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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Interesting
by cb_osn on Thu 1st Apr 2010 20:55 UTC
cb_osn
Member since:
2006-02-26

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.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Interesting
by tyrione on Thu 1st Apr 2010 21:36 in reply to "Interesting"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Then find a group of mathematicians who will work with you to produce better solutions.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Interesting
by twitterfire on Fri 2nd Apr 2010 16:00 in reply to "Interesting"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

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.


I think that's a shame for US legal system that someone can actually patent Math. What if someone patent's the algorithm for solving second degree equations?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Interesting
by monodeldiablo on Sat 3rd Apr 2010 06:29 in reply to "Interesting"
monodeldiablo Member since:
2005-07-06

You're right (I assume, not being an expert in these things) that H.264 is technically superior right now, but I think it bears repeating that the nature of a standard demands an open, collaborative solution. Such standards are inherently more agile because everybody is focusing their energy on making their implementation the smoothest, the fastest, and the most user-friendly.

Theora may not be the best there is, but I'm confident it will be if it's made the standard.

As the author said (in a very roundabout way): we need only look at history and avoid most of this debate. The web itself is an excellent example of how open standards create ecosystems and marketplaces. Where would we be if we all settled for the proprietary superiority of HyperCard instead of Tim Berners-Lee's simple, open implementation of hypermedia?

Reply Parent Score: 3