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Why IE9 Will Not Support Codecs Other Than H.264

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the time-is-of-the-ess dept.

Internet Explorer 436

jlp2097 writes "There is a new article up on Microsoft's IEBlog explaining why IE9 will support only the H.264 codec: 'First and most important, we think it is the best available video codec today for HTML5 for our customers. Relative to alternatives, H.264 maintains strong hardware support in PCs and mobile devices as well as a breadth of implementation in consumer electronics devices around the world, excellent video quality, scale of existing usage, availability of tools and content authoring systems, and overall industry momentum – each an important factor that contributes to our point of view. H.264 also provides the best certainty and clarity with respect to legal rights from the many companies that have patents in this area.'"

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H.264 (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072876)

This is actually the same thing that has been said in the older HTML5 discussions on slashdot too.

Ideologically Theora would be great. It's open and patent-free (supposedly). But it's not as good as H.264. We have already used H.264 with Flash and MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 from MPEG LA. It hasn't created any problems and its technically better. It would be better to have an open source and free codec, but people need to work to create it. Ideology doesn't go far in corporate world, and in my honest opinion, H.264 is better for end-user because it uses less bandwidth and provides better quality and is supported in a lot more devices already.

If MPEG LA would start asking website owners and end-users for fees it would basically mean this was their last iteration in video codecs. MPEG LA also uses patents owned by other companies, so they have a saying over it. I don't think they would be that stupid.

HTML5 will be a screw job. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073066)

HTML5 is shaping up to be one of the biggest screw jobs we've seen yet when it comes to web standards.

At least previous standards were written with the browser users and web developers in mind. However, that just isn't the case with HTML5. It has been put together by a small number of large media corporations with vested interests in having the utmost control over a user's browsing experience. Sure, Apple and Google develop browsers, but they're media companies first and foremost when it comes to the Internet.

HTML5 will fuck developers over, and it will fuck users over. The browser vendors will never reach a consensus on which codecs to use. We, as developers, will have to waste our time supporting these browser differences, rather than improving our sites. As users, we'll get stuck having to deal with broken sites. But what's stupidest of all, of course, is that there are so many patent-free, open source options available for the vendors to standardize on.

Fuck HTML5. It's a shitty standard that's being forced on us, rather than documented commonality arising from our shared needs.

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073122)

Get a new job if u dont like it.

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073146)

No.

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (3, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073154)

But what's stupidest of all, of course, is that there are so many patent-free, open source options available for the vendors to standardize on.

"Hasn't been sued yet" is different from "patent-free".

Incidentally, HTML5 is a lot more than just video. Most of it is a great step forwards for web devs like myself.

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073256)

HTML5 and WHATWG were a workaround to the W3C standards process because certain powerful interests didn't want to support the strictness of XHTML2.

Now that WHATWG's efforts have been accepted by W3C and the superior standard of XHTML2 has been shelved, what can we do to try and make the web work properly?

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (3, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073376)

Alright, answer me two questions : HTML5 is really the flash killer, yes? Isn't an open replacement for Flash an improvement over flash? I'd assume that HTML5's openness will help avoid Flash's spammyness, right? In particular, all the pop-up ads that circumvent the "Block Pop-Ups" button are using Flash now, so they'll all go away right?

I'm not sure that HTML5 will beat the Flash plus FlashBlocker combo, but that's not realistic for most users, and variations on NoScript could accomplish the same ends.

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073424)

It really depends on how much the NoScript guy hates what Evil Advertisers do with HTML5, no?

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073482)

Alright, answer me two questions : HTML5 is really the flash killer, yes?

Definitely not. But we'd all be happy if it was the flashbasedvideoplayer killer.

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (5, Insightful)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073406)

This is not insightful. HTML5 is a multi-vendor standard from the W3. The W3 only publish standards that are free of royalty standards (thanks to a big debate and campaign around the turn of the millenium).

HTML5 video is a major leap forward. Previously video was usually locked away behind proprietary Flash delivery interfaces. Already I am finding I can browse Youtube via my web browser and see videos (before I had to use totem's plugin or youtube-dl) because of HTML5 support. The same applies with other video sites, such as Vimeo and dailymotion that have (beta) HTML5 video players. Further, thanks to HTML5 browser support, extensions now exist which can take embedded flash video players of certain sites and transform them in place into HTML5 video.

