Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Vimeo Also Introduces HTML5 Video Player

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the how-about-set-top-boxes dept.

Media 369

bonch writes "Following in YouTube's footsteps, Vimeo has now introduced its own beta HTML5 video player, and like YouTube, it uses H.264 and requires Safari, Chrome, or ChromeFrame. The new player doesn't suffer the rebuffering problems of the Flash version when clicking around in the video's timeline, and it also loads faster. HTML5 could finally be gaining some real momentum."

cancel ×

369 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Frist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30856708)

I am the man! XD

Excellent. (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856716)

Now if only FireFox will get support.

Re:Excellent. (2)

PenguSven (988769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856744)

Now if only FireFox will get support.

I think you mean

Now if only FireFox will add support.

Re:Excellent. (4, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856994)

This will of course benefit ChromeOS and will force Microsoft into implementing html5 and H264 negating its strategy of killing adobe and becoming king of the online video.

But there is a bad smell about this. Google could achieve this as well by adding Theora to the supported codecs. Google is putting Firefox in a position where it is either encumbered with patents therefore losing the status of "pure" open source project, or looking bad in the feature front. I don't like this.

Re:Excellent. (3, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857130)

Or firefox could have.... a plugin architecture for whatever codec the user likes, preventing us from being stuck with some shitty 2010 codec technology 5 years from now.

Re:Excellent. (1)

mattsday (909414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857492)

What's wrong with using, say, DirectShow/Quicktime/FFMPEG/etc on various platforms provided those libraries exist and using a built-in theora for basic compatibility?

I understand the patent dispute and it does make sense, but why not pass the buck on the most popular platforms and get a different library to render the video?

Re:Excellent. (3, Insightful)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857384)

How does using HTML5 + H.264 negate their attempt to draw people away from Flash for video? It just doesn't aide their Silverlight efforts.

Re:Excellent. (5, Informative)

sxpert (139117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857158)

Now if only FireFox will get support.

I think you mean

Now if only FireFox will add support.

Now, if only the stupid h264 codec would be freed !

Re:Excellent. (3, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856808)

This is a big thing for me. I don't give a damn about their ideology or their patent concerns, if youtube choose h264 then h264 has won this mini format war, and firefox better swallow their pride and licence it.

If they don't, i'll end up on chrome for windows, and I already use Safari on mac because their mac UI team are atrocious.

Re:Excellent. (4, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856826)

Honestly, as much as I'd like to stop using Flash immediately, I'd rather have Mozilla try to stick this out. Somewhere around a third of all people on the internet use Firefox (and I assume a higher number of Youtube users). If Mozilla can push Google to support Theora it will be worth the wait.

Re:Excellent. (4, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856866)

Everybody transcoding their videos = not going to happen.

If firefox do not support H.264, they're going to become irrelevant as far as video goes.

Re:Excellent. (2, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856898)

Using Theora for new videos doesn't seem like such a big deal though. The article says that Vimeo's new HTML5 stuff doesn't work on 35% of their videos. I assume that has something to do with the encoding. The problem is that if we just accept the formats that require thousands of dollars for licensing, we'll never get to use free ones. Unless they're forced to (by a company like Google), Microsoft and Apple will never support a free format, because they can easily afford the licensing fees and they know that Mozilla can't.

Re:Excellent. (5, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856962)

Google has no incentive to go theora either, as it means transcoding all their stuff - and they clearly already have a h.264 license anyway.

The authoring tools for .ogg are not there either.

So really, open source people can whine all they want, it will make no difference - Firefox can buy a license, or they can become irrelevant. Or maybe start their own video hosting to compete, but my bet is that will be more expensive than a h.264 license.

Or hell, they can just use whatever codecs are available on the host platform.... and get back to what they should be worried about - writing a web browser, rather than getting involved in a codec war they have no chance winning

Google already transcodes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857224)

Into a half dozen different formats and bitrates, what would be one more? It could replace that old and busted h263 crap they offer, for example. Youtube uses ffmpeg for their transcoding, ffmpeg can output Theora. So really, by simply offering HTML5 youtube has done most of the work needed for Theora.

Host codes aren't intended to be exposed to the hostile web. You'd get 0wned up quicker than you could even say "video". The most common host platforms don't ship with a h264 codec in their media framework.

