Theora is a video codec with a small CPU footprint that offers easy portability and requires no patent royalties. While the Theora bitstream format was standardized in 2004 and our beta releases have been used by millions, this 1.0 release is an important milestone reflecting the maturity and stability of the Theora codebase. A number of leading multimedia web groups already support Theora. Upcoming releases of Mozilla Firefox, the world’s most popular open source browser, will support Theora natively, as will releases of the multi-platform Opera browser. Top-10 website Wikipedia uses Theora for all of its video.
This is great news for open source enthusiasts. Several of us have long been fans of the Ogg Vorbis codec. Seeing a similar codec for video is certainly a boon for free software in general.
In addition, as HTML5 introduces support for a <video> element. Embedding video into browsers with Theora support, such as upcoming Firefox release, will be as simple as:
<video> <source type="video/ogg" src="mymovie.ogg" /> </video>
While there are several other video standards with a much broader install base — most notably Flash, Windows Media, and Quicktime — all of them have some sort of licensing penalty that make them non-free-as-in-beer. Time will tell if Theora is destined to be the next true video standard or remain a niche format.