Linked by Preston5 on Sat 27th Mar 2010 11:46 UTC
Multimedia, AV In January, we had read the various arguments regarding Mozilla's decision not to get an H.264 license. This has generated a lot of discussion about the future of video on the web. With Youtube, Dailymotion, Hulu and Vimeo having adopted H.264 for HD video, Mozilla and Opera should use the codecs installed on a user's system to determine what the browser can play, rather than force other vendors to adopt Ogg. Refusing to support a superior codec would be a disservice to your users in years to come. Why hold back the majority of your users because 2% of your users are on niche OSes?
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J. M.
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It does not say too much about the suitability of H.264 for video on the web, and it certainly does not say Theora in that role performs as well. When you're encoding H.264 video for the web, you don't have to limit the features as much as you would if you targetted a specific device for example. Because software decoders/players are usually more advanced than hardware players. So you can take advantage of the powerful features H.264 offers. And this is not specific to H.264 - the same thing applies to DVD players: again, they can only play MPEG-2 video that conforms to a limited set of features. MP3 players may not support the advanced features available in software MP3 players. Hardware MPEG-4 ASP players cannot play video with all advanced features that software codecs like DivX Pro Codec or Xvid offer, and so on. When you're encoding for software players, the quality/size ratio can usually be better. I can't see why this could not apply to Theora, too. It's a general thing. This, BTW, also explains why audio/video encoded by "amateurs" is is often better than audio/video encoded by "professionals". Amateurs have the full arsenal at their disposal. The best encoders, and the best encoding features.

Yes, you may still have to take QuickTime into account, as H.264 playback on a Mac is still handled by QuickTime. But QuickTime can improve, too. Or you can just ignore QuickTime. And yes, when you want it to be playable on a less powerful (mobile) device that does not even have a hardware H.264 decoder, it cannot be some state-of-the art quality either. But HD video encoded in Theora may require a powerful CPU, too. Yes, Theora may be less CPU intensive than full-featured H.264. But then, more and more new devices come with hardware H.264 decoders built-in. Plus, sites like YouTube already offer several different versions of the H.264 videos.

Edited 2010-03-29 05:02 UTC

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