Friday, April 30th, 2010

Microsoft to support H.264 only? Really?

Category: Microsoft, Standards

<p>Dean Hachamovitch took an opportunity to talk about Microsoft’s point of view on HTML5 video.

Namely, the view that they will only support H.264.

Why do that post now? Get it out before Google I/O and VP8 gets released and opened? Follow Steve Jobs’ attack on Adobe (which talks about the openness of H.264?).

Dean says:

H.264 is an industry standard

Not an open standard.

Robert O’Callahan of Mozilla comments:

Dean, I think it’s quite dangerous for you to say “developers can rely on the H.264 codec and hardware acceleration support of the underlying operating system, like Windows 7, without paying any additional royalty.”

when the Windows 7 H.264 codec is licensed only for non-commercial use. See

http://download.microsoft.com/Documents/UseTerms/Windows%207_Ultimate_English_c44ca3df-8338-4a2f-a176-39d2e68986c4.pdf

THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED UNDER THE AVC, THE VC-1, THE MPEG-4 PART 2 VISUAL, AND THE MPEG-2 VIDEO PATENT PORTFOLIO LICENSES FOR THE PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF A CONSUMER TO (i) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ABOVE STANDARDS (“VIDEO

STANDARDS”) AND/OR (ii) DECODE AVC, VC-1, MPEG-4 PART 2 AND MPEG-2 VIDEO THAT WAS ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY OR WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE SUCH VIDEO. NONE OF THE

LICENSES EXTEND TO ANY OTHER PRODUCT REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH PRODUCT IS INCLUDED WITH THIS PRODUCT IN A SINGLE ARTICLE.

Now that Dean has started the conversation, I hope that it is two way…. and a conversation. Will they truly ONLY support H.264? Regardless of codes installed on the system? Of a potential VP8? Never Ogg?

The IE9 preview has been very promising. The Web is the platform, and Microsoft knows they need to be the game. There is very much room for them at the Open Web table, I just hope we all share the bread in a constructive way.

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Nice post about it here too: http://www.osnews.com/story/23229/IE9_HTML5_Video_Will_Be_H264_Only

Comment by Vordreller — April 30, 2010

Oh, this is so disappointing – but not at all surprising.

What is even more disappointing is websites that are claiming to support HTML5 and only producing H.264 content! This is unacceptable and so damaging, as these sites have the power to affect the mindshare of millions of users (without them even being aware). If these sites were using free codecs, Microsoft would be terrified of not supporting them because those sites would not work in IE.

It will be easy for Apple and Microsoft to support H.264 but much more difficult (impossible?) for software venders like Opera and open source OSs like Ubuntu to obtain and maintain appropriate licenses for H.264. Not only for content consumption, but also content production.

H.264′s de facto “standardization” of H.264 by Microsoft, Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix, etc. is harmful for users and just plain sad.

Developers, if you have money or influence please build (or buy :) a kickass video-content-driven web app that uses open codecs and make Microsoft embarrassed that they can’t support it. That’s the only way that we can turn this sinking ship around.

Comment by ndluthier — April 30, 2010

@ndluthier: “…websites that are claiming to support HTML5 and only producing H.264 content!”

HTML5 doesn’t specify which codecs can/should be used for content. None mentioned none forgotten (or excluded) I guess…

Comment by rasmusfl0e — April 30, 2010

Before we go full tilt on the pooh-pooh party here, keep in mind that recently people were wondering if html5 video would be in IE at all. Ever. Now we know it will be. And as much unencumbered formats are desirable here, at least it’s better by being double encumbered by the codec AND flash.

Comment by tack — April 30, 2010

@tack That’s like saying “Sure it’s a dictatorship but it beats slavery”. We can do better! When we unite as a community of web entrepreneurs and developers, the message sent to Redmond is clear, ie(no pun): “You no longer control the internet! If you wont work with us in a genuine and honest manor, then we will not support your browser.” The only reason they even TALK about HTML5 is because of this reality, WE collectively hold the power to define standards. Patents today, are used to deprive markets of choice, this is one of those sleeper patents that will popup in 5k lawsuits about 2 years before it expires. The awakening MS received with Vista, accentuated that they can no longer rely on their monopoly.

If you want them taking down (or collecting royalties on) any video ANYWHERE that they see fit to remove then by all means, break ranks, BUT if you want to force them into an honest, open, negotiation with the development community then stead fast…

Comment by sourceRoot — April 30, 2010

the part I find hard to believe is that they won’t support Windows Media formats. Like no .wmv or .wma… same with audio, can’t see them not supporting .wav — I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong here one bit tho :)

Comment by AgentG — April 30, 2010

I couldn’t care less about IE9. It won’t even support the canvas tag. All this talk about HTML 5 support and that excludes the frickin canvas tag!! IE9 is for enterprises still stuck with ActiveX controls, just abandon it already.

Comment by stimpy77 — May 2, 2010

I think that this is great!
What if services like youtube (owned by google) only serves vp8 (owned by google) stuff? I think that people _WILL_ install alternative browser, like Chrome (owned by google) or Opera or Firefox!

Comment by saturation — May 3, 2010

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