This warrants a new post as far as I’m concerned, mostly because the original post is getting buried in updates and will soon drop below the fold. Microsoft has just announced it will support VP8 in HTML5 video in Internet Explorer 9, but only if the user has the DirectShow filter installed. Update: Yes, the updates keep on coming. Zencoder has added support for VP8. Update II: Zencoder’s side project, video.js, offers a player that can fallback between h.264, OGG and VP8 on most browsers. Support for Android browsers is underway too. Update III: The H264 supporters’ hardware argument for mobile is sounding moot too, since ARM explains on its blog that mobile devices with Cortex-A8 and Snapdragon processors “will be able to take advantage of WebM” through those chips’ NEON SIMD engine.
This is a major shift from what Microsoft said before about HTML5 video in Internet Explorer 9. When the company detailed its HTML5 video support, the company was very adamant in that it would go all-in on H264. It would be the only video codec supported by Internet Explorer 9, no matter which codecs the user had installed. Most likely pressured by the prospect of a VP8/WebM-only YouTube, Microsoft has now given in.
“In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows,” writes Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager, Internet Explorer. This puts support for VP8/WebM in Internet Explorer 9 on the same level as support for H264, with the only caveat being that Windows ships with H264 out of the box, whereas support for VP8/WebM has to be installed separately by the user.
This leaves only Apple’s Safari out of the loop. While Google announced plugins for Gstreamer, and has already made the DirectShow filters available, there’s no peep yet about QuickTime plugins (Safari’s video falls back on whatever QuickTime can decode). It will likely be up to a third party or Apple itself to implement support for VP8 in QuickTime.
Times are getting interesting.