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Microsoft Tips the Scale In Favor of HTML 5 325

Posted by kdawson
from the no-pan-for-the-flash dept.
aabelro writes "Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for Internet Explorer at Microsoft, has announced that IE9 will use only the H.264 standard to play HTML 5 video. Microsoft seems to have become very committed to HTML 5, while Flash loses even more ground. The announcement came the same day Steve Jobs detailed why Apple does not accept Flash on iPhone and iPad."
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Microsoft Tips the Scale In Favor of HTML 5

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  • Re:Youtube (Score:5, Informative)

    by self assembled struc (62483) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:05AM (#32043154) Homepage

    using the youtube flash player?

    html5 != no flash

    html5 is just a version of html which supports a video tag just like an image tag. it also supports the object tag. which means flash works in html5.

    the only case where flash isn't going to work is where the operating system or browser does not have a flash plug in.

    safari only supports h.264 in the html5 video tag as well. yet, youtube works just fine in it.

    mozilla only supports ogg in the html5 video tag. yet, youtube works just fine in it.

  • Re:Goodbye Flash (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animaether (411575) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:22AM (#32043294) Journal

    Did you just not read the post you replied to, or what?

    This says nothing about abandoning flash, just only allowing H.264 video with a video tag.

    You can still use Flash as long as there will be a Flash plugin for IE9. There's no reason to think there won't be - so go ahead, just use the object tag as you have been.

    The only scale this might tip is the Theora vs h.264 thing as MS announced that as far as the video tag goes, they will only accept h.264 datastreams . Unless this in itself can be extended using plugins, this means a great majority of people who browse the web will be limited to viewing those h.264 datastreams. The significance (closes vs open, etc.) is probably lost on those people, though... so why would Microsoft care to support a second non-industry-backed datastream if there's no push for them to do so.

  • Re:Youtube (Score:4, Informative)

    by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:24AM (#32043308) Journal
    You're almost completely correct, but:

    safari only supports h.264 in the html5 video tag

    Safari supports whatever codec happens to be installed. By default Apple installs H.264 and not Theora (which is still available separately [xiph.org]).

    And, yes, I know defaults are powerful things.

  • by Bragador (1036480) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:31AM (#32043386)
    If you have adblock plus, all you'll have to do is "ban" that video and voila!
  • by delinear (991444) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:37AM (#32043446)
    There are plenty of plugins/addons for browsers that do dynamic DOM manipulation - I can't imagine it would be difficult to write a plugin that disabled the video element until/unless required.
  • Re:Only H.264? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:38AM (#32043458)

    Dude, you do know that JPEG, GIF, and MP3 are all patent-owned standards too, right?

    The patents on GIF have expired. Baseline JPEG (which is what browsers support) is royalty-free. Closed formats are the exception on the web, not the rule.

    • HTML5 != video codec

      That is to say, HTML5 is a way to embed video into web pages, along with controls. HTML5 doesn't say anything about the video codec that should be used, similar to how the IMG tag doesn't say what kinds of image formats are supported. Further, the videos that are loaded will almost certainly be in some container format, like Ogg, MP4, AVI, etc.. - not in raw codec data form.

      If the underlying system has a general media decoding system, and if the browser uses that, then the browser will support any kind of media supported by that underlying system.

    • HTML5 is open

      It's an openly specified W3 standard. As a means to embed video into webpages, HTML5 video is much better than using the object tag to suck in a proprietary blob to then suck in the video.

    • The H.264 codec is openly specified.

      H.264 is openly specified in standards drawn up by the MPEG and published by ISO. There are free software implementations of H.264. H.264 rather is encumbered by patents, the licensing for many of which is administered by the MPEG-LA. The patent situation is what things difficult for distributors/users, there is no lack of standards.

      Note that flash players often use H.263 and H.264 codec videos, and so have all the same patent issues for free software implementations (in addition to the problem of Flash not being fully documented, and not having any complete free implementations).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:59AM (#32043650)

    Silverlight allows Netflix to stream video in a hard to rip format. (yeah, I know that there is at least 1 hack out there, but it is more bother than it is worth)

  • Re:Only H.264? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tomhudson (43916) <`moc.nosduh-arab ... `nosduh.arabrab'> on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:04AM (#32043696) Journal

    you do know that JPEG, GIF, and MP3 are all patent-owned standards too, right? Funny that they are all supported by browsers and are rather de facto standards in the "proprietary web".

