Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 16th Jan 2010 11:12 UTC
Google A few days ago, Google opened up a YouTube area on its product ideas website, so that people could submit their ideas about how to improve the ubiquitous video website. It turned out it was a bit of a can of worms Google opened there: everything focussed on HTML5 video support.
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The virtues of flash
by manjabes on Sat 16th Jan 2010 12:23 UTC
manjabes
Member since:
2005-08-27

While everyone might be jumping up and down with joy, I am not that thrilled.

You see, even though it has a lot of downsides, flash has some merits that are easily dismissed. Remember the time before Youtube and flash video? The videos distributed in the 'net were encoded with various encoders and you never knew, even if you had the latest greatest codec packs or wmp plug-ins, if the video would play or if it needed a special codec (that may have even cost money). With flash video, everyone could watch videos without worrying about codecs or stuff like that because they were built into the platform. This unification receives a lot less credit than it deserves (kinda like Microsoft but let us not go there).

Now, step in html5 video. While it does relieve us from the curse of the Flash plugin, it also resurrects the nuisance of a gazillion codecs for actually displaying the videos. And here we go again with the video (and audio too, of course) spectacle:
* There is no de facto standard
* Numerous OSS\GNU/Free(tm) people climb out from under their rocks and start preaching about how their Free stuff should be used instead of technically superiour stuff that smart people created for profit or instead of stuff that some other guys put together on their free time in their basement but it's not the right kind of Free(tm)
* Numerous commercial entities start aggressively pushing their products in attempt to create an aforementioned de facto standard and then cash in on it BIGTIME. This includes "spreading the facts" and other types of badmouthing.
* We restart dealing with malware-laden codec packs in attempt to view our favourite rick astley videos, and while doing so, greatly contribute to creating great and cool botnets for other people to capitalize on.
* Various tech columnists and other people blow a lot of hot air around discussing TEH BEST(tm) codec and also trying to make themselves look smart (kinda like I'm doing right now, but that's beside the point) while others that follow news sources, that these "declarations of smarts" appear in, get headaches and need to get drunk to remedy it.

Long story short, I am not sure this is what we want. It's like going back to the good old Win9x age - if YOU want to restart your pc after changing the desktop wallpaper then please, do so, but do not enforce this kind of behavior on me.

Reply Score: 10

RE: The missing virtues of flash
by kragil on Sat 16th Jan 2010 12:39 in reply to "The virtues of flash"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

While everyone might be jumping up and down with joy, I am not that thrilled.

* There is no de facto standard

Well were I am living the most popular Browser is Firefox 3.5


* Numerous OSS\GNU/Free(tm) people climb out from under their rocks and start preaching about how their Free stuff should be used instead of technically superiour stuff that smart people created for profit or instead of stuff that some other guys put together on their free time in their basement but it's not the right kind of Free(tm)


OK, Theora is not as small as x264, but for Google bandwidth is essentially free and they have lots of space on their millions and millions of harddisks.

And Dirac (developed in the BBC basement) is on its way to be ready and it is in many ways more advanced than x264, although chips need to be faster (wait 18 months)


* Numerous commercial entities start aggressively pushing their products in attempt to create an aforementioned de facto standard and then cash in on it BIGTIME. This includes "spreading the facts" and other types of badmouthing.

MS lost the browser wars. Even German authorities nowdays advise citizens to NOT use IE.



* We restart dealing with malware-laden codec packs in attempt to view our favourite rick astley videos, and while doing so, greatly contribute to creating great and cool botnets for other people to capitalize on.

Just include the free codecs and x264 and then no codecs are needed. Web developers use what most people have.

* Various tech columnists and other people blow a lot of hot air around discussing TEH BEST(tm) codec and also trying to make themselves look smart (kinda like I'm doing right now, but that's beside the point) while others that follow news sources, that these "declarations of smarts" appear in, get headaches and need to get drunk to remedy it.

Knock yourself out!

Long story short, I am not sure this is what we want. It's like going back to the good old Win9x age - if YOU want to restart your pc after changing the desktop wallpaper then please, do so, but do not enforce this kind of behavior on me.


