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Google To Set Back HTML5 Video - Removing Support for H.264 in Chrome

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
7 years ago6,618 views

From blog.chromium.org/2011/01/html ...

<<We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.>>

Apologies for the perhaps (heavily) editorialised headline but I feel like this is a huge move business-wise for Google and is nothing more than a power play masking itsself as being for "Openness". While I do support the development of Open standards and a standardised <video> tag in HTML5 I don't think this is the way Google should go about it and it stinks of just being a total dick move. The only people who are going to benefit are Adobe as the adoption of HTML5 Video will be slowed.

Juha-Matti Laurio [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-200 ...

mbegin [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

Parody: blogs.msdn.com/b/tims/archive/ ...

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

I for one think it's a very good decision.

See also: osnews.com/story/24245/10_Ques ...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

> I for one think it's a very good decision.

I absolutely agree. The world needs a standard, free and open HTML5 codec. WebM meets the needs.

Content providers may want to serve both WebM and H.264 until Microsoft and Apple catch up with Opera and Google, but it's short-term pain for long-term gain.

David Mulder [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

[put at-character here]Roger Browne and Ludwik Trammer: techcrunch.com/2011/01/14/goog ...

This kind of summarizes what the problem is with it. Microsoft and Apple *will not* "catch up" with WebM because they will have no reason to and content providers have no reason to provide in two formats because they can simply use flash.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

[put at-character here]David Mulder:
> content providers have no reason to provide in two formats
> because they can simply use flash

If they're interested in the mobile device market, they can't depend on Flash.

Microsoft will catch up with WebM eventually, in the same way that Microsoft originally had "no reason to support PNG graphics", but eventually and grudgingly did join the party.

Anyway nowadays there are plenty of good alternative browsers. It's easier than ever to move away from IE (and Safari if necessary).

DPic [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

I am so tired of these arguments.

Openness is not about supporting all the proprietary bullshit to give users "choice". Hey, let's support Real media files too! Those are awesome.

Somehow, people actually fall for shallow arguments, ignore the interests of the people making them, and forget the history of the internet and the importance of open and *free* standards.

David Mulder [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

[put at-character here]Roger Browne: I really hope you're right about microsoft, but as far as mobile devices are concerned; android supports flash and apple supports h.264, so in the end all devices do support h.264 in one way or another, so I fear that in the end flash will be the winner.

[put at-character here]DPic: Its not really about openess, its more about which company is more likely to misuse its patents and license fees; about apple its known (though its still wrong to give something away from free and once they are addicted to it they can't change) and Google _promises_ to no misuse it, but who knowns what they will do (the WebM licence allows google to actually pull back its promises).

Still, as far as I am concerned I hope WebM will 'win' and that google will submit it to become an open standard. On top of that Google could obligize people to either install a WebM plugin (which they are already developing) to watch video's on youtube and make WebM the default video type. (Although right now flash video still is smoother for me then html5 (both h.264 and webm)

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

> flash video still is smoother for me then html5

I find the same, and the "YouTube smoothness factor" will hold back the adoption of HTML5 video more than anything related to "openness".

But there are a lot of people working on this (in Google of course, but also in companies like HTC that manufacture devices) and I think in a year's time HTML5 will offer the smoothest video.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

"Google _promises_ to no misuse it, but who knowns what they will do (the WebM licence allows google to actually pull back its promises)."

No. It does not. Otherwise Mozilla would not use it, and the Free Software Foundation would have never ever approved of it.

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