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Questioning Mozilla's Plans For HTML5 Video

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the is-that-your-final-answer dept.

Mozilla 242

AberBeta writes with this excerpt from OSNews: "We're on the verge of a serious evolution on the web. Right now, the common way to include video on the web is by use of Flash, a closed-source technology. The answer to this is the HTML5 video tag, which allows you to embed video into HTML pages without the use of Flash or any other non-HTML technology; combined with open video codecs, this could provide the perfect opportunity to further open up and standardize the web. Sadly, not even Mozilla itself really seems to understand what it is supposed to do with the video tag, and actually advocates the use of JavaScript to implement it. Kroc Camen, OSNews editor, is very involved in making/keeping the web open, and has written an open letter to Mozilla in which he urges them not to use JavaScript for HTML video."

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Waiting (0, Flamebait)

Parker Lewis (999165) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411447)

Waiting for "Javascript is a cool language" zealots.

Re:Waiting (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411475)

We're on digg nowadays, their JS is much cooler than /.

Re:Waiting (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411653)

Javascript is a cool language. I've written more than a couple of browser extensions and intranet apps with it in my time and I'm one of those people that disables javascript for browsing the public internet. I consider running random 3rd party code to be an outright security hole, some people are willing to sacrifice security for the bells and whistles but only a complete moron disagrees with the premise.

You can probably guess that I personally am going to disable the HTML5 A/V elements and continue downloading video manually. That aside, browser based audio/video should provide basic playback functionality for the user without javascript enabled. The functionality should also be easily disabled or switched into "prompt to download" mode and finally, I don't want to use GStreamer for anything... ever...

Re:Waiting (4, Informative)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411989)

This has nothing to do with HTML 5 or the video tag. The javascript is used to create a fallback path for users who don't have a particular codec installed. It is not compulsory. Most linux machines install ogg theora with a media player package anyway, it's the rest of the world that need to download it.

If you can't stream, you can't... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411997)

You can probably guess that I personally am going to disable the HTML5 A/V elements and continue downloading video manually.

How do you "download" a live stream of a live event, such as a news conference or a sport competition? And how do you plan to deal with video providers who offer streaming for 0 USD or downloads for 20 USD, and no other video provider offers the title you want? If you switch the browser into "prompt to download", you get the first five seconds.

That aside, browser based audio/video should provide basic playback functionality for the user without javascript enabled.

Don't worry; it does.

Re:Waiting (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411673)

I'm not a zealot, and Javascript isn't that bad. I'd say the people that hate it are more unthinkingly zealous.

Javascript is MISUSED a lot, but hell, so is C.

Eyes wide shut (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411455)

The last time Mozilla added support for a tag that had some automatic animated behavior, the browser was still called Netscape and the tag was universally reviled. I hope they don't blink again.

But that said, does anyone really think video is a good idea? It's hard enough to get users to install the correct codecs to play back movies now. At least with FLV you've got a pretty standard platform which almost everyone already has installed. Adobe, for all their fuckups, has done a good job with Flash. Quicktime, OTOH, is not quite as accepted. And WMV, for whatever reason, is rejected by many users out of hand.

So are we going to require browsers to install with codec packs? What are the distribution formalities required for that kind of thing? It sounds like a giant ball of baling wire stuck in a thresher. I'm tempted to let it alone.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411489)

Is the video tag supported in Gecko in a way that would make the video automatically start? I would assume that the user must click a Play button first.

Re:Eyes wide shut (3, Informative)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411715)

By default the user needs to initiate playing the video, but there is an optional autoplay attribute which can be used to auto-buffer and auto-play the video.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411957)

It's worth noting that autoplay exists to stop authors from autoplaying videos using JavaScript. Because of that browsers will be able to prevent automatic playing of videos if user wishes so.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412007)

an autoplay feature probably violates that (incredibly stupid) Eolas patent. Eola's has said they'll give a royalty free license for non-commercial use, but they sued Microsoft. IE, while closed source, is free and no more commercial than opera, safari, or firefox. The only browser that is commercial is opera mobile. They're motivation is money -- both Apple and Mozilla have plenty of it and Eolas hasn't licensed their "technology" to Mozilla.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412059)

That patent is probably invalid as a standalone video opened by a video viewing program usually auto-plays the video without the user needing to push play.

Re:Eyes wide shut (5, Informative)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411505)

So are we going to require browsers to install with codec packs?

No. The idea is to include the codec in the browser. But to allow that at reasonable conditions, the codec should be Free. The codec proposed for this purpose is Ogg Theora/Vorbis, an OSS codec build specifically trying not to use any patented technology. As you can imagine, Apple, MS and Adobe are not really happy about this, as they obviously would like their patented technology to be used in HTML 5, and because Apple and MS are not only video-codec-makers but browser-makers too, and not small ones, we can not just ignore them and go ahead with Theora. Implement the HTML 5 video tag in Mozilla with Theora looked like a good chance to get the open codec though, but this Javascript stuff post by Mozilla now makes it look like they have other plans.

