Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Dec 2010 22:07 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Mozilla & Gecko clones Both Apple and Microsoft are betting on H264 for HTML5 video, while Firefox and Opera focus on WebM and Chrome does both. Microsoft, however, is kind of an oddball; they first stated they would limit HTML5 video support in Internet Explorer 9 to H264, excluding all other codecs, but later made an exception for WebM, as long as the user installs the WebM codec. Now there's a new move by Microsoft: a Firefox plugin that allows the browser to hook into Windows 7's native video framework to provide H264 support.
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MS motivation...
by Tuishimi on Wed 15th Dec 2010 22:23 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...they may be motivated by self-interest, but it is still a nice move.

Reply Score: 8

RE: MS motivation...
by aliquis on Thu 16th Dec 2010 00:28 UTC in reply to "MS motivation..."
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

"And something of value was gained!"

Reply Score: 3

RE: MS motivation...
by Tuishimi on Thu 16th Dec 2010 01:23 UTC in reply to "MS motivation..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

LOL! Someone lowered my post rating... I guess it was off-topic. Or untrue? I don't know.

Reply Score: 1

RE: MS motivation...
by Nth_Man on Thu 16th Dec 2010 05:02 UTC in reply to "MS motivation..."
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

...they may be motivated by self-interest

Yes, Bill Gates got millions... thinking long term. The idea is that they will get the control (patents, format control, etc) in the future. They don't do it for you.

Reply Score: 2

RE: MS motivation...
by shmerl on Thu 16th Dec 2010 18:18 UTC in reply to "MS motivation..."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

I don't find it nice at all, knowing that motives are still bad as before - manipulating the market share (in this case against WebM adoption).

Reply Score: 3

writing on the wall
by TechGeek on Wed 15th Dec 2010 22:24 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

I'd say the writing is on the wall. No one wants to deal with h264 or its problems. Google is a big supplier of content and they are pushing WebM. What content does Microsoft have to leverage? MSNBC? There is also the issue that flash isn't going away. Making h264 a third place loser. But thats just my opinion....

Reply Score: 2

RE: writing on the wall
by lemur2 on Wed 15th Dec 2010 23:06 UTC in reply to "writing on the wall"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'd say the writing is on the wall. No one wants to deal with h264 or its problems. Google is a big supplier of content and they are pushing WebM. What content does Microsoft have to leverage? MSNBC? There is also the issue that flash isn't going away. Making h264 a third place loser. But thats just my opinion....


"Flash" is not an alternative to H.264, but rather an alternative to HTML5.

WebM is an alternative to H.264.

Right now Flash videos very often are encoded in H.264. Adobe have made a commitment to also allowing Flash videos to be encoded in WebM, but Adobe hasn't put that capability in their player as yet.

H.264 has wide support in hardware (graphics cards), but it is by no means universal.

WebM support in hardware chipsets is only just beginning to arrive.
http://blog.webmproject.org/2010/12/chips-delivers-vp8-hd-video-har...
http://www.design-reuse.com/news/24961/dual-hd-video-ip-core-vp8.ht...

For those graphics cards with a GPU, but no actual video decoder built in, it is possible still to implement video acceleration via the use of shaders. On Linux anyway, the Gallium3D drivers and state trackers to implement this is still in work. The following page shows that most GPUs in the ATI range do not have video decode hardware support (UVD), but that most GPUs apart from the two earliest will support video decode (when it is finished) using the 3D engine (shaders).
http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature
(The orange cells with the text "WIP (gallium)" mean that this capability is still in work, the software for it within the Gallium3D driver is still being written).

Current hardware decoders built in to the GPUs typically would support only H.264. This article is about a plugin for Firefox on Windows that would let Firefox access such a decoder (on Windows only, only where it existed, which means only on recent graphics cards).

In order to support WebM video decode acceleration for most cards today it is necessary to program a state tracker which could use the shaders. This has to be part of the 3D graphics capability, which means on Windows it would have to go into directx.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Microsoft to support that.

Edited 2010-12-15 23:11 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: writing on the wall
by smashIt on Wed 15th Dec 2010 23:30 UTC in reply to "RE: writing on the wall"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

Don't hold your breath waiting for Microsoft to support that.


why should they?
there are enough codecs out there that use the media-framework in windows
if ms provides the plugin to connect ff to those codecs its a win-win situation

ms can brag that there is h264 support on win-ff, and ff can brag with all the other codecs besides h264 ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: writing on the wall
by lemur2 on Thu 16th Dec 2010 00:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: writing on the wall"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Don't hold your breath waiting for Microsoft to support that.
why should they? "

Because then people could compose and serve WebM videos on the web free of licencse costs and still have Windows users able to view them with hardware video acceleration, even if their GPU did not have a secific video decoder function? Because then Windows customers could view accelerated video with their existing GPU hardware (and hopefully with their existing Windows installation)? Because the Windows XP users might still be able to watch accelerated graphics and video (using Firefox on their machine which has a GPU but no video decoder) and therefore not have to upgrade to a new system with Windows 7? Because providing 3D-shader-based video decoding (especially for WebM) would be a great cost-saver for hundreds of millions of people all over the world?