All doom and gloom are we?

I see only positive things in this, because on the internet Youtube sets the standards.

Reply Parent Score: 7

manjabes Member since:
2005-08-27


Well were I am living the most popular Browser is Firefox 3.5

"This site is best viewed in Netscape Navigator 4.0 and greater"
"Viewable only in Internet Explorer 4.0 or later"


Just include the free codecs and x264 and then no codecs are needed. Web developers use what most people have.

Mighty useful if the most used codec in the video tag turns out to be SuperVideoSoft NextGenSuperVideoCodec(c) available for free (mind you, not Free(tm)) from the SuperVideoSoft website, but not for redistribution.


"
* Various tech columnists and other people blow a lot of hot air around discussing TEH BEST(tm) codec and also trying to make themselves look smart (kinda like I'm doing right now, but that's beside the point) while others that follow news sources, that these "declarations of smarts" appear in, get headaches and need to get drunk to remedy it.

Knock yourself out!
"
Oh I will, believe me, but this doesn't remedy the situation a bit.

Reply Parent Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Well were I am living the most popular Browser is Firefox 3.5


He was talking about the codec. There is no de facto codec standard for HTML5. It's a draft standard and they weren't able to reach an agreement on the codec.


OK, Theora is not as small as x264, but for Google bandwidth is essentially free and they have lots of space on their millions and millions of harddisks.

Their bandwidth isn't free, it costs them millions per year.


Google has noted that there's no way the company could serve up YouTube's billions of streams using the much less efficient Ogg Theora codec, saying it would consume the world's Internet bandwidth due to its less sophisticated compression

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/07/06/ogg_theora_h_264_and_...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The virtues of flash
by morris on Sat 16th Jan 2010 12:39 in reply to "The virtues of flash"
morris Member since:
2009-03-26

Ohh yeah, Flash is so much more secure than my own trusted set of codecs, it's even better, to me, that it is a great single exploitable target (under heavy fire right now), making it even easier to create thousands of botnets with an ever growing number of users, instead of two or three using tampered "Mittey" Pirate's mng codecs.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The virtues of flash
by lemur2 on Sat 16th Jan 2010 14:30 in reply to "The virtues of flash"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

While everyone might be jumping up and down with joy, I am not that thrilled.


I'm going to have a go at this FUD also.

Now, step in html5 video. While it does relieve us from the curse of the Flash plugin, it also resurrects the nuisance of a gazillion codecs for actually displaying the videos.


Actually, Flash also does not specify the codec. Most of YouTube once was H.263 (which Theora can beat). Lately YouTube has moved to h264. After the end of this year h264 will no longer be costless, and Google will be using something else. They will possibly move to VP6, VP7 or VP8 (having bought On2 technologies), but Theora (which is effectively enhanced VP3) is also on the cards one would think.

And here we go again with the video (and audio too, of course) spectacle:
* There is no de facto standard


The de facto standard would be the one that is most used. Right now, that would be either h263 or h264 delivered via Flash.

* Numerous OSS\GNU/Free(tm) people climb out from under their rocks and start preaching about how their Free stuff should be used instead of technically superiour stuff that smart people created for profit or instead of stuff that some other guys put together on their free time in their basement but it's not the right kind of Free(tm)


h263 delivered via Flash (which is a good portion of the video currently on the web) is most decidedly inferior to Theora 1.1. h264 is marginally better that Theora 1.1, but not by much, and delivering it via Flash burdens it. HTML5 using Theora 1.1 would be better and cheaper than h264/Flash. You got it backwards.

* Numerous commercial entities start aggressively pushing their products in attempt to create an aforementioned de facto standard and then cash in on it BIGTIME. This includes "spreading the facts" and other types of badmouthing.


We will get badmouthing, of that there is no doubt, as your own post shows. meanwhile, when h264 starts costing a bomb, and considering HTML5/Theora is readily available, already implemented in Firefox, yeilds equivalent performance and is absolutely free ... the choice will become a no-brainer.

