Linked by xiaokj on Thu 1st Apr 2010 20:23 UTC
Multimedia, AV In line with the current torrent of articles on the H.264 and Theora debate, I feel that is it unfair for the "pragmatists" to talk about Theora as if it is a stupid ideal that is useless to consumers. This article will focus on defining the terms of the debate used and make the case that Theora has a reason, if not a chance.
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by cb_osn on Thu 1st Apr 2010 20:55 UTC
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We don't mean to deliberately destroy H.264, it is just a side effect of allowing the other formats to actually have a chance to compete.

But in any competition based purely on technical merit, H.264 destroys Theora. This isn't surprising due to the fact that H.264 is designed based on the current state of the art of mathematical compression techniques. Unfortunately, those techniques are heavily patented so that one group effectively controls the application of the latest mathematical algorithms to video compression.

There really isn't any simple right or wrong answer here. In fact, from a different perspective, your "get it done fast" and "get it done right" camps can be completely reversed in that the idealists could be those that favor the technologically superior solution and the pragmatists those that favor the open solution. It simply depends on how each individual defines their ideals.

Regardless, I do agree with you that Theora should be standardized as the baseline codec for the web with others being optionally supported. The quality improvements that have been made in the latest Theora encoders have been impressive and I see no reason why it wouldn't be a suitable codec for user generated content sites like Youtube or for videos embedded in blog posts or personal sites. I would still prefer Silverlight with H.264 and adaptive streaming for things like Netflix where I may be spending longer periods of time watching HD video. But I believe that these technologies can exist together in harmony and that having Theora as a baseline means that everyone has the opportunity to participate in web video.

Thanks for the interesting article.

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