Another Follow-up on HTML5 Video in IE9

In previous posts, we described why IE9 will support H.264-encoded HTML5 video. Microsoft and other browser providers see hardware support, customer and partner readiness, and intellectual property rights as key factors making H.264 an excellent choice for video encoding and playback. These posts generated a significant amount of support and suggestions. This feedback together with today’s industry announcements create a good opportunity to follow up and provide more information about HTML5 video support in IE9.

In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows.

As we said at MIX recently, when it comes to HTML5, we’re all in. This level of commitment applies to the video codecs that IE9 will support as well. We are strongly committed to making sure that in IE9 you can safely view all types of content in all widely used formats. At the same time, Windows customers, developers, and site owners also want assurances that they are protected from IP rights issues when using IE9.

We have technical specifics to work through. We want to be clear about our intent to support the same markup in the open and interoperable web, and to do so in a manner consistent with our view of safety and security.

In the meantime, in choosing a video codec, customers and partners have many issues to consider.

Today, hardware support is widely available for H.264 both on PCs and phones. (You can read about the benefits of hardware acceleration here, or see an example of the benefits at the 26:35 mark here.) Codecs have been a source of security and reliability issues (link1, link2, link3, link4) for some users. New code often faces security issues; the H.264 codec in Windows 7 has been in broad use for some time now. Sites also need to think about the issues in supporting multiple formats.

As this article points out, the issue of potential patent liability is “ultimately for the courts to decide.” Some web groups have cited concerns about patent issues with similar codecs and the costs that may be associated with shipping codecs not covered by patent licenses. At the same time, there’s been community discussion about the lack of H.264 support in some browsers, for example here (via a comment on the IE blog).

Again, we want to be clear about our intent to support the same markup in the open and interoperable web. We are strongly committed to making sure that in IE9 you can safely view all types of content in all widely used formats. When it comes to video and HTML5, we’re all in. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows.

Dean Hachamovitch
General Manager, Internet Explorer

Note: as we said in our prior post, comments are not available on the IE blog this week due to a system upgrade.  We always want your thoughts and feedback, so we cross-published this post on the Windows blog. If you want to comment on this post, click here.

Articles referenced in this post:
Apple QuickTime H.264 Movie File Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
Benefits of GPU-powered HTML5
Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 435339 (at comment 60)
Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 435339 (at comment 79)
How Much Web Video Is iPad-Ready? About Two-Thirds. Really.
HTML5 video: Browser support (Wikipedia)
IEBlog : Follow Up on HTML5 Video in IE9
IEBlog : Follow Up on HTML5 Video in IE9 (comment)
IEBlog : HTML5 Video
Keynote Day 2 :: Sessions :: Microsoft MIX10 (at the 26:35 mark)
Know Your Rights: H.264, patent licensing, and you -- Engadget
Microsoft fires back at critics of its HTML5 strategy | ZDNet
Microsoft Intellectual Property Expansion: Frequently Asked Questions Nov. 10, 2004
Public Advