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back to article MS embraces/shuns Google's open video codec

Microsoft has teamed with the Google-backed WebM project to announce software that allows Internet Explorer 9 and other Windows applications to render video using WebM, the web-media format that Google open sourced under a royalty-free license last year. But the onus is on the user to install the software. Internet Explorer 9 …

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Anonymous Coward

VP8/H.264

And Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot

Fighting in the captain's tower

While Calypso's singers laugh at them

And fishermen hold flowers

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Stop

MIcrosoft playing smart + FalseFlag

<rant>

why the fuck can't <video> mean [DetectAnyFuckingCodec=Play] ?

that's OPEN and FREE .. let the best format win and so on into the future

</rant>

that being said, microsoft is making the smart move to support any codec in popular use, and the <video /> tag should mean play any fucking format in popular use

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Grenade

Broken Microsoft spelling checker

Seems it changed "the patent pool H.264 format" to "the industry-standard H.264 format".

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MS loves open!

And by "open" they mean "open your cheque book and cough up, suckers". h264 is not an "open" codec it is "closed with a no-cost (for now) license to decode and, in some cases, to encode". The only reason MS likes it, is that they are part of the group that holds the patents and stand to make millions from it.

One must remember that MS is actively hostile to any concept of "open". Hence their repeated patent threats (although they never mention which exact patents).

I for one am glad to no longer be beholden to the Beast of Redmond. (Nor and I beholden to the Monster of Mountain View".

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Anonymous Coward

Yawn...

Firefox doesn't support H.264 either out of the box, so most of this is just posturing.

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Anonymous Coward

Not Microsoft on its own

I'm not usually one to save MS from a good spanking however in this occasion I don't think they deserve it.

"Redmond, you see, has a certain aversion to open source software."

Well I don't see where is the source code for the the WebM component? Has Google released this somewhere? How is it open source then?

But the real problem here is that MS, Apple etc can't accept the "Additional IP Rights Grant" part of Google's WebM licence without undermining MPEG-LA which they belong to.

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Troll

Read before spouting

I think you might find some code here:

http://www.webmproject.org/code/#webm-repositories

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Anonymous Coward

Yes I think you should follow that advice

That page does have "some" code, but not this one in particular.

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Why can't you just leave the choice

<video format="h264"></video> or <video format="webm"></video>

Although I am a huge proponent of the open source WebM rather than the Patent Troll owned H.264.

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But you can

However, this means transcoding to more than one format and, potentially having to pay a lot of money for privilege and more for the hardware. Also, because Safari doesn't play nicely you have to put h264 first with Flash as a fallback.

In other news: Opera 11.10 beta, like Chrome, now supports the webp bitmap format based on the work done for webm. The new format allows for better compression (my tests show webp bitmaps being 25% the size of an equivalent jpeg) than JPEG and degrades much better making it suitable both for photographs and images with large blocks of colour or text.

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WTF?

hang on ...

Does this imply that Microsoft accepts liability for all the software they ship ? Now that would have some rather far reaching consequences in areas of consequential loss through bugs and failures and a liability to attract and run malware...

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Yes.

Microsoft indemnify you from patent claims against their products.

If Google is so sure that WebM does not infringe any patents, then they too should indemnify any organisation that ships the component. It's time for Google to put up or shut up.

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You missed a bit

"Who bears the liability and risk for consumers, businesses, and developers until the legal system resolves the intellectual property issues?"

...that *we're* threatening people with...

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HMB

H.264 Industry Standard

Errr...

Broken Spellchecker?

H.264 is used in Video Cameras, Mobile phones (in hardware), Bluray and DVB-S2 (Digital Satellite). H.264 enjoys universal video support in professional video software too.

So now, which part of industry standard did you have a problem with?

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Have you read the license recently?

I've read articles that state that even high end camcorders come with a license that actually forbid their commerical usage. How open is that?

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Also DVB-T and DVB-C

"H.264 is used in Video Cameras, Mobile phones (in hardware), Bluray and DVB-S2 (Digital Satellite). H.264 enjoys universal video support in professional video software too."

Almost all HD on cable TV. Soon SD on Cable too.

All recent DVB-T, not just DVB-T2 use MPEG4 H.264 L3 for SD and MPEG4 H.264 L4 for HD

Over 20 countries.

It's rapidly replacing MPEG2 for SD, not just HD.

All consumer video devices/ TVs will have (and many do have) Industry Standard H.264

If you want to replay that WebM as a file you may need to re-encode it to H.264 or inferior DivX, losing quality.

What is Google really doing? They don't care about open source except to exploit it. Android development is never open sourced till it's released.

They don't care about Privacy or Copyright. If MS is the Great Satan who is Google? Not the Saviour of Mankind.

