Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Feb 2010 13:12 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Multimedia, AV The debate about HTML5 video is for the most part pretty straightforward: we all want HTML5 video, and we all recognise it's a better approach than Flash for online video. However, there's one thing we just can't seem to agree on: the codec. A number of benchmarks have been conducted recently, and they highlight the complexity of video encoding: they go either way.
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Bad comparison
by unavowed on Fri 26th Feb 2010 15:55 UTC
unavowed
Member since:
2006-03-23

The comparison is looking at the wrong criteria. *Everyone* knows that H264 is better than Theora, nobody disputes that.

The *only* problem with H264 is the patent licensing. Because of it, it's *impossible* for all browsers to implement H264; the problem is greatest in freely-licensed browsers where derivatives would not be covered by the patents even if the authors paid for a license (Firefox, Seamonkey, Chromium, Midori, etc).

If you consider this, that single problem disqualifies H264 *completely* as a codec to be used with HTML5 video. Currently, if you use it, only a minority of HTML5 video-supporting browser users will be able to view it, and you will *never* be able to support all your users.

This means that if there ever will be a codec that will work on all HTML5 video-supporting browsers, it will *not* be H264. The question is, what could it be instead? Currently the best candidate is Theora. The quality is worse than H264, but so long as it's good enough, it's acceptable. The most important feature of Theora is freedom from patent claims, maning that *all* browsers could implement it freely if the authors wanted to.

This does not mean that you should never host H264 content. You can always provide it as a first choice, and fall back to something that is universally supported.

The issue is, it would be nice if there were one codec that worked *everywhere*, making it easy for content publishers. As you can see, this *cannot* be H264. With what's currently available it *should* be Theora, until someone comes up with something better.

(edit: chromium, not chrome)

Edited 2010-02-26 15:56 UTC

Reply Score: 12