HTML5 video is agnostic of codec - it does not specify what format video will be in, nor does it specify what formats browser must support. Just as the old IMG tag doesn't specify GIF, BMP, etc. The supported formats are whatever formats systems and browsers support. It would have been nice if W3 had been able to specify Ogg/Theora as a "must support" common-denominator format, but agreement could not be reached on that. That does NOT take away from the importance of HTML5 video.

I strongly suspect many of the people who argue against HTML5 video are people who are running proprietary video-delivery plugins in their browser.. I would ask such people to step back and reconsider the big picture:

a) Proprietary plugins running in your browser, interpreting proprietary blobs downloaded from websites, to play videos from websites using whatever format (be it patent encumbered or not)

versus

b) Your browser, potentially (likely?) free software, using openly specified standards to interpret video-player controls, to play videos from websites using whatever format (be it patent encumbered or not)

The 2nd option is a major step forward. I despair of anyone who argues that we should stick with option a because of the patent issues with /some/ video formats.

Next step: If you're in the UK, we need to lobby the BBC Trust and OfCom to get them to require the BBC to deliver its internet TV services in an open format - rather than via Adobe Flash.

Re:HTML5 will be a screw job. (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073422)

Sigh.. Edits:
"free of royalty requirements".
"interpret video-player controls downloaded from websites"

Re:H.264 (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073150)

I fail to see how including other codecs would cause harm... it's not like H.264 suddenly stops working if it detects Theora on the system...

Re:H.264 (4, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073320)

That's the key point here. The article is a PR spin to try to make it seem like MS is protecting users. But in reality, it's an artificial limitation. They could quite easily make it a plugin system where it would ship with one or two codecs, and users could "install" others if they choose (in fact, they could make it semi-automatic. When it finds a video with a codec it doesn't have, it tries to find it, sort of how it works in Linux)... But no, they make the choice for us. It's the same with Apple's rejection of Theora... It's not about providing the best experience for users. It's about binding developers hands and removing choice. They tried to do it with ActiveX, but most sites rebelled which launched Flash into the limelight. They did it with their Quirks mode. They did it in IE8 by cherry picking the CSS 3 features they "thought were useful". Stop trying to make choices for us, and leave us (the developers) to choose what's best...

Re:H.264 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073442)

Microsoft and plugin system are two terms that should never go hand in hand, it would lead to the same chaos as with all those browser toolbars installed by "legitimate third parties".

Re:H.264 (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073508)

They could quite easily make it a plugin system where it would ship with one or two codecs, and users could "install" others if they choose (in fact, they could make it semi-automatic. When it finds a video with a codec it doesn't have, it tries to find it, sort of how it works in Linux)...

That's how Firefox works, and it's how most people install flash when it isn't included in the OS (Apple does this, ironically).

Re:H.264 (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073524)

I should have been more clear, it's how the PLUGIN system in Firefox works, but Mozilla isn't planning to support codec plugins for the video tag either.

Re:H.264 (1, Redundant)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073526)

There is a plugin system. The summary is about what IE9 will support by default (and it makes sense because H.264 is built-in within Win7). Plugins can support the other formats like Theora.

Re:H.264 (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073528)

The windup...

But in reality, it's an artificial limitation. They could quite easily make it a plugin system where it would ship with one or two codecs, and users could "install" others if they choose...

And, the pitch...

Of course, IE9 will continue to support Flash and other plug-ins. Developers who want to use the same markup today across different browsers rely on plug-ins. Plug-ins are also important for delivering innovation and functionality ahead of the standards process; mainstream video on the web today works primarily because of plug-ins... To be clear, users can install other codecs for use in Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center. For web browsers, developers can continue to offer plug-ins (using NPAPI or ActiveX; they are effectively equivalent in this scenario) so that webpages can play video using these codecs on Windows.

Re:H.264 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073534)

I remember quirk mode from TASM...

Re:H.264 (0)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073324)

Clearly you are unfamiliar with Microsoft's implementation style.

Re:H.264 (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073394)

If Microsoft could be sued for including a format then that is a good reason not too. The implication has been that Theora might infringe on some patents. It may, it may not. I don't know and likely nobody here does either.

MS has little to gain by including Theora and could put its self in a bad position down the road, they might even have inside information about companies bringing litigation against Theora.

Now it seems to me that the best course of action would be to make all codecs modular and only ship with H.264 but allow other developers to distribute codecs that could plug in to IE, but that is more work and I'm not sure how much they have to gain. Its not like they cant add that in later.