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Re: H.264 Industry Standard

In typical Google fashion, they're thinking the Web, as if it existed in isolation or exclusion of the rest of the universe. If it's not on Google, it doesn't exist. The Web contains the accumulation of human knowledge. Blah, blah, blah.

The "Industry" to which Microsoft alluded is the "Movie" and "Professional Video" Industry. There is no significant "Web Video" industry, at least not yet. Unless you want to count amateur cat videos and such. So called "Web Video" exists as part of the overall media, consumer electronics, and entertainment industries which span multiple sectors and exist--like it or not--*in* and *out* of The Web.

Professional video produces--be it Hollywood, CableTV, Ad agencies, wedding recorders, etc.--already support H.264 as part of their full work flow. This is why H.264 *is* the "Industry Standard." It is then only natural that they would like to add the Web to this work flow with minimal cost, effort, and performance and quality penalties.

Forcing them to treat the Web as a completely separate channel, with its own incompatible "standards" and idiosyncrasies, where they have to re-encode everything at a loss, will just end up alienating the professional video industry. This is not going to happen, of course, for there is too much potential in offering access to content through the Web. Which is why extending the reach of H.264 to the Web works so well for the industry.

Google is ignoring all this in a power struggle against Microsoft and Apple. They're painting a picture of "Web Video" and "Open Standards for the Web," but the truth is that if we isolate "Web Video" from the more general "Professional Video," you'll just get, well, YouTube. This may be fine for Google, but it's hardly incentive to compete against the large entertainment and media content available outside it.

-dZ.

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Welcome

And there was one

Looks like Microsoft is hedging its bets by working on the program that installs the codecs but not including them with the OS or IE. Just Steve and the fanbois who are still outside.

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Anonymous Coward

Sure..

if you consider 99.9% of the video industry the "outside".

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Grenade

Yes

We do.

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Flame

Speak for yourself...

or did you forget to take your pink tablets this morning Martin?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

WebM innovative? Yeah, right!

WebM being labeled the open standard is in my opinion Google:

a. Just trying to compete against Microsoft / Apple but under the veil of openness

b. Another way of Google saying 'well we don't have to pay for it..'

I have not verified the point but if its true that the source code is not even publically available to call it open is misleading.

Further to this why are they calling 'innovative' a standard that has no native hardware acceleration (H.264 does across desktop, mobile, STB, etc devices) on an OS level, has the least cross-platform support (H.264 even works across Android devices in addition to all iOS devices), and from comparisons i've seen by independent parties has poorer video quality (not by much but more artifacting appears to occur).

On-top of this as mentioned neither of the browsers that come bundled with the main desktop and smartphone mobile OS's support the WebM codec out of the box (and iOS platform users can't install it, period), relying on people to install a plug-in for desktop OSs also means web authors / publishers cannot have the expectation it's already installed.

If Google are pro-choice, pro-competition why not continue to offer H.264 but offer WebM? If anything one could say the move to drop H.264 is anti-competitive.

If Google want to let a standard thrive, why not give both standards an opportunity to do so and let the web battle it out? Instead of crippling one to give preference to another.

HTML5 does actually support the ability to offer users WebM/Ogg and H.264 video formats, with browsers 'falling back' till they hit a codec they support, but a lot of sites would not be able to afford to encode videos twice, so it cripples the very video start-ups Google talks of saving due to their stance on the matter as well, hypocrytical really.

Also as mentioned in the article Google has failed to provide indemnity for WebM users and has failed to reveal its patent portfolio that protects it. Given Google's lax behaviour with Android and patents, letting Motorola get sued for Android's patent infringments why should people believe Google would act any different in this scenario either?

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Anonymous Coward

Could Google win?

If Google removed support for Flash & H.264 from Youtube (for newer browsers) and insisted that you had to use WebM to view the videos (with handy links for an install) would there be mass adoption?

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Drop Flash & H.264?

I cannot see YouTube dropping support for formats / codecs that likely the greater majority of their user base supports for a format only a minority of their user base has. Would be business suicide. At best they can offer WebM and H.264 if they truly are advocates of WebM.

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FAIL

Re: Could Google win?

Depends on what you reckon the feedback from the Great Unwashed would be.

If you reckon it would be: "I know what's going on. Google haved moved to the enlightened WebM codec which is of great benefit to me and I will replace my browser with a WebM supporting one immediately.", then the answer's; "Yes".

If, on the other hand, you believe it would be; "OMFG WHICH COMPLEET BASTURD B0RK UTOOB!!111!!! I MUST SHOUT AT INTAHTOOBES AND FACEBUM AND TW@THING ABOUT EVILL GOOG PEPLS!!!1111!!!!", then the answer's; "No".

I've attached the icon for "No", so you can see which one my money's on.....

