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 LWN.net 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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RE: Theora
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 31st Jan 2010 17:45 UTC in reply to "Theora"
KAMiKAZOW
Member since:
2005-07-06

Theora is the obvious choice

No, it's not. Dirac is the obvious choice when you want patent-freeness. Its quality per datarate is much better at higher resolutions than Theora.

It's completely illogical that Mozilla refuses to add Dirac support. It doesn't need to be Dirac exclusively -- it could be Theora and Dirac.

That's another reason why Mozilla should've opted for a GStreamer-based solution right from the start. Even if you have no interest in supporting the MPEG-4 codec family, you also don't need to maintain your own set of patent-free codecs yourself. Dirac, just as Theora, has it's own set of GStreamer codecs already and since Songbird (Firefox-based media player) uses GStreamer anyway, Mozilla could also share the workload in maintaining the GStreamer integration.

Instead Mozilla decided to use OggPlay -- software that wasn't even maintained when Mozilla picked it up. I don't know if OggPlay is currently maintained.
It's almost as if Mozilla has some hidden anti-Dirac agenda....

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Theora
by Erunno on Sun 31st Jan 2010 17:52 in reply to "RE: Theora"
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

It's completely illogical that Mozilla refuses to add Dirac support.


Actually, Mozilla is not refusing to support Dirac. Their stance is that Dirac, while great for archiving purposes for which it was developed, is currently unsuitable for streaming but they'll consider implementing it once the technical hurdles are out of the way.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Theora
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 31st Jan 2010 17:58 in reply to "RE[2]: Theora"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Their stance is that Dirac (...) is currently unsuitable for streaming but they'll consider implementing it once the technical hurdles are out of the way.

That's bullsh*t. Mozilla had no problems adopting Ogg Theora, even though it was hardly usable for streaming when Mozilla adopted it. Firefox needs to download the beginning and the end of an Ogg Theora file, because it hasn't even a length info in the file header. How braindead is that?

BTW, it still doesn't change the fact that by adopting GStreamer right from the start, Mozilla would've gotten Dirac support for free.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Theora
by marcp on Sun 31st Jan 2010 17:55 in reply to "RE: Theora"
marcp Member since:
2007-11-23

That's another reason why Mozilla should've opted for a GStreamer-based solution right from the start.

You must be joking. GStreamer is a terrible mess ... please.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Theora
by cerbie on Sun 31st Jan 2010 17:58 in reply to "RE[2]: Theora"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

So are most of the Mozilla projects. A well-maintained mess, though, tends to be better than unmaintained one ;) .

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Theora
by unoengborg on Sun 31st Jan 2010 18:20 in reply to "RE[2]: Theora"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

"That's another reason why Mozilla should've opted for a GStreamer-based solution right from the start.

You must be joking. GStreamer is a terrible mess ... please.
"

If GStreamer actually is a terrible mess, that is a problem, but a browser should not implement this kind of things in its own code. It should use whatever services provided by the OS where it runs. That way we don't reinvent the wheel and if there is a problem in the OS level services it is better to fix them at that level, as this will benefit all software using them not just the browser. Using services provided by the OS is also much more future proof, if better codecs shows up in the future the browser could make them autmagically, without any upgrades.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Theora
by renox on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 09:28 in reply to "RE: Theora"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

"Theora is the obvious choice

No, it's not. Dirac is the obvious choice when you want patent-freeness. Its quality per datarate is much better at higher resolutions than Theora.
"

Obvious choice??
Remember that "web" videos must be viewable on as many hardware as possible, I'd be interested to know if an iPhone (for example) is able to view a Dirac video..

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Theora
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 10:39 in reply to "RE[2]: Theora"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Theora is the obvious choice
No, it's not. Dirac is the obvious choice when you want patent-freeness. Its quality per datarate is much better at higher resolutions than Theora.


Obvious choice??
Remember that "web" videos must be viewable on as many hardware as possible, I'd be interested to know if an iPhone (for example) is able to view a Dirac video..
"

Here are some samples:

http://samples.mplayerhq.hu/V-codecs/Dirac/

I haven't found anything yet which can play these files, including VLC.

Edited 2010-02-02 10:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Theora
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 10:06 in reply to "RE: Theora"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Theora is the obvious choice

No, it's not. Dirac is the obvious choice when you want patent-freeness. Its quality per datarate is much better at higher resolutions than Theora.

It's completely illogical that Mozilla refuses to add Dirac support. It doesn't need to be Dirac exclusively -- it could be Theora and Dirac.

That's another reason why Mozilla should've opted for a GStreamer-based solution right from the start. Even if you have no interest in supporting the MPEG-4 codec family, you also don't need to maintain your own set of patent-free codecs yourself. Dirac, just as Theora, has it's own set of GStreamer codecs already and since Songbird (Firefox-based media player) uses GStreamer anyway, Mozilla could also share the workload in maintaining the GStreamer integration.

Instead Mozilla decided to use OggPlay -- software that wasn't even maintained when Mozilla picked it up. I don't know if OggPlay is currently maintained.
It's almost as if Mozilla has some hidden anti-Dirac agenda....
"

The design quality/performance of Dirac at high resolutions is not the problem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac_codec

Performance of Dirac at low resolutions is perhaps a problem.

However, a much bigger problem with Dirac is that it is not patented at all. It has no apparent "patent cover". It is also newer than other proprietary, heavily patented codecs such as h264 and VC1.

Dirac is a sitting duck as far as attack by patent trolls goes.

What you need (in this day and age of patent trolls) is a codec which you are allowed/licensed to use in open source that is itself covered by patents so old that there are none likely to be older.

PS: As far as practicality for web video goes, the Wikipedia page for Theora has an example small video:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theora

but the Wikipedia page for Dirac doesn't.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac_%28codec%29

This page also notes the following:
A study on the performances of the Dirac codec, dated from August 2009, finds that the quality obtained on SDTV is inferior to the H.264 output.


When we look at the whole controversy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_Ogg_formats_in_HTML5
HTML5 turns neutral

On December 10, 2007, the HTML 5 specification was updated, replacing the reference to concrete formats:

User agents should support Ogg Theora video and Ogg Vorbis audio, as well as the Ogg container format.

with a placeholder:

It would be helpful for interoperability if all browsers could support the same codecs. However, there are no known codecs that satisfy all the current players: we need a codec that is known to not require per-unit or per-distributor licensing, that is compatible with the open source development model, that is of sufficient quality as to be usable, and that is not an additional submarine patent risk for large companies. This is an ongoing issue and this section will be updated once more information is available.


At this time, Theora is far closer to satisfying all of the W3C requirements for the HTML5 codec than Dirac is, in particular the part about risk of exposure to submarine patents.

Edited 2010-02-02 10:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Theora
by kragil on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 10:40 in reply to "RE[2]: Theora"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Don't spread FUD about Diracs patent situation. The codec only uses very old techniques that have been around for decades. Every troll attack can be easily dismissed either because of prior art or being old.

Reply Parent Score: 2