Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 24th Jan 2010 17:59 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones This week, both YouTube and Vimeo opened up beta offerings using HTML5 video instead of Flash to bring video content to users. Both of them chose to use the h264 codec, which meant that only Safari and Chrome can play these videos, since firefox doesn't license the h264 codec. Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, explained on his blog why Mozilla doesn't license the h264 codec.
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In many countries?
by lezard on Sun 24th Jan 2010 18:30 UTC
lezard
Member since:
2005-10-11

"In many countries, it is a patented technology"
Many countries? I only count one (USA), but it might be due to my ignorance.

Edited 2010-01-24 18:30 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: In many countries?
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:47 UTC in reply to "In many countries?"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

"In many countries, it is a patented technology"
Many countries? I only count one (USA), but it might be due to my ignorance.


Well, maybe there are patents around AVC decoding in hardware (and hardware patents are common around the world), but unless Mozilla enters the hardware business and starts to manufacture video en-/decoding chips, those patents are of no interest to them.

BTW, while On2 agreed not to enforce any VP3 patents when they gave the source code to Xiph to create Theora, hardware patents are a different issue. Maybe that's the reason we've yet to see any Theora decoding chips.

Reply Score: 1

RE: In many countries?
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 06:51 UTC in reply to "In many countries?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"In many countries, it is a patented technology"
Many countries? I only count one (USA), but it might be due to my ignorance.


The previous government of my country, Australia, was foolish enough to sign a patent agreement with the US, so that US patents on h264 would be applicable here in Australia.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: In many countries?
by boldingd on Mon 25th Jan 2010 17:21 UTC in reply to "RE: In many countries?"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Urgh, that's true for more than just Australia, isn't it? Isn't there a free-trade agreement that calls for recognition in all signators of a patent valid in any signator? Or am I making that up?

Edit: I think I might be thinking of the combination of the Berne convention, which calls for international recognition of copyright, and 1996 WIPO copyright treaty, which explicitly allows for the copyrightability of software under the Berne convention. Or I could be completely wrong, and making an idiot of myself. I'm not sure!

Edited 2010-01-25 17:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: In many countries?
by 1c3d0g on Tue 26th Jan 2010 02:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: In many countries?"
1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

Doesn't matter, copyrights for software is a f*cking nightmare and should be banned, permanently, by all countries.

Reply Score: 1

RE: In many countries?
by Carewolf on Mon 25th Jan 2010 15:57 UTC in reply to "In many countries?"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Just because software patents are not officially allowed, does not mean the patent offices around the world doesn't grand them, or the courts occasionally upholds them. Remember MP3 got successfully patented in most of Europe. I don't know the situation for H.264, but I find it plausible they have found some loop-holes to get patents almost everywhere.

Edited 2010-01-25 15:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

that guy's speaking truth
by statuliber on Sun 24th Jan 2010 18:32 UTC
statuliber
Member since:
2009-12-11

I like to film and try to get the most out of my camera, but if i have to decide between an acclaimed better quality or a free internet I'm always gonna choose the free internet

Reply Score: 11

RE: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:28 UTC in reply to "that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

If he's speaking the truth, why is Mozilla happily distributing Flash and other proprietary plugins through its Plugin Finder service?
I have a hard time believing his comments as long as Mozilla continues to spread proprietary plugins.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by righard on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:39 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

True,
Also I find the argument "I want to make sure that when a child in India or Brazil or Kenya discovers the internet..." a bit sentimental and strange. Those countries not being the US there is nothing stopping them from including the unlicenced codecs there.

"Why won't anybody think of the children!"

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by FreakyT on Sun 24th Jan 2010 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
FreakyT Member since:
2005-07-17

If he's speaking the truth, why is Mozilla happily distributing Flash and other proprietary plugins through its Plugin Finder service?
I have a hard time believing his comments as long as Mozilla continues to spread proprietary plugins.


And what would you have them do? Make a patronizing message appear if a user tries to load flash? The fact is, users want Flash (because, like it or not, many sites unfortunately require it), and the users will get it either way; if you don't make it easy to install, all you do is hurt the user experience.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 24th Jan 2010 21:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

And what would you have them do? Make a patronizing message appear if a user tries to load flash? The fact is, users want Flash (because, like it or not, many sites unfortunately require it), and the users will get it either way; if you don't make it easy to install, all you do is hurt the user experience.

Apple decided not to ship any browser plugin / Flash support at all with iPhone's Safari and yet it's still the best selling smartphone.

I bet that if YouTube was usable without Flash, many users wouldn't even notice it's gone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by FunkyELF on Mon 25th Jan 2010 14:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

Apple decided not to ship any browser plugin / Flash support at all with iPhone's Safari and yet it's still the best selling smartphone.


Haha, thats funny... good one. Its Adobe, not Apple that can't get their act together and port it to more than one platform every 4 years. Also, Apple is on record saying there isn't enough computing power for flash...again, Adobe's problem.

Apple did not "decide" not to ship a Flash plugin. They didn't have a choice.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth
by darknexus on Mon 25th Jan 2010 15:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Do you really think Adobe wouldn't port Flash to the iPhone if they thought, for even a second, that Apple would approve it especially with Adobe's recent porting efforts to other smartphones? That being said, I hope Flash never hits the iPhone. If it helps, even a little bit, to decrease the usage of Flash then I'm all for it. I'm sick of sites with Flash navigation menus when HTML/CSS would've done the job just as well.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: that guy's speaking truth
by 1c3d0g on Tue 26th Jan 2010 02:32 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth"
1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

Well f*cking said. Die Flash Die!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by CaptainN- on Mon 25th Jan 2010 18:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Android based phones have Flash, and it's great to see it on there - and having only been out a few months, Android phones are already beating the pants of MS Windows Mobile phones. So you can say that during a time when there was no real competition to the iPhone (and until Android there wasn't) but we'll see how well that holds up in the long run.

Frankly I don't get the Flash bashing. All of the innovation that has come on the web started out as either proprietary extensions to the standards (Ajax/CSS/SVG), or responses to something proprietary (Vorbis/Theora).

Innovation is the realm of proprietary invention. Flash has done it's fair share of innovating, and I think it'd disingenuous to deny that. I don't see why you can't support standards, open-source and proprietary proving grounds.

That said, I'd love to see Vorbis and Theora (and probably Dirac too) take off, no doubt about that. Now let's see a Silverlight or Flash implementation so we can watch Theora/Vorbis videos on Safari, IE and Opera. :-)

BTW, is Mozilla's video backend pluggable?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth
by Kalessin on Mon 25th Jan 2010 20:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth"
Kalessin Member since:
2007-01-18

Frankly I don't get the Flash bashing. All of the innovation that has come on the web started out as either proprietary extensions to the standards (Ajax/CSS/SVG), or responses to something proprietary (Vorbis/Theora).


Personally, my problem with it is not it's proprietary nature (though it would be nice if it were open). It's the fact that it basically breaks the basic model of the internet.

The basic idea behind how web pages and browsers work is that pages link to each other, and you navigate those links. Things like flash basically put the entire site on one page and make it impossible to link to anything. If a site is done in flash, and I want to direct someone to some of its content, I have to give them the link to the site and directions on how to find the content. I can't just give them a direct link to the content. Also, many browser features such as tabs and history don't really work anymore because you're really dealing with an application rather than a set of web pages.

Flash effectively breaks the web. Sure, it's a great way to do some things - like run an application in a web browser - but as far as web pages go, building them with flash just makes things not work. You're turning the web into a set of applications instead of pages.

And those flash pages/applications aren't indexable either - which is supposedly one of the reasons that Google created Chrome. They're looking to push javascript for dynamic content because that is indexable. Flash is not.

I'd hate flash even if it were totally open. Solutions which give dynamic content and fancier pages but still allow the basic model of the web to work properly are definitely going to be better than flash or anything like it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: that guy's speaking truth
by CaptainN- on Mon 25th Jan 2010 21:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Well there are solutions to that particular problem (often called deep linking) like my unFocus.HistoryKeeper ;-) - but that problem exists for so many Ajax applications as well. Just take a look at one of the map websites, like google maps.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: that guy's speaking truth
by Kalessin on Mon 25th Jan 2010 22:14 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: that guy's speaking truth"
Kalessin Member since:
2007-01-18

True. Flash is not the only offender, but I'm going to be just as irritated with any technology which breaks basic browsing. Any technology which attempts to improve on basic html, bringing us dynamic pages or whatever cool thing that they're supposed to do, needs to still work with things like linking to that page and opening pages in new tabs. If they don't, it's a big problem.

Now, I've never heard of deep links, so I'll have to look into that, but if there is already a good solution to the linking problem, then there's that much less excuse for web pages and/or web technologies to not take advantage of it.

Reply Score: 1

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

same deal for youtube. If mozilla doesn't support youtube, it will fade into irrelivence pretty fast. Don't see much of a difference between supporting h264 and flash from an ideological point of view.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I suspect it's also a timing issue. Mozilla didn't have the weight to complain about Flash originally. It really slipped in quietly. At first a menu or something shiny needed it on a website but you wouldn't notice much if the Flash player was missing. From subtle first steps, it's grown to a requirement for viewing many websites including ones with no real justification for it other than an over-saturation of shiny hollow ornaments.

Mozilla has to now compete in this environment. A browser without flash quickly becomes unusable. A user with a vulnerable plugin blames the browser not responsible party. So, Mozilla is better off providing a way to support existing Flash content. They are also keeping the user better off by notifying them of Flash plugin updates since vulnerable plugins hurts everybody.

Now, we're up to HTML5 which has not been finalized yet. We have the video tag but the formats supported within it are still up for debate. Browser developers still have the opportunity to get involved in what codecs will be standard browser components.

Mozilla can't say "we won't support Flash" because it's already here. They can still say "we won't support H264" because <video> is not a finalized spec that can only be used by H264 supporting browsers.

Reply Score: 3

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

So how about if they made a plugin that would plug into the platform video pipeline and look for the format there? What difference is there between that and flash?

Like it or not, what format is used for video will completely depend on what google does with youtube. If google chooses h264, that is what the defacto standard will be. And like I said in my original comment, if a browser doesn't support youtube, it is not going to be relevant for all that long.

If mozilla wants to take a moral stand thats fine, but first remove support for flash (and quicktime). They said they have no problem for having support for something but not using it, and all the reasons they cite for h264 apply to those other things too.

What this whole thing ACTUALLY is, is mozilla trying to throw around weight they don't actually have.

Reply Score: 2

smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

So how about if they made a plugin that would plug into the platform video pipeline and look for the format there? What difference is there between that and flash?

The difference is that flash is already being used on the web and is necessary to support. The video element isn't, and Firefox is trying to influence the way it will be used while they still can. If you want to create a plugin which will hook into the system video pipeline, then go ahead. It's going to be pretty difficult, though, because Flash videos commonly take use more advanced functionality than just playing videos. (like displaying ads or links on top of the video).

Like it or not, what format is used for video will completely depend on what google does with youtube. If google chooses h264, that is what the defacto standard will be. And like I said in my original comment, if a browser doesn't support youtube, it is not going to be relevant for all that long.

If you think Youtube isn't going to include a Flash fallback for YEARS, you're clueless. They're still supporting IE6, for god's sake, they're not going to suddenly drop support for all older methods of viewing the site. However, I do agree that what google decides to do on YouTube could be the deciding factor as to whether or not Theora video on the web goes anywhere. If they stick to h264 only the chances look really bad.

If mozilla wants to take a moral stand thats fine, but first remove support for flash (and quicktime). They said they have no problem for having support for something but not using it, and all the reasons they cite for h264 apply to those other things too.