* We restart dealing with malware-laden codec packs in attempt to view our favourite rick astley videos, and while doing so, greatly contribute to creating great and cool botnets for other people to capitalize on.


If we get HTML5/Theora, the codecs can be open source. No malware.

* Various tech columnists and other people blow a lot of hot air around discussing TEH BEST(tm) codec and also trying to make themselves look smart (kinda like I'm doing right now, but that's beside the point) while others that follow news sources, that these "declarations of smarts" appear in, get headaches and need to get drunk to remedy it.


Its kinda hard to beat "same performance but free". Theora will win in a no-brainer contest.

Long story short, I am not sure this is what we want. It's like going back to the good old Win9x age - if YOU want to restart your pc after changing the desktop wallpaper then please, do so, but do not enforce this kind of behavior on me.


Why is it acceptable to you up until now to have been required to install a problematic Flash plugin in order to watch most video on the web, but now that you can be freed of that need you start complaining?

You are making no sense here.

Edited 2010-01-16 14:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: The virtues of flash
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 17th Jan 2010 00:18 in reply to "RE: The virtues of flash"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

" Now, step in html5 video. While it does relieve us from the curse of the Flash plugin, it also resurrects the nuisance of a gazillion codecs for actually displaying the videos.


Actually, Flash also does not specify the codec.
"

Flash doesn't specify a SINGLE codec, but it does specify 3 or 4. Which still means you can create one file and be reasonably-confident that most users will be able to view it (in contrast to the "codec wild-west" that manjabes describes).

I'm going to have a go at this FUD also.

We will get badmouthing, of that there is no doubt, as your own post shows.


While I can't speak for manjabes' intentions, his post doesn't give me the impression of "FUD" or "badmouthing. Those terms imply that he is either attempting to hold up the status quo as "the way things ought to be," or that he's going out of his way to attack the alternatives.

My impression is that he was simply pointing out the reality of the current situation - rather than trying to portray the current situation as something positive or desirable (a subtle, but important distinction). Realists and fanboys aren't do sometimes come to the same conclusions, but that doesn't make them interchangeable.

If we get HTML5/Theora, the codecs can be open source.


"Can" being the operative word. It's possible, but by no means guaranteed or even particularly likely.

If HTML5 video does catch on, my fear is that web devs & content producers will just take the proverbial path of least resistance (AKA go with codec/container combo that with largest installed base) rather than moving en masse to a more open format. And today, that would mean Windows Media or Quicktime (given that choice, I'd take Flash any day of the week).

Its kinda hard to beat "same performance but free". Theora will win in a no-brainer contest.


For techies and hobbyists, yes. But put yourself in the shoes of a commercial producer/distributor of online video content (content aimed at a general, non-techie audience). In that situation your primary goal is to get as large an audience as possible, so a primary concern is "how much effort will Typical Joe have to go through in order to view my content."

That's because there is a well-documented inverse relationship between the amount of effort it takes to view content & the number of people who will actually undertake the effort. Fifteen years ago, that meant obsessively optimizing image files to keep page load times down - today, that means providing A/V content using technology & formats that most users already have installed (Flash).

Why is it acceptable to you up until now to have been required to install a problematic Flash plugin in order to watch most video on the web, but now that you can be freed of that need you start complaining?


So you're (hypothetically) free of the need to install a single Flash plugin, in favour of the need to install 3 or 4 different plugins instead (unless Apple and Microsoft adopt Theora - not something I expect, to say the least).

Most users are not going to see that as a step up.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: The virtues of flash
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 17th Jan 2010 15:20 in reply to "RE: The virtues of flash"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

After the end of this year h264 will no longer be costless, and Google will be using something else.

I'm sorry, but you should educate yourself. Google already pays licenses for AVC: http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Pages/Licensees.aspx (#223)

They will possibly move to VP6, VP7 or VP8 (having bought On2 technologies), but Theora (which is effectively enhanced VP3) is also on the cards one would think.