The only possible "losers" if WebM became the dominant codec used with HTML5 over the web (and not H.264), and people did not have to buy any licenses in order to produce and serve videos, and people did not have to buy new GPUs (and possibly new systems) in order to watch them accelerated, would be licensors of H.264.

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

Oh wait.

PS: 3D-shader-based video decoding could also provide GPU hardware video acceleration on iPhones and iPads. The Safari browser could support accelerated HTML5/WebM video with no change to iPhone or iPad hardware! -- However, don't expect to see that actually happening anytime soon, either, for similar reasons to the above. It helps Apple's customers, but not Apple.

Edited 2010-12-16 00:28 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: writing on the wall
by TechGeek on Thu 16th Dec 2010 05:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: writing on the wall"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

I understand that many flash videos are h264 right now. But that doesn't mean they will be in the future. They can change to something else and it won't matter for flash. And if adobe wants to pay for the licenses, more power to them. But I don't see native h.264 support making much of an indent. Right now, I think that whatever ends up making it will have to be free to implement. Why? Because there are free codecs which could succeed, making codecs with hindrances very unattractive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: writing on the wall
by lucas_maximus on Thu 16th Dec 2010 13:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: writing on the wall"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I think whatever youtube uses will be the deciding factor, Youtube is now the second biggest search engine (if you consider it that way) after Google if this is to be believed (and it makes sense)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hasumide/4594866469/

Edited 2010-12-16 13:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: writing on the wall
by unoengborg on Thu 16th Dec 2010 15:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: writing on the wall"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

"Don't hold your breath waiting for Microsoft to support that.


why should they?
there are enough codecs out there that use the media-framework in windows
if ms provides the plugin to connect ff to those codecs its a win-win situation

ms can brag that there is h264 support on win-ff, and ff can brag with all the other codecs besides h264 ;)
"


I'm not so sure it will be so much to brag about. Google will go webM in both youtube, Chrome and Android. In a few years Android will be the dominating smarphone OS, and content providers will want to support people using these phones. Larger and larger share of all browsing is done from mobile phones and other mobile devices. Given the number of smartphones running android we can also expect hardware acceleration for webM in future phones.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: writing on the wall
by Lennie on Thu 16th Dec 2010 14:51 UTC in reply to "RE: writing on the wall"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I would say, Flash is a fallback method for HTML5. Anything else can probably be ignored.

Hopefully they will start supporting WebM soon as they said they would.

OK, the iPhone (iPad ?) is a problem, it doesn't support anything else then H.264.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: writing on the wall
by Neolander on Thu 16th Dec 2010 16:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: writing on the wall"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

What about telling iDevice users to go use something else ? ;) As long as they're the only ones doing that, it's H.264 which is the proprietary technology which must adapt itself to the open web, and not everyone else who have to follow Apple's decisions.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: writing on the wall
by Lennie on Thu 16th Dec 2010 18:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: writing on the wall"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

It's first one I can think of. But it is a large share of the current smartphone market.

I'm not sure what Android does.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: writing on the wall
by lemur2 on Thu 16th Dec 2010 21:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: writing on the wall"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I would say, Flash is a fallback method for HTML5. Anything else can probably be ignored. Hopefully they will start supporting WebM soon as they said they would. OK, the iPhone (iPad ?) is a problem, it doesn't support anything else then H.264.


It is possible to support video decoding via an ordinary GPU which doesn't need to have a specific codec implemented directly. All that is required is generic support for video streams and programmability of the GPU itself. In general, any GPU which can support 3D graphics can support video decode as well.

AFAIK the iPhone and the iPad could both support hardware acceleration of video decode via their GPU, without requiring any upgrade to the hardware.

It is "just" a matter of Apple writing the driver to support it.

Of course, I can just see Apple strenuously trying to provide extra value for its customers by adding GPU-based video decode for WebM capability into its iOS software stack, can't you?
</sarcasm>

Reply Score: 3

RE: writing on the wall
by FishB8 on Wed 15th Dec 2010 23:43 UTC in reply to "writing on the wall"
FishB8 Member since:
2006-01-16

There is also the issue that flash isn't going away. Making h264 a third place loser. But thats just my opinion....



Your opinion is painfully misled and un-informed. What codec do you think is used for the video streams inside the majority of all those flash videos? (Hint: it's a third place looser)

Edited 2010-12-15 23:44 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: writing on the wall
by westlake on Thu 16th Dec 2010 06:55 UTC in reply to "writing on the wall"
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

I'd say the writing is on the wall. No one wants to deal with h264 or its problems.


