HTML5 video element codec debate reignited
Posted Feb 4, 2010 15:49 UTC (Thu) by Simetrical
Parent article: HTML5 video element codec debate reignited
This article perpetuates a common and insidious myth about the video
The HTML 5 standard does not mandate that support be included
for any particular format in order to qualify as compliant, however, so a
public war is underway between format proponents for de-facto
The cause-and-effect given here is exactly backwards. HTML5 does not
mandate any format because the war is underway. The editor, Ian
Hickson, is not willing to add anything to the standard if a major player
refuses to implement it, because then it's not a standard, it's a work of
fiction. Apple refuses to implement Theora support, and Mozilla refuses to
H.264 support, regardless of what the spec says, so it would be pointless
to try mandating either – it would just make the spec less useful to
anyone who expects it to be consistently implemented as written.
Your own duplication of Ian's
mailing list post says this (emphasis
. . . I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that there is
no suitable codec that all vendors are willing to implement and ship. . . .
I have therefore removed the two subsections in the HTML5
spec in which codecs would have been required . . .
Please fix this error to avoid confusing anyone further.
Some other minor errors:
- MPEG-LA is not "pushing for adoption of its H.264 format" on the web,
that I know of. If anyone
it's Apple and Google. But I wouldn't even saying they're "pushing" for
H.264 adoption, they're just using it themselves (in Google's case) and not
supporting Theora (in Apple's case).
- Safari supports anything that QuickTime does, as I understand it. In
particular, it does support Theora if you install the right codec.
- Opera doesn't support <video> at all in their current releases. The
9.50 development versions support only Theora on most platforms, but AFAIK,
they use system GStreamer on Linux and so will support H.264 there in many
- You can enable H.264 support in Chromium/WebKit if you like, obviously.
The Chromium PPA for Ubuntu supports it if you have non-free codecs
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