You're looking at this completely backwards. Mozilla does want to get rid of flash, but it's already here and not going anywhere anytime soon. So, they can keep flash support while slowly working towards getting rid of it, or they can lose all usefulness by breaking half of the internet and lose all their users. The reason h264 support hasn't been added is because it isn't yet being used like Flash is, and Mozilla wants to keep that from being true in the future. They've basically stated that if it gets to the point where h264 video element is being used all over the place then they'll bow to user demand and include it.

What this whole thing ACTUALLY is, is mozilla trying to throw around weight

Yep.
they don't actually have.

Well, that remains to be seen.

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

The other response pretty much nails what I was going for. Flash is already a necessary evil where the video tag is not yet necessary or finalized. It would do a disservice too the users to not include Flash support. It would do a disservice too the users to hand the future internet over to a bigger licensing mess than Flash.

In terms of flash, I actually think Adobe should providing it through the normal Firefox plugin catalog. It'd be easier to find and easier to keep updated since the standard framework update process would be in place. There's no reason that it should be such a separate application. I'd also like to see them keep a little more current across the platforms with the readers. They've made a lot of money, they can bare some responsibilities for there success.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by KClowers on Tue 26th Jan 2010 09:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
KClowers Member since:
2009-12-18

Flash and h.264 are both bad ideas, and Mozilla doesn't support either. They support a plugin interface that Adobe and others take advantage of. But while <video> could use plugins of some sort on the backend, that isn't what was really intended.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by Googol on Sun 24th Jan 2010 23:43 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
Googol Member since:
2006-11-24

Maybe because Flash is free as in beer, after all? I've downloaded it a 1000 times, never paid a Cent. Is it free for devs as well? I don't know.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth
by Macrat on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth"
Macrat Member since:
2006-03-27

Maybe because Flash is free as in beer, after all? I've downloaded it a 1000 times, never paid a Cent. Is it free for devs as well? I don't know.


You've never paid for H.264 either.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by Fergy on Mon 25th Jan 2010 13:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

"Maybe because Flash is free as in beer, after all? I've downloaded it a 1000 times, never paid a Cent. Is it free for devs as well? I don't know.


You've never paid for H.264 either.
"
Not yet. H264 becomes more valuable the more it is used and the owners of H264 can increase the price whenever they want. Websites that require activex don't work in most browsers while webcontent that was made with open patent free standards still works in all browsers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by renox on Tue 26th Jan 2010 23:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

You've never paid for H.264 either.


Directly no, indirectly that's not so sure!!

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 01:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe because Flash is free as in beer, after all? I've downloaded it a 1000 times, never paid a Cent. Is it free for devs as well? I don't know.

Flash is not free when you distribute content with it. When you use Flash to stream videos, providers have to pay exactly the same fees as if the videos were streamed via the <video> tag: http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/hdvideo/supported_technologies/h26... (that only applies to territories where software patents exist)

Adobe Flash Media Server isn't free. It's commercial software: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashmediaserver/

And as end users: Flash is not Free Software. While there are reverse-engineered FOSS implementations (swfdec and Gnash), they are way from being fully compatible. On the other hand, AVC documentation is available for free, including reference source code. There are FOSS implementations of AVC (most notably ffmpeg) that are fully compatible with the standard.

So much for propagating the "open web"....

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by BluenoseJake on Sun 24th Jan 2010 23:44 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

If he's speaking the truth, why is Mozilla happily distributing Flash and other proprietary plugins through its Plugin Finder service?
I have a hard time believing his comments as long as Mozilla continues to spread proprietary plugins.


Because there is a difference between proprietary and expensive to distribute, and proprietary and free to distribute. Flash costs Mozilla nothing to distribute, and in the case of Linux and FreeBSD, the distros do the distributing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 01:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Because there is a difference between proprietary and expensive to distribute, and proprietary and free to distribute. Flash costs Mozilla nothing to distribute, and in the case of Linux and FreeBSD, the distros do the distributing.



That's not his argument when he's talking about opening the web and avoiding costs for content providers. Streaming h.264/AVC videos via Flash costs content providers the same amount of MPEG LA licensing fees as via <video> tag -- even more when the content provider buys a Flash Server from Adobe...

The Mozilla people like to present themselves as idealists who fight for freedom, while in fact they are as much idealists as money tells them to be.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 07:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Because there is a difference between proprietary and expensive to distribute, and proprietary and free to distribute. Flash costs Mozilla nothing to distribute, and in the case of Linux and FreeBSD, the distros do the distributing.


That's not his argument when he's talking about opening the web and avoiding costs for content providers. Streaming h.264/AVC videos via Flash costs content providers the same amount of MPEG LA licensing fees as via tag -- even more when the content provider buys a Flash Server from Adobe...

The Mozilla people like to present themselves as idealists who fight for freedom, while in fact they are as much idealists as money tells them to be.
"

What in heavens name are you on about?

Theora/Vorbis is zero cost for everybody.

Flash and h264 are not.

You insane love of h264 is merely an additional, perfectly avoidable cost for almost everyone else on the planet.

So exactly why are you so overwhelmingly keen on millions of people, many of whom around the world cannot afford it, having to pay licensing fees (especially after this year) which are perfectly avoidable and unnecessary?

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 09:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

You insane love of h264 is merely an additional, perfectly avoidable cost for almost everyone else on the planet.

So exactly why are you so overwhelmingly keen on millions of people, many of whom around the world cannot afford it, having to pay licensing fees (especially after this year) which are perfectly avoidable and unnecessary?

I repeatedly mentioned Dirac as better alternative to Theora.
Of course, you conceal that I mention another patent-free codec that compared to Theora has the advantages of 1.) being an actual standard (a subset to be exact) and 2.) being targeted at HD resolutions right from the start.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: that guy's speaking truth
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"You insane love of h264 is merely an additional, perfectly avoidable cost for almost everyone else on the planet.

So exactly why are you so overwhelmingly keen on millions of people, many of whom around the world cannot afford it, having to pay licensing fees (especially after this year) which are perfectly avoidable and unnecessary?

I repeatedly mentioned Dirac as better alternative to Theora.
"

Just because you mention something doesn't make it so. This seems to be especially true when it is you who mentions something.

Theora out-performs Dirac currently.

Of course, you conceal that I mention another patent-free codec that compared to Theora has the advantages of 1.) being an actual standard (a subset to be exact) and 2.) being targeted at HD resolutions right from the start.


"Being targeted at HD resolutions" is a meaningless phrase. HD is merely video at a higher resolution, it is still video.

Compression is compression, it works at all filesizes, and generally works better the larger the filesize.

Edited 2010-01-25 10:07 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 10:17 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Theora out-performs Dirac currently.

Only at low resolutions, but at low resolutions the resulting file size differs only marginally.
The higher the resolution, the more does Dirac benefit and the larger the absolute file size difference is.

Compression is compression

Wow, you really have no clue about that matter. "Compression is compression"... ridiculous ...

There are very different kinds of compressions and they shine at different scenarios. Stamp-size and HD are very different scenarios.

Reply Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

and if Firefox would use the Host operating system's media stack to play the video then no one has to care about h.264 being in FF... MS, Apple, and nearly every Linux flavor out there supports h.264 (legally or otherwise). The two "stupid people" platforms have it built in and licensed already from Frauenhaufer. Linux users can figure out how to get x264 installed.

Mozilla are just holding the line for no reason or are trying to extort a licensing agreement from Frauenhaufer that is specific to them so they can use the codec for free since they are a non-profit entity.

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by Fergy on Mon 25th Jan 2010 14:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

and if Firefox would use the Host operating system's media stack to play the video then no one has to care about h.264 being in FF... MS, Apple, and nearly every Linux flavor out there supports h.264 (legally or otherwise). The two "stupid people" platforms have it built in and licensed already from Frauenhaufer. Linux users can figure out how to get x264 installed.

Mozilla are just holding the line for no reason or are trying to extort a licensing agreement from Frauenhaufer that is specific to them so they can use the codec for free since they are a non-profit entity.

And that would mean that Firefox would be different on different platforms. Some webpages would only work on Windows. If you make sure that you always provide an opensource videocodec you can always be sure that every device or browser can run it. Of course you can also provide a 'higher' quality codec version that will only run on blessed platforms.

Reply Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

huh?

How is sending the media out to be played by the host OS make it different from one web page to the next when they are playing H.264?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: that guy's speaking truth
by Fergy on Tue 26th Jan 2010 07:37 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

huh?

How is sending the media out to be played by the host OS make it different from one web page to the next when they are playing H.264?

Because you make webpage support dependent on the host OS like what activex did.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

It's the "legally or otherwise" part that is a problem. One can't simply push software out and say "ok users, go forth and break the law". There are places where that would still be legal basis for a product but your cutting yourself out of some pretty big markets by legally crippling your distribution.

There is also a higher respect of copyright and similar licensing issues in the FOSS community regardless of the rumor that anyone involved with FOSS is only there because it's free of cost. We don't need to fuel the rumor further by promoting the illegal use of software.

In the end, what is still needed is a legal way to play or replace the closed formats that limit content to specific platforms.

Reply Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

name one linux user who does not have x264 installed and I will call you a liar.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

name one linux user who does not have x264 installed and I will call you a liar.


It is not only about the users, it is also very much about the providers of applications, the designers and suppliers of new platforms and devices, and the providers of web content.

It is important that anyone be able to develop new stuff for the web for no royalty chrage, just as much as it is important for anyone to be able to view and participate on the web, using whatever client device they choose or can cobble together, also for no charge.

As soon as we put up proprietary paywalls on either viewing the web or on providing content on the web, then at that very moment the web is no longer universally participatory.

Reply Score: 4

smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

name one linux user who does not have x264 installed and I will call you a liar.

So linux users are the only ones who count?

More to the point, I don't think anyone thinks that individual end users are going to be sued, it's the websites.

If you create a blog post that has an h264 video in it, you have to pay. If you don't, you could be sued for providing the video to others. I'm not sure if they'd really go after small personal websites like that or not, but you can bet they'd definitely go after any small business that tried to do it.

How about OSNews? Are they based in the Netherlands? I'm not sure if they'd be forced to license the thing or not, but I really wouldn't want to bet against lawyers with that much money. Anyplace that does a lot of business with the US, which includes all of Europe, could potentially be pressured into agreements.

Reply Score: 3

_xmv Member since:
2008-12-09

we're building machines displaying web pages on linux here.
we cannot distribute x264 without paying a few millions $$. we obviously do not have this cash. Hello, vendor lock-out overlords.

IT DOES NOT MATTER IF THE FUNCTIONALITY EXISTS AS PLUGIN, AS WE CANNOT DISTRIBUTE THE PLUGIN EITHER!

For what it's worth, we cannot even decode Apple trailers using "regular" mplayer plugin for this reason.

it does not matter that users have x264 installed illegally without getting troubles. what matters, is that it kills competition in the egg and ensure a de-facto monopolistic situation.

that's why mozilla is against h264 and they're damn right.

Edited 2010-01-26 13:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

I am a Linux user, and I do not have x264 installed.

Josh Cogliati

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 06:56 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If he's speaking the truth, why is Mozilla happily distributing Flash and other proprietary plugins through its Plugin Finder service?
I have a hard time believing his comments as long as Mozilla continues to spread proprietary plugins.


Mozilla doesn't distribute Flash plugins. Mozilla provides a link to Adobe's site when a user encounters a page with Flash on it.

At one point they also provided the choice (on Linux) to install either gnash or swfdec as well, although I'm not sure if they do that any longer.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth
by flanque on Mon 25th Jan 2010 10:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Yeah, and all those torrent sites didn't participate in distribution - they just provided the links..

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by Fergy on Mon 25th Jan 2010 14:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Yeah, and all those torrent sites didn't participate in distribution - they just provided the links..

