What is VP9?
After a lot of preperations we are finally ready to offer our customers the possibility to activate VP9 as an option. After many setbacks due to bugs and other problems, we have managed to integrate VP9 into our Jitsi environment. VP9 is a videocodec such as H.246 or VP8 the main differences between those codecs are the CPU and bandwidth usage. VP9 uses about 50% less of your bandwidth compared to H.246, which is an enormous improvement. That makes it a great choice if you’re working with video at different sizes, or if you’re focusing specifically on HD. VP9 can use hardware decoding on Intel and ARM devices. Thanks to widespread hardware support, it gives you smoother playback on PCs in most scenarios. That makes it ideal for general use. It’s also the best codec choice for high-quality YouTube videos. If you want to watch 4K on YouTube, you need VP9.
There are still issues with browsers that are not chrome based, but with that said, VP9 is a feature that was much needed. The efficiency that comes with it takes video conferencing in Jitsi to the next level. However, it’s also important to note that this works best if the device you‘re using has VP9 hardware acceleration enabled. If not, your device may also quickly reach its limits. The best thing to do is to look on the Internet to see if your built-in CPU or GPU supports this acceleration. Also, this is not always enabled directly and may need to be enabled first.
Enable VP9 feature
To use VP9 you have to enable it in the NWS web interface. First select your Jitsi, then go to Settings in the optional Features section. There you will already see the VP9 option, click on the small dropdown window and check the box. After that you have to click on „Save customization“ and after a short time your Jitsi is activated with VP9.
Please make sure that you are using the latest version of Chrome or your Chrome based browser, otherwise VP9 may not be available yet. If you join with another browser that does not support VP9, the session will automatically be reset to VP8. However, this can cause problems again, so we recommend using only Chrome or Chrome-based browsers in the latest version.
Apart from the VP9 feature, our Jitsi has also been updated to the latest version and here are a few of the new features.
You now have the possibility to cut out your video background and insert any image.
To do this you have to click on the three dots in the menu bar and then click on Select Background. Now you see different images, which are already available by default. However, if you then press “Add background“ you can search locally for your own image and select it. It is even possible to choose your screensharing as background.
Another feature is the possibility to react live with an emote. To do this, navigate back to the menu bar and select the arrow on the raise hand function. You will then see some new emotes which you can select. If one of these emotes is pressed, this emote will be shown to everyone in the session and will also be played with an audio playback. However, this audio playback can also be very annoying. If you want to deactivate it, you have to go to the settings. To do this, go back to the menu bar, on the three points, then settings and select sounds and uncheck Interactions.
Framerate for screen sharing
If you have a low frame rate for your screen sharing, you can also set it higher in the settings. To do so, navigate back to the settings and then select more. Now you will see the option Frame rate for screen sharing, this should be set to 5 FPS by default, but you can also select 15 or 30 FPS. Note that this setting will not be applied if you are already sharing your screen. You will need to start sharing again for these settings to be applied.