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H.264 - same process as JavaScript, Ethernet, WiFi, TCP

Microsoft does not want a repeat of the Eolas problem - where someone comes along later and says 'we own that, royalties please'. It's nothing to do with not including open source software - they could do a clean room implementation of WebM if that were the problem (well, if the 'standard' wasn't just 'read the source code'). It's that the patent status is unknown, and that because it didn't come from an open standards development process, there are no guarantees of reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. H.264 did, and a US court has already prevented Qualcomm from trolling Broadcom over a patent that wasn't disclosed when the standard was published.

Every other standards organization developing standards for computer components, programming languages, networking protocols, telecomms, permits patented materials if they are licenced on RAND terms.

ITU/ISO/IEC Common Patent Policy: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/ipr/Pages/policy.aspx

ECMA (JavaScript): http://www.ecma-international.org/memento/codeofconduct.htm

IEEE (Ethernet, Wifi, WiMAX): http://standards.ieee.org/develop/policies/bylaws/sect6-7.html#6.2

IETF: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3979.txt

3GPP (mobile phones): http://www.3gpp.org/FAQ#outil_sommaire_13

Only W3C insists on royalty-free standards.

H.264/AVC was developed by an open, free-to-join, committee, jointly run by ITU and ISO/IEC's Joint Technical Committee. Its successor is too. So were its predecessors, MPEG-4 Part 2 and MPEG-2 Part 2 (as used for standard-definition digital TV, high-def in some countries, and DVD).

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Except for the Trolls under the Patent Bridge

There is (as far as I know) no ECMAscript-LA, Ethernet-LA, TCP-LA (there are as far as I know Patents for WiFi) demanding rents for no benefit.

You CAN license an implementation of H.264 from someone else (and pay the MPEG-LA), but if for some reason you want to implement your own H.264 encoder, with no input from the standard other than reference to the data format, then you still have to pay MPEG-LA irrespective of whether you got any benefit.

The same for implementing a decoder. The same for distributing H.264 video for commercial gain (WTF? That's like Adobe asking for a license fee for someone publishing a book in PDF format. Irrespective of whether it was produced using their tools).

Now the above works without too much friction when all these license fees get paid for because of a necessary purchase (like for instance paying for a video camera in order to record video), but it becomes a problem when we are talking pure software that can run on a general purpose computer-- in fact it breaks the free and open Web in ways that that are rather nasty.

It might also be worth pointing out the MPEG are aiming to produce a free (as in not RAND; for RAND is discrimatory despite the "ND") standard in part presumably because they are fed up watching the MPEG-LA drive around in fancy sportscars off their (the MPEG) hard work. The other part being that they are probably fed up with the way innovation is being held back by the MPEG-LA.

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So how do you make living?

Do you know how many millions of dollars and engineering hours has been spent for H264 by the companies including Apple in their "just recovering from dead" days?

Here is Google's scheme: As you are an advertising monopoly and you can also kill any "news site" by a change in alghorithm or "oops flaw", you won't have anyone insane to critique you. Buy a dying codec company, let them blatantly copy h264 and trust your media slaves and idiots offloaded their entire private life to you.

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What patent pool process?

You said "the MPEG-LA, the organization that licenses H.264 [and is not the same organization as MPEG], is in the process of putting together a patent pool for WebM."

The last we heard, the word "process" didn't apply, unless you added "trying to" in there somewhere. They were advertising for anyone who has patents that may collide with WebM to come join them. And isn't that the last that you told us?

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"Redmond, you see, has a certain aversion to open source software"

in this case, not true. It's nothing to do with not liking open source and everything to do with the possible patent-infringing nature of WebM. Many industry experts are fairly sure WebM may be violating some patents, but there's been no court cases as yet - mainly because it's suspected that any potential litigators are going to wait until someone with a lot of money comes along first (like, say, microsoft). GOOGLE WILL NOT GUARENTEE THAT WEBM IS FREE FROM PATENTS therefore the responsibility is with the implementor. So if MS distributed WebM, they would be sued, not google.

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When they say "IE"

IE is unfortunately part of Windows since IE4 and when MS says "I am rolling out IE9", with a needless hurry, they talk about hundreds of millions of PCs being part of OS replaced/upgraded without any way to make sure you can send a "undo" signal to roll back.

So, Google fanatics and ideological fanatics should look to Eolas case where they have been victim of an API they didn't develop at first place.

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Biased article

Keeps bandying around terms like "patent encumbered" and conveniently glosses over "possibly patent encumbered AND with no end user indemnity"

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Grenade

You Need WeBm videos codec to watch moives

Click here to download the WeBm video codec for Internet Explorer 9 http://internetexploder.com/webm_warez.exe

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Microsoft on Standards

Microsoft on Standards: EMBRACE, EXTEND, EXTINGUISH

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