Yep. Do you think that it should be illegal to provide information? I think that it should be legal to download as long as you don't ask money for it.

Software and content owners should make it easier to legally download than to illegally download it. They should also use reasonable pricing. Most people don't want to put in the effort of learning torrents, searching multiple networks and frequently failing to get a movie, game or program. They would much rather pay a reasonable amount to get it much easier without trouble.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Tue 26th Jan 2010 02:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Mozilla doesn't distribute Flash plugins. Mozilla provides a link to Adobe's site when a user encounters a page with Flash on it.

Thanks for supporting the argument that Mozilla could just as well point its users to a website where users could download h.264/AVC codecs.

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth
by lemur2 on Tue 26th Jan 2010 03:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: that guy's speaking truth"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Mozilla doesn't distribute Flash plugins. Mozilla provides a link to Adobe's site when a user encounters a page with Flash on it.

Thanks for supporting the argument that Mozilla could just as well point its users to a website where users could download h.264/AVC codecs.
"

Right now they could possibly do that, but the period for which the h.264/AVC codecs can be used for free ends at the end of this year, so there is little point.

Besides which, Mozilla's main point is not about the cost of the codec so much as it is about the ability for anyone to implement web standards.

Mozilla's point is therefore still perfectly valid even if end users of browsers are still allowed to download h.264/AVC codecs for free next year.

http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/2010/01/html5-video-and-h-264-what...

The Web Exploded on Royalty-Free

The web has always been based on the assumption of Royalty Free. In fact, participation in a working group at the W3C requires that any parties disclose and make available any essential claims on the technology covered by that working group.

But that’s just a technicality. The truth is in the tests: you can still build a web browser, spider, client, web server, image editor, a JS library, a CSS library, an HTML editor, a web publishing system, commerce system – anything that is based on fundamental web technologies – without asking anyone for permission. This is a fundamental reason why the web has spread everywhere. Because everyone had the chance to add to the mix.

It’s worth saying twice. Anyone can create technology or services on the web and they don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do it. This is why we’ve had billions of dollars of investment and a fundamental shift in the way that western society acts and communicates – all in the course of a very short period of time. The web grew up on Royalty-Free.


The web grew up on Royalty Free, and Royalty Free is the only way it can continue, and continue to grow.

Edited 2010-01-26 03:44 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: that guy's speaking truth
by KAMiKAZOW on Tue 26th Jan 2010 13:20 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: that guy's speaking truth"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Besides which, Mozilla's main point is not about the cost of the codec so much as it is about the ability for anyone to implement web standards.

So why does Mozilla operate the Plugin Finder that finds Flash?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by l3v1 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 12:40 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

If he's speaking the truth, why is Mozilla happily distributing Flash and other proprietary plugins through its Plugin Finder service?
I have a hard time believing his comments as long as Mozilla continues to spread proprietary plugins.


He says
believe that reliance on proprietary plugins for video is a problem on the web. Mozilla believes that reliance on patent-encumbered formats is a problem


Flash is not a content/video delivery format. Anyway, probably proprietary plugins should be no problem if they deliver content in non-patent-encumbered formats. You can deliver patent-encumbered content with Flash, but that's another issue.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by KClowers on Tue 26th Jan 2010 09:09 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
KClowers Member since:
2009-12-18

Mozilla does not distribute Flash

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by graigsmith on Wed 27th Jan 2010 01:13 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
graigsmith Member since:
2006-04-05

if they dont try to make it easy for people to get the plugins you need, then people will use some other browser.

Reply Score: 1

RE: that guy's speaking truth
by bfr99 on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:56 UTC in reply to "that guy's speaking truth"
bfr99 Member since:
2007-03-15

I like to film and try to get the most out of my camera, but if i have to decide between an acclaimed better quality or a free internet I'm always gonna choose the free internet


Of course there are many others who are willing to pay for an improved experience. In fact there are those whose goal is not to spend as little as possible but to enjoy life to the fullest.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: that guy's speaking truth
by jabbotts on Mon 25th Jan 2010 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE: that guy's speaking truth"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Interesting that you equate experiencing "life to it's fullest" as measured by how much money one is willing to spend.

Reply Score: 2

yes, but
by panzi on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:14 UTC
panzi
Member since:
2006-01-22

I agree that ogg theora should have been the standard. But now because there is no standard video format I think mozilla should support codec plugins. That way mozilla will only provide support for ogg codecs but any other programmer could hook up x264 or ffmpeg so we can watch viemeo/youtube in HTML5 without flash. This hypothetical codec plugin programmer would live in some country where there are no patent issues. ;)

Oh, and how does x264 and ffmpeg handle the patent issues anyway?

Reply Score: 4

RE: yes, but
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:34 UTC in reply to "yes, but"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree that ogg theora should have been the standard. But now because there is no standard video format I think mozilla should support codec plugins.


Luckily Mozilla is actually adopting GStreamer. Installing plugins for that one is possible and easy.

Strangely enough, Mozilla says publicly that using external media frameworks is bad and that Mozilla won't do it, while at the same time Mozilla engineer Mike Kristoffersen is working on exactly that: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=422540

Oh, and how does x264 and ffmpeg handle the patent issues anyway?

Both projects are not located in the USA. Same for OpenBSD, btw.

Reply Score: 3

RE: yes, but
by daveak on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:35 UTC in reply to "yes, but"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

Mozilla should not support codec plugins. Mozilla should stop being stupid and implement support via the main media framework for the system being built for. They don't want to do this as they claim there is no common codec, read Theora, and don't seem to be able to grasp the concept that they could ship that codec and install as necessary. This is the only sensible way to proceed and is how other browsers are dealing with things. (The media framework, not the install a common codec)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: yes, but
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 24th Jan 2010 20:00 UTC in reply to "RE: yes, but"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

don't seem to be able to grasp the concept that they could ship that codec and install as necessary.

In fact, by installing Theora and Vorbis codecs with encoding support on the system, Mozilla would help spreading the Ogg formats more than just by building a player into the browser.
Suddenly countless people would be able to save their videos in Ogg Theora+Vorbis who are currently saving WMVs just because they don't even know that there are alternatives and where to obtain alternative video codecs.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: yes, but
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 06:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: yes, but"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"don't seem to be able to grasp the concept that they could ship that codec and install as necessary.

In fact, by installing Theora and Vorbis codecs with encoding support on the system, Mozilla would help spreading the Ogg formats more than just by building a player into the browser.
Suddenly countless people would be able to save their videos in Ogg Theora+Vorbis who are currently saving WMVs just because they don't even know that there are alternatives and where to obtain alternative video codecs.
"

Here you go:
http://www.xiph.org/dshow/

Enjoy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: yes, but
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 09:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: yes, but"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Here you go:
http://www.xiph.org/dshow/

Enjoy.

Dude, you really need to learn to read.
I've written that Mozilla should bundle encoding-capable Theora codecs with Firefox to encourage Theora-based media creation to people who do not know that non-WMV formats even exist.
You posting an address at OSNews does not make the bundling happen.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: yes, but
by darkcoder on Mon 25th Jan 2010 01:29 UTC in reply to "RE: yes, but"
darkcoder Member since:
2006-07-14

Mozilla should not support codec plugins. Mozilla should stop being stupid and implement support via the main media framework for the system being built for. They don't want to do this as they claim there is no common codec, read Theora, and don't seem to be able to grasp the concept that they could ship that codec and install as necessary. This is the only sensible way to proceed and is how other browsers are dealing with things. (The media framework, not the install a common codec)


Wrong, Neither Theora nor Ogg are included on Windows.
Also, the windows port of both codecs looked like abandoned right now:
http://www.xiph.org/dshow/

Edited 2010-01-25 01:30 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: yes, but
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 01:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: yes, but"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Neither Theora nor Ogg are included on Windows.
Also, the windows port of both codecs looked like abandoned right now:
http://www.xiph.org/dshow/

You mean a company full of programmers can't write a Theora codec for Windows Media Foundation?

Reply Score: 2

They don't need to license it
by darknexus on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:23 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

All Mozilla needs to do is implement support for media frameworks into Firefox. Make it a plugin, hell we already have plugins that do this type of thing but on a more limited scale, e.g. the mplayer-plugin. That way, when a video isn't supported in Firefox itself (which I think will be most of the time) it can just spin it off to GStreamer, Quicktime, or whatever media framework plugin you've chosen to install. Mozilla is not going to push Theora by attempting to force only Theora videos to play in their browser. Not going to happen though they seem to wish that it would, all they're going to do is turn users away from Firefox if they can't watch what they wish to watch. Further, since Flash does work in Firefox, they're just going to end up pushing Flash even more as the only cross-platform solution that is hassle-free. I do have to love the irony, but I don't much care for the outcome.

Edited 2010-01-24 19:25 UTC

Reply Score: 4

summary
by xmv_ on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:25 UTC
xmv_
Member since:
2006-06-09

- h264 currently require a very expensive license to distribute an encoder/decoder in the USA (other countries?)
- h264 will also require paying to stream content in 2011 (so you pay: for encoding, for decoding, and for the content. triple rip-off ftw)
- h264 patent expires in 2017 (by then, h264 will be obsolete)
- google bought on2 (VP8) probably to pro-actively destroy h265's (the thing after h264) competitor
- theora produce more or less similar stuff as h264 but isnt backed-up by companies since they have no interest into it
- theora lacks hardware acceleration
- using h264 ensure some vendor lock in: you can't setup a youtube competitor without zillion of dollars, firefox can't survive, etc. ultimately, the consumer (US) lose


i think the last thing is the most important

Reply Score: 11

RE: summary
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 24th Jan 2010 20:23 UTC in reply to "summary"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

h265's (the thing after h264)

Gosh, that's what you get when everybody calls the format by its ITU-T name...
Currently it looks like there will not be a h.265 -- at least not anytime soon.
However, AVC (same codec as h.264, but just with the catchier/handier name used by ISO/MPEG) will likely have a "successor" soon: HVC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-performance_Video_Coding
That "successor" will just be a set of extensions to AVC to make it more suitable for Ultra HD resolutions -- nothing that has anything to do with the web for the foreseeable future.

AVC won't go anywhere for some years to come.

Reply Score: 3

RE: summary
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon 25th Jan 2010 02:13 UTC in reply to "summary"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Google bought an asset to suppress it in favor of a codec that they have zero financial stake in regarding sales?

Reply Score: 4

RE: summary
by OSGuy on Mon 25th Jan 2010 07:41 UTC in reply to "summary"
OSGuy Member since:
2006-01-01

- google bought on2 (VP8) probably to pro-actively destroy h265's (the thing after h264) competitor

If true, I wonder why would that be.

From: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2009/12/from-cinepak-to-h265-...

Right now, a standards committee is busy hammering out the details of the H.265 video standard, which is again supposed to cut bitrates in half when compared to the previous top-of-the-line solution and a similar image quality. But another 50 percent objective improvement is hard to come by after so many generations of amazing mathematical acrobatics. This time, the group will settle for a 20 percent improvement in mathematically objective measurements. The rest of the improvements will be subjective.

H.265 will be lossier than H.264, in other words, but lossy in ways that won't be too obvious to humans and our imperfect image-processing brains. Pause an H.265 video and break out the spyglass, and you'll find many technical imperfections compared to older codecs, but it's all about perceived quality when the moving picture is, well, moving.


