Tag Archives: H.264 Blog

The State of HTML5 Video

Look like the promise of standardizing video delivery with the advent of HTML5 is going to take a little longer to fulfill. As usual, no one cares to agree on how to best serve users.

HTML5 added the <video> tag, theoretically freeing us from using the current de facto standard for video playback, the notoriously crashy Adobe Flash. The reality is sadly, much different. Of all the major browsers, not one of them fully support the tag. Firefox and Chrome can only play HTML5 video if it uses the WebM codec, while IE and Safari will only play back H264-encoded video. When you throw mobile browsers into the mix, things get even more confusing. Most mobile browsers use Webkit, the open source browser platform on which Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome is based. This would be great, but different mobile devices support different profiles and aspects of the highly complex H264 codec, which means potentially more encoding for those devices.

Instead it’s much more important, in the minds of people who should know better, to promote opposing standards and hope to win. Hasn’t anyone learned yet that no one can own the Internet, at least for very long. In any case, be prepared for more workarounds for both users and producers of video.

Read full article: http://localtype.org/html5-video-sucks/

H.264 Standard Will Remain Royalty-Free

This is big because there’s potentially big money in Web video. With a free and high-quality standard in place we can all get past the encumbrance of Flash and see a lot more rich content sent directly to the Web from any number of devices. And that content will be easily viewed as well. This is a good thing:

MPEG LA, the group that oversees licensing for a number of Internet media standards, today announced that Internet broadcast content using the H.264 video coding standard will remain royalty-free for the entire life of the license, quashing fears that the standard could suddenly become subject to royalty payments in 2016 after the current licensing term expires and is required to be renewed.”

Read full article: http://bit.ly/bATpsf

Web Video Is Still a Mess

It looks like no one can agree on what is the best way to deliver video over the web. Why is this important? Because with ubiquitous fast connections and processors, video is the preferred medium online for entertainment and in many cases, information. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and a sound is worth a thousand pictures, then video is … well, you  get the idea. If this weren’t so, TV and movies would not be at the center of the entertainment universe. And because these media can be delivered digitally, the Internet is the natural means of bringing them to consumers (which equates to big business).

So what do those who have the  power to establish the standards that will enable everyone to benefit from video online do? Fight with each other, of course, since it’s much more important to own the  whole pie than to create a level field for all to compete on. So the battle continues.

First, it was Real vs. QuickTime vs. Windows Media. Then Flash stepped in and, by virtue of YouTube’s adoption and the ubiquity of the Flash plug-in, became the de facto web video standard. Today, it’s Flash vs. H.264 (which plays without plug-ins in browsers via HTML 5). So what’s the problem? In brief, Adobe wants to own the world of web video and Apple doesn’t like this. Nor does Microsoft, which has it’s own designs on web media domination with its Silverlight technology. H.264 is owned by several patent holders who can’t agree on anything, especially royalties, and the Firefox and Opera browsers support a format that few have heard of (Ogg Theora – ugh).

We can only hope  that this all resolves quickly, as the format war between Blu-Ray Disc and HD-DVD did in recent years. But according to this article from Webmonkey, that doesn’t appear to be likely. So in the meantime, keep that Flash plug-in handy (but not if you own anything made by Apple …)

Full article: http://bit.ly/cgxcSu