VP8? (1)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073200)

Hmm, yes, but how does the supposedly soon-to-be-open-source VP8 codec stack up?

And if YouTube moves to VP8.. will Microsoft have a choice?

In other words.... (4, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072884)

Don't be surprised to see a spate of patent attacks on Ogg Theora... which we may or may not fund ourselves.

Re:In other words.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32072946)

Good. Theora sucks ass and needs to die asap.

Re:In other words.... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073104)

For that to happen, Ogg Theora would have to be a threat or making enough money to make it worthwhile. It hasn't gotten anywhere near that point.

Re:In other words.... (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073194)

We may find many reasons to "hate microsoft" but I seriously doubt Microsoft will actually assert charges of patent infringement against anyone... ever. Microsoft's involvement in the software patent arms race was quite reluctant and I suspect that is still the case. Microsoft was first bitten by the software patent trend by the people who held the patent on "double-space" back in the day. There were a lot of people who were quite tickled and delighted to see the giant attacked for this. I was among them. I wasn't then able to see down the road to the hell of software patents that we are seeing today. Had we, the IT community at large, sought to limit and even deny software patents from the beginning, we might have less trouble than we have today.

In any case, we might suspect Microsoft of funding attacks against open source technologies, I doubt Microsoft will ever directly assert software patents themselves.

In my mind, in fact, I see Microsoft joining in the fight against software patents. It is as big a pain in their ass as it is for many others... probably bigger because they have a rather big ass.

Re:In other words.... (3, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073416)

We may find many reasons to "hate microsoft" but I seriously doubt Microsoft will actually assert charges of patent infringement against anyone... ever. Microsoft's involvement in the software patent arms race was quite reluctant and I suspect that is still the case. Microsoft was first bitten by the software patent trend by the people who held the patent on "double-space" back in the day. There were a lot of people who were quite tickled and delighted to see the giant attacked for this. I was among them. I wasn't then able to see down the road to the hell of software patents that we are seeing today. Had we, the IT community at large, sought to limit and even deny software patents from the beginning, we might have less trouble than we have today.

In any case, we might suspect Microsoft of funding attacks against open source technologies, I doubt Microsoft will ever directly assert software patents themselves.

In my mind, in fact, I see Microsoft joining in the fight against software patents. It is as big a pain in their ass as it is for many others... probably bigger because they have a rather big ass.

More likely, anyone with any possible patents against Theora is waiting for someone with money to implement it. RIght now, there's hardly any money in any of the companies doing Theora, and suing just gets you no money at all. Mozilla? Xiph? Relatively poor, and probably good lawyers to get patents overturned. Not a good result.

But get a Google, Microsoft or Apple supporting Theora, and these guys have cash. Patent infringement? Cha-ching. Either licensing or back profits. Everyone and their dog with patents will be trying to figure out how they can cash in. Or any of the big hardware guys - Intel, ATI, nVIdia, plus all the others - Broadcom, etc.

Not to say H.264 is any better, but there are patent pools and the like, and probably some form of protection against patent infringement.

Maybe that's all that's needed - patent liability coverage - implement Theora and be covered against any potential patent lawsuits. It's one thing to say that no patents were infrtinged, but another to back it up. Hell, it can be funded by a smally royalty (they already pay for h.264).

The patent lawyers succeeded (4, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072906)

None of us people who actually create things and do the work wanted to see software patents become a reality. But the businessmen and lawyers have had their way with us. Now we just have to do all the extra work to create working computer systems, while a few individuals go laughing to the bank.

More than anything else, I think the H.264 nonsense demonstrates the lock-down that will mark a new era of the software industry.

Re:The patent lawyers succeeded (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072970)

I wouldn't worry much. IE is becoming less and less relevant every day. For one it's loosing marketshare on the desktop, but also very importantly is the fact that mobile devices are quickly becoming the preferred medium that people use to interact with the web. I know lots of people who are doing their everyday tasks (check Facebook, email, bank balances, etc) on their phones and are barely touching their computers - if they even bother to have one. Microsoft (and with it, IE) has an absolutely dismal marketshare in that space, and they don't look to be improving.

IMHO, while IE still has a (slipping) majority, if we're talking about something that's going to be used for the next decade, I'd be FAR more concerned with what Safari, Chrome, and to a lesser extent, Firefox, plan to do than IE.

