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

RE: Bad comparison
by Kroc on Fri 26th Feb 2010 15:59 in reply to "Bad comparison"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

The img tag supports multiple codecs, shouldn’t the video tag too?

If the img tag only supported the one format that was prevalent and patent-free at the time then we’d all still be viewing XBMs.

OGG is not the be all and end all of free formats, and that’s what most annoys me about the HTML5 spec. This insistence that a war _must_ be waged so that only one may win.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Bad comparison
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 26th Feb 2010 16:03 in reply to "RE: Bad comparison"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

OGG is not the be all and end all of free formats, and that’s what most annoys me about the HTML5 spec. This insistence that a war _must_ be waged so that only one may win.


The difference is that every operating system can read jpeg, bmp, png, and so on, while not every operating system and/or browser can read the same video files.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Bad comparison
by Lennie on Sat 27th Feb 2010 00:45 in reply to "Bad comparison"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

"The most important feature of Theora is freedom from patent claims, maning that *all* browsers could implement it freely if the authors wanted to."

But they won't, Apple said, the will not add it to Safari. Although it's share isn't really big.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Bad comparison
by larwilliams2 on Sat 27th Feb 2010 01:10 in reply to "RE: Bad comparison"
larwilliams2 Member since:
2009-12-02

"The most important feature of Theora is freedom from patent claims, maning that *all* browsers could implement it freely if the authors wanted to."

But they won't, Apple said, the will not add it to Safari. Although it's share isn't really big.

Yes they will. They just need Theora to become popular and supported in the major browsers, then they have no choice by to support it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Bad comparison
by daveak on Sun 28th Feb 2010 11:37 in reply to "RE: Bad comparison"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

Apple don't need to add it to Safari. All that is needed is a Quicktime codec and it works. Install the (outdated) Xiph codec on a mac now and Safari plays Theora vids just fine.

Reply Parent Score: 1