The cost to Mozilla to license h264 would be a significant fraction of their annual budget, each and every year spending what is probably significantly more to license h264 decoders than has ever been spent developing Theora... and webmasters are still still stuck paying usage fees, and Mozilla has put itself in violation of the GPL. That whole path can only end in tears. The open web demands open formats. Full stop. A decade ago people here lamented the impossibility of fighting MSFT's lock on the web. Firefox made the impossible happen, and they can do it again. They aren't alone: Wikimedia and Dailymotion are other prominent organizations supporting this initiative.

Re:Google already transcodes... (3, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857294)

It would be "1 more" transcode that makes no business sense.

Look, ditching h.264 is simply not going to happen. there are way too many hardware devices out there that do h.264 and no ogg. All I'm hearing is bitching from the firefox camp about how they're not going to support it for reason X rather than looking for a solution to the problem.

Simply not supporting h.264 is an option, sure. I just don't think its going to end well for firefox.

AS to host code not being exposed to the web... run it with least privilege in a sandbox. My bet is that any copy of theora embedded into the browser is exactly the same reference code as used else where in any case (and if its, not, then its not as well tested...), so that point is pretty moot.

Google acquired On2, makers of video codecs (5, Interesting)

dracvl (541254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857278)

Google recently acquired On2, makers of the Ogg Theora (aka VP-3) codec which was released into the public domain and then taken over by xiph.org.

On2 have codecs VP-7 and VP-8 which have equivalent (if not better) quality than h.264.

It would not be surprising if Google made those codecs available, since they aren't patent-encumbered, and Google is heavily invested in HTML5 --and likes open standards.

This would be the ideal outcome. h.264 is a really bad option.

Re:Excellent. (1)

sulliwan (810585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857290)

There is a 3rd option, don't buy the license, but include a decoder such as ffmpeg anyway, just don't allow the feature on copies of Firefox used in countries which enforce software patents. Not being able to watch YouTube might just nudge the average American to at least get informed about the issue. Codec licenses make no sense, it's a license to use a mathematical equation. Licensing specific implementations is fine, there are free alternatives which don't use any of the copyrighted code available.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857480)

Ah. The wishful thinking of an anti open source, pro Microsoft zealot is raised again.

Yawn.

Re:Excellent. (3, Interesting)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856998)

Google (or any similar company) has no business reason to use Theora.

If they do nothing, they still support Firefox, though flash. So why spend even a small amount of time/money to re-encode video?

Re:Excellent. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30856876)

Too bad theora sucks compared to h.264

Re:Excellent. (0)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856890)

It's hard to find a good comparison, but most seem to be pretty favorable to Theora.

Re:Excellent. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857068)

are you fucking kidding?

Re:Excellent. (5, Funny)

clem (5683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857156)

You know, I was originally leaning towards Theora as the better codec. But your brazen anonymous cursing has turned me right around on this issue. Well done, sir.

Re:Excellent. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857214)

How could anyone possibly lean to Theora being a better codec?
Fixing your patent system is the solution, not using Theora.

Re:Excellent. (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857340)

And while politicians are fixing* the issue, what do we use in the meantime?

* HAHAHAHAHA!

Re:Excellent. (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857232)

Same here. His argument is flawless and convincing. I thought Theora was fine but I am fortunate enough to have read this great study (the second part -- the "kidding" -- is really eye opening). I won't be using Theora any longer either.

+1 Informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857208)

This was pretty much response as well, it's pretty obvious if you sit with ffmpeg and run ten minutes of lazy encoding tests.

Re:Excellent. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857090)

Must be a typo. I think you'll find most seem to be pretty favourable to H.264. Unless that is you could provide a single link that shows a Theora video with higher quality than H.264 at the same bitrate?

I could give you about 10 that show otherwise. here's one [osnews.com]

Re:Excellent. (4, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857154)

Also, Ogg Theora is just less good than h264 on several levels. For one thing, there are hardware decoders for h264, but more importantly for me, h264 just indisputably looks better. Seriously, in this grudge match of Firefox v. Google (and now others), Firefox is on the losing side. I hope the developers realize this soon. Maybe Google is not intervening because they're happy to let people say "fuck it, I guess I'll try it with Chrome" - as I'm about to.

Re:Excellent. (5, Insightful)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857478)

And a majority of that third live outside the jurisdiction of the US patent system so the license issue becomes moot. Personally I'd rather the rest of the world stick 2 fingers up at the US system and continue to use browsers that support H.264 and don't pay any patent licenses to anyone.

For example, why not make a US and non-US version of Firefox with the non-US version having H.264 support. US people will still manage to get the working version and Firefox will still have the required support.

Re:Excellent. (5, Informative)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856980)

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=422540 [mozilla.org]
They are working on a Gstreamer backend for the video tag, and that will provide support for h264. From skimming the comments, it seems that there is a working but slow patch for 3.5, which is yet to be updated for 3.6.

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857046)

You know who gives a damn about their ideology? The people who actually write Firefox. You know who gives a damn about patent concerns? The rights holders, and the people who actually write Firefox.
If you don't like how the Fireox devs ideology has affected Firefox in this manner (i.e. no h264 licensing) then don't use it, but don't whine about the ideology that made Firefox possible in the first place.

Re:Excellent. (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857126)

That's cool. They can not care what their users think, and not support big popular websites, and they can have all the ideology they want and no users.

Re:Excellent. (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857092)

and firefox better swallow their pride and licence it.

Why should they license it when an embeddable player is available on every OS with noticeable marketshare?

They just need to enable the HTML5 video tag to use that. Oddly enough I couldn't find this bug at BMO with a quick search.

Re:Excellent. (2, Interesting)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857136)

> Why should they license it when an embeddable player is available on every OS with
> noticeable marketshare?

Because those players tend to be security hellholes. Passing unsanitized data to them is a good way to get exploited...

Re:Excellent. (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857184)

Firefox can't realistically license H.264. We're talking a license for unlimited copies with the right to do pretty much anything you want with the copies, including turning them into video editing software. It would be the last license sold, because everyone else can just piggy back on it.

Re:Excellent. (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857412)

FireFox can't license it because the GPL explicitly forbids it. The legality of GPL'd software using propreitary codecs is ambiguous, a situation which Mozilla wishes to avoid.

I wish Youtube would support Theora, but OTOH I realize that most people just want to give the codec a boost. If Youtube want to use a patent-encumbered viideo format, that's their right to do so. The move away from flash certainly makes the platform more open and less dependent on proprietary technology. But they must also realize that this means an inferior solution for the worlds most popular browser to support HTML5.

The real scandal is Apple's attempt to sabotage Theora.

Re:Excellent. (1)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857470)

And neither to the majority of Internet users around the world as there is no license required outside of America (and possibly Japan). OSS supporters need to focus on the fact that it is the US patent system that is broken here, not the codec.

Re:Excellent. (1)

Jessta (666101) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856878)

Putting your hand up to pay for the licensing of H.264?
At least with flash adobe was nice enough to make a linux version at no cost.

Must have script. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857312)

Use this script: Youtube without Flash Auto
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/50771

Than go to Youtube, hit Preferences under the player, select VLC Player from the drop down menu and Save.

Re:Excellent. (1)

gedw99 (1597337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857496)

I noticed that the vimeo videos look much better anti-aliased that the You tube videos.

both are doing h264, but vimeo is much better looking !!!

come on Google get your Sh% together ...

Adobe... (3, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856734)

I shed not a tear for you.

Re:Adobe... (3, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856752)

Don't. IE will not support HTML5 for many years, if history is anything to go by, making Flash at least a fallback requirement for any remotely popular video site for the forseable future.

Flash should be abandoned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30856780)

At least M$ will then finally go under.

Re:Adobe... (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856874)

And you can't write videogames in HTML5. Flash will be around for a while.

The real problem with Flash, stupid menu widgets, irritating ads, and non-html website frontpages, won't disappear until sites can recreate equally annoying equivalents via some other method.

Re:Adobe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857070)

You can write videogames in html5. And SVG.

Re:Adobe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857236)

How? Any examples?

Re:Adobe... (4, Insightful)

.tekrox (858002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857274)

Javascript.

Don't whine that it's slow - Chrome, Opera, Safari and Recently firefox now have very fast javascript engines.
Don't whine its not powerful enough - ActionScript (Flash Scripting) is Javascript. And Flash isn't very quick at interpreting it either...

