back to article Firefox 4 sneak peek flaunts Google open video codec

Mozilla has turned out a Firefox 4 prototype that includes Google's newly open sourced WebM video format, while Opera has rolled the format into a developer build of its own. Last month, Google open sourced the VP8 video codec that it nabbed as part of its $124.6 million acquisition of video compression outfit On2 Technologies, …

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Anonymous Coward

WebM in MSIE

MS have said they won't include support for WebM in IE9 by default, but it will pick up the codec if the user installs it.

But... What about computer manufacturers? Ordinary people find themselves with a clean MS installation of Windows, as manufacturers put a custom image in the factory. An obvious standard addition they used to add before Vista was a codec to play DVDs, so is it at all likely that most off-the-shelf computers will come with WebM support in IE9 simply because HP, Dell, Sony & co will all install the codec on their image?

Perhaps Google should be talking to them to persuade manufacturers to include it, citing DVD support as a case in point?

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Headmaster

Typo

Sorry, that should have read "Ordinary people *rarely* find themselves with a clean MS installation of Windows".

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Anonymous Coward

Hopefully...

Hopefully this is exactly what will happen when Google includes the codec in some of its other installation packages (toolbar, desktop, whatever...). Though if people are installing themselves they should be asked!

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Silver badge
Happy

No big deal.

Out of the box, XP didn't support DIVX or Flash, or many other codecs. Not sure about 7. One of the first jobs on reinstalling was to get it codec complete.

First site you go to that uses this codec will most likely provide an easy download option. Worst case, browser restart. So nothing to worry about. Not being built into Windows hasn't hurt Flash one little bit. And if that is what it takes to see the funny video, so be it.

Firefox with it ready to go, Linux with it ready to go.. Chrome and Opera signed up.. Great. There are bigger things than Microsoft these days. And who can trust MS to keep their grubby little mitts off improving the codec beyond all usefulness.

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JDX
Gold badge
Gates Halo

bigger than MS?

>>Firefox with it ready to go, Linux with it ready to go..

>>Chrome and Opera signed up.. Great.

>>There are bigger things than Microsoft these days.

But Linux, Chrome and opera surely aren't one of them. As others say it's a non-issue with MS since IE will happily let you run any codec you want... it's Apple you want to shout at since they seem more likely to simply block anything they don't approve of.

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Flame

Suck it Steves (Jobsworth + Ballsup)

Let the muppets not support WebM - IE will hopefully be the no. 2 browser soon and continue falling, and I only technically support safari (with it's oh so wonderful 4% share, same as IE6) on my sites because I support chrome.

Steve Jobs you WILL NOT impose your will upon the web you greedy, self serving git-wizard!

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WTF?

RE: Suck it Steves (Jobsworth + Ballsup)

"Steve Jobs you WILL NOT impose your will upon the web you greedy, self serving git-wizard!"

WTF are you talking about? The only mention of Apple here was to do with H.264 which many other companies are backing. I notice there was no mention in the article about the patent uncertainties over Google's preferred codec...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suck It Steves

"I only technically support safari ... on my sites because I support chrome."

So, you're coding to standards then? Great. No need to get political.

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Silver badge

Mmmm...

Do you have any idea how many DivX codecs I have in my machine? Well, there's the one from K-Lite. There's the one built into MPlayer. I think VLC contains its own. DivX Player insisted on installing another.

You might wonder why I am talking about DivX. It is because it is a common format, and I have multiple programs with multiple codecs. I can sort-of understand MPlayer's desire to be a big-ass single executable containing all it needs internally, but in the case of browsers it seems a shame that we're now supposed to hate plugins so much we won't take the LOGICAL step of making the video codec a systemwide resource and saying "oi! can you play this?". Oh no, we want it coded into the browser. So updating it means updating the browser. And if it has "quirks" (one of my DivX players can't handle sizes that aren't a multiple of 16...) you don't have to option to install something better. And if I want to watch a WebM video, do I have to load the browser? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a centralised codec? In these format wars, it is likely a year or so down the line ALL the major browsers will support H.264 in some way, and maybe WebM too. One in Firefox, one in IE (not that IE9 supports XP, so scrub that), one in Opera, one in Chrome... And talk of patent quibbles for who can release what capabilities, where.

You know what? I have a bloody H.264 codec already installed. Just Use That!

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Happy

Slow down

Slow down.

Your all over the place, I think it may be why people are voting you down.

I think it's great you understand there's a bunch of different codecs, keeping the all updated, and yet productive and not conflicting can be a harsh balancing act. The number one rule if your going to debug everything on a production box, is you keep a cloned backup before you start.

As far as browsers go there's two things. Keeping them secured, and them actually being productive. e.g. you can view the target content . There's no law saying you can't make your own plug-in as well.

As far as codec's go, it's like hurding cats, from free to commercial professional codecs, project to product there's no written rule. some codec's do register system wide. Basically what it comes down to is is what your trying to produce, or target you do whatever it takes to get it done. The more you know about operating systems and such the better off your going to be to find and debug problems when they crop up.

note: problems will crop up, and you will have to debug them yourself--without google as a crutch. The good news is you'll feel like a god afterward.

I think AVCHD is more of a pain in the butt (a different set of problems) than MPEG-LA but I am looking at it from a different point.

I don't like the idea of MPEG-LA being a time bomb for the successful producer. note carefully I didn't say it isn't right for them to try to do it. After all they own it. All of us on Earth have had enough economic damage already. I think ultimately the old ways are going to have to be thrown out, or freed up. This MPEG-LA thing is a symptom of the insatiable greed and corruption which is now starting to bite us all collectively in the ass.

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Headmaster

"(though this is only partially available on FreeBDS/Linux)"

BDS = Badly Distorted Spelling?

As for the article, this is good news.

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WTF?

But why

But why the hell does the codec need to be built in to the browser?

On OS X, they could just use Core Video, and let the browsers use whatever codecs are installed

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Anonymous Coward

Because

"But why the hell does the codec need to be built in to the browser?"

Because the platform is now the Web itself. The idea of HTML5 is that you can have confidence that any modern browser will work with any modern web page on any OS.

It's OK in principle to let browsers use plugins or codecs from the OS, but there's supposed to be a baseline of support that ranges from tags to image formats to video and audio formats, and that's what this is about. A copy of Opera 10.6 on Windows 98 should render web pages as reliably as Firefox 3.6 on OSX or IE9 on Windows 7. That's the theory anyway.

What's going to be interesting is to see how websites and browser makers treat this notion of baseline support in reality. Will they go on to use and support other codecs and plugins, or will they stick to the lowest common denominator, which is what 'official' codecs in HTML are supposed to be (albeit very good lowest common denominators, unlike GIF and old JPGs, which have far superior alternatives, but they have such a legacy that it's taken years for PNG to start to get serious use, and no effort so far seems to have got traction to replace JPG).

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FAIL

Opera 10.60 BETA out with WebM

http://www.opera.com/browser/next/

Lets see if that gets a full page el-reg news page, like Firefix does.

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Anonymous Coward

Ask and Ye Shall Receive...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/16/opera_10_6_beta/

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Headmaster

Old news

Opera had a build out with WebM a couple of weeks ago, the day Google open sourced it (so clearly Google and the browser companies have been privately talking for a while about what was going to happen with it), and the new beta *has* been mentioned here and 'elsewhere'.

A bit trigger happy, you was. Hence your disqualification.

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Silver badge

There IS a solution to this...

Just make the default format of YouTube WebM. That ought to do it!

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Jobs Horns

and...

.....stop encoding in H.264. Where would that leave Job's army of fanbois?

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FAIL

RE: and...

... it wouldn't hurt them at all.

Why would it?

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FAIL

Fail

Is it really to much for users in this day and age to expect to be able to just use the Internet rather than having to install plug ins just to view a page? Many many companies still refuse to let their staff install things so yet another technology that developers can't happily use without worrying that many people won't be able to access it.

Try explaining to your average punter why they can't view a video and see them care about market share, open standards or anything else for that matter.

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Anonymous Coward

Just a thought

If a company decides not to let its employees install video plugins, could it be because they don't want their employees watching videos in work time?

Add to that the likelihood that IE6 will probably be around for quite some time in the business world, and it all becomes a little pointless. In the business world at least.

If an average punter said to you "why can't I watch the funny duck song?" would you really consider explaining about market share, or would you say "erm... you need X plugin"? The average punter doesn't care about any of that stuff, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't affect them.

There's no good reason (technical arguments about performance aside) that the specification should rely on a format that may cost an unspecified amount in licenses in the future.

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Silver badge

@Mmmmm

With HTML5 you will only need one codec. It wont be H.264 as that will price itself out of the market - its only free till 2015. Those involved will want to get some money out of it somehow - or stop developing it. So you'll have to either pay, or learn how to use a computer - or both.

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Linux

Systemwide codecs

Are available in windows since Windows 2000, but the trouble is that MS regards Windows as its property and they do to their property what they deem necessary to keep competition out and generate new revenue streams (or was it opportunities).

So when you tried to open a divx movie using windows media-player on the early 2000, windows obviously did not have the codec, so it went online and check on MS's repositories. The DivX codec wasn't on MS repositories on 2000/1/2/3/4/5... and so on, so initiatives like the K-Lite codec pack were born, people an movies were happy then.

It is the same for mostly everything MS has not invented like the low quality MP3 encoder in Windows 2000/XP. MS won't embrace someone else's creation because it doesn't help them to build a market around it.

And that's why WMV/WMA and any other Microsoft centric audio-video tech is irrelevant.

And now it is the time for H264 to die.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Um...

System-wide codecs have been available since Windows 3.x, actually.

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missed the boat much?

WebM is out there. You Tube will use it therefore almost all PC's will have it therefore who will bother with licenses for anything else.

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