In theory, encoding with VP9 will reduce the video data needed for 4K (Ultra HD) video by about half. Google is attempting to get past a roadblock: streaming is the biggest obstacle in the way of widespread adaptation of the next cycle of TV hardware. TV hardware that plays well with the web.
So another reason this is a big deal is that Google is taking a perfectly aimed and executed ‘kill shot’ on H.265 (another codec that will usher us into this brave new world of trillions of pixels beamed into your eyeballs).
I say ‘perfectly aimed and executed’ because the timing of the release is right before a flurry of press releases from Main Concept H.265. Another huge aspect of VP9 is that it also works on existing, good old fashioned, regular HD content. That’s right, VP9 is ‘backwards compatible’ to all your quaint, caveman-esque 1080p HD video. I joke, but that’s actually a really good thing.
If Google brings VP9 4K video to the masses, it might mean that we’ll soon be watching 4K video and it will truly be ‘TV everywhere’.