Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Mar 2012 19:37 UTC
Internet & Networking Ever since it became clear that Google was not going to push WebM as hard as they should have, the day would come that Mozilla would be forced to abandon its ideals because the large technology companies don't care about an open, unencumbered web. No decision has been made just yet, but Mozilla is taking its first strides to adding support for the native H.264 codecs installed on users' mobile systems. See it as a thank you to Mozilla for all they've done for the web.
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RE: Whatevs.
by d3vi1 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 20:33 UTC in reply to "Whatevs."
d3vi1
Member since:
2006-01-28

There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.

Don't believe for a second that if OGG were magically adopted everywhere that suddenly it wouldn't have patent claims against it, because it would.


Furthermore, most content out there is h.264 already. Digital TV broadcasts in my country are H.264. Digital downloads are H.264.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by 1c3d0g on Wed 14th Mar 2012 20:57 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

This is true. Also, you have to look on the hardware side of things. Yes, software plays a vital role, but it can only work if the hardware is there. Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for the MPEG-LA cartel), many companies incorporated h.264 hardware accelerators into their set-top boxes, Blu ray players etc. They also made their machines compatible with h.264, but excluded the other codecs, especially the open source ones.

Right there it's as if we're fighting with one arm only. We're severely handicapped already. Add to the fact that most companies want the h.264 codec to prevail above all others (for their own selfish reasons), and it's a lost war. It's unfortunate that things had to turn out this way. I was looking forward for at least WebM videos, but it seems companies are too ingrained in this industry to change for the better.

Edited 2012-03-14 20:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Whatevs.
by shmerl on Wed 14th Mar 2012 21:10 in reply to "RE[2]: Whatevs."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

The war is not lost. But if Mozilla will give up (following Google), the war will last much longer.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Whatevs.
by lemur2 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 23:53 in reply to "RE[2]: Whatevs."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

This is true. Also, you have to look on the hardware side of things. Yes, software plays a vital role, but it can only work if the hardware is there. Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for the MPEG-LA cartel), many companies incorporated h.264 hardware accelerators into their set-top boxes, Blu ray players etc. They also made their machines compatible with h.264, but excluded the other codecs, especially the open source ones.

Right there it's as if we're fighting with one arm only. We're severely handicapped already. Add to the fact that most companies want the h.264 codec to prevail above all others (for their own selfish reasons), and it's a lost war. It's unfortunate that things had to turn out this way. I was looking forward for at least WebM videos, but it seems companies are too ingrained in this industry to change for the better.


WebM accelerated video hardware is included in almost all new mobile hardware these days. Even iPad2s use Imagination Technologies PoweVR graphics

http://www.imgtec.com/corporate/newsdetail.asp?NewsID=597

"Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications technologies company, announces the latest additions to its multi-standard, multi-stream video IP core families, the POWERVR VXD392 decoder and POWERVR VXE382 encoder, including support for H.264 MVC, WebM (VP8; decode), S3D (Stereoscopic 3D) and resolutions up to UltraHD."

http://www.webmproject.org/about/supporters/

http://blog.webmproject.org/2011/11/time-of-dragonflies.html

In total, over 50 semiconductor companies have licensed the VP8 technology today. The first devices with 1080p VP8 decoding are today in the consumer market from nearly a dozen different brands (see example here), and the first chips capable of VP8 encoding will ship in 2012.

There is actually a newer version of hardware decoding beyond the dragonfly version:

http://blog.webmproject.org/2012/02/vp8-hw-decoder-version-5-eagle-...

and the encoder:

http://blog.webmproject.org/2012/02/fifth-generation-vp8-hardware-e...

This fifth version won't be appearing in actual hardware just yet, however, but the earlier versions are certainly shipping.

Edited 2012-03-14 23:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by shmerl on Wed 14th Mar 2012 21:08 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

The situation was like that already for long time. So if you are saying that Mozilla's change in principal position is either caused by desperation about slow WebM adoption or by need to get hardware performance on mobile devices without hardware WebM decoding, then both arguments are not convincing to differ it from the situation on the desktop really. WebM was nowhere when it started, still Mozilla was strongly against promoting H.264. The most decisive factor here really is Google's desertion. Since Google was supposed to be a good ally, Mozilla was not alone. Now they stand alone against the dark empire of "non free". Will they able to pull it through?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by lemur2 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 21:48 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.

Don't believe for a second that if OGG were magically adopted everywhere that suddenly it wouldn't have patent claims against it, because it would.


Furthermore, most content out there is h.264 already. Digital TV broadcasts in my country are H.264. Digital downloads are H.264.
"

Actually, if you join the HTML5 trial at YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/html5

then virtually all of the YouTube video content will be delivered to your browser as HTML5/WebM.

If you then go to a an independent page with embedded videos:

http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/

you can then see most of the videos linked on such a page without having a Flash player or a h.264 decoder installed on your system.

Not all of them, sure, but most of them.

BTW, the fact that digital TV broadcast is encoded with h.264 has very little to do with web content and web browsers.