Sigh... (1)

snikulin (889460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856788)

I have tried HTML5 Youtube with Chrome (v.3.0.195.38) about 30 minutes ago.
Badly pixelated image and no full screen video.
To me Flash video looks *much* better so far.

Re:Sigh... (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857062)

That was my experience too. Disappointing. Add to that the fact that most of the videos I found (through somewhat random clicking) were flash-only. I didn't find any HD content in html5 at all, and I'm not really sure why. To me, h.264 is hi def. Hours and hours of 720p and 1080p on my NAS, and 99% of it is h.264 encoded, so what is youtube's hold up?

Re:Sigh... (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857484)

The flash videos seem to skip a little more than the html5 videos for me with:

Chromium 4.0.304.0 (Developer Build 36483)
WebKit 532.9
V8 2.0.6.1
User Agent Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/4.0.304.0 Safari/532.9

But I don't notice a huge difference between them, other than the videos still play when flash(64bit) crashes, as it tends to do at the end of the day.

Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (4, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856756)

That's the sound of you getting passed by.

I'm a total GNU fanboy most days, and generally agree with the moral move they are trying to make with OOG formats, but in this case it is a losing strategy. H264 video has gotten a momentum that is hard to break, similar to how MP3 got a momentum in the past. It has nothing to do with technical features, morals, licensing, or other commonly-argued things. Instead, it's about a critical-mass of popularity. H264 video the new pop thing, even in cases where people don't even know terms like "H264".

By not finding a way to make video work properly, Firefox is saying they want to be left behind. No, I highly doubt people like google or others will re-encode video into Theora. They will make the business decision that not only is it a lot of work, it's not necessary as firefox is supported with Flash.

If the Firefox people want to make a good moral stand with this issue, they should pull something similar to the crypto situation and make an "international" version. That version could serve as an embarrassment to the restrictive patent system, and a useful political talking point. At a minimum, though, they should simply remove all codec processing form the project, leaving that particular can of worms to an external project (gstreamer? embed mplayer/vlc/other? some new project created specifically for this purpose?).

I love firefox. I really do. So please don't choose to be non-player in the video arena!

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30856806)

If someone wants to pay for the stupid H.264 licensing issues to go away, then I'm sure Mozilla/Firefox would quickly gain support. That's unlikely to happen though. :/

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856886)

While I'd love it if the patent/licencing issues could be easily fixed like that, I seriously doubt it will ever be the case. In the world of video, more than most other fields, patents have become a total minefield. Even in things like "patent free" Theora, companies are still reluctant to implement them for fear of submarine patents.

So I suspect we will have this problem in one form or another no matter what.

So Firefox should sidestep the issue by externalizing it. This is not idea, but it's practical and strategic. Firefox is riding a powerful wave of popularity right now, and they need to keep that momentum going to win the larger war. Pop culture these days means things like youtube, and if you don't work perfectly with youtube (and hulu, and vimeo, and related sites), you will be ignored by the masses.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856948)

This is not idea, but it's practical and strategic.

Practical? What are you going to do, put a yellow bar on top when people visit a site with h.264 video that says: "Sorry, due to patent restrictions we can't play this video, we would tell you how to work around this issue, but it might expose us to lawsuits, happy hunting"? You can't have a polished user experience without transparent handling here, and you can't have transparent handling without exposing yourself (and Firefox isn't small enough to fly under the radar).

Any sort of back room deals with MPEG LA would basically remove one option from the triple license, thus alienating a huge chunk of the tech savvy base that made the browser into what it is. If it was me I'd take the chances by being marginalized due to lack of codec support instead of being marginalized due to brain drain to webkit and possible replacement as the default browser in major Linux distributions. Brainshare matters, especially with Chrome up and coming.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (3, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856990)

that WOULD be an improvement over what they are doing now, which is to simply not play anything!

The proper response, though, is not to put up some sort of error message, but to use an external solution such as mplayer, ffplay, vlc, gstreamer, or whatever, and make it "someone else's problem".

Chrome up and coming is an even bigger issue because of this. If it works well with youtube, and firefox doesn't, then firefox will lose dramatic market share to Chrome.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857074)

The proper response, though, is not to put up some sort of error message, but to use an external solution such as mplayer, ffplay, vlc, gstreamer, or whatever, and make it "someone else's problem".