Re:The patent lawyers succeeded (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073216)

For one it's loosing marketshare on the desktop

For fuck's sake, how hard is it to spell "losing"?

Re:The patent lawyers succeeded (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073368)

Microsoft (and with it, IE) has an absolutely dismal marketshare in that space, and they don't look to be improving.

That could change with Windows Phone 7.

Re:The patent lawyers succeeded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073544)

I have Android 2.1 phone, why would I care about Windows 7 phone?

Re:The patent lawyers succeeded (4, Insightful)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073044)

Rubbish. As always during discussions like this you're only talking about the USA. There is a world outside where these problems don't exist. Maybe the US software industry will get locked down, but in reality, not only does the rest of the world not care, but it will use it to its advantage. Time to make sure your passport is up to date.

Re:The patent lawyers succeeded (1)

justinjstark (1645867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073250)

Only until we force ACTA and other intellectual property protections down your throat. You silly foreigners thinking you can live outside US rule.

Re:The patent lawyers succeeded (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073338)

And it's not just video codecs. Want to create an application that stores, processes, or transmits credit card data? You had better have about $50k in cash ready ready to pay for PA-DSS or PCI-DSS Level I certification. And that is the starting point. The documentation process pretty much means that Opensource, by its very nature, will never be PA-DSS certified. We're in the process of taking an opensource project we forked and getting it PA-DSS certified. Small development team of 4 people and it is a nightmare. While we ship the source code on every install CD the development process itself is pretty much restricted to a BSD-like invite only approach.

90% of PA-DSS is documentation. A lot of that documentation revolves around your development process including interviews with the developers to make sure that things like code reviews are indeed implemented and that requires at least 2 developers since the person who writes the code can't review the code, technical support cases are documented, if any cardholder data is used for troubleshooting, it is properly and securely deleted, etc..

And I see more of this coming down the line in the name of "data security". While it won't kill Opensource, it is going to make it pretty damn hard for a weekend hacker to create something.

Now don't get me wrong, after a year of dealing with PCI-DSS and six months of PA-DSS, I fully understand why their standards are the way they are and for the most part it's mostly a good thing. However the fact that it takes at least $10k (and as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars for PA-DSS) pretty much means that the project has to be maintained by a company that is making money off the product in some way.

BTW, the only Opensource project I know of that is PA-DSS certified is Magento. And ONLY the Enterprise edition ($8995). The Community Edition is NOT.

360? (0, Troll)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072918)

So IE9 will only support h.264, but the 360 still won't? Fix this ASAP Microsoft.

Re:360? (4, Informative)

jonesy16 (595988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072974)

The Xbox 360 has supported H.264 for over a year now ...

http://support.xbox.com/support/en/us/nxe/gamesandmedia/movies/videofaq/viewvideoplaybackfaq.aspx [xbox.com]

Re:360? (0, Redundant)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073034)

I guess he is mostly talking about .mkv support, not H.264 per se.

Re:360? (2, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073158)

MKV has nothing in particular to do with h.264, except that pirates like putting h.264 video in MKV containers. It's pretty obvious why Microsoft or anyone else has little interest in supporting it.

Re:360? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073230)

They might still do it. They also added DivX support, as did Sony, and the newest version of DivX uses H.264 in MKV although with AAC audio, while the pirates use AC3 most of the time.

Re:360? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073262)

MKV has nothing in particular to do with h.264, except that pirates like putting h.264 video in MKV containers. It's pretty obvious why Microsoft or anyone else has little interest in supporting it.

Pirates also use formats like .mp3, .avi, and less frequently .mpg. Oh, and pirate video games include .exe files. We should discontinue all support for these formats at once!

Re:360? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073430)

I support discontinuing the last one.

Re:360? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073170)

It doesn't support multiple audio tracks.

Re:360? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073384)

the hardware and software does. I play games in surround all the time. and I get 5.1 surround out of netflix.

they choose not to simply to bone the console owner. Honestly only dirty filthy scumbags would want to watch videos on their network on their Xbox360.

Nasty dirty filthy.....

That's OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32072932)

Well the last resolution proposed to try to get a format named was "All user agents must support one of H.264 and Ogg Theora."

If you did not predict this one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32072950)

...please turn in your Slashdot account and your tinfoil hat.

I'm surprised they had the audacity to come out and say it.

So, its for the DRM then... (3, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072952)

The last phrase quoted is likely the key one - Microsoft is very focused on providing as much DRM as possible, and if this codec has the most potential in that regard from their POV, thats likely why they are supporting it. I am sure the Entertainment industry has been talking to MS about this and urging them to keep pushing on DRM type solutions.

Re:So, its for the DRM then... (2, Insightful)

internic (453511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073172)

Maybe some of you in the know out there can enlighten the rest of us: What makes a codec more or less conducive to DRM?

I would have thought DRM would be implemented outside the media data itself and the codec would only be come relevant once system has decided to give the user access and decrypted the data. Perhaps in some systems once they've doen the lossy part of the signal processing they do the compression and encryption as a combined operation? Or does the whole thing work an entirely different way?

Re:So, its for the DRM then... (4, Informative)

moongha (179616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073336)

There is nothing about a codec that makes it amenable to DRM. This is uninformed fear-mongering.

DRM is incorporated at the wrapper level. For example, the 'Fairplay' DRM used by Apple is proprietary to Apple and has nothing whatsoever to do with H264.

Re:So, its for the DRM then... (1)

arthurp (1250620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073488)

Often the DRM does need to know about the stream it is encoding though. Because it will only encode part of the stream. This is true of DVDs for instance. If you let mplayer play an encoded DVD stream you will see fragments of frames. I bet the same if true of modern DRM. It uses up space to encrypt. So you just encrypt enough to make the stream unwatchable (like only only encrypt the key frames). And to do that you need to know the structure of the stream and implementing that for multiple different stream type requires being not lazy.

Re:So, its for the DRM then... (1)

putch (469506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073272)

I'm pretty sure that quote actually addresses the IP rights to the codecs and not the content.

However, DRM is probably a concern. But that doesn't explain why they'd exclude other codecs.

Someone explain this to me. (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072956)

::begin displaying ignorance::

What advantage is there to restricting IE9 to only H.264? How can natively supporting more codecs be a bad thing?

Re:Someone explain this to me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073090)

Could attract patent trolls. Theora has not had a thorough patent review, and likely never will.

And besides, who uses Theora for anything anyway besides maybe for Stallman's speeches, Firefox test videos and comparison benchmarks with MP4 files stuffed with dummy data that prove once and for all that bad encoder X can compete with bad encoder Y if only someone would spend the millions of dollars necessary to market Theora like H.264 was, deploy widespread hardware support, and so on?

Wikipedia (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073418)

And besides, who uses Theora for anything anyway

Wikipedia and its sister sites.

Re:Someone explain this to me. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073114)

Requires more effort on their part.

Re:Someone explain this to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073152)

It reduces the risk of getting sued by a third party patent holder, in which MPEG LA won't help with the legal defense by filing countersuits or whatever. It also precludes the possibility of breakaway sites standardizing on Theora which would only help the competition.

Re:Someone explain this to me. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073168)

Microsoft doesn't want to touch Theora because they suspect (or know) it's about to be targeted for legal action. Natively supporting a codec that carries negative legal ramifications could come back to bite them in the ass later: no one wants to support another codec out of the goodness of their heart now, and especially one not widely used nor likely to benefit that many customers since nearly everyone else on God's green earth is using H.264, just so that they can get slapped with infringement suits later for including code that violates some arcane MPEG-LA patent. Supporting Theora would be an imprudent decision on Microsoft's part for now. H.264's patent issues are well known and can be bought off easily through licensing, on the other hand, and it's well supported by nearly everyone and immensely popular with consumers; Microsoft can cover itself legally and market its browser to the widest possible audience with H.264, so it's a smart decision on their part.

Ideology matters little in the pragmatics of business, and Microsoft's not going to bend over backwards to clear up the currently clouded patent status of Theora and defend it against what's increasingly looking like inevitable attacks from well-funded groups of patent holders who legitimately or not (does it even matter anymore?) will shove a case through some godforsaken East Texas docket... especially not when there aren't more than a handful of people actively using Theora anyway. Hell, most people probably won't ever even see a Theora video in their whole lives. Why should Microsoft waste its time?

Re:Someone explain this to me. (1)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073180)

Beyond the engineering effort to make wider support happen, there's the question of what HTML5 will use as its VIDEO element. If nobody claims support for Theora, it won't wind up being the standard. So, it's not a bad thing, but this is MS trying to exert its influence over the debate.