    You really need to do your research.

    The GIF patent is long expired. Turn in your geek card - everyone who knows pretty much anything about the patent wars knows that. That alone shows you're talking trash.

    Or you could try again. For example, show where the licensing authority says it's okay to make an open-source free version. Oh, you can't - because they refused!

  • Re:Goodbye Flash (Score:4, Informative)

    by CondeZer0 (158969) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:18AM (#32043896) Homepage

    > It is a preemptive move against Google's VP8 in particular and open source in general. Basically they are creating a problem for Firefox (which has stated that they won't support H.264) and trying to stop Google's VP8 before it can be successful.

    They are also creating a problem for Opera, Linux distributions, and other minor browser vendors that can't afford the hefty license fees or the risk of being sued.

    And most importantly, it creates problems for content producers and distributors that are forced to use a format with a license that could change any moment the patent holders feel like it. People keeps saying that you are not charged for serving H.264 on the web, but that is now, and this could change any moment and anyone building a business knows that kind of uncertainty is a *big* problem.

  • Re:Only H.264? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tomhudson (43916) <`moc.nosduh-arab ... `nosduh.arabrab'> on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:20AM (#32043918) Journal

    Once Unisys found out that GIFs used their patented LZW algorithm, they DID require payments from companies producing software that generated GIFs [open-encyclopedia.com]:

    The LZW compression algorithm on which GIF is based, was covered by a U.S. patent 4,558,302 owned by Unisys. When Compuserve first developed the GIF they did not know that LZW was covered by a patent.

    Before 1994, Unisys was not aware that GIF used LZW. In December 1994, after Unisys discovered that GIF used the LZW, they announced that they would be seeking royalties on that patent; all commercial programs capable of producing GIF files would be required to pay a license fee to Unisys.

    By this time, GIF was in such widespread use that most companies producing these programs had little choice but to pay. The desire for a format with fewer legal restrictions (as well as fewer technical restrictions such as the number of colours) led to the development of the PNG format, which has become the third common image format on the Web.

    In late August 1999, Unisys terminated its royalty-free LZW technology licenses for free software and non-commercial proprietary software and even for individual users of unlicensed programs, prompting the League for Programming Freedom to launch the Burn All GIFs campaign to inform the public of the alternatives.

    On June 20, 2003, the United States patent on the LZW algorithm expired, which means that Unisys and Compuserve can no longer collect royalties for use of the GIF format in that country. Those bothered with the patent enforcement dubbed this day GIF Liberation Day. The equivalent patents in Europe and Japan expired on June 18 and June 20 2004 respectively, with the Canada patent following on July 7.

    So, "someone's gonna pay."

    The owners of h.264 have already said they won't allow an open-source implementation that is freely downloadable without respect to the number of end users. Once you pass "n" users, you HAVE to pay the licensing fees. Also, since you can't pass along a copy of the software to other users, it's not compatible with either the GPL or the BSD licenses.

    So your "point" actually backs up mine. Have a nice day.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:35AM (#32044040) Homepage

    Why is the video codec type hardcoded in HTML5

    It's not. It's no different than the IMG tag. ie, it's just a generic video container element with a well-defined DOM API.

    Even if HTML5 has to define a video codec in their specifications, why Firefox cannot instead create a plugin that would take advantage of codecs installed on the system?

    Because they're being stubborn and sticking to their lofty ideals, instead of trying to do what's actually best for their userbase (they've attempted to claim technical difficulties, but given other browsers like Chromium seem to manage it, their claims ring exceedingly hollow).

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3 AT justconnected DOT net> on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:38AM (#32044086)

    H.264 is perfectly open-source, but patent encumbered. There's a tremendous difference. You do yourself a disservice to confuse the two.

    What you're describing would be true if they supported only WMV, but absolutely false for h264.

  • Re:wow (Score:1, Informative)

    by buttle2000 (1041826) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:56AM (#32044284)
    There's a difference between Free and Open Source .
    From what I've heard, H.264 is not free.
  • Re:Youtube (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:57AM (#32044296)

    It's a great ethical stand to take

    Yes, you're right. Obeying patent law is a good ethical stand to take. Some would say it's the only ethical position to take given that disobeying patent law would result in massive fines that would put Mozilla out of business.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

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