The key is Google/Youtube (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411851)

If we can get Google to go along with Theora, we'd be all set.

Youtube is the only reason I have Flash. I avoid "Porntube" type sites because of the security vulnerabilities found in Flash.

Re:Eyes wide shut (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411979)

So are we going to require browsers to install with codec packs?

No. The idea is to include the codec in the browser. But to allow that at reasonable conditions, the codec should be Free. The codec proposed for this purpose is Ogg Theora/Vorbis, an OSS codec build specifically trying not to use any patented technology. As you can imagine, Apple, MS and Adobe are not really happy about this, as they obviously would like their patented technology to be used in HTML 5, and because Apple and MS are not only video-codec-makers but browser-makers too, and not small ones, we can not just ignore them and go ahead with Theora. Implement the HTML 5 video tag in Mozilla with Theora looked like a good chance to get the open codec though, but this Javascript stuff post by Mozilla now makes it look like they have other plans.

Let's not ignore the fact that it would be much better to use h264 and take advantage of hardware-acceleration instead of going with a subpar format just because it's "open". Live in the real world like the rest of us.

When bandwidth costs more than MPEG royalties (1, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412031)

But to allow that at reasonable conditions, the codec should be Free. The codec proposed for this purpose is Ogg Theora/Vorbis, an OSS codec build specifically trying not to use any patented technology.

Unfortunately, Theora still needs twice the bitrate as H.264 to deliver the same quality, even with the "Thusnelda" rewrite of the encoder. It's not like Vorbis, which surpassed MP3's rate-distortion curve early on. Using Theora for video to avoid H.264 patent problems is like using IMA ADPCM for audio to avoid MP3 patent problems. Google would probably stick to H.264 for YouTube because the bandwidth cost outweighs the royalty cost of having H.264 support in Chrome.

Re:When bandwidth costs more than MPEG royalties (1, Insightful)

d235j (1434583) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412125)

Unfortunately, Theora still needs twice the bitrate as H.264 to deliver the same quality, even with the "Thusnelda" rewrite of the encoder.

Not really. Thusnelda is noticeably better than H.263 (which is what YouTube used to use) and it's more like a 15% higher bitrate [and that's probably higher than necessary]/

H.264 > H.263 (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412291)

Thusnelda is noticeably better than H.263 (which is what YouTube used to use)

Exactly: used to use. Since then, YouTube serves HQ and HD videos in H.264.

Re:When bandwidth costs more than MPEG royalties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412263)

Wouldn't the obvious solution be to use the video codecs on each platform. Windows, OS X and Linux all have the codecs available. Win 7 and possibly OS X have h264 built in. Ubuntu has a really easy to use installer for codecs (which will grab h264 if needed). There really is no reason not to use the facilities built into the platform.

Windows N versions; Linux other than x86 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412381)

Wouldn't the obvious solution be to use the video codecs on each platform. Windows, OS X and Linux all have the codecs available.

Windows XP N and Windows Vista N don't come with codecs. And how are you sure that Linux has all the codecs available even on CPU architectures other than x86, such as those used in PowerPC-based set-top boxes or ARM-based handhelds?

Ubuntu has a really easy to use installer for codecs (which will grab h264 if needed).

But if the operator of a web site resides in the United States, and he recommends the use of software whose use in the United States would infringe a patent, MPEG-LA could make a case against him for contributory patent infringement. As for relevance of the United States in the first place: Google, Mozilla, Slashdot, and I are all based in the United States.

Re:Windows N versions; Linux other than x86 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412549)

And how are you sure that Linux has all the codecs available even on CPU architectures other than x86, such as those used in PowerPC-based set-top boxes or ARM-based handhelds?

According to gentoo-portage both ffmpeg and gstreamer work on tons of platforms, including arm and power pc. On portables you'd usually expect the software to undergo a certain amount of customisation to suit the hardware. Video decoding is frequently moved to a dedicated low-power chip on these architectures.

But if the operator of a web site resides in the United States, and he recommends the use of software whose use in the United States would infringe a patent, MPEG-LA could make a case against him for contributory patent infringement.

Firstly, I should clarify that although h264 is my fist choice, I do not think it should be used exclusively. The point of using the platform's built in codec support would be to allow the borwser to play everything that gets thrown at it (moreso on Linux than say Windows).

Secondly, I doubt that supplying a video and assuming that the user will invest in software to play it legally would be illegal. There are a lot of music sites that sell mp3s (also a patented format), none of them check that the user has a patent license.

Re:When bandwidth costs more than MPEG royalties (3, Insightful)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412553)

Why is anyone worried about the quality of videos your going to watch in your browser? The vast majority of those videos are not going to be interesting enough to want to see them in full HD glory. I would rather see Ogg because it's a free standard, and if we lose quality in order to save bandwidth I don't really care when it comes to the type of videos that I watch via my browser.