Re:Someone explain this to me. (2, Interesting)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073280)

Because Microsoft made a deal with MPEG-LA, that's why. MPEG-LA makes money off patent licensing.

Re:Someone explain this to me. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073362)

Mod parent up. It is what this is all about.

Micro$oft is in so many beds with the Big Media and both have no morals at all and are fighting a losing battle.

Re:Someone explain this to me. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073398)

I'm not sure why you're moderated insightful for asking a question specifically answered in full by the linked article.

Re:Someone explain this to me. (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073436)

backroom deals from patent holders?

youtube (5, Funny)

alabandit (1024941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072966)

in an unsurprising move, tomorrow morning Youtube and face book decide h.264 will not be used for video on there sites...

Re:youtube (1, Troll)

zoloto (586738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073058)

their this is basic 3th grade English people!

Re:youtube (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073196)

"their". This is basic 3th grade English, people!/quote

Punctuation!

Re:youtube (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073388)

"their". This is basic 3th grade English, people!/quote

Punctuation!

Closing blockquotes!

Re:youtube (2, Funny)

Scyth3 (988321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073202)

their this is basic 3th grade English people!

Basic "3th" grade, eh?

Re:youtube (1)

drewhk (1744562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073420)

All your language are belongs to us

Re:youtube (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073182)

What the hell are you even talking about?

Re:youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073246)

Where sites?

Nothing new! (0, Troll)

rolfc (842110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072980)

Microsoft park on the evil side as usual.

Let me guess! (-1, Flamebait)

Altus (1034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32072988)

It's Apple's fault right?

Some more information (5, Informative)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073000)

I for one am no expert in this subject, so here are some links I ended up reading:

wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC [wikipedia.org]

a decent article that could provide one with some insight on the patent "wars to come": http://www.vcodex.com/videocodingpatents.html [vcodex.com]

a random google search to a blog post with a good bit of information, but also opinionated: http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/2010/01/html5-video-and-h-264-what-history-tells-us-and-why-were-standing-with-the-web/ [0xdeadbeef.com]

cnet on Microsoft's stance: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20003838-264.html [cnet.com]

Lastly, does anyone have a good article on Opera's stance? - I had heard they are against it, but not much more than that...

Re:Some more information (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073316)

...does anyone have a good article on Opera's stance?...

Oprah's stance was that although she does not particularly agree with matter there will be no public comment, remember when the cattle farmers sued her for saying she doesn't like beef?

Is there a better, open, alternative? (3, Informative)

onionman (975962) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073028)

From what I've seen of Theora, it's the performance limit, not the open source nature of it, which makes it a non-starter for many platforms. I've read some rumors about Google supposedly pushing their own open-source codec, but I haven't seen any actual products. Do they exist? Is there an open alternative that can compete with H.264 on a wide range of platforms?

Re:Is there a better, open, alternative? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073130)

Yes.
H.264 after we ban software patents.

Which senators? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073444)

after we ban software patents

Which senators have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill that you have written?

Why IE9 Will Support Only H.264 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073036)

because h.264 is patent-encumbered and non-free. with microsoft's cash, it costs them peanuts to acquire a license to use it. think of it as them investing in a business model that they themselves practice, even if it's a different company it's support for the business model in terms of mindshare

Simple! (-1, Troll)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073054)

Because they are m0r0ns and will rely on someone else to develop the right plugin.

Less anti-MS headline: (5, Informative)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073084)

Why IE9 Will Not NATIVELY Support Other Codecs Than H.264.

From the article:

Of course, IE9 will continue to support Flash and other plug-ins. Developers who want to use the same markup today across different browsers rely on plug-ins. Plug-ins are also important for delivering innovation and functionality ahead of the standards process; mainstream video on the web today works primarily because of plug-ins. We’re committed to plug-in support because developer choice and opportunity in authoring web pages are very important; ISVs on a platform are what make it great. We fully expect to support plug-ins (of all types, including video) along with HTML5. There were also some comments asking about our work with Adobe on Flash and this report offers a recent discussion.

I love linux and think MS is rapidly falling behind, but let's not go overboard here.

It's already paid for (2, Interesting)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073120)

There are several reasons for this decision. H.264 support in Windows is already paid for (if I'm not mistaken $25 million bucks annually) and taking into account the current software patents laws in the US Microsoft doesn't want any more headache facing lawsuits having implemented support for other codecs [read Theora] which patents status isn't entirely clear and there are no powerful organizations which will protect Microsoft if some company [troll] discovers Theora is infringing their patent portfolio.