Edited 2010-01-25 07:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: summary
by werpu on Mon 25th Jan 2010 08:34 UTC in reply to "summary"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

- h264 currently require a very expensive license to distribute an encoder/decoder in the USA (other countries?)
- h264 will also require paying to stream content in 2011 (so you pay: for encoding, for decoding, and for the content. triple rip-off ftw)
- h264 patent expires in 2017 (by then, h264 will be obsolete)
- google bought on2 (VP8) probably to pro-actively destroy h265's (the thing after h264) competitor
- theora produce more or less similar stuff as h264 but isnt backed-up by companies since they have no interest into it
- theora lacks hardware acceleration
- using h264 ensure some vendor lock in: you can't setup a youtube competitor without zillion of dollars, firefox can't survive, etc. ultimately, the consumer (US) lose


i think the last thing is the most important


Actually you can say a lot of things about WM9 but the licensing is way better than H264 for the end user (not for the people having to integrate it). A few years ago I had to put a video on the web and tried to opt for H264 I then read all the licensing issues (which are explained here) and shunned away. Even free streaming currently is allowed only for 10 minutes after that you have to pay. WM9 had none of those restrictions, you could use it as you wanted.
So guess what I then opted for.
I just wonder what sites like youtube etc... will do post 2010, I assume that was the reason why Google bought On2, they simply can convert all videos (and probably are doing that by now) to VP8 and then will provide the plugin for all browsers involved.
Others will have bigger issues.

Reply Score: 3

RE: summary
by wargum on Mon 25th Jan 2010 09:24 UTC in reply to "summary"
wargum Member since:
2006-12-15

I agree that there are a lot of bad things in H.264 licensing. Still, I think it will be the standard of the near future. Don't forget about flash! It supports H.264 as well and is even hardware accelerated now. And flash is there on almost every machine and soon on most smart phones as well. And it plays HW accelerated H.264 on all browsers, including FF. So, in the end I think Mozilla's move will ultimately help flash survive, because YouTube and the likes just can't ignore the large FF user base and will just stick to flash as the standard way of watching video on the net.

Edited 2010-01-25 09:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

h.264 US patents expire in 2028
by jrincayc on Tue 26th Jan 2010 16:11 UTC in reply to "summary"
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

It's worse. There are US MPEG-LA patents that don't expire until 2028, not 2017.

http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2009-July/02073...

Reply Score: 2

..i see nothing but chaos ahead ..
by mtzmtulivu on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:27 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14

Mozilla is a FOSS project, they cant license this codec and remain true to its principles cant cant afford to support it if this codec wins out and becomes the default online multimedia codec

what is mozilla to do?

1. They should ship with FREE codecs and advocate their use

2. Come up with a plug in system that will allow firefox to use system codecs to play codecs it doesnt support natively

People love to complain about flash but flash helped in giving a multimedia solution that worked consistently

Do we know what the likes of real network thinks about this tag? who is to say they wont push their own codec? what about microsoft and their wmv codec?

wont we go back to the days where were were told online "download this codec if you want to watch this video"? ..have we forgot?

Reply Score: 1

KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

They should ship with FREE codecs and advocate their use

Better Dirac than Theora.

Come up with a plug in system that will allow firefox to use system codecs to play codecs it doesnt support natively

Already in development, even though Mozilla spokespeople deny its existence: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=422540

People love to complain about flash but flash helped in giving a multimedia solution that worked consistently

MPEG-4 -- the codec family that includes AVC aka h.264 -- exists since over ten years.
Before AVC was released, there was already another very popular codec from the same family: ASP. Or in popular terms: DivX and Xvid (different brand names for the same thing).
MPEG-4 ASP still works so well, that the not-so-legal-but-mainstream movie sharing still uses that codec pretty much exclusively for non-HD content.

Do we know what the likes of real network thinks about this tag?

No, because nobody cares about Real. :-p

who is to say they wont push their own codec?

That would have the same effect on the web as my mom pushing a codec.


what about microsoft and their wmv codec?

Dead. Microsoft adopted MPEG-4 (AVC and AAC) on all recent platforms by default: Xbox 360, Zune, Windows 7, Windows Mobile 6.5.
Only MS themselves use it on their website (but even that use is fading in favor of Silverlight) and Xbox 360 developers who AFAIK are mandated to use WMV for cut scenes.

wont we go back to the days where were were told online "download this codec if you want to watch this video"? ..have we forgot?

At least back then videos played fine without utilizing 90% of my CPU.

Reply Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

ASP works so well I can hardly tell teh difference between an HD video in ASP and AVC on my 37 inch TV.

The only big difference is the files size and the fact that ASP is 1/3 the size of AVC, I can't justify downloading video in AVC just to get better consistency in the blacks.


As for WMV... It will be nice when MSs software supports the creation of mp4 with avc. I hope they move the MKV though.

Edited 2010-01-25 02:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

nobody cares about Real. :-p


And Real Networks has done an excellent job of ensuring our indifference, thanks to their strong commitment to f**king ugly, klunky software.

Reply Score: 2

codehalo Member since:
2007-11-09


People love to complain about flash but flash helped in giving a multimedia solution that worked consistently


Well said.


wont we go back to the days where were were told online "download this codec if you want to watch this video"? ..have we forgot?


Maybe they didn't forget. Maybe they're too young.

Reply Score: 1

The Choice is not theirs
by Praxis on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:50 UTC
Praxis
Member since:
2009-09-17

Most of the focus has been on the browsers in the format wars, but the true deciders in this war will be the content sites. Ultimately firefox will support whatever formats they have to support to remain relevant, just like they support flash today even though its a closed format. Unless the all the browsers get together and decide on a single codec, which they won't because Microsoft certainly won't play ball and Apple is a strong supporter of h.264, the default codec will be chosen for them by content sites. And the content sites will not let their choice be driven by ideology there are too many competitors for them to do that.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The Choice is not theirs
by darknexus on Sun 24th Jan 2010 21:32 UTC in reply to "The Choice is not theirs"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Firefox doesn't support Flash, Adobe makes the Flash plugin and they make a version for Mozilla's browsers including Firefox. Firefox doesn't care, it's a plugin like any other. In point of fact, this is how it should be. No browser should ever come with a built-in codec, that's counter-efficient and just creates a mess as we can already see. It's a mess already, and HTML 5 hasn't even taken off yet. If it isn't straightened out soon, the future doesn't look good for it.
And I had such hopes for it, but I don't want the codec hell again like we had 10 years ago. I can't believe I'm saying this, I hate saying it, but if the choices are going back to 1999's codec mess or using Flash... well, I'd take Flash. The sad thing is, this wouldn't have been hard to solve. The standard should've just settled on a codec (Dirac would've been my personal pick). Failing that, just pass the bloody thing to the os's media framework and have done with it. This isn't a logical stretch, it's fairly obvious. Instead we have browsers including codecs and refusing to play videos that aren't encoded in their included codec of choice. Great. This is certainly getting off to one hell of a start.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The Choice is not theirs
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 01:31 UTC in reply to "RE: The Choice is not theirs"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

1999's codec mess or using Flash

1999's codec mess? WTF? Back then for video streaming it was either QuickTime or RealPlayer. That's exactly two.

Now for the <video> tag it's either Theora or AVC. Again: Exactly two.

How is that a mess?
Unfortunate: Yes. A giant mess: No.

Edited 2010-01-25 01:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

not to mention... easily avoided by using Chrome, Safari or eventually IE (or IE with the chrome plugin)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The Choice is not theirs
by 0brad0 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 03:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The Choice is not theirs"
0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05

not to mention... easily avoided by using Chrome, Safari or eventually IE (or IE with the chrome plugin)


Wow. Back to proprietary Web again.

Reply Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Will you FOSSies stop moving the damn posts?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: The Choice is not theirs
by Vanders on Mon 25th Jan 2010 09:03 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The Choice is not theirs"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

The Web has always been open and Free. How is that moving the goalposts? If anything, those of us who are saying that H.264 is a bad idea are trying to keep the damn goalposts back where they used to be.

Some of us have been around long enough to remember the last time a heavily used but patent encumbered format became a problem (GIF) and we don't want to go through that mess again, yet some people appear to want to run at it head first, screaming.

Reply Score: 5

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

the web has been standards based. Using a standard is not proprietary.

And I am not some young fellow, I remember GIF and its patent problem.

Edited 2010-01-26 03:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: The Choice is not theirs
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon 25th Jan 2010 02:54 UTC in reply to "The Choice is not theirs"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

how is MS not playing ball with their strong support for h264?

Reply Score: 2

Here we go again
by r.j.l on Sun 24th Jan 2010 21:19 UTC
r.j.l
Member since:
2009-08-15

I just don't get it! Why can't we have open standards that all platforms can use freely without having to pay for some codec or IP. I guess that would be common sense so we can't have that can we.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Here we go again
by bnolsen on Sun 24th Jan 2010 21:31 UTC in reply to "Here we go again"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Doing work on codecs can be considered to be an investment. How to get a return from that is a good question.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Here we go again
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 07:09 UTC in reply to "Here we go again"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I just don't get it! Why can't we have open standards that all platforms can use freely without having to pay for some codec or IP. I guess that would be common sense so we can't have that can we.


Exactly so.

The work has been done, Theora/Vorbis performs very nearly as well as h264, so close that the difference is imperceptible.

It is free and available to anyone to use and implement. It works perfectly well with HTML5. No plugins at all are required.

So why not just use it as the public access standard for video on the web and be done with it? Mozilla's points are all well raised. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would come to this conclusion as a no-brainier.

The only conceivable for arguing otherwise is for commercial self-interests. The only people arguing against Theora/Vorbis as the standard codecs for AV over the web are also those who are seeking to rip other people off.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Here we go again
by BallmerKnowsBest on Tue 26th Jan 2010 22:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Here we go again"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

The only conceivable for arguing otherwise is for commercial self-interests. The only people arguing against Theora/Vorbis as the standard codecs for AV over the web are also those who are seeking to rip other people off.


Great to hear that you're volunteering your computer resources to anyone who would like to re-encode their videos using Theora, that you're volunteering to pay for both the local AND server diskspace to host the resulting files, and that you will provide support to any end-users who cannot view the Theora files.

How generous of you!

Reply Score: 2

Patents are not just in the US
by DrillSgt on Sun 24th Jan 2010 21:50 UTC
DrillSgt
Member since:
2005-12-02

The following companies, most not based in the US, have patents involved in H.264. They are also part of MPEG LA.

Columbia University, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Korea (ETRI), France Telecom, Fujitsu, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Philips, Polycom, Robert Bosch GmbH, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Thomson, Toshiba, and Victor Company of Japan (JVC).

So, all those countries where those companies are based will have issues distributing H.264. This is not just a US problem. They should really push Theora IMO.

Reply Score: 5

Loser
by ramasubbu_sk on Sun 24th Jan 2010 21:50 UTC
ramasubbu_sk
Member since:
2007-04-05

Here the looser are Opera & Firefox who cannot buy h.264 for economic & principle reason. But the deciders are Google & Apple, because Google has largest video service called YouTube and other has iPhone.

Google & Apple are saying that no one has comfirmed that Theora has not violated any patent, so it is risk. I buy their arguments, Atleast the H.624 is being there in the market for many years prominently and someone would have sued if it has violated any patent.

For me the best solution would be all the rich companies like Microsoft, Google , Apple, IBM, Oracle, etc. should come forward buy the H.624 license and make if royalty free. H.624 research department should also get money for their investment/research.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Loser
by Praxis on Sun 24th Jan 2010 22:09 UTC in reply to "Loser"
Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17


Google & Apple are saying that no one has comfirmed that Theora has not violated any patent, so it is risk. I buy their arguments, Atleast the H.624 is being there in the market for many years prominently and someone would have sued if it has violated any patent.