The "someone else" will be the user, if they don't have the framework of choice set up, that's the problem. Youtube (or any other major site with a significant portion of IE hits) is not about to drop flash support any time soon. On Windows this is handled transparently for Firefox, so no breakage occurs. On Linux the Gnash, swfdec and Adobe (with the help distro maintainers) will make it work one way or another with minimal headache for Firefox developers. Yes, technically part of that runs into the same old patent problems, but they are the same as the ones in your suggestion.

The upside on the other hand is that Firefox is playing it by the book and can work on support for truly free solutions.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856870)

Easy to speak when it's not your ass on the line for patent infringement.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856906)

Mozilla's ass wouldn't be on the line if they would just pay for the necessary licenses from MPEG LA like everybody else.

Otherwise, Firefox will become the browser for those who just really like Flash.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856942)

It is likely not legal for them to pay for a license directly. Such a license would likely require them to not release the patented code openly, like they are required to do for the GPL.

Such a license would also not pass to others, so Ubuntu/etc would not be able to distribute the licensed firefox.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857116)

> Such a license would likely require them to not release the patented code openly

That's actually not a problem as long as you avoid GPLv3 (and I'm fairly certain that it's not a problem with MPL in particular). But IANAL, etc.

> Such a license would also not pass to others, so Ubuntu/etc would not be able to
> distribute the licensed firefox.

This, on the other hand, is a much bigger concern.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857152)

GPLv2 is a problem as well if it ever comes down to it, see section 7.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857264)

You guys are forgetting that Mozilla owns the copyright to the code, and none of the 3rd-party code [mozilla.org] they use is GPL. As owner, they are the licensor, and the licensor is not bound to the same conditions as the licensees. Ultimately, they will have to include h.264 support in their official binaries just like Google has done with Chrome. The rights won't extend to those who build custom binaries like Ubuntu, but that's what the distinction between free and non-free is for.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (2, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857168)

How about a plug-in architecture? That way we aren't stuck with shitty 2010 video formats in the www of 2015, either.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857204)

Naw, there's obviously a way to get it done, and it's not that difficult either. It's not really an issue that's very different from distributions allowing users to install "non-free" packages.

Google licenses h.264 for use in Chrome. Obviously that doesn't extend to Chromium, but it doesn't really need to. It's clear that if you want h.264 support, you'll need to run the Google binary since they've paid the royalties. There's no reason Mozilla couldn't license h.264 for their officials builds. Ubuntu/etc can continue to include their own completely free, pseudo-branded Firefox build and simply put up a "non-free Firefox" package in a repository. It's been done many times for other useful, non-free packages... it's not like this is some new process we're figuring out for the first time.

Furthermore, the GPL isn't an issue here because Mozilla is the copyright holder of the codebase. That means they can build and distribute a binary mixed with patented/proprietary code, though distributing that source code would clearly be at odds with both the GPL and the h.264 license conditions. However, as the copyright holder, they are not bound by the restrictions of the GPL, including the restriction of binary distribution. The GPL is a license and licenses are for licensees. They are not required to release all the source code they link with their GPL-licensed code. Indeed, Mozilla doesn't even release their binaries under GPL conditions, but rather under their own MPL [mozilla.org] (see bottom).

None of this may be convenient, but it is abundantly clear to most of us (for better or worse) that h.264 has won for now. Mozilla may think they have some clout because of their market share, but at the end of the day, it's the likes of YouTube and other online content providers that really have the last word, and they have chosen h.264.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (2, Insightful)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857436)

it's the likes of YouTube and other online content providers that really have the last word, and they have chosen h.264

YouTube is not the only video site in town [dailymotion.com] . DailyMotion went with Theora and others may follow that example.

The web is supposed to be open, if we kowtow to patent encumbered formats just because Google says so, then I'm afraid the last 10 years we have spent trying to get up from under Microsoft and the browser wars would have been a complete waste.

We're basically going to head back to "This site is best viewed by X or Y", only with different values for X and Y.

The reason a "plug-in" solution is redundant stems from the fact that you can already serve H.264 content using plug-ins _today_. The whole point of the <video> tag was to standardize and open up the mess video has become (Flash, Quicktime, WMP, Silver light, etc.).

If you shun browser makers (and content producers) with patent encumbered formats, then you might as well call Flash a standard and be done with it.

