Ahead of the curve for Video Player Support


2/17/2021 4:00 PM

Device Detection Technology Performance Device Data

This is the second part of a series discussing our device detection properties. In this blog, we talk about codecs and our video player support.

As leaders in the device detection industry, we always keep up to date with the latest requirements.

This blog is the second, and final part of a series detailing some of the device detection properties that we have. Sit back and relax, as we discuss the impressive work by our Data Team for our video player support.


The second property: Codecs and our video playback support

A video codec is software or hardware that encodes and decodes data for different formats. Essentially, they reproduce video content in different resolutions. The name ‘codec’ is a portmanteau of compression and decompression, which are the key features of this property.

Codecs reduce, or compress, a large amount of data which ordinarily would require enormous storage and bandwidth into a more manageable amount. They are essential in the production, editing, and distribution of media.

Now this is where we come in. Since 2016, our device detection solutions have been able to detect which codecs are supported by the device, offering audio and visual businesses more freedom to make decisions. Let’s delve deeper into what our Data Team do to populate codecs.

Talk us through your codecs

There are three particular codecs that we’ve worked hard on these last few years. H.264, H.265, and VP9 are populated as hardware, software, and browser codecs, but we’d like to highlight what the Data Team do in terms of hardware codecs.

H.264 is a commonly used video compression standard for high-definition digital video. The H.264 codec is used within a wide variety of applications, networks, and systems. This includes those with low and high bit rates, low and high resolutions, and different networks such as internet or satellite. This flexibility is invaluable when a codec is used for a diverse range of needs.

As a successor to H.264, H.265 offers up to 50% better data compression than H.264 while retaining the same video quality. However, this compression comes at a cost. To run the H.265 codec you will need more advanced hardware, or a compatible H.265 device.

And finally, VP9. Its original purpose was for YouTube to reduce the size of their videos. On most platforms, users can watch videos with 4K-level clarity, however, whether you can use the VP9 codec depends on if your browser or software will support it. VP9 usage is common in modern web browsers, but if you have an older browser version, VP9 may not be supported. Additionally, support for the VP9 software codec was only recently implemented in Apple devices with the iOS 14 release.


We populate the hardware codec properties based on the level of the System-on-Chip (SoC) they contain. We are constantly receiving new codecs to our database, so it’s imperative that our Data Team can populate these values as soon as they are released – not just for hardware codecs, but for software and browser too.

The job is a complex one, but it is just another example of how we are setting the standard for device detection.

By ensuring our codecs are populated, we can provide our customers who use audio and video content the opportunity to make macro level decisions concerning the encoding, container format, and streaming protocols available. Further analytics can also be incorporated so that these businesses can understand which codecs could be supported by the devices that are accessing their content.

To join other businesses benefiting from our codec database, test the data for yourself and sign up to one of our paid subscriptions.

Blog series summary

While our competitors are aiming to win the 100m sprint, we’ve been running a marathon. We’ve stayed ahead of the curve by providing new device detection and video playback properties as soon as they are announced to the world.

window.devicePixelRatio and video codecs are invaluable resources that help us provide exceptional experience when using a device. This is all thanks to the outstanding work our Data Team do on a daily basis. They’ve been working hard over the last few years to ensure that 51Degrees has an industry-leading database.

So, thank you to our Data Team – you are the heart of 51Degrees!