Re:When bandwidth costs more than MPEG royalties (4, Informative)

asa (33102) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412579)

"Unfortunately, Theora still needs twice the bitrate as H.264 to deliver the same quality, even with the "Thusnelda" rewrite of the encoder."

Except that statement is provably false if by no other facts than that neither Theora nor H264 quality scales linearly with bitrate.

Beyond the obvious fail in your claim, you're also just wrong.

See this comparison [xiph.org] and this comparison [xiph.org] to see how Theora compares to the most popular real-world implementations of H264 on the Web.

Re:When bandwidth costs more than MPEG royalties (2, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412649)

Not to mention even the cheapest bottom of the line GPUs nowadays comes with H.264 hardware acceleration by default. I paid a grand total of $50 for my HD4650 and it gives me H.264, DivX, and WMV hardware acceleration out of the box. Does Theora even have hardware acceleration for the big three (AMD Intel Nvidia) GPUs yet? With the rise of Netbooks/Nettops and green computing hardware decoding of video is obviously where the market is headed.

Even with my nice AMD dual the experience is simply more pleasant to decode H.264 1080p on the GPU than the CPU, not to mention the modern GPUs use less juice and generate less heat than the CPUs, which when the average temp in AR this week has been 100f in the shade, that matters. So if the Theora foundation doesn't get out hardware acceleration for the big three and get the GPU manufacturers to bundle it like they do the current big three codecs (H.264, DivX, WMV) then I can see Theora ending up a non starter. It also has to be efficient on the bandwidth with so many ISPs looking at caps. From what I've seen H.264 gets better size per bitrate than Theora.

Re:Eyes wide shut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411507)

If the tag supports the ability to specify where the codec can be acquired from, the browser can prompt the user to install the codec if it's missing. (like a dtd tag in xml)

Sorry, no plug-in for you (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412087)

If the tag supports the ability to specify where the codec can be acquired from

The pluginspage attribute of the <embed> element already supports this, as does the classid attribute of the <object> element. But whenever I try to follow the link, all I get is "Sorry, we don't make a plug-in for your combination of CPU, operating system, and web browser."

Re:Eyes wide shut (5, Informative)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411509)

Flash Video is unbelievably processor intensive (especially given it's pretty crappy quality), surely you've noticed that? Even on modern dual processor machines it can stutter and slow down other processes. If video could settle down like image formats, the web would be a better place for it.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1, Troll)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411623)

I suspect you are using Linux, where CPU usage while displaying flash video is much higher, somehow running counter to the claim that everything Linux does is faster and more efficient than any other operating system.

Re:Eyes wide shut (3, Informative)

Baseclass (785652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411741)

It's true, Flash content is choppier in Linux. I blame Adobe and their crappy plugin. If I download an .flv and play it in mplayer the problems disappear.

Re:Eyes wide shut (2, Interesting)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411909)

If I download an .flv and play it in mplayer the problems disappear.

Well what I do is start the stream and then pause it. Go to the dir where firefox saves its current streamed content (/tmp) and play the stream in mplayer there. Works perfectly even as the file is streaming . . . no jumps, no jitters, no CPU overload.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412217)

search http://freshmeat.net/ [freshmeat.net] for youtube.dl

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

Baseclass (785652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412307)

I use youtube.dl and it works like a champ (for YouTube videos anyway).
Hint: Pass the -b flag to get an mp4 file.

ActionScript Decoder Rings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411983)

Given Adobe's love for all things ECMA, their video decoder is probably written in ActionScript.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411823)

Try it on OS X. I have a 1.5GHz PowerPC Mac that struggles (and drops frames) with flash videos, but can play the same video, at higher quality H.264, in QuickTime at around 60% CPU load. On my x86 Mac I've not found Flash videos that drop frames yet, but I can play back 1080p H.264 at around the same CPU load as SD Flash video.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411907)

Anandtech tested the Zotac Ion [anandtech.com] with a dual core Atom with Win XP. Full screen Hulu videos were unwatchable at 1920 x 1200, even though the Flash code seems to be threaded pretty well. This same machine can handle 1080p Blu ray playback just fine. That's partially due to handling some of the DRM decryption on the GPU, but even if you strip the DRM, playback still has about 10% CPU utilization.

Re:Eyes wide shut (4, Informative)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412015)

Nope, OS X (10.5) on a dual 2.8Ghz iMac. There's no excuse for Flash video's failures.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412243)

Does Flash ever bother using the hardware (mostly, overlays) for showing video? As far as I can tell, it doesn't...

... And the same applies for the Mozilla <video> implementation. Watching their demo videos were always hilariously slow - slower, in fact, than Flash video.

Minefield m-c / win32

Re:Eyes wide shut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411521)

I'm glad somebody said that: it certainly covers the way I was thinking about it. I can just see it now: a bunch of whining about "they released the HTML super awesome no flash video dealy but it doesn't support my [insert half developed lame FOSS codec here]".