It amazes me that the general sentiment against MS's closed-"open" office formats was highly negative (which was well deserved), but when Google basically says F-U to What-wg and does whatever it wants anyway with a patent encumbered format then Firefox is at fault for not paying for royalties.

The day YouTube moves to HTML5 and only serves H.264 content (which will not happen any time soon, thanks IE) is the last day I'll visit that site. Thanks, but no thanks, I'm not going back to the dark ages of the web to watch a dog skate-board.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857256)

Yeah, that's interesting and awful. And to make the licensed portion into some sort of a binary-only library that plugs into Firefox would defeat the big advantage of HTML5, which is that it doesn't need extra plugins.

So isn't there a way in which Firefox could call the relevant codec installed on the computer through the HTML5 "video" tag and use that codec to play back the video? I mean, every Windows machine already has its own h246 decoder. Since we already own that decoder license thanks to Microsoft, why can't Firefox just take advantage of it? Obviously, the FF on other OSes would need different solutions, but just about every modern computer already can decode h264 and I have to think that FF could find a way to take advantage of this. But I don't know much about how the "video" tag is implemented to know whether this is possible. I assumed it was, because people talk about hardware-accelerated decoding, etc. Another question I have is about whether Chromium also can't play h264. Does anyone know?

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857292)

Another question I have is about whether Chromium also can't play h264.

Google only licensed h.264 for Chrome. I believe you can get Chromium to play h.264 by making it use a version of ffmpeg with that codec built-in, but that's certainly not something Google distributes.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (3, Interesting)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856930)

This is why I suggest they either:
  1) Make it a non-USA release, similar to PGP/PGPi in the past. This would be if they wanted to take a stand, and make lots of activist-style press releases on the subject. It would also probably be more effective than trying to talk everybody into using Theora.
  2) Externalize the issue, by using an external program instead. That way they aren't decoding any video, and are totally safe from patent issues.

Option #2 is recommended, as a pragmatic decision.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857028)

Make it a non-USA release, similar to PGP/PGPi in the past.

Not with being incorporated in the US. They'd have to at least double overhead to set up a separate company/organization to distribute this version, since explicitly doing it under the US entity would be considered exporting a product, and letting the community do it would cut of the revenue from Google and confuse less tech savvy users.

Option #2 is recommended, as a pragmatic decision.

I elaborated on this above.

Basically I consider that the pragmatic and the idealistic approach leads down the same road in this case, even if it doesn't seem to at first glance (as is often the case in FLOSS). Since Chrome also supports Theora and support in Opera is on the way (that covers all major, cross platform browsers as well as all Windows browsers with video tag support), the strategy is basically the same as in the "take back the web" days, convince the people who haven't/are not likely to invest in h.264 to take advantage of the feature (with fall backs where appropriate) and see if Microsoft's and Apple's hands can be forced.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (3, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857096)

here's the thing - something that's genuinely new and required real effort like H264 to develop, patenting it is a valid use for the patent system. and if you look at the licensing terms for h264 is insanely fair and cheap - your looking at only $100,000 for a service with 1,000,000 subscribers, and thats only if your a commercial entity. i dare say if your running a website that has a subscription of over a million people you can afford $100,000 for the core technology that under pins your operation. if you can't, Your Doing It Wrong.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (2, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856896)

Mozilla should just link to the distribution's provided ffmpeg and just let you decide what codecs you compile in. That would mean that at least in FOSS operating systems the problem is sorted.

That would also mean less code to manintain, and to give an advantage to FOSS operating systems.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (2, Interesting)

jvillain (546827) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856912)

It has every thing to do with licensing. It is unreasonable to expect a nonprofit group to fork out millions of dollars to give you a free product. If you want to start paying for FireFox maybe they can do some thing for you.

Audio and video are the only arrows left in the quiver of the proprietary companies. I think once companies start to realize that it is safe to do HTML5 you will see companies that say screw it we don't feel like paying these fat fees any more when we can use some thing free instead. Up until now they really didn't have much of a choice they were stuck with Flash. Now they have options It is simple business that if some one does some thing that lowers their costs you have to do some thing to lower yours. So as companies start moving towards lower cost and free codecs the others are going to have to follow them.