Google hasn't said anything about patents for Theora, they wouldn't include it in their browser if they did. Their concerns have been about performance and since the iphone only supports h.264 with hardware acceleration, that limits their options considerably. I mean if they went with Theora they would have to still keep Flash for IE users, give iphone users h.264, and everyone else Theora. I'm sure they are not envious of this outcome. So would greatly prefer to just stick to flash and h.264, which is pretty much the status quo, upgrading to html5 is just a coding issue then, no backend changes needed. Apple is the one refusing to include Theora for patent reasons.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Loser
by mrhasbean on Sun 24th Jan 2010 22:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Loser"
mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Apple is the one refusing to include Theora for patent reasons.


Can we blame them? If they develop something themselves that infringes someone else's patents and decide to use it they take that risk themselves (I can feel a Nokia reply coming on here), but why should they include something like Theora that is developed by someone else, IS NOT A RECOGNISED STANDARD and has no determination regarding possible patent infringements?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Loser
by Zifre on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Loser"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Can we blame them? If they develop something themselves that infringes someone else's patents and decide to use it they take that risk themselves (I can feel a Nokia reply coming on here), but why should they include something like Theora that is developed by someone else, IS NOT A RECOGNISED STANDARD and has no determination regarding possible patent infringements?

I don't get the patent argument at all. Couldn't H.264 have unknown patents too? I think their argument about hardware acceleration is perfectly valid, but the patent thing is just silly.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Loser
by Praxis on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Loser"
Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17


I don't get the patent argument at all. Couldn't H.264 have unknown patents too? I think their argument about hardware acceleration is perfectly valid, but the patent thing is just silly.


Well h.264 has the mpeg-la patent pool behind it, A bunch of multimedia companies who pool all their patents related to h.264 together to decrease chance of anyone being able to bust it. Here is a list of all the companies in the mpeg-la

Apple Inc, DAEWOO Electronics Corporation, Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, France Télécom,Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung, Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi, Koninklijke Philips Electronics, LG Electronics, Microsoft Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation ,Panasonic Corporation, Robert Bosch GmbH, Samsung Electronics Co, Scientific-Atlanta Vancouver Company, Sedna Patent Services, LLC ,Sharp Corporation, Siemens AG, Sony Corporation, The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, Toshiba Corporation, Victor Company of Japan.

Anyone one challenging a h.264 would be challenging all of these guys, all of whom have their own substantial patent arsenals to counter-sue with. Theora has no such patent pool behind it.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Loser
by Zifre on Mon 25th Jan 2010 02:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Loser"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Anyone one challenging a h.264 would be challenging all of these guys, all of whom have their own substantial patent arsenals to counter-sue with. Theora has no such patent pool behind it.

Okay, thanks. That makes a lot more sense now. However, it's just more proof that the patent system is a piece of junk...

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Loser
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 07:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Loser"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"
I don't get the patent argument at all. Couldn't H.264 have unknown patents too? I think their argument about hardware acceleration is perfectly valid, but the patent thing is just silly.


Well h.264 has the mpeg-la patent pool behind it, A bunch of multimedia companies who pool all their patents related to h.264 together to decrease chance of anyone being able to bust it. Here is a list of all the companies in the mpeg-la

Apple Inc, DAEWOO Electronics Corporation, Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, France Télécom,Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung, Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi, Koninklijke Philips Electronics, LG Electronics, Microsoft Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation ,Panasonic Corporation, Robert Bosch GmbH, Samsung Electronics Co, Scientific-Atlanta Vancouver Company, Sedna Patent Services, LLC ,Sharp Corporation, Siemens AG, Sony Corporation, The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, Toshiba Corporation, Victor Company of Japan.

Anyone one challenging a h.264 would be challenging all of these guys, all of whom have their own substantial patent arsenals to counter-sue with. Theora has no such patent pool behind it.
"

Well, there is a patent specifically for the VP3 codec upon which Theora is based. Xiph.org have an irrevocable license for developing VP3 into a codec and then distributing the resulting work under any license which Xiph.org please.

http://www.theora.org/faq/#24
Q. Isn't VP3 a patented technology?
The Xiph.org Foundation has negotiated an irrevocable free license from On2 to the VP3 codec. It is legal to use VP3 in any way you see fit (unless, of course, you're doing something illegal with it in your particular jurisdiction). You are free to download VP3 and Theora, use them free of charge, implement them in a for-sale product, implement them in a free product, make changes to the source and distribute those changes, or print the source code out and wallpaper your spare room with it.
For more information, check the VP3 Legal Terms on the SVN page.


It is interesting to see the list of companies that have a vested interest in pushing the h264 codec for use on the web, and in particular the companies that I have bolded. I wouldn't mind having a look for any software companies that refuse to support the free Theora/Vorbis codecs on their systems, and seeing if there is any corrrelation here!

I note that Nokia and Google, two large companies that are involved with web-connected technologies, are not on this list, along with Mozilla. Interestingly, there are an estimated 6.8 billion people who are also not on the list.

In any actual vote, the cost reductions for the larger 6.8 billion-strong group far, far outweigh the profit self-interests of the first group, I would have thought.

Edited 2010-01-25 07:44 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Loser
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 24th Jan 2010 23:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Loser"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple is the one refusing to include Theora for patent reasons.

Safari delegates all <video> requests to QuickTime. If Xiph or anybody else just upgrades the QT Components http://www.xiph.org/quicktime/ to handle streams, Safari would play Theora streams without problems.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Loser
by Praxis on Sun 24th Jan 2010 23:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Loser"
Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17


Safari delegates all requests to QuickTime. If Xiph or anybody else just upgrades the QT Components http://www.xiph.org/quicktime/" http://www.xiph.org/quicktime/&... to handle streams, Safari would play Theora streams without problems.</span>


Correct, still doesn't change the fact thats its not apple doing the adding, its up to the user. Now if all media frameworks where that extensible that would make this problem much easier. Just add the proper codecs to the media framework on installation and you could at least ensure some measure of consistency in codecs. Is DirectShow extenedable because I know QT and gstreamer are then that would make it the only hold up. It wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't.

Still unless a miracle happens, like google open sourcing vp8 and it turning out to be magic, the browsers probably will just end up handing things off to platform specific media frameworks. That will be a good enough solution for the vast majority of computer users. And the small number of users who end of getting left out will just figure out how to get the proper codecs on their systems anyway regardless of legality, I mean lets be honest who doesn't install the restricted extra packages right after they set up their linux installation. Not counting those who live in country where they could do so legally anyway of course. Good enough solutions are the enemy of idealists but 9 out of 10 times its what you get.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Loser
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 27th Jan 2010 16:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Loser"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Is DirectShow extenedable because I know QT and gstreamer are then that would make it the only hold up. It wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't.


http://www.xiph.org/dshow/

Reply Score: 2

RE: Loser
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:27 UTC in reply to "Loser"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Here the looser are Opera & Firefox who cannot buy h.264 for economic & principle reason. But the deciders are Google & Apple, because Google has largest video service called YouTube and other has iPhone.

The deciders are the complete industry. Basically every media and technology company wants to support AVC and it took their combined strength to wrestle down Microsoft's Windows Media formats. Now MS is on board with AVC.

IIRC Microsoft already stated to support HTML5 with IE9. If they do, I think the codec issue will be decided.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Loser
by dbolgheroni on Mon 25th Jan 2010 17:14 UTC in reply to "Loser"
dbolgheroni Member since:
2007-01-18

For me the best solution would be all the rich companies like Microsoft, Google , Apple, IBM, Oracle, etc. should come forward buy the H.624 license and make if royalty free. H.624 research department should also get money for their investment/research.


What's the planet you live?

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:06 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Wonderful words from another Mozilla engineer:

for the last ten years, even during Mozilla's most desperate days, we have consistently refused to turn this feature [ActiveX] on, because we believe that ActiveX is not good for the Web.

I think history has proved that this decision was completely right. Our market share rose anyway. The ActiveX ecosystem was a big vector for security attacks. Most importantly, if we'd caved, the Web everywhere would look like it does in China and South Korea, but more so --- dependent on ActiveX, and tied to Windows. No resurgent Apple, no Linux netbooks, precious few Linux users, no ChromeOS, no iPhone, no usable browsers on phones at all, and Microsoft's grip on the industry stronger than one dare imagine. We would have sacrificed huge long-term wins for users --- ALL users, not just Firefox users --- for the sake of a temporary filip.

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roc/archives/2010/01/activex_all_ove...


Caving into pressure to support H.264 now would almost certainly concrete 10 years of a crippled web where only the ‘approved’ megacorps could participate with video.

Edited 2010-01-25 00:06 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE: Comment by Kroc
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Caving into pressure to support H.264 now would almost certainly concrete 10 years of a crippled web where only the ‘approved’ megacorps could participate with video.

You make it sound as if America's patents are valid and enforceable all around the world.

The Mozilla people should use their money and manpower to overthrow America's broken patent system, instead on merely evading it.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Zifre on Mon 25th Jan 2010 02:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

The Mozilla people should use their money and manpower to overthrow America's broken patent system, instead on merely evading it.

If you have a good plan for doing that, please tell me (seriously, I would love to see it). Unfortunately, I don't think Mozilla can really change anything.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 25th Jan 2010 05:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

If you have a good plan for doing that, please tell me (seriously, I would love to see it). Unfortunately, I don't think Mozilla can really change anything.

Why should I have a plan for changing another country's politics? I'm not a US citizen. I'm not bound by US' stupid software patent laws.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by smitty on Mon 25th Jan 2010 05:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

You can keep yelling about how the US is unimportant all you want, it's not going to change anything. Mozilla has no intention of shipping functionality that a good portion of their userbase can't use without paying fees until they're absolutely forced to by content providers.

Until you can prove that sites like YouTube absolutely are going to refuse to re-encode everything in Theora (with a 2nd h264 stream for other browsers) then they aren't going to change it. In a year, maybe this will become clear. But for now, I'm still hopeful that if enough of their users ask for then YouTube might do the non-evil thing and provide the option for Firefox users. And if they do it, then it might become a standard across the entire web.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by pompous stranger on Mon 25th Jan 2010 07:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
pompous stranger Member since:
2006-05-28

Why should I have a plan for changing another country's politics? I'm not a US citizen. I'm not bound by US' stupid software patent laws.


Forgive us for thinking you were invested in this topic: half the comments on this story belong to you.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Kroc
by lemur2 on Mon 25th Jan 2010 07:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Kroc"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Why should I have a plan for changing another country's politics? I'm not a US citizen. I'm not bound by US' stupid software patent laws.


Forgive us for thinking you were invested in this topic: half the comments on this story belong to you.
"

Point scored!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc - US law effects you
by jabbotts on Mon 25th Jan 2010 19:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Especially for things like copyright law which the US is heavily pushing for changes in. Sadly, US politics and poor law making effects the rest of us even if we have no say as a US citizen.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by Zifre on Tue 26th Jan 2010 00:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Why should I have a plan for changing another country's politics? I'm not a US citizen. I'm not bound by US' stupid software patent laws.

I meant a plan that Mozilla could use to change the situation. Obviously a single person can't do much.

However, being from the US myself, your comment annoys me. People from other countries often seem to assume that all Americans are dumb and brought this patent non-sense upon themselves. I'm quite sure that if you had a vote among people who knew anything about the situation, 99% would vote to abolish software patents. It is just the Megacorps that have lots of patents that advocate for them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by KClowers on Tue 26th Jan 2010 09:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
KClowers Member since:
2009-12-18

Mozilla doesn't have enough money to get anything done in Congress. If, say, IBM and Google where to put some serious effort into it, you might at least get things started.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by jrincayc on Tue 26th Jan 2010 16:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

Take a look at the MPEG-LA's patent list for H.264.

http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Pages/PatentList.aspx

It's not just the US. It also has patents from AT, AU, BE, BG, CA, CN, CZ, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HK, HU, IE, IT, JP, KR, MX, NL, PT, RO, SE, SG, TR, TW (and maybe some more that I missed).