Can you imagine going to a web site from a corporate locked down machine and attempting to install some untrusted codec? Sure, that will fly. Like BAG said, Flash works now and is damn near ubiquitous.

Re:Eyes wide shut (3, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411735)

Can you imagine going to a web site from a corporate locked down machine and attempting to install some untrusted codec?

As opposed to Flash, which is pretty much the ultimate untrusted codec? It's a huge binary blob that has had numerous security problems [adobe.com] , and which has a huge attack surface. Even ignoring declared vulnerabilities, Flash allows web pages to do things like access the clipboard and bypass XMLHttpRequest same-origin restrictions. In short, installing flash makes a web browser demonstrably less secure.

It's remarkable, then, that an administrator would be comfortable installing this Trojan octopus of a plugin while ignoring a far simpler open source video codec that he can verify and compile himself.

Really, it just shows that people will trust the familiar without seriously questioning it, at least until a crisis shows up.

Re:Eyes wide shut (0)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412347)

Can you say "FUD"?

I won't even bother getting into details, but flash can't get the clipboard contents, only set it (much like all other browsers). Don't get me started on your XMLHttpRequest argument...

Just one thing: check the number of vulnerabilities in Flash compared to the number of vulnerabilities discovered in your favourite browser.

I wanted to write more in-depth, but this is Slashdot, where people love to hate flash. I bet if it was made by Linus/RMS/Jobs, the same crowd would have worshiped it...

Re:Eyes wide shut (4, Informative)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412465)

I won't even bother getting into details, but flash can't get the clipboard contents, only set it

Clipboard.getData() [adobe.com] .

much like all other browsers

Only IE, actually.

Don't get me started on your XMLHttpRequest argument...

Flash allows you to request content from sites that would be blocked by XMLHttpRequest. Can you refuse that statement or not?

I bet if it was made by Linus/RMS/Jobs, the same crowd would have worshiped it...

You inadvertently make a good point. If Linus or RMS had developed flash, its source would have been open sourced, and by now, its capabilities would have been integrated into the browser. We wouldn't talk about what "Flash" can do as distinct from something else, but simply about the abilities of browsers.

That's what the rich media part of HTML5 is all about: doing what Flash can do in a browser.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411767)

If Flash player was open source, then the same thing would be true for it. With openness comes choice.

Re:Eyes wide shut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412079)

With openness comes choice.

Your hole or mine?

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411873)

Can you imagine going to a web site from a corporate locked down machine and attempting to install some untrusted codec? Sure, that will fly. Like BAG said, Flash works now and is damn near ubiquitous.

So your corporate locked-down machine came with Flash installed on it? Or does someone with an admin password come and install or update it for you as required and permitted by your company's acceptable use policy? If the latter, why not install the Ogg Theora/Vorbis codec mentioned above instead?

Why install Flash and not Theora (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412143)

So your corporate locked-down machine came with Flash installed on it? Or does someone with an admin password come and install or update it for you as required and permitted by your company's acceptable use policy?

Both.

If the latter, why not install the Ogg Theora/Vorbis codec mentioned above instead?

Because as of June 2009, watching Theora video is not necessary for doing our jobs. An SWF player, on the other hand, is necessary because some of the manufacturers whose products we resell use SWF for their web sites.

Re:Eyes wide shut (2, Insightful)

Simetrical (1047518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412599)

Can you imagine going to a web site from a corporate locked down machine and attempting to install some untrusted codec?

All browsers that support <video> package the codecs they support in the default download. No user downloads are necessary. In the worst case, Flash can still be used as a fallback until all common browsers support <video>. After then, the author will just have to provide video in as many formats as necessary (hopefully, one) to ensure it will play in all browsers.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411569)

Personally, is not need, is already there.

But I like the idea that not loading Abode is good thing one less thing to do. I like the idea that browser will "bring" in the "accepted" codecs, maybe just import some of VLC. This will make installations easier and standardized, versus the load from here, then go here and download some more, and do not forget the PTFs on top of all of this. Last Window box I did - brand new system with system already preloaded [xp sp3], 7 1/2 hours to get it working will all the parts. 4 hours of that was just PTFs from MS.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411661)

The last time Mozilla added support for a tag that had some automatic animated behavior

Err, <script>? Still going strong today. Essential, even. Don't pretend this is a revolutionary change when in reality we're taking about an evolutionary tweak.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411847)

What about <img src="animated.gif"> ?

Re:Eyes wide shut (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412149)

The point of the video tag is that it should contain some (as yet undecided thanks to infighting) standard codec, in the same way as an img tag should always contain jpeg, png or gif data, a video tag should always contain xyz, abc or nml data. Exactly what xyz, abc or nml should be is yet to be figured out.

Google and apple would like them to be h264/aac, because everyone uses that already, even more recent people using flash.
Mozilla would like them to be ogg theora/vorbis, because they're open, even though nothing actually supports them.

Neither side can agree.

Re:Eyes wide shut (1)

Simetrical (1047518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412573)

Google and apple would like them to be h264/aac, because everyone uses that already, even more recent people using flash. Mozilla would like them to be ogg theora/vorbis, because they're open, even though nothing actually supports them.

Google Chrome supports OGG out of the box, as well as H.264. I don't think it's correct to cast them as opponents of OGG.

Tags Tags Tag, which are good? Which are bad? (0, Flamebait)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411491)

<blink>A video tag will surely make the internet better!</blink>.

View this in Firefox 3.5 for best results: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411603)

<video>goatse</video>

Re:View this in Firefox 3.5 for best results: (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411787)

<img src="goatse"/>

Oh wait, I forgot, browsers don't have an AI that lets them block images/video/sound based on how offensive they might be to you.

Re:View this in Firefox 3.5 for best results: (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411795)

I also forgot to mention, but <video>goatse</video> would just display the text, "goatse".

Re:View this in Firefox 3.5 for best results: (1)

Baseclass (785652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411859)

<video>goatse</video>

goatse video?

<video>2girls1cup</video>

There, I fixed that for you.

HTML is dead... Didn't you notice? (1, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411497)

Our browsers are javascript virtual machines. The web is now being delivered through javascript and not in any meaningful way through HTML.

 

Re:HTML is dead... Didn't you notice? (4, Informative)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411763)

That would be the entire point of HTML 5. To bring HTML back to the forefront.

No it's not; quite the opposite, actually (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411845)

Try using those HTLM5 features w/o JS:

  • local storage
  • DND
  • Cross-document messaging
  • Canvas tag

Re:HTML is dead... Didn't you notice? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411791)

HTML is the content, CSS is the way to display the HTML content and Javascript is the way to interact with it all.

Video tag (4, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411499)

A lot of video producers like to rely on the fact that Flash makes it difficult to download videos to your hard drive. I wonder how they'd react if a major online video provider were to provide its content through a less restrictive method such as the video tag.

Re:Video tag (5, Interesting)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411667)

A lot of video producers like to rely on the fact that Flash makes it difficult to download videos to your hard drive. I wonder how they'd react if a major online video provider were to provide its content through a less restrictive method such as the video tag.

I think that's rather simple. The video tag would only be popular with free and amateur content. Flash (or Silverlight) solutions will continue to dominate the more popular commercial comment that needs to be protected. If videos were trapped behind theora playlists with commercials in-between, advocates would make solutions to circumvent the commercials and demonetize the model of the very companies who took the risk to support it.

Basically, any major media company that buys into HTML 5 video tag will be strangled by the advocates who pushed it on them in the first place, monetarily. When the production studios offering the content find out that a free video application that plays their content without commercials (hypothetically) exists, they will pull out and said video site will collapse. Colloquially, it's a trap. Commercial content needs protection because those watching it on the web do not own it.

Furthermore, there will be a minor codec war. Firefox will probably only support theora, Safari will only use h.264 (Apple will flatly refuse to use theora), same for google chrome, perhaps. Then, Microsoft will support the tag in IE, but provide support for WMV in the video tag (and possibly h.264 if we're lucky, since it's now licensed in Windows 7). So, the video tag will slowly become just as crazy as the plugin-based video players of Web 1.0... except they will be written in slow javascript instead of the fast native code of the past. Primarily, because no one has agreed on how to do it so it isn't a standard.

Re:Video tag (1)

Simetrical (1047518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412669)

Basically, any major media company that buys into HTML 5 video tag will be strangled by the advocates who pushed it on them in the first place, monetarily. When the production studios offering the content find out that a free video application that plays their content without commercials (hypothetically) exists, they will pull out and said video site will collapse.

Such an app could be written for Flash video too, and probably has been.

Furthermore, there will be a minor codec war. Firefox will probably only support theora, Safari will only use h.264 (Apple will flatly refuse to use theora), same for google chrome, perhaps. Then, Microsoft will support the tag in IE, but provide support for WMV in the video tag (and possibly h.264 if we're lucky, since it's now licensed in Windows 7).

Google already supports Theora and Vorbis in Chrome (as well as H.264). Apple doesn't, but has previously claimed this is because of the risk of getting sued, and that's getting flimsier every day Google doesn't get sued, so we'll have to see how that plays out. God only knows what Microsoft will do; but hopefully the worst will be that you provide one type of content to IE, and one type to everyone else . . . just as with the rest of the web.

So, the video tag will slowly become just as crazy as the plugin-based video players of Web 1.0... except they will be written in slow javascript instead of the fast native code of the past. Primarily, because no one has agreed on how to do it so it isn't a standard.

Nothing performance-sensitive is written in JavaScript here. Everything involved in actually playing the video is native code.