Edited 2012-03-14 21:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Whatevs.
by d3vi1 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 23:57 in reply to "RE[2]: Whatevs."
d3vi1 Member since:
2006-01-28

"Furthermore, most content out there is h.264 already. Digital TV broadcasts in my country are H.264. Digital downloads are H.264.


Actually, if you join the HTML5 trial at YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/html5

then virtually all of the YouTube video content will be delivered to your browser as HTML5/WebM.

If you then go to a an independent page with embedded videos:

http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/

you can then see most of the videos linked on such a page without having a Flash player or a h.264 decoder installed on your system.

Not all of them, sure, but most of them.

BTW, the fact that digital TV broadcast is encoded with h.264 has very little to do with web content and web browsers.
"

I've used HTML5 video for some time. On all my systems I removed Flash about 1 year ago.
Here's my point related to TV:
A normal digital standard definition TV station transmits at 1.5-3MBits/sec H.264 with MP3, AAC or AC3 sound. I can't find any reason to re-encode the stream for live-tv or for archival purposes (and later playback as VOD on the website). Re-encoding such a stream has a computational tax which is ridiculous since ALL our mainstream computers (just MacOS and Windows as mainstream) come equipped with licensed decoders for those codecs. Furthermore, when you have to save a live stream for later playback you need to save it in H.264, Web-M, OGG, Dirac at different bitrates and resolutions and this literally kills any storage subsystem.
I know a small TV station (200k viewers on average) that serves recordings of it's past 2 months of programming plus live TV and the storage requirements are huge (8 TB for SD H.264 and 4TB for low res H.264). The station has at any given time of the day about 1000 viewers so it needs 3 copies of the data. Imagine investing into real-time conversion of Terabytes of videos in whatever codecs you want, as well as also needing 3 times the storage (H.264, WebM, whatever other zealot requested codec such as Dirac). It doesn't make economical sense unless you're Google. Everyone needs to get their heads out of their a**es and realize that H.264 really is an industry standard for video and the Web (or 30% of it) does not get to dictate what a whole industry should use.

Now apply this to websites like Netflix. Since in other countries NetFlix/Hulu are not available, small, licensed, local alternatives have appeared. A decent TV show library weights in at about 50-60TBytes. You can't expect to have a Netflix/Hulu like website in a country of 20 Million (so at most a hundred thousand clients per website) that also can afford to have triple storage requirements and huge re-encoding costs. Right now, all the TV show libraries you can legally buy for redistribution give you the media in MPEG2 or MPEG4 compliant streams. Deal with it and stop complaining as they are the industry standard. While Netflix can afford to re-encode everything in VC1 (huge computational task) and serve it via a Silverlight, but small shops cant. Furthermore, using Flash or Silverlight with VC1 instead of just plain HTML5 Video with H.264 doesn't seem like a big win to me. And for the love of God, stop giving Google as an example. If Google can afford to do something, it doesn't mean that everyone on the web can afford that.

H.264 is not GIF all over again. GIF failed not because of patents, but because it was inferior to PNG and JPEG. Patents are not a problem for MPEG4 for the users since you already payed for the decoder at least 2-3 times over per system. You have an OS license for the decoder (in Windows 7 and Mac OS X at least), you have a license that comes with the hardware decoder included in most video cards (anything recent from AMD/NVidia/Intel), you have a license included with some of the software you installed (say a Roxio suite, or other software that you might have bought).

I have no problem with the web using WebM, just don't remove the possibility of using H.264 as you might be hurting the companies in smaller countries. Not all TV stations are the size of BBC and Fox. Not all movie/TV sites are the size of Hulu/Netflix and have access to millions of US dollars in financing. If Mozilla doesn't give us H.264 on the web, we'll keep using Flash (which, like all embedable stuff is a hack) or, like in my case, use Safari, even if I favor Mozilla more.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Whatevs.
by Neolander on Thu 15th Mar 2012 07:35 in reply to "RE[2]: Whatevs."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

To be honest, most of YouTube's content also comes with an H.264 copy for those crappy mobile devices which cannot play anything but that.

So in effect, it is likely that the set of content which is available in H.264 (though not exclusively) supersedes the set of content which is available in WebM.

And this is sad.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Whatevs.
by Gusar on Thu 15th Mar 2012 11:43 in reply to "RE[2]: Whatevs."
Gusar Member since:
2010-07-16

BTW, the fact that digital TV broadcast is encoded with h.264 has very little to do with web content and web browsers.

This argument is used quite a bit. But I find it completely bogus, and here's why: It implies that the web is a world of it's own. But it's not. It's only a part of a bigger world that already has established means of video delivery. And those means deliver h264 video. Do you really expect companies to have a separate encoding chain just for the web? As nice as that would be idealistically, in reality the financial equation just doesn't add up. Unless you're Google. But any other company is by logic not Google.

Then add hardware decoders into the mix. You can cite a few examples of chips that have vp8 decoding, but what percentage of devices out there right now has those chips? If you're delivering video to mobile devices, it makes little sense to deliver in a format that only a very small percentage can decode it without quickly draining the battery of the device.

Edited 2012-03-15 11:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1