Edited 2010-01-26 16:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by AaronD on Mon 25th Jan 2010 05:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
AaronD Member since:
2009-08-19

Caving into pressure to support H.264 now would almost certainly concrete 10 years of a crippled web where only the ‘approved’ megacorps could participate with video.

Exactly as they want it.

I think it is inevitable that in 20 years the internet will be divided among a handful of the biggest corporations just like the rest of the media world.

Reply Score: 4

v In other news
by Macrat on Mon 25th Jan 2010 00:58 UTC
Active X and Video Codec
by iwod on Mon 25th Jan 2010 02:50 UTC
iwod
Member since:
2006-05-02

Let's just say using system Video Codec is like ActiveX. ( ActiveX is much worst then System Video Codec, i do not have a clue how they make these relations )

Google should just pay the h264 licenses for Mozilla, and cut off their Advertise rate in response.

Mozilla - If you are an NON profit organization, i wont have much problem with you. You are making profits and still wont paid up for a decent, if not the best codec that is currently available WIDELY and offers hardware acceleration in billions of devices worldwide.

Since Robert O'Callahan is from NZ, i am surprise that he spoke as if the world means US. It is ONLY US that requires all these patents shxx. So stop saying India and Brazil etc..

Reply Score: 1

RE: Active X and Video Codec
by mtzmtulivu on Mon 25th Jan 2010 03:32 UTC in reply to "Active X and Video Codec"
mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14



Google should just pay the h264 licenses for Mozilla, and cut off their Advertise rate in response.

Mozilla - If you are an NON profit organization, i wont have much problem with you. You are making profits and still wont paid up for a decent, if not the best codec that is currently available WIDELY and offers hardware acceleration in billions of devices worldwide.


firefox is a FOSS project and can not pay up and ship with this codec and maintain its FOSS status. As a FOSS project, all its users are able to redistribute it if they want. Firefox will have to prevent this from happening if it is to ship with this codec and will no longer be a FOSS project and i do not think its license will allow it.

The best firefox can do to accommodate this codec is to create a plug in system and load system plug in

Reply Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

it absolutely can!! There is nothing that says a FOSS product cannot link to proprietary code.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Active X and Video Codec
by mtzmtulivu on Mon 25th Jan 2010 04:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Active X and Video Codec"
mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14

it absolutely can!! There is nothing that says a FOSS product cannot link to proprietary code.


where did you get the linking proprietary code from? ..we are talking about firefox having build in and shipping with code that support this codec. It can not do that and maintain its FOSS status ..

Work around is shipping without native support of the codec and let firefox users load at run time a chunk of code(from gstreamer or ffmpeg or xine or mplayer or vlc or ...) that provide this functionality.

Reply Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

you really think FF will build their own codec version of h.264? They will use an implementation from someone else, and then hook their code into it. the hooks and their browser can be open. the codec does not have to be.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Active X and Video Codec
by lemur2 on Tue 26th Jan 2010 03:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Active X and Video Codec"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

you really think FF will build their own codec version of h.264? They will use an implementation from someone else, and then hook their code into it. the hooks and their browser can be open. the codec does not have to be.


Most decidedly the codec MUST NOT BE proprietary or patent encumbered in any way.

It is one of the fundamental things about the web that must be protected at all costs.

No proprietary, exclusionist, rip-off control-freak technologies for the public-access web!!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by graigsmith
by graigsmith on Mon 25th Jan 2010 05:17 UTC
graigsmith
Member since:
2006-04-05

people can't even agree on what video formats to use. this isn't going to work. flash will win.

Reply Score: 0

h.264 is a MUST in our world
by Auxx on Mon 25th Jan 2010 12:23 UTC
Auxx
Member since:
2007-04-05

Even though I do really support open standards, yet I realize that there is an industry which dictates rules. I already stated in Opera blog the same issue ( http://my.opera.com/haavard/blog/show.dml/6779841#comment16761561 ), let me quote myself:

h.264/h.263 is already supported by most devices out there. Even my three years old feature phone support h.263. h.264 is an industry standard, not supporting it is silly.

I suppose 10.50 will be more of a testing version for VIDEO support. I suggest making a proper cross-platform media framework for future versions, whitch will simply be a wrapper around native media playback using WM on Windows, QT on Apple, GStreamer on *nixes and other APIs for other devices. h.264 is playable by WM, QT, GStreamer and on most modern mobile phones/smart phones/pdas/tv set boxes/etc, along with other media formats.

I believe that in near future we will see three dominating media formats: OGG, h.264 and MP3 and I believe that most web-devs will have streams in all these formats. This will resolve incompatability issues (since web dev can figure out which formats are supported by client via JS) and make web trully accessible.

Current problem with accessibility is that OGG is NOT support by most hardware (I'm not speaking about PCs, but about phones/players), so h.264 and MP3 dominate. Including support for OGG is only a way to speed up the process of its adoption. Disabling h.264/MP3 will cause Opera/whatever browser vendor to loose in this game - You can't force Sony Ericsson to exclude their h.264 hardware support and put OGG instead - that will never happen.

So here is a very simple conslusion forced by current industry situation - h.264 is a MUST. No workaround accepted.

Reply Score: 2

RE: h.264 is a MUST in our world
by darmin on Mon 25th Jan 2010 14:16 UTC in reply to "h.264 is a MUST in our world"
darmin Member since:
2010-01-25

You're not getting the big picture here. It's not just about playback. If you have your own website and want to use h264 in the video tag, you have to pay MPEG-LA too. There's also a third payment for the content itself. With a free format everyone can do videos on their website, not just the people who negotiated deals with MPEG-LA.
I'm glad Mozilla is doing this. It reminds me of the take back the web movement of the "dark ages" when IE had a 90% market share.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: h.264 is a MUST in our world
by Auxx on Tue 26th Jan 2010 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE: h.264 is a MUST in our world"
Auxx Member since:
2007-04-05

This is a point of view of site owners who do not want to pay. But I'm talking about industry, a media industry that is. Media giants do not care about YOU! And since that you are locked into using h.264. Opera and Mozilla talk about accessibility on mobile devices a lot. But what do we see? SE Xperia - h.264 support, no OGG. Symbian S60 phones from Nokia, LG and other? h.264 is supported, no OGG. Need more examples?

So currently if we are speaking about desktop AND mobile accessibility like Opea and Mozilla do, then h.264 is a way to go.

Let me be clear, I prefer using OGG, but reallity and my wishes are different.

Reply Score: 1

RE: h.264 is a MUST in our world
by WereCatf on Mon 25th Jan 2010 15:00 UTC in reply to "h.264 is a MUST in our world"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I suggest making a proper cross-platform media framework for future versions, whitch will simply be a wrapper around native media playback using WM on Windows, QT on Apple, GStreamer on *nixes and other APIs for other devices. h.264 is playable by WM, QT, GStreamer and on most modern mobile phones/smart phones/pdas/tv set boxes/etc, along with other media formats.

While it may sound good at first, it's not so good after you think about it a bit. For example, not all frameworks support the same video formats. F.ex. apparently Directshow does not support h.264 on Windows XP, only on newer Windowses, and there's still millions of XP installations in heavy use all over the world. As you can't guarantee on all the different frameworks supporting the same formats it's just a clear no-go.

Secondly, having to support 15+ different frameworks would create massive amounts of code, would create unnecessary complexity and most of that code would not be shareable with other platforms at all.

So here is a very simple conslusion forced by current industry situation - h.264 is a MUST. No workaround accepted.

It's a must only if you accept it. And as already said, if you f.ex. set up a small company of your own, no matter how small, you'd have to buy the MPEG-LA license if you wanted to have any kind of h.264 content on your site. And heck, even if you were just having a popular personal blog with lots of video content you'd be in danger of getting sued for using h.264 without a license. Does that really sound a future you wish?

It might not be a big issue for large corporations, but it sure is an issue for small ones and for personal video needs, and I am honestly slightly baffled by that you don't see that.

Reply Score: 3

computeruser Member since:
2009-07-21

apparently Directshow does not support h.264 on Windows XP, only on newer Windowses, and there's still millions of XP installations in heavy use all over the world.

Windows XP and Vista do not come with a DirectShow H.264 decoder. This doesn't mean that one cannot be installed on an existing system. Microsoft could include one with an update to Windows Media Player or Internet Explorer, for example.

Secondly, having to support 15+ different frameworks would create massive amounts of code, would create unnecessary complexity and most of that code would not be shareable with other platforms at all.

Major web browsers already use platform-specific code to some extent.

Not supporting the platform's native video framework(s) is a bad idea, and is likely to lead to high CPU usage (like Flash) or poor video quality (like Flash). Here are a few advantages of using a native API:
* The OS's (often accelerated) video scaling and deinterlacing code can be used
* Any decoder using the supported video framework can be used, allowing the decoder to be replaced with a more CPU efficient or hardware accelerated one
* Video decoding can take place entirely in hardware when supported
* For remote desktop/thin client systems, the compressed video can be streamed directly to the client and decoded on the client

These advantages apply to any video encoding, not just H.264.

Reply Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Windows XP and Vista do not come with a DirectShow H.264 decoder. This doesn't mean that one cannot be installed on an existing system. Microsoft could include one with an update to Windows Media Player or Internet Explorer, for example.

Of course, Microsoft _could_ do that. But for obvious reasons Mozilla can't just sit on their hands and wait for that to happen. And secondly, it's pretty unlikely that Microsoft would do that anyway, they want people to go out and buy Win7.

Major web browsers already use platform-specific code to some extent.

Indeed, they do. But the less platform-specific code there is in the tree the easier it is all to maintain and audit. Firefox is already a god damn hefty package of code if you build it from source, and then it'd just be even more of that. Besides, supporting such frameworks would mean that the popular OSes have lots of developers making sure that their framework is supported, but the less popular OSes would most likely suffer from bugs and maybe even security issues in the framework code due to having less people working on their code.

It's just easier to have the decoder in the browser code cos it'll then work on all supported platforms equally.

Now, to make another point: if the browser was for aimed for a specific OS, or only a selected few ones, then it'd actually be very much beneficial to use such frameworks. Firefox just isn't aimed for such a selected audience; it's meant for consumption on any and all OSes.

Reply Score: 2

Auxx Member since:
2007-04-05

Having decoder inside a browser is a really bad idea. You see, everyone is now trying to get a piece of mobile market, which is dominated by Opera. On many mobiles you can't decode ANY video in real-time with your app - apps do not have direct access to hardware and soft-decoding will be too slow. But there is an API for playing videos, which will ask hardware to decode what you want. So a browser vendor MUST use platform-specific APIs.

Mobiles are not desktops, remember that. And when Opera with Mozilla talk about h.264 they often mention mobile devices. So h.264 and using native APIs is a must - this is not what-you-want-or-like, this is what happens in real life.

Reply Score: 1

KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

having to support 15+ different frameworks would create massive amounts of code, would create unnecessary complexity and most of that code would not be shareable with other platforms at all.

GStreamer solves that. Just look at Songbird which uses GStreamer for music playback on all platforms.
After starting Songbird for the first time, Songbird asks to download GStreamer wrappers for DirectShow as well as QuickTime.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: h.264 is a MUST in our world
by Auxx on Tue 26th Jan 2010 12:54 UTC in reply to "RE: h.264 is a MUST in our world"
Auxx Member since:
2007-04-05

Read my reply above - this NOT what I want, this is what reallity IS.

Reply Score: 1

h.263 is better than h.264 patentwise
by jrincayc on Tue 26th Jan 2010 16:51 UTC in reply to "h.264 is a MUST in our world"
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

H.263 is much better patentwise than H.264. The standard came out in 1996, so patents should expire in about 2017 at the worst in the US. The baseline version of the standard may already be patent free. H.264 has US MPEG-LA patents that don't expire until 2028.