Just like Apple moved to PowerPC after buying PA Semi? ;)
No. Google more likely just wants a better performing AVC encoder. Getting experienced staff in-house is a good way to achieve that.

h264 is marginally better that Theora 1.1, but not by much

Do you seriously believe that? In low bitrates it's somewhat true, because 5MB vs. 6MB is not much in absolute numbers (while it is in relative numbers), but try delivering HD content (YouTube recently adopted 1080i) in AVC High Profile and Theora and you'll see the difference very clear.

The higher the resolution, the worse Theora's performance. Dirac is more competitive at such resolutions. On top of that, unlike Theora, Dirac is actually standardized (as VC-2).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The virtues of flash
by Alex Forster on Sat 16th Jan 2010 16:54 in reply to "The virtues of flash"
Alex Forster Member since:
2005-08-12

You are completely right. It's been so long that I had forgot about codec hell on the internet. Quicktime, AVI's 100 different versions, mpeg, Real (they're still out there, probably waiting with venture capital for html5 video). I do not look forward to that, and it will be a huge step backward. And since html5 backed down from specifying a standard video format, we're all basically moving back to the embed tag!

Shit.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The virtues of flash
by Brunis on Sat 16th Jan 2010 21:18 in reply to "The virtues of flash"
Brunis Member since:
2005-11-01

While everyone might be jumping up and down with joy, I am not that thrilled.

You see, even though it has a lot of downsides, flash has some merits that are easily dismissed. Remember the time before Youtube and flash video? The videos distributed in the 'net were encoded with various encoders and you never knew, even if you had the latest greatest codec packs or wmp plug-ins, if the video would play or if it needed a special codec (that may have even cost money). With flash video, everyone could watch videos without worrying about codecs or stuff like that because they were built into the platform. This unification receives a lot less credit than it deserves (kinda like Microsoft but let us not go there).

Now, step in html5 video. While it does relieve us from the curse of the Flash plugin, it also resurrects the nuisance of a gazillion codecs for actually displaying the videos. And here we go again with the video (and audio too, of course) spectacle:
* There is no de facto standard
* Numerous OSS\GNU/Free(tm) people climb out from under their rocks and start preaching about how their Free stuff should be used instead of technically superiour stuff that smart people created for profit or instead of stuff that some other guys put together on their free time in their basement but it's not the right kind of Free(tm)
* Numerous commercial entities start aggressively pushing their products in attempt to create an aforementioned de facto standard and then cash in on it BIGTIME. This includes "spreading the facts" and other types of badmouthing.
* We restart dealing with malware-laden codec packs in attempt to view our favourite rick astley videos, and while doing so, greatly contribute to creating great and cool botnets for other people to capitalize on.
* Various tech columnists and other people blow a lot of hot air around discussing TEH BEST(tm) codec and also trying to make themselves look smart (kinda like I'm doing right now, but that's beside the point) while others that follow news sources, that these "declarations of smarts" appear in, get headaches and need to get drunk to remedy it.

Long story short, I am not sure this is what we want. It's like going back to the good old Win9x age - if YOU want to restart your pc after changing the desktop wallpaper then please, do so, but do not enforce this kind of behavior on me.


Yeah, f--king opensource! Just like Firefox ruined the internet for everyone, when we were so content with IE! .. sense the irony? ok, here's a line smartass: "Stick your binary plugins where the sun does'nt shine!"

The sooner we get rid of binary plugins, like Flash and Silverlight the better!

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: The virtues of flash
by fithisux on Sun 17th Jan 2010 09:51 in reply to "The virtues of flash"
fithisux Member since:
2006-01-22

Your views are unrealistic. You should take a crash course on codecs before attacking FOSS and royalty free codecs. I would have no problem if the standards were made for free for FOSS and paid via the price of the product. for example MPEG4 encoders decoders at the software level cannot touch the container if a licence is not bought. That is why we need

a. Free codecs

or

b. Free standards paid on device purchase per consumer.

If b does not hold a is preferable.However if vendors followed a and disclosed the HW API (NOT HOW THE DEVICE IS MANUFACTURED) then you could see a jump in quality.

Reply Parent Score: 2