Re:Video tag (2, Interesting)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411711)

I disagree. Have any other embedded video techniques made it any easier? Was it easier to rip video files embedded with Real Player, Windows Media Player, or Quickslime? In almost all cases, the videos are cached to the hard drive with an FLV extension. On occasion I've ripped videos simply by coping them out Opera's cache without even needed to look at the page source. For the less savvy users there are a variety of freeware and commercial tools available from websites like Snapfiles. There are even extensions for Firefox made for a similar purpose.

Re:Video tag (2, Informative)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411727)

A lot of video producers like to rely on the fact that Flash makes it difficult to download videos to your hard drive.

A lot of video producers don't know about FlashGot [flashgot.net] .

Re:Video tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411797)

A lot of video producers are oblivious to the fact that Flash makes it easy to download videos to your hard drive.

There, fixed that for you. All I have to do to save a Flash video to my hard drive is play it. My browser will automatically save it to ~/.mozilla/firefox/Cache

Re:Video tag (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412171)

Not all the time. Try that with Hulu or Megavideo.

Re:Video tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412651)

What's secure about mv /tmp/Flash* ~/Vidoes/ ?

and for those poor souls on windows there are numerous tools to save flash video

I thought DRM was the issue (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411561)

My understanding is that the reason that people use flash and silverlight for video is so that people cannot save, reuse, and redistribute the content. Even if these are not used for DRM consideration, flash is often a much smaller file than the other codecs.

I am unclear on how the video tag is going to make things better. It seems I can already play most codecs in my browser, using, for instance, quicktime. Alternatively I can download the file and play it trough VLC, an open source solution.Of course, as mentioned, the reason that video is played in browser is prevent the user from saving it and pirating it.

I know that 'cloud computing' requires that all file types be accessible though the browser so that the user never has control over any data, even their own, but i question the wisdom of this as a universal principle. Certainly most users do not have the technical expertise to control their own computing environment, but does this have to be a universal principle? Can't IE and Safari and Chrome be the browsers for the populous, while Mozilla is the browser for the people who know what they are doing. I am not saying the video tag is bad, just that if there is confusion over the use, perhaps it is legitimate confusion.

Re:I thought DRM was the issue (3, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411699)

My understanding is that the reason that people use flash and silverlight for video is so that people cannot save, reuse, and redistribute the content.

I've run across very few streamed videos that can't be downloaded. In the olden days I'd use something like WireShark or Network Monitor to get the URL of the content. Nowadays it's much easier with various Firefox extensions.
As far as I know, the reason most sites use Flash or whatnot is because they want the video to be streamable and start more or less instantly. In modern Western society, if you can't start watching the video immediately, how likely are you going to be to remember to watch it after it's downloaded 15-30 minutes (or more) later? The whole (business) idea is to keep peoples' attention, like with television. If they "switch channels", you've lost your advertising opportunity.

Re:I thought DRM was the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412065)

I've run across very few streamed videos that can't be downloaded.

No such thing. If it's streamed, they've written all of the bytes to you; you've downloaded it.

So the question becomes "how can I replay the video", and that's where we hit the stumbling block; it's not always an easy question to answer.

The more convoluted setups include encryption and well known protocols and such, but most of these have already been broken (especially Microsoft's, but others like streaming DRM'd media over RTSP have been as well). Some of these are as easy as dumping straight to a file, which most media players know how to play back. Other times, you have to peel away a couple of layers of protocol and encryption and then save the stream.

The simpler setups (like the ones you can often find with Flash-based players), they just stream the media to a file and play it as it's downloading and delete the stream later. In that case, it's just as easy as grabbing the copy from your browser's cache.

As with video, there are as many different setups as there are atoms in the known universe, but all of them operate on well understood principals, and none of them are unbeatable, some are just better than others at keeping users at bay. Until DRM and the related streaming protocols are so complex that it takes more time to break it than it does to just buy the media, it's useless, and hackers have proven time and again that they're up for the challenge.

Re:I thought DRM was the issue (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411817)

First of all, "Flash" isn't a codec. If you are referring to H.264; in most tests, it is beaten by Theora in bitrate/quality.

Re:I thought DRM was the issue (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412211)

If you are referring to H.264; in most tests, it is beaten by Theora in bitrate/quality.

What "most tests" are you referring to? The author of the story that you're most likely thinking of [mit.edu] had to publish a correction to clarify that the original results were caused by ffmpeg defects that favored one codec over the other.

Re:I thought DRM was the issue (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412259)

No, I just mean most tests. Google search for various Theora vs H.264 comparisons. Many of them show Theora having higher quality for the same bitrate.

Which specific search result are you looking at? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412467)

Google search for various Theora vs H.264 comparisons.

