM - FAQs

Question 1. Can I put a WebM file on my website?

Answer: Absolutely! WebM is a widely supported format for streaming video on websites, so you should have no problem embedding it.

Question 2. Does WebM support 4K video?

Answer: Yes, WebM format supports up to 8K video resolution. However, you may need to use a more powerful computer or dedicated hardware to smoothly playback 4K or higher resolution videos.

Question 3. Is WebM compatible with macOS and iOS devices?

Answer: Yes, macOS and iOS devices both have software available that support WebM video playback. However, since iOS devices don't allow third-party software installation, you may need to convert the file into an MP4 to watch it on your device.

Question 4. What is the maximum framerate supported by WebM?

Answer. WebM format support framerates up to 240 FPS, making it suitable for both standard and high-speed video playback.

Question 5. Is there WebM support in popular messaging apps and programs?

Answer: Yes, many popular messaging and conferencing apps such as Skype, Discord, Slack, and Zoom offer WebM support. However, if you want to share the WebM files via WhatsApp, you will need to use an online or desktop video converter.

Alexandra Meyer
by Alexandra Meyer
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