H.264 is deeply entrenched in the world beyond the web. Home video. Professional production. Broadcast, cable and sattelite distribution. Industrial applications and video security.

The odds are damn near certain that the WebM video on YouTube is nothing but a transcode.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: writing on the wall
by lemur2 on Thu 16th Dec 2010 10:33 UTC in reply to "RE: writing on the wall"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'd say the writing is on the wall. No one wants to deal with h264 or its problems.


H.264 is deeply entrenched in the world beyond the web. Home video. Professional production. Broadcast, cable and sattelite distribution. Industrial applications and video security.

The odds are damn near certain that the WebM video on YouTube is nothing but a transcode.


Which, of course, is the way that video for all new codecs is first produced.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: writing on the wall
by TechGeek on Fri 17th Dec 2010 15:30 UTC in reply to "RE: writing on the wall"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

I'd say the writing is on the wall. No one wants to deal with h264 or its problems.


H.264 is deeply entrenched in the world beyond the web. Home video. Professional production. Broadcast, cable and sattelite distribution. Industrial applications and video security.

The odds are damn near certain that the WebM video on YouTube is nothing but a transcode.



You are right. But all of those cases are instances where the cost of licensing can and will be passed on to the consumer. When you have a free industry, such as most web content and free software, licensing issues become very ugly.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: writing on the wall
by lemur2 on Sat 18th Dec 2010 12:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: writing on the wall"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

But all of those cases are instances where the cost of licensing can and will be passed on to the consumer. When you have a free industry, such as most web content and free software, licensing issues become very ugly.


Worth a +Insightful moderation, but I had already posted on this topic.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by t3RRa
by t3RRa on Thu 16th Dec 2010 02:38 UTC
t3RRa
Member since:
2005-11-22

Surely, if that goes well, H.264 might dominate on HTML5 as well and MPEG-LA members would get much much license fees in return. great move for Microsoft. In a long run, not great for consumers.

Reply Score: 2

A sly move but
by nt_jerkface on Thu 16th Dec 2010 03:31 UTC
nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

plug-ins are the main reason Silverlight hasn't taken off.

Websites don't want to push a plug-in unless there is good reason for doing so. When it comes to streaming video Flash gets the job done and has a 97% install base. To break the inertia behind Flash a company like Google needs to require HTML5, not just provide it as an alternative.

Reply Score: 3

RE: A sly move but
by lemur2 on Thu 16th Dec 2010 04:07 UTC in reply to "A sly move but"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

plug-ins are the main reason Silverlight hasn't taken off. Websites don't want to push a plug-in unless there is good reason for doing so. When it comes to streaming video Flash gets the job done and has a 97% install base.


Flash is provided as a plug-in.

To break the inertia behind Flash a company like Google needs to require HTML5, not just provide it as an alternative.


Agreed. This will become feasible when the next round of browsers is released, specifically after the releases of Firefox 4 and IE9 (since the latest release of Google Chrome already supports HTML5). As soon as those two new browsers start to gain some market share numbers, Google can move YouTube over to HTML5/WebM (initially with HTML5/H.264 as a fallback, and then Flash as a further fallback). Some time ago Google revealed that they had then reached a point where 80% of YouTube's videos had a webM version.

Once Google make that move, people will be happy to run their browser without any plugin at all. They will still be able to render YouTube video, and Flash ads will no longer be a problem as a bonus!

Edited 2010-12-16 04:09 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: A sly move but
by vodoomoth on Thu 16th Dec 2010 09:47 UTC in reply to "RE: A sly move but"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

... and Flash ads will no longer be a problem as a bonus!

don't you think they will find another (possibly sneaky) way to appear on our screens?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: A sly move but
by lemur2 on Thu 16th Dec 2010 10:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A sly move but"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"... and Flash ads will no longer be a problem as a bonus!

don't you think they will find another (possibly sneaky) way to appear on our screens?
"

After a while, it will makes sense to present ads with whatever video system the browsers support directly, rather than relying on a particular plugin being installed.

If a number of people start uninstalling Flash (because YouTube works with HTML5/WebM), and Flash doesn't work on iPhones or iPads, then ads will swithch to whatever does work.

It will cost the ad suppliers less if they start to use HTML5/WebM rather than HTML5/H.264.

So I would guess that, as long as HTML5/WebM is widely supported (without plugins) in browsers, ad providers will switch to that. Fairly quickly.

HTML5/WebM is likely to have the widest support, because it will work out-of-the-box with Firefox, Chrome and Opera, and it will also work in IE9 and Safari if the user installs WebM support in the underlying OS.

Which BTW can be already done by installing codecs from here:
http://www.webmproject.org/code/#repositories

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: A sly move but
by nt_jerkface on Fri 17th Dec 2010 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE: A sly move but"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Flash is provided as a plug-in.


Oh thanks for the insight professor obvious. God you are annoying.

Flash is a plug-in but everyone and their mom already has it installed.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: A sly move but
by lemur2 on Sat 18th Dec 2010 12:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A sly move but"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"
Flash is provided as a plug-in.


Oh thanks for the insight professor obvious. God you are annoying.

Flash is a plug-in but everyone and their mom already has it installed.
"

Except iPads, iPhones and a great many other phones which can access the Internet.

You find me annoying because my point is correct ... if Flash can be successful as a plugin, then so too can other plugins. Your argument is shot full of holes.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: A sly move but
by nt_jerkface on Sat 18th Dec 2010 22:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A sly move but"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

You find me annoying because my point is correct ... if Flash can be successful as a plugin, then so too can other plugins. Your argument is shot full of holes.


It's not much of a point because Flash has a massive amount of inertia behind it. People are asked a dozen times when surfing if they want to install Flash. A lot of new computers even come with Flash installed and now Chrome bundles it. Any competing plug-in faces a massive uphill battle. For video Flash is good enough so a competing plug-in needs to be tied to exclusive content.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: A sly move but
by lemur2 on Mon 20th Dec 2010 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A sly move but"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"You find me annoying because my point is correct ... if Flash can be successful as a plugin, then so too can other plugins. Your argument is shot full of holes.


It's not much of a point because Flash has a massive amount of inertia behind it. People are asked a dozen times when surfing if they want to install Flash. A lot of new computers even come with Flash installed and now Chrome bundles it. Any competing plug-in faces a massive uphill battle. For video Flash is good enough so a competing plug-in needs to be tied to exclusive content.
"

Or, even better, we could perhaps have a well-performed free-for-anyone-to-implement-royalty-free codec that could be implemented directly as part of anyone's browser programs (that themselves are distributed for free). Not only are the browser clients free, video then becomes free also for the suppliers (host sites). Also there would be no need for, and no case for, any crashy performance-hogging browser plugins.

Win, win, win. Everybody wins. Well, almost everybody wins ... the only possible losers are listed here:
http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Pages/Licensors.aspx

But that is only 0.000001% of people, everybody else wins!

Edited 2010-12-20 11:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

DivX is already doing this
by peskypescado on Thu 16th Dec 2010 06:19 UTC
peskypescado
Member since:
2008-07-08

Just a heads up. DivX released a plugin that did this a few months back that supports a lot more of the HTML5 API than Microsoft's, and it has support for H.264 (MKV/MP4/MOV) and DivX videos.

Here are a few links with more information:
http://blog.divx.com/content/hey-microsoft%E2%80%94divx...
http://labs.divx.com/webplayer/html5

HTML5 <video> demo that works with any H.264 HTML5 implementation:
http://labs.divx.com/html5

Full disclosure: I am the product manager for DivX HiQ/HTML5, so I may be biased. ;)

Reply Score: 6

RE: DivX is already doing this
by vodoomoth on Thu 16th Dec 2010 09:45 UTC in reply to "DivX is already doing this"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Full disclosure: I am the product manager for DivX HiQ/HTML5, so I may be biased. ;)

Which doesn't hurt. Thanks for the info and saying it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: DivX is already doing this
by Karitku on Thu 16th Dec 2010 10:39 UTC in reply to "DivX is already doing this"
Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12

Is this ad-free solution? Without tons of malware stuff? And future promise that you won't fill it with malware and ads?

Reply Score: 2

RE: DivX is already doing this
by lemur2 on Thu 16th Dec 2010 10:51 UTC in reply to "DivX is already doing this"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Just a heads up. DivX released a plugin that did this a few months back that supports a lot more of the HTML5 API than Microsoft's, and it has support for H.264 (MKV/MP4/MOV) and DivX videos.


It is a plugin. Windows and OSX only. It uses H.264, and hence is encumbered, meaning that video providers will have to pay license fees.

No support for mobiles, tablets and handhelds of any kind, not available for ARM, wayyyyy toooo little cross-platform support, and not a teeny tiny bit of open codec support in sight.

Sorry, but it doesn't have a hope. Almost, but not quite, worse than Silverlight.

Edited 2010-12-16 10:58 UTC

Reply Score: 1

This is actually the way to go, I think.
by coolvibe on Thu 16th Dec 2010 08:59 UTC
coolvibe
Member since:
2007-08-16

The browser should actually not care what kind of content is offered, it should just play it, and Microsoft here is right to let Firefox plug into the Media framework that the OS provides. Similarily for Linux (and other unix-like systems), Firefox should look at gstreamer for support for formats. It's kinda silly that the browser itself has to provide codecs. The frameworks are there, use them.

Reply Score: 8