Because you provide no URLs, I'll assume that you mean the top ten Google results from http://www.google.com/search?q=various+Theora+vs+H.264+comparisons [google.com] , as viewed in the United States. One of the results [mozillazine.org] states: "the Theora version doesn't have quite the color saturation and contrast balance of the H.264 version but they're really not that far apart. Overall, I think I again prefer the H.264 version". Another [reddit.com] implies that Theora doesn't scale to high resolutions: "Theora does have a major weakness with regards to HD video: the maximum motion vector length is only 16 pixels." Another result [linuxpromagazine.com] implied that Google would rather pay the royalties than the bandwidth.

Re:Which specific search result are you looking at (1)

asa (33102) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412629)

One of the results [mozillazine.org] states: "the Theora version doesn't have quite the color saturation and contrast balance of the H.264 version but they're really not that far apart. Overall, I think I again prefer the H.264 version".

Actually, that's not "one of the results." That's a blog post I made where I offered my personal opinion after viewing the comparison tests. If you're going to quote my, please be a bit more honest about it. Thanks.

Re:I thought DRM was the issue (1)

asa (33102) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412619)

Here are the only two real-world comparisons I know of. Both have Theora making a pretty good showing. Beating H264 in all cases? Not at all. Good enough to replace H263 and H264 at YouTube, absolutely.

http://people.xiph.org/~greg/video/ytcompare/comparison.html [xiph.org]

http://people.xiph.org/~maikmerten/youtube/ [xiph.org]

Re:I thought DRM was the issue (1)

JavaTHut (9877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412623)

"Flash" isn't a codec. If you are referring to H.264

Doesn't Flash use use On2 VP7 as its codec?

Somebody help me on this (2, Insightful)

Glonk (103787) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411609)

Some random Mozilla Hacks (note the word Hacks) blogger posts some code that web developers can use to implement HTML5 video (which does not use javascript, contrary to the implications in this article and summary?) and also provide a fallback path for non-HTML5 Video browsers (IE, Opera, etc). Their particular method of providing the fallback code uses javascript to determine browser capability, and uses Flash if HTML5 Video is not there.

Why is this upsetting to anyone? The implication from the summary is this is a less "open" way to do it, but last I checked Javascript/ECMAScript is a standard that all browsers implement already.

I cannot fathom why anyone would be so upset by some blogger providing JS-implemented video fallback implementations.

Re:Somebody help me on this (1)

Destined Soul (1240672) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411751)

That's because this is slashdot, where few people actually read the linked stories before posting their thoughts on the summary.

Re:Somebody help me on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411761)

Obviously this person wants tags , , , , , , etc. (The last one made it halfway through microsoft marketing's standardization before the IE8 folks implemented it)

Wait, that's dumb? Yeah, I agree with everything you wrote. This Camen guy is a complete Kroc.

Re:Somebody help me on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411829)

Obviously this person wants tags <novideo>, <nocodec>, <nomonitor>, <nohtml5videobuthasflash>, <nohtml5video butprobablymaybe hasquicktimeontheirsystem sogivethatashot outsideofthebrowser whydontya>, <ohitswmv sojustgiveuptryingtoplaythis becauseyouarentusing IE8WHICHISAWESOME onWINDOWSSEVENTHEBESTEVAR>, etc.  (The last one made it halfway through microsoft marketing's standardization before the IE8 folks implemented it)

(spaces because of slashdot's lameness filter, trying again since 'plain old text' means 'html'. grr.  Then I couldn't reply, so this took a while to post.)

Wait, that's dumb?  Yeah, I agree with everything you wrote.  This Camen guy is a complete Kroc.

Re:Somebody help me on this (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411769)

It is cleaner and easier to use a method which just uses html to get an identical effect without needing javascript. If you compare the two methods I think you would agree. I don't see why there is such a big fuss though.

RTFA (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412027)

Good news, someone wrote up a letter pointing out the drawbacks [camendesign.com] ... it's the last link in the summary.

Re:RTFA (1)

Glonk (103787) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412505)

I understand why they don't agree with the practice, but this is hardly front-page Slashdot news. The summary is, if anything, very misleading. This has NOTHING to do with Mozilla's plans for HTML5 or web openness, it's everything to do with some nameless blogger disagreeing with another nameless blogger's implementation of video fallback.

This is non-news, to say the least.

Re:Somebody help me on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412113)

It is much more effective if the system can fall back on older standards, kinda like how object and embed works.

Having to use JavaScript is a bad thing because people tend to disable it often because the browsers of yester-era ruined it by sucking with JavaScript security that led to things like NoScript.
Do i need to go on?
In saying that, even if a person had JavaScript disabled, and they had an older browser, it will still show an error.

Now that i think about it, it probably isn't like that if this person had to sit and write out code to detect a browser.
Why is this even happening?
Surely video should never show it's innerHTML unless the tag isn't understood? Just like Iframe, just like Object, just like Embed, etc.
I hope this isn't the case, because if it is, it is going against one of the fundamental rules of HTML: ignore that which you do not understand. (in reference to elements)

Plugins are Still the Answer (1, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411647)

The video tag should be run by plugins, they would need to conform to a single standard interface. PLay/Stop/Pause/etc. The key would be having two mechanisms for display, a method which returns a pixmap (so that it would work with X Forwarding) and a version that was accelerated.

the PLay/Stop/Pause interface would be entirely part of the DOM.