I do have to say that things are going to get interesting for Google going forward. They have been at war with Microsoft, they have already started a war with Apple and they are ramping up the war with the open standards and open source communities. Soon they aren't going to have any friends left.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (2, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856972)

It's unreasonable to expect pop culture to shift because it's choice is inconvenient.

Trying to change perceptions like that didn't work with Vorbis-vs-MP3, and it won't work here either.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857142)

It worked with PNG, even if it took a while. And it worked with Vorbis to a limited extent (there is another option when you need it, there is reasonable hardware support and the lives of game and other developers have been made easier), but that battle wasn't about the web before HTML5 and Firefox 3.5.

Yes, it's a slow process, but with h.264 there is are 15 years or so where it can make a difference, this was not the case with PNG as the patent covering GIF creation expired or MP3, which had a bigger head start in a different marketplace.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857172)

Sure, in 15 year or whatever, it'll be trivial. Most software will be able to implement all of this with minimal hastle.

But in the mean time, the war against other things like Flash, Silverlight, IE, and open-web-standards in general will be lost.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857044)

OOG formats

Uh oh, looks like someone's going to get their head broken with an open source CD...

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (3, Insightful)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857252)

I agree 100%. Mathematical algorithm patents are not recognized in most countries outside the US, so make an international Firefox version that only visitors who claim to be outside the US can download.

Re:Here that wooshing sound, Firefox? (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857446)

That doesn't stop the licensing authorities collecting fees and suing left right and center. Almost the entire industrialized world upholds codec patents and indeed many of the patent holders are European companies.

Cost for Firefox H.264: $5,000,000+ per year (5, Informative)

CritterNYC (190163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857408)

The problem with H.264 is both its patent status and the licensing cost. The patent means that it can't legally be used in software licensed under the GPL/LGPL 3.0 in countries like the US. So, Mozilla would have to add a closed-source component to Firefox for it to be able to work.

But the other problem is the licensing fee. Firefox ships so many software units that it will hit the enterprise cap for H.264 licensing every year. In 2006, that cap was $3,500,000. In 2007 it went up to $4,250,000. In 2009 it went up to $5,000,000. In 2011, it is going to go up again. So Mozilla will have to pay out $5,000,000 (and climbing) per year, just to support this one video codec in a product that they give away for free. Their revenue in their last fiscal year was $78.6 million.

Is it really worth it to spend 6% of your total yearly revenue on the licensing fee for one video codec?

Apple doesn't care, since they already hit the yearly cap anyway (see: iPod/iTunes) so it's free for them to include it in Safari. I'm not sure if Google does (can't think which apps it would be), but they have the money to do it either way. Opera and Mozilla don't currently have this expense... and they can't afford it. Nor can any other upstart browser since once they hit 200k 'units' per year, they have to start paying $0.20 per download.

Branding over functionality... (4, Informative)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856796)

It seems that both Youtube and Vimeo have both chosen to use their own custom controls, and disable the default controls native to the user's browser.

That wouldn't be such a big deal, except for the fact that full screen mode can currently only be entered using those default controls (making full screen mode available via a scripting api is considered a security risk, and thus discouraged by the HTML5 spec). So they're sacrificing that functionality at the alter of branding.

Re:Branding over functionality... (2, Informative)

phizi0n (1237812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856862)

I'm going to have to put the blame on the browsers for not implementing a "double click the video to go fullscreen" behavior or some sort of key binding. Sites shouldn't have to refrain from branding just to allow the user to go fullscreen, the browser should always provide a method for the user to do it.

Re:Branding over functionality... (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856946)

One nice thing about HTML5 over flash: it's much easier to fix such things in greasmonkey or similar tools.

Re:Branding over functionality... (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857050)

Don't know about Vimeo but YouTube [youtube.com] , at least, lists full screen mode as one of the "restrictions" they are currently working on fixing. Hopefully it comes out of beta faster than the typical Google project.

its a start (1)

frvfilmslashdot (1672380) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856802)

this is alot of comment!!!! for a hot topic,,

I care (1)

Prikolist (1260608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856818)

No, really, I do care. Safari and Chrome, that covers both Mac and Windows users fully, right? That's like 99.99% of the market, right?

You can't be serious that those browsers put together include only about 10% of users?

Re:I care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30856884)

cry more....

you can download chromeframe for your windows IE fetish...