Reply Score: 1

wow, thats the truth
by FunkyELF on Mon 25th Jan 2010 14:07 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

The web is undeniably better for Mozilla having entered the browser market, and it would have been impossible for us to do so if there had been a multi-million-dollar licensing fee required for handling HTML, CSS, JavaScript or the like.


I couldn't agree more with this statement.

I hope YouTube (Google) does whats right and uses the inferior yet free codecs.

Silverlight web pages can be much flashier than even flash, and definately flashier than HTML, CSS, etc.... yet any sane person would never consider making a silverlight page.

Didn't Google buy some company that was developing a good Ogg Theora codec? What happened to that?

Reply Score: 3

RE: wow, thats the truth
by Zifre on Tue 26th Jan 2010 00:49 UTC in reply to "wow, thats the truth"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Silverlight web pages can be much flashier than even flash, and definately flashier than HTML, CSS, etc.... yet any sane person would never consider making a silverlight page.

Well apparently, many web developers are not sane. People do sometimes have valid reasons for using Flash or Silverlight. Often, they do it out of laziness, but sometimes JavaScript just isn't fast enough, it would be too hard to develop/maintain with JavaScript, or IE's poor standards support makes Flash/Silverlight the only way.

Didn't Google buy some company that was developing a good Ogg Theora codec? What happened to that?

Well, no. Ogg Theora is a codec, already developed. However they did buy On2, which has a patented codec called VP8, which is supposedly as good as H.264. If Google released the patents under an irrevocable license, they could probably use that for YouTube. The patent situation is probably better for companies like Apple because VP8 is a fairly well-known commercial codec (unlike Theora), so any patents would have likely been challenged. The only remaining problem is hardware acceleration (VP8 is no better than Theora in this area). However, if the MPEG-LA starts charging large amounts of money for distributing H.264 videos, Google may move to VP8 anyway (and possible leave alternate H.264 streams for phones with H.264 hardware).

The other thing that I could see Google doing is paying lots of money to develop an incredibly amazing Theora encoder, making the quality as good or better than H.264 (it is already pretty close). The latest version of the encoder has been a huge improvement over older versions, but I'm sure that with Google's resources, they could make it even better.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: wow, thats the truth
by lemur2 on Tue 26th Jan 2010 01:46 UTC in reply to "RE: wow, thats the truth"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Silverlight web pages can be much flashier than even flash, and definately flashier than HTML, CSS, etc.... yet any sane person would never consider making a silverlight page.

Well apparently, many web developers are not sane. People do sometimes have valid reasons for using Flash or Silverlight. Often, they do it out of laziness, but sometimes JavaScript just isn't fast enough, it would be too hard to develop/maintain with JavaScript, or IE's poor standards support makes Flash/Silverlight the only way.
"

Javascript with a JIT compiler, such as implemented in webkit (Squirrelfish) or gecko (greasemonkey) is at least as fast as Silverlight.

DOM2/DOM3/SVG/Animated SVG/CSS3/SMIL, in conjunction with JIT Javascript, is as functional (flashy) as Silverlight.

"Didn't Google buy some company that was developing a good Ogg Theora codec? What happened to that?


Well, no. Ogg Theora is a codec, already developed. However they did buy On2, which has a patented codec called VP8, which is supposedly as good as H.264. If Google released the patents under an irrevocable license, they could probably use that for YouTube. The patent situation is probably better for companies like Apple because VP8 is a fairly well-known commercial codec (unlike Theora), so any patents would have likely been challenged. The only remaining problem is hardware acceleration (VP8 is no better than Theora in this area). However, if the MPEG-LA starts charging large amounts of money for distributing H.264 videos, Google may move to VP8 anyway (and possible leave alternate H.264 streams for phones with H.264 hardware).

The other thing that I could see Google doing is paying lots of money to develop an incredibly amazing Theora encoder, making the quality as good or better than H.264 (it is already pretty close). The latest version of the encoder has been a huge improvement over older versions, but I'm sure that with Google's resources, they could make it even better.
"

Ogg container (which was designed from the outset for streaming) in conjunction with Theora (video codec) and Vorbis (audio codec) already achieves a practical result as good as h264.

http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/2010/01/html5-video-and-h-264-what...

What the web is really asking for is a codec that is implemented everywhere, that competes well on quality and doesn’t come with GIF-like surprises. Theora and Vorbis fit every part of this bill. You can actually use them on all of the desktop browsers, either via native support or via a Java plugin that actually works pretty well.

On the quality side what we’ve been able to do at Mozilla, with the help of the rest of the Xiph community, is to show that even though Theora is based on older, royalty-free technology, it does at least as well as H.264 in practice (although not always in theory.)

But given the situation with submarine patents it would actually be a good idea for us to have more than one royalty-free codec available for browser vendors, site owners and content publishers. That way if one of them turns out to have issues, you just turn one of them off and continue to use the other one That’s why I think that if Google did offer a new codec that it would make a wonderful addition to the list of codecs we could use on the web. And if they want to use it on Youtube and other Google sites, that’s great. But it’s good to have other options in the wings.

So this means that Theora and Vorbis aren’t going anywhere. There are other reasons to continue to support (and promote!) Theora and Vorbis as well:

* There’s a growing corpus of Theora content on sites like the Internet Archive, Wordpress and Dailymotion, not to mention all the private sites that are out there starting to use it.
* Vorbis is far better quality than MP3 for the same bandwidth and I would expect that Google would use it as the audio codec of choice to match a free video codec.
* Vorbis is actually supported in a large number of hardware devices, often quietly. My phone supports it, for example.
* Theora with Ogg as a container actually is a fantastic live streaming format for HTTP. This is often overlooked. While Apple has had to add a bunch of code and description files trying to get live streaming to work with their proprietary H.264 codec and MPEG containers, we’ve been doing live streaming over HTTP out of the box ever since Theora and Ogg were part of the browser without any changes to standards. This is largely a function of history. Vorbis and Ogg were originally built as a radio streaming format. It’s possible to jump into the middle of a stream and start decoding. (As a side note it will be interesting to see if Google ends up trying to build their own container format. Ogg is simple, and it works.)


The work is already done. There is no need for any more help from Google. All that is needed is for YouTube/Viemo to re-encode their videos in Theora/Vorbis and then to stream them in an Ogg container in conjunction with HTML5.

Problem solved. Open video on the web.

Edited 2010-01-26 01:48 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: wow, thats the truth
by cb_osn on Tue 26th Jan 2010 02:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: wow, thats the truth"
cb_osn Member since:
2006-02-26

Javascript with a JIT compiler, such as implemented in webkit (Squirrelfish) or gecko (greasemonkey) is at least as fast as Silverlight.

This is objectively false. The JIT engines have brought substantial improvements to Javascript, but none of them even approach the performance of C# on the CLR. The dynamic nature of Javascript means that the techniques that have been developed for statically typed JIT compilers cannot be used. For example, V8, which is currently the fastest Javascript engine, must emit conditional branch instructions before every arithmetic operation and it allocates all floating point values individually on the heap.

It's arguable whether the performance of Javascript suffices for the web. I'd say that it is acceptable for the things that are being done now, but won't scale to the things we'll want to do in the future.

Regardless, stating that Javascript performance is in any way comparable to that of Silverlight is incorrect. They're not even in the same league.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: wow, thats the truth
by ba1l on Tue 26th Jan 2010 02:38 UTC in reply to "RE: wow, thats the truth"
ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

However they did buy On2, which has a patented codec called VP8, which is supposedly as good as H.264. If Google released the patents under an irrevocable license, they could probably use that for YouTube. The patent situation is probably better for companies like Apple because VP8 is a fairly well-known commercial codec (unlike Theora), so any patents would have likely been challenged.


Not familiar with the history of Theora then?

On2 developed a patented codec called VP3. They sold it as a commercial video codec for several years. On2 released the source code for the VP3 encoder and decoder, along with an irrevocable patent license on all patents covering VP3.

Theora was then developed from VP3, mostly by generalising the bitstream format and adding in ideas that had worked well in Vorbis.

How is that any different that your hypothetical situation with VP8? It just gets us another codec that, no matter how good it might be, Apple will never use.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: wow, thats the truth
by KClowers on Tue 26th Jan 2010 09:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: wow, thats the truth"
KClowers Member since:
2009-12-18

They will when youtube and the rest of the internet starts moving to it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: wow, thats the truth
by Zifre on Tue 26th Jan 2010 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: wow, thats the truth"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Not familiar with the history of Theora then?

On2 developed a patented codec called VP3. They sold it as a commercial video codec for several years. On2 released the source code for the VP3 encoder and decoder, along with an irrevocable patent license on all patents covering VP3.

Theora was then developed from VP3, mostly by generalising the bitstream format and adding in ideas that had worked well in Vorbis.

Yes, I know all this. I have read much of the Theora spec.

How is that any different that your hypothetical situation with VP8? It just gets us another codec that, no matter how good it might be, Apple will never use.

I'm sure Apple will be resistant to it, but I think that if people start using it, they will be more likely to support it than Theora.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: wow, thats the truth
by ba1l on Tue 26th Jan 2010 14:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: wow, thats the truth"
ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

I'm sure Apple will be resistant to it, but I think that if people start using it, they will be more likely to support it than Theora.


As it stands right now, Apple's primary technical problem with Theora is hardware support on the iPhone. Unlike many other phones, which use software decoding on a specialised DSP-like processor, the iPhone actually has a hardware-only h.264 decoder. It's impossible to add support for any other codec.

Adding support for any other codec gains them absolutely nothing. All existing iPhones support h.264 only. Anyone intending videos to be viewed on an iPhone must provide them in h.264 format anyway, and Apple must still include the h.264 decoder.

That's equally true for Theora as it is for VP8 or any other codec.

Google may have enough clout to push VP8 as an alternative to h.264 on the desktop. If they seriously tried to do this, I have no doubt that they would be successful. However, nothing short of completely annihilating h.264 on the desktop could persuade Apple to implement any other video codec on the iPhone.

I'm not convinced Google will do this though. No matter what, they still have to support h.264 (for the iPhone, and Flash support), so it may not be worth pushing another video codec. Google will already be paying the h.264 licenses anyway, so how would it benefit them?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: wow, thats the truth
by Zifre on Wed 27th Jan 2010 00:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: wow, thats the truth"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Adding support for any other codec gains them absolutely nothing. All existing iPhones support h.264 only. Anyone intending videos to be viewed on an iPhone must provide them in h.264 format anyway, and Apple must still include the h.264 decoder.

Well, eventually, codec technology will advance, and H.264 will no longer suffice. It is inevitable; at some point, Apple's future phones will include support for some other codec. We are not going to use H.264 forever.

That's equally true for Theora as it is for VP8 or any other codec.

So essentially, H.264 has a monopoly on video codecs. Monopolies are bad.

Google may have enough clout to push VP8 as an alternative to h.264 on the desktop. If they seriously tried to do this, I have no doubt that they would be successful. However, nothing short of completely annihilating h.264 on the desktop could persuade Apple to implement any other video codec on the iPhone.

I'm quite sure that if Google could force Apple to include VP8 support in future iPhones. I doubt that Google makes very much money from YouTube on the iPhone. They don't have much to lose, while Apple does.

I'm not convinced Google will do this though. No matter what, they still have to support h.264 (for the iPhone, and Flash support), so it may not be worth pushing another video codec. Google will already be paying the h.264 licenses anyway, so how would it benefit them?