The last and probably the most important reason is that H.264 is already an unwritten standard on the Internet and this codec has an unparalleled quality and can be used for pretty much any situations (mind that *all* other existing current codecs are inferior).

Re:It's already paid for (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073486)

Microsoft doesn't want any more headache facing lawsuits having implemented support for other codecs [read Theora] which patents status isn't entirely clear

Theora is patented by On2, a Google company. These patents are licensed permissively to the public.

and there are no powerful organizations which will protect Microsoft if some company [troll] discovers Theora is infringing their patent portfolio.

What organization will protect Microsoft, Apple, and other MPEG-LA members if some NPE not in MPEG-LA discovers that H.264 infringes?

Re:It's already paid for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073510)

(mind that *all* other existing current codecs are inferior)

I'm starting to think this is becoming a "just repeat it often enough and everybody will believe it" case. People don't get tired claiming this and everybody just parrots somebody who said it before.

Probably MPEG-LA's biggest PR strategy: truth by repetition.

There's no better choice, unfortunately. (2, Interesting)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073126)

MPEG-LA's patent portfolio is sufficiently mighty that a competing video codec would have to be designed from the ground up with the specific design goal of avoiding infringement in order to escape it's shadow. This has not been done with Theora or any other codec that I'm aware of.

Combine this with the fact that MPEG-LA's licensing terms have been sufficiently reasonable that you can get $100-300 gizmos with hardware decoders built in, there's little reason why for anyone to oppose it on practical rather than philosophical grounds.

Ogg is inferior (2, Informative)

wazzzup (172351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073142)

The obvious reason Microsoft has standardized on h.264 is its support for DRM. However, Ogg Theora is inferior to h.264 by any standard of measurement except for licensing.

Ars has a good article [arst.ch] summarizing a comparison study between Theora and h.264 [streamingl...center.com] . Basically, Theora produces much lower quality videos with larger filesizes and higher CPU utilization when compared to h.264 videos with identical bitrates.

I've heard Theora advocates say "just jack up the bitrates until it looks good - we're in the age of Hulu so no big deal." I find that unacceptable. Theora will have to up its game if it wants to be a true competitor to h.264. All it has going right now is an open license.

Re:Ogg is inferior (3, Informative)

CoolGuySteve (264277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073252)

You can wrap nearly any codec's stream in DRM as long as the container supports it. So DRM has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Do not conflate H.264 with DRM.

Re:Ogg is inferior (2, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073352)

The obvious reason Microsoft has standardized on h.264 is its support for DRM.

Or perhaps they are unwilling to spend the development assets on adding more than one native codec when functionality can easily be extended for those so inclined with a plug in.

Re:Ogg is inferior (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073374)

Ars has a good article summarizing a comparison study between Theora and h.264.

Good comparison should show same frame in all results. If you check displayed time, you will see that frames are different. Even if theora is inferior to h.264, Ars study is hosed or slated towards h.264.

people still use IE? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073166)

i figured between Firefox/mozilla/seamonkey & opera & google/chrome that IE was dieing and all that was left was a niche on some LANs where lan browsing was convenient for the point & click crowd

Best excuse for patent-encumbered formats, EVER! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073206)

H.264 also provides the best certainty and clarity with respect to legal rights from the many companies that have patents in this area.

It’s patented, therefore it’s better. You heard it here first, folks.

But the main reason is... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073218)

... that Microsoft and others can use their patents to exercise control over how the codec is used ("consumer-only", otherwise you have to pay).

.

Microsoft's stance is not about "the best codec" or anything technical. It is all about the ability of the industry to maintain control over the customers of that industry via patents.

As it states in the article, " H.264 also provides the best certainty and clarity with respect to legal rights from the many companies that have patents in this area.". In other words, Microsoft, and the other patent holders, have a solid lock on the patents in H.264, therefore they have complete control over the codec and the users of that codec.

That reason, and only that reason, is why H.264 is being used in IE. Apple is also using H.264 because that was probably part of the deal Apple made with the RIAA/MPAA to get their content on iTunes.

They are so silly! (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073226)

What is it with these people. Only supporting one format, it's like only supporting bmp. A browser should support as much as possibly reasonable and let the people making the website decide what they will use.