Re:Plugins are Still the Answer (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411831)

That is what we have codecs for..

Re:Plugins are Still the Answer (1, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412267)

That is what we have codecs for..

But then who provides implementations of codecs for every combination of CPU, operating system, and browser?

Re:Plugins are Still the Answer (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412365)

So plugins are always cross-platform now?! Plugins are programs for the OS which integrate with the browser. I think phantomcircuit and you are referring to (Firefox) add-ons, which are run by the browser and usually are cross-platform as they use XUL/XBL/JavaScript.

Re:Plugins are Still the Answer (1, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412479)

So plugins are always cross-platform now?!

They have to be provided for each platform, or they won't come into wide use.

Re:Plugins are Still the Answer (1)

asa (33102) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412655)

The video tag should be run by plugins,

The whole point of the video tag is that it is an HTML tag and not a plug-in solution. The plug-in solutions already exist today and web developers and browser vendors think that's sub-optimal.

Everyone using Firefox 3.5, see this (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28411793)

Demo of video and SVG support in Firefox 3.5 [mozilla.com] . That's why video being built-in to HTML5 is important.

Re:Everyone using Firefox 3.5, see this (1)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412167)

So web developers can cause motion sickness?

Don't get me wrong, that is really impressive, and if it's easy to do, great. But who decided that making a video spin was a good idea?

Re:Everyone using Firefox 3.5, see this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412383)

It's not so much that spinning videos are "good", but more as a demo as to how you can manipulate video.

Just think several years into the future, you can have a pseudo 3D environment (think VRML, but better) in a browser that can have angled videos playing.
It is about being able to bend, twist and twirl videos in any way you want.
And being able to detect those positions for things like simple object detection led to an awesome demonstration that i can't find... (it was the guy waving iPhones around and it was placing dynamic content and scaling them)

Is this what you really want? (1, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#28411891)

this could provide the perfect opportunity to further open up and standardize the web.

Innovation and standards often pull in opposite directions.

There are always cracks in the façade. Opportunities for the entrepreneur. The committee moves too damn slow.

I don't think the geek imagined the web evolving as it has - into communities like MySpace, Twitter, and so on.

It would be easy to imagine Windows media and gaming coalescing around portals like Windows Live! and Steam.

By the time the geek standardizes the hell out of the web the real action will have moved elsewhere.

 

Really... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412425)

"We're on the verge of a serious evolution on the web. Right now, the common way to include video on the web is by use of Flash, a closed-source technology"

What you're saying is HTML is going to add the ability to do what people have been doing for 5 yrs with Flash.

I am sorry if I have serious doubts. I am still waiting for CSS/DOM to be fully and uniformly supported across all browsers. And fear that HTML 5 spec has the potential to become a nightmare if it suffers from a lack of uniformity.

Open Source is NOT the holy grail. It's a good thing. But only if it's done to a uniformity of standards.

Re:Really... (3, Interesting)

asa (33102) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412673)

What you're saying is HTML is going to add the ability to do what people have been doing for 5 yrs with Flash.

No, what we're saying is that video is going to become a first-class Web citizen that can interact with the rest of Web content in ways that Web developers want. Flash's video is locked inside the plug-in prison and cannot be well integrated with non-flash (real Web) content. Bringing video (and audio) to HTML means that real Web content like other HTML, JavaScript, SVG, CSS, etc. can interact with video and improve on what people have been doing for 5 years with Flash.

Misinterpretation (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412541)

and actually advocates the use of JavaScript to implement it.

The writer of that linked piece makes it pretty obvious his goal is for the video to work for everyone - and the javascript code is therefore used to basically find a method the current user's browser can support without it being obvious to the user (e.g. not forcing the end user to download the video and view it in a separate player, which the OSNews letter seems to want to push on the user).

In other words, he's thinking about the user's experience first.

The author of the submitted story, on the other hand - as with the one from a few days ago that lamented Chrome's lack of purity regarding HTML5 video support - is more interested in Ogg zealotry. That's fine, if it floats your boat - but let's not dance around and obfuscate this. Make it very clear you want the Ogg format used - and ONLY the Ogg format used. Then the rest of the world (outside of Slashdot) can choose to continue ignoring you, just like it's been doing for the past few years.
 

Re:Misinterpretation (1)

Kroc (925275) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412569)

A number of inaccuracies here. No, the OSNews article does not want people to download the video instead. It merely summaries my letter, which asks that Mozilla do not advocate JavaScript to do video fallbacks, but instead use my code (Video for Everybody) that does the same thing even better and without any JavaScript. I'm thinking of the user's experience first by creating a solution that doesn't require JavaScript.
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