WebCodecs API

The WebCodecs API gives web developers low-level access to the individual frames of a video stream and chunks of audio. It is useful for web applications that require full control over the way media is processed. For example, video or audio editors, and video conferencing.

Concepts and Usage

Many Web APIs use media codecs internally. For example, the Web Audio API, and the WebRTC API. However these APIs do not allow developers to work with individual frames of a video stream and unmuxed chunks of encoded audio or video.

Web developers have typically used WebAssembly in order to get round this limitation, and to work with media codecs in the browser. However this requires additional bandwidth to download codecs that already exist in the browser, reducing performance and power efficiency, and adding additional development overhead.

The WebCodecs API provides access to codecs that are already in the browser. It gives access to raw video frames, chunks of audio data, image decoders, audio and video encoders and decoders.

Interfaces

AudioDecoder

Decodes EncodedAudioChunk objects.

VideoDecoder

Decodes EncodedVideoChunk objects.

AudioEncoder

Encodes AudioData objects.

VideoEncoder

Encodes VideoFrame objects.

EncodedAudioChunk

Represents codec-specific encoded audio bytes.

EncodedVideoChunk

Represents codec-specific encoded video bytes.

AudioData

Represents unencoded audio data.

VideoFrame

Represents a frame of unencoded video data.

VideoColorSpace

Represents the color space of a video frame.

ImageDecoder

Unpacks and decodes image data, giving access to the sequence of frames in an animated image.

ImageTrackList

Represents the list of tracks available in the image.

ImageTrack

Represents an individual image track.

Examples

In the following example, frames are returned from a MediaStreamTrackProcessor, then encoded. See the full example and read more about it in the article Video processing with WebCodecs.

let frame_counter = 0;
const track = stream.getVideoTracks()[0];
const media_processor = new MediaStreamTrackProcessor(track);
const reader = media_processor.readable.getReader();
while (true) {
    const result = await reader.read();
    if (result.done)
      break;
    let frame = result.value;
    if (encoder.encodeQueueSize > 2) {
      // Too many frames in flight, encoder is overwhelmed
      // let's drop this frame.
      frame.close();
    } else {
      frame_counter++;
      const insert_keyframe = (frame_counter % 150) == 0;
      encoder.encode(frame, { keyFrame: insert_keyframe });
      frame.close();
    }
}

See also