This may not be an apt analogy, but (1, Interesting)

Skratchez (1304839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856854)

if web video formats follow the precedents of home video, porn will be the deciding factor. See Betamax v. VHS, and Bluray v. HD DVD. As goes porn so goes mainstream content providers, right? I should probably do some research into the delivery method of choice in online stag films, but it's just so tedious.

Re:This may not be an apt analogy, but (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30856902)

if web video formats follow the precedents of home video, porn will be the deciding factor. See Betamax v. VHS, and Bluray v. HD DVD. As goes porn so goes mainstream content providers, right? I should probably do some research into the delivery method of choice in online stag films, but it's just so tedious.

I believe they are currently standardizing on Microsoft Fleshlight...

Re:This may not be an apt analogy, but (5, Informative)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856936)

Actually, I'm pretty sure porn went for HD-DVD. So it's not always the right indicator.

All hail HTML5 what a crock of shit (1, Flamebait)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30856988)

I have the tried the latest versions of chrome ( for windows since the linux version is barely functional) and Firefox and they don't support HTML 5 correctly yet.

Come talk to me when the big committee in the sky pulls their collective heads out of their asses and finalizes HTML 5 and fixes the problems that have been there since HTML 0.01

This whole Video this and video that is a the tail wagging the dog. If you want to watch movies buy a DVD player subscribe to a cable service that gives you video on demand instead of pushing a bad specficiation out the door before it's finished and waisting a whole but load of programmer time making the incomplete spec of HTML 5 work in a half-assed way.

Re:All hail HTML5 what a crock of shit (2)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857048)

Come talk to me when you feel like saying what's wrong, rather than just using the word "half-assed" a lot.

kthxbye

Re:All hail HTML5 what a crock of shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857122)

Yeah and fix those problems with TC/IP stack v 0.001 and dont forget the ones wrong with Linux kernel 0.0001, or the ones wrong with Mac 0.0001.

Seriously, this is all is needed for a +1 insightful mod?

PS: my primary browser on linux has been chrome for quite a while, i cannot believe it was unusable or you.

Daily Motion (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857040)

Maybe it's time Youtube is boycotted and everyone switches over to Daily Motion, which has been supporting Theora for several months already:
http://blog.dailymotion.com/2009/05/27/watch-videowithout-flash/ [dailymotion.com]

Boycott probably not going to happen though :(

Re:Daily Motion (4, Funny)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857106)

I love the FAQ on that page you linked to:

But wait - the video quality is lower and sound is sometimes crackly...

That's normal...for now.

Re:Daily Motion (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857206)

Yeah, WTF? This is a big fumble by Google. Here I was, tempted to give Chrome another shot just to see this work - as it's one of the very rare things that my beloved Firefox can't do. And when I go through the bother I find what? An experience worse than Flash?

If Google knew this, shouldn't they have waited with the feature? Will there be another announcement that says: "HTML5 Youtube - now far less crappy than before? Download Chrome to see it!" And seriously, who will?

Re:Daily Motion (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857112)

lol. i'd never heard of daily motion before, so it's chances of rolling youtube are slim to none, especially based on the back of h264 vs theora.

H.264 (5, Informative)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857260)

Everytime this topic comes up I am amazed at how many people think that it's somehow Mozilla's fault that Firefox doesn't support H.264.

Repeat after me: H.264 is NOT FREE, not by a long way. If Firefox included H.264 support then Firefox would also NOT BE FREE. It would be illegal for most of us to distribute a copy.

Re:H.264 (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857426)

How do you respond to those who say that the Mozilla Foundation should pay for the h.264 license?
After all, Google and Apple are obviously paying for the license to distribute Safari and Chrome with h.264 for free, should be easy enough for Mozilla Foundation to do that too, right? Who really cares that Google and Apple are subsidizing the license fee from their main business models while Mozilla is a non-profit organization formed to provide support and leadership to open source projects that is financed only through donations?

"So all they need is MORE DONATIONS. Someone else should make those donations so that *I* can have a free Firefox browser that can play h264 content."

Doesn't work in Safari for iPhone (1)

ciryon (218518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857338)

I just tried browsing the full site on iPhone and switched to HTML5 mode. Doesn't seem to work, just displays a crossed over play-icon.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>