Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 31st Jan 2010 14:20 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Internet & Networking Despite the recent interest in adopting HTML5's video tag, there is still one major problem: there is no mandated standard video codec for the video tag. The two main contestants are the proprietary and patended h264, and the open and free Theora. In a comment on an article about this problematic situation, LWN reader Trelane posted an email exchange he had with MPEG-LA, which should further cement Theora as the obvious choice.
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It's really quite simple...
by mrhasbean on Sun 31st Jan 2010 23:10 UTC
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Although we would all love to see something that is completely open and free used it simply can't happen. H.264 is a standard. Developed by industry and standards groups...

H.264 is the result of a joint project between the ITU-T’s Video Coding Experts Group and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). ITU-T is the sector that coordinates telecommunications standards on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union. ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization and IEC stands for International Electrotechnical Commission, which oversees standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. H.264 is the name used by ITU-T, while ISO/IEC has named it MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC since it is presented as a new part in its MPEG-4 suite.

Theora is NOT a recognised standard and was not developed by any internationally recognised standards organisation.

The Xiph.Org Foundation is a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the foundations of Internet multimedia from control by private interests. Our purpose is to support and develop free, open protocols and software to serve the public, developer and business markets.

And while this is a noble undertaking that continues to produce some very good products, those products are not internationally recognised industry standards, so how can they be adopted as a default by something that is (going to be) an internationally recognised standard (HTML5)? SUPPORTED by html5, sure, the default codec, won't happen.

As has also been pointed out by others here, as well as some companies, it has not yet been tested whether Theora in some way infringes on patents encompassed by h.264, so adopting it as part of a standard could open a whole new can of worms.

And to top it off, there are numerous companies out there who are already using hardware based h.264 acceleration in devices - because it IS the standard - who I'm sure would use whatever means they have at their disposal to prevent the adoption of something as part of one standard that itself has not been ratified by any internationally recognised standards organisation. Like it or not, thats just the way it is.

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