Even if they did have to continue to provide H.264 streams for all their videos, the more people they can get to use VP8 or Theora, the less they have to pay. The desktop market probably makes up most of Google's YouTube users, so they would save a lot of money on H.264 licenses. And if they dropped H.264 completely, the amount they lose in revenue may be less than the amount they would have to pay in H.264 licenses, so it could be worth it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: wow, thats the truth
by lemur2 on Wed 27th Jan 2010 02:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: wow, thats the truth"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Google may have enough clout to push VP8 as an alternative to h.264 on the desktop. If they seriously tried to do this, I have no doubt that they would be successful. However, nothing short of completely annihilating h.264 on the desktop could persuade Apple to implement any other video codec on the iPhone.
I'm quite sure that if Google could force Apple to include VP8 support in future iPhones. I doubt that Google makes very much money from YouTube on the iPhone. They don't have much to lose, while Apple does.
I'm not convinced Google will do this though. No matter what, they still have to support h.264 (for the iPhone, and Flash support), so it may not be worth pushing another video codec. Google will already be paying the h.264 licenses anyway, so how would it benefit them?
Even if they did have to continue to provide H.264 streams for all their videos, the more people they can get to use VP8 or Theora, the less they have to pay. The desktop market probably makes up most of Google's YouTube users, so they would save a lot of money on H.264 licenses. And if they dropped H.264 completely, the amount they lose in revenue may be less than the amount they would have to pay in H.264 licenses, so it could be worth it.
"

There are a great many more Firefox browsers in use than there are iPhones.

It is far, far more important to Google to support Firefox than it is to support the iPhone.

Google also have some incentive to see the iPhone stagger, as it makes for a larger market for the Nexus one.

Reply Score: 2

Hooray for Mozilla/Firefox!!!
by JeffS on Tue 26th Jan 2010 17:02 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

First, they put out the best release of Firefox (3.6) in years. Next, they refuse to license/distribute appallingly closed and expensive codec for HTML 5 video tag.

Wake up everyone, the web is what it is today because of open formats. The post a while back about ActiveX put it perfectly. Imagine if Mozilla caved on ActiveX, a whole bunch of great stuff we have now would never have happened.

You willing deal with lock-in, you will always get screwed in the long run.

Apple and Google are two mega-corps who have in their own interests to squeeze out the smaller players, and corner video content. So it's in their best interest to force h.264 down everyone's throats.

But, the Mozilla foundation (and corporation) has balls, and refuses to play. Fine, allow a downloaded plugin, if users want it. But don't support it natively.

I was using Chrome and Safari, due to WebKit being so fast, and their JS engines being fast. But now that they are sneaking h.264 into HTML 5, I don't want to use them. Plus, Firefox is plenty fast now, and is just a better all around browser than the others.

Really, just think about it. HTML (4 and 5) is an open standard. How can we allow an open standard bake in a very proprietary, very expensive codec? That effectively closes down HTML.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hooray for Mozilla/Firefox!!!
by kaiwai on Tue 26th Jan 2010 23:58 UTC in reply to "Hooray for Mozilla/Firefox!!!"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

First, they put out the best release of Firefox (3.6) in years. Next, they refuse to license/distribute appallingly closed and expensive codec for HTML 5 video tag.


You got that right - hence the big problem I have with patents, especially with CODECs. I can possible understand the reasoning for charging a fee for encoders but when it comes to decoders - just simply so people can play back the music or video, it is absolutely ridiculous. This is one area where I would love at least some sort of industry solution so that a middle ground can be found between making a legitimate return on ones investment whilst at the same time being pragmatic when it comes to allowing people to the playback of media free of charge without having to pay royalties on the decoder.

Regarding VP3 - the problem is that questions have been raised regarding Vorbis and whether it is entirely patent free because I'd put money on it almost every piece of software in exist treads on some obscure patent somewhere along the line. As much as I admire the idea of VP3, one has to be pragmatic when it comes to bandwidth usage and scalability - although I admit given the size of a youtube video it would be hard pressed for the average person to tell the difference between a h264 versus VP3 at the resolution offered. I for one encoded a video from MPEG2 to VP3 and noticed no quality loss with the decreased size, I also did the same for x264 which had a modest increase in size with no quality loss.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Regarding VP3 - the problem is that questions have been raised regarding Vorbis and whether it is entirely patent free because I'd put money on it almost every piece of software in exist treads on some obscure patent somewhere along the line.


VP3, and therefore Theora which is based on VP3, is not patent free. On2 holds the patent which covers VP3. The thing is, Xiph.org have negotiated to obtain an irrevocable, royalty-free license to use VP3 and to distribute the resulting code under an open source license.

Theora is therefore royalty-free, but not patent free. This is an important distinction, because Theora does indeed have patent protection covering against patent trolls.

Since VP3 has a covering patent, the USPTO at least considers that VP3 is an original, patentable invention in its own right.

As for Vorbis ... questions have indeed been raised ... and then answered and subsequently withdrawn. There have been to date no actual legal challenges to Vorbis.

As much as I admire the idea of VP3, one has to be pragmatic when it comes to bandwidth usage and scalability - although I admit given the size of a youtube video it would be hard pressed for the average person to tell the difference between a h264 versus VP3 at the resolution offered. I for one encoded a video from MPEG2 to VP3 and noticed no quality loss with the decreased size, I also did the same for x264 which had a modest increase in size with no quality loss.


One cannot compare video codecs performance via re-encoding an already-compressed video file into another format. Video codecs achieve compression by being lossy. Different codecs throw away different parts of the video information.

Therefore, in order to compare two different video codecs, one must encode the same original, uncompressed video data source using each codec. It is not valid to "encode a video from MPEG2 to VP3" for the purposes of comparison of codecs. The result of the second (VP3) encoding will never be better than the first file, because the first (MPEG2, lossy) compression will have already removed some information from the original uncompressed video which may be important to the VP3 encoder algorithm.

Edited 2010-01-27 02:04 UTC

Reply Score: 3

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

"As much as I admire the idea of VP3, one has to be pragmatic when it comes to bandwidth usage and scalability - although I admit given the size of a youtube video it would be hard pressed for the average person to tell the difference between a h264 versus VP3 at the resolution offered. I for one encoded a video from MPEG2 to VP3 and noticed no quality loss with the decreased size, I also did the same for x264 which had a modest increase in size with no quality loss.


One cannot compare video codecs performance via re-encoding an already-compressed video file into another format.
"

Sure you can. If kaiwai were transcoding from h.264 to Theora/VP3 and then comparing the codecs based on the results - then I'd say you have a point. But he states that he's using MPEG2 as the source in both instances - and as long as he's using similar settings for both codecs, it's perfectly valid to compare the output.

Secondly, while it is true that converting from MPEG2 to h.264/VP3 is an example of going from one compressed format to another, that doesn't paint the full picture. Typically MPEG2 files are encoded at much higher bitrates than VP3 or h.264 video - especially with web-video. The typical SD web video is probably going to be around 4-600kbps, while a DVD-quality MPEG2 file is more like 2-3,000kbps. And with a high enough bitrate, MPEG2 files can be almost on par with DV files in terms of quality.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"One cannot compare video codecs performance via re-encoding an already-compressed video file into another format.
Sure you can. If kaiwai were transcoding from h.264 to Theora/VP3 and then comparing the codecs based on the results - then I'd say you have a point. But he states that he's using MPEG2 as the source in both instances - and as long as he's using similar settings for both codecs, it's perfectly valid to compare the output. "

No, it isn't. MPEG2 could very well throw away or approximate information that VP3 relies upon to do encoding and which h264 just doesn't use, or vice-versa. The ONLY way to really compare codecs is to supply them each with the same uncompressed video source.

Secondly, while it is true that converting from MPEG2 to h.264/VP3 is an example of going from one compressed format to another, that doesn't paint the full picture. Typically MPEG2 files are encoded at much higher bitrates than VP3 or h.264 video - especially with web-video. The typical SD web video is probably going to be around 4-600kbps, while a DVD-quality MPEG2 file is more like 2-3,000kbps. And with a high enough bitrate, MPEG2 files can be almost on par with DV files in terms of quality.


The apparent quality and bitrate of a compressed file that one is using as a source is not as relevant as you may at first think. For example, the bitrate of the original compressed source could set up a "resonance" effect in one codec and not in another. There is still the issue that some of the losses in the compressed video source could be more important to one subsequent codec than another, regardless of how little is lost. Finally, if a later codec is of the same "family" as an earlier codec, it may throw away the same informations as has already been lost in the first encoding process, and hence not be affected by the first encoding, whereas another codec family could well rely on that same information that the first codec family sacrifices.

For instance, a number of people have "gone wrong" in assessing Theora because they have looked at examples from the tinyvid.tv site, and decided that the quality was poor. However, when you look at the origin of many of the example videos on that site, the original source was YouTube. This means that the Theora video from tinyvid.tv in these cases is a re-encoding in Theora of a video that was originally encoded in h264. The first h264 encoding (done by YouTube) will have already thrown away some information so that the Theora encoder has no access to that. The resulting Theora encoded file can never be as high quality as the original h264 encoded video from YouTube. This happens even if the Theora encoder itself might have been as high quality if it had been applied to the uncompressed video instead of the h264-compressed version from YouTube.

The only even playing field comes about when you compare the performance of each codec in compressing video from an original uncompressed source.

Edited 2010-01-28 02:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

"Sure you can. If kaiwai were transcoding from h.264 to Theora/VP3 and then comparing the codecs based on the results - then I'd say you have a point. But he states that he's using MPEG2 as the source in both instances - and as long as he's using similar settings for both codecs, it's perfectly valid to compare the output. "


No, it isn't. MPEG2 could very well throw away or approximate information that VP3 relies upon to do encoding and which h264 just doesn't use, or vice-versa.
"

Are you aware of any specific data indicating that it actually happens?

Keep in mind that, at DVD quality, MPEG2 is encoded at around 11,000 kbps. At typical web video sizes and bitrates, I really doubt you could perceive the difference between a video where the source was a DV file, and a video where the source was a high-bitrate MPEG2 file. I certainly can't.

The ONLY way to really compare codecs is to supply them each with the same uncompressed video source.


While that may be the ideal from a technical standpoint, the results wouldn't have much real-world (as opposed to academic) relevance. Even with DV there's still some compression - certainly more than true raw, uncompressed video (and HDV uses MPEG2 compression, last I checked). Those are probably the closest you'll ever see to uncompressed video in most actual production settings.

The apparent quality and bitrate of a compressed file that one is using as a source is not as relevant as you may at first think. [...]


Those are all interesting technical details. But it's also important to remember that MPEG2 is a widely-used codec, meaning that at least a fair portion of web video will be encoded from MPEG2 sources. If a codec has serious quality issues when the source is MPEG2, that's going to be a barrier to adoption. I've seen no indication that Theora has such problems, however (or if it does, it's not any perceptibly worse than other codecs I've worked with).

For instance, a number of people have "gone wrong" in assessing Theora because they have looked at examples from the tinyvid.tv site, and decided that the quality was poor. However, when you look at the origin of many of the example videos on that site, the original source was YouTube.


Yes, obviously encoding a video at a relatively low-bitrate - from a source video that was already highly-compressed to begin with - will produce output that's lower quality than the source. Anyone who criticizes ANY codec based on that sort comparison should be dismissed out of hand, as they clearly don't have clue-one about media encoding and compression.

That's beside the point, however, given that that's not what kaiwai described. To use an analogy, what you've described is like making a photocopy of a photocopy. While the test that kaiwai describes is akin to using two different photocopiers to make copies of the same source document.

And none of that changes the simple fact that, if two codecs produce noticeably-different results from the same source, that is significant (regardless of whether or not the source was compressed) At least in real-world situations, and especially when the source file employs one of the most widely-used codecs in existence.

Reply Score: 2