Who cares? Theora isn't competitive. (3, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073244)

I just can't get interested in debating this stuff until Google open-sources VP8. Theora is a non-starter. It doesn't perform well and the marketplace already rejected it in enough places (i.e. virtually all portable devices) that it will never be a true competitor.

Once Google open-sources VP8 and makes it free (gratis and libre) then we'll have a real horse race. I'd love to see VP8 hardware support fast-tracked for all devices (mobile and otherwise) so we can have a competitive free solution for video.

I do not understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073276)

please could someone explain me why this is important? i mean i can play all video/audio file i can find on the net. codecs are everywhere and sometimes doing just a "file abc.xyz" just tells me what i need to play it.

i don't care about h264, vidx, theora or whatever, my computer can play it. it can also play old format like c64 sid files and even more.

i don't care if the video tag is adding fli or flv, xoo or xpress files, it can even add codecs that i don't even know yet... if they don't play in my browser i'll go and look after a viewer. the only thing that's important to me is to have access to the file.

my question is then why is this debate so important? if it's just a patent problem, just send me to hell or don't waste your time replying me, i wouldn't give a shit for patents and copyrights.

thanks for your light.

Boycott and Civil Disobedience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32073278)

I think we should boycott what corporations try to thrust upon us when the news breaks that "h.264 has won the video battle". Refuse to develop for it. On the note of patents, the best thing we can do is just ignore them. When they come after us, we just say "sorry, there's no such thing" and keep on doing what we're doing. If you let big business push you around, they will.

MPEG-LA is doing a happy dance (5, Informative)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073346)

Not that Microsoft cares, but Free Culture just took a big hit [osnews.com] . Money quote:

there is something very important, that the vast majority of both consumers and video professionals don't know: ALL modern video cameras and camcorders that shoot in h.264 or mpeg2, come with a license agreement that says that you can only use that camera to shoot video for "personal use and non-commercial" purposes (go on, read your manuals). I was first made aware of such a restriction when someone mentioned that in a forum, about the Canon 7D dSLR. I thought it didn't apply to me, since I had bought the double-the-price, professional (or at least prosumer), Canon 5D Mark II. But looking at its license agreement [c-wss.com] last night (page 241), I found out that even my $3000 camera comes with such a basic license. So, I downloaded the manual for the Canon 1D Mark IV, which costs $5000, and where Canon consistently used the word "professional" and "video" on the same sentence on their press release [canon.com] for that camera. Nope! Same restriction: you can only use your professional video dSLR camera (professional, according to Canon's press release), for non-professional reasons. And going even further, I found that even their truly professional video camcorder, the $8000 Canon XL-H1A that uses mpeg2, also comes with a similar restriction [c-wss.com] . You can only use your professional camera for non-commercial purposes. For any other purpose, you must get a license from MPEG-LA and pay them royalties for each copy sold. I personally find this utterly unacceptable.

And no, this is not just a Canon problem (which to me sounds like false advertising). Sony and Panasonic, and heck, even the Flip HD, have the exact same licensing restriction.

Xiph needs to indemnify (1)

kervin (64171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073360)

It's understandable no one wants to get sued over a single codec when there are so many alternatives from their point of view.

Maybe this can be underwritten or funded by a larger partner. But Theora may not get much traction if it continues to be perceived as such a legal risk.

Who Cares? (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073428)

May I ask a simple question:

In a world where Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera now on a regular basis beat the tar out of Microsoft... well... who really cares if IE9 won't support anything but this boobytrapped codec?

BFD IMHO.
More and more run Linux every day.
The Linux Distros are getting rather polished.
The sleepers stir and soon may wake, the tryanny of the elite may get tossed off here soon since things are going from inconvienent to painful (economy, politics, etc.)

This is like telling people that the Nazi Party is not going to support the Torah as book club canidate...

Or that the Black Panthers are not in fact allowing KKK members to join...

IE9 says no to Theora... Yeah...

In other news The Flintstones meet the Jetsons 2 has finally been cast with Alan Alda playing George Jetson with Harvey Kitel playing Cosmo. The Flintsons haven't been cast yet but odds are looking good for Warren Betty as Fred Flintson with Megan Fox as Wilma...

Fear (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32073530)

I find it amazing that fear of the submarine patents have seriously inhibited adoption of Ogg Theora. It just proves the power of a threat -- the bigger the perceived threat, the much less likely it has to be. Of course, it does not hurt a threat to have the support of people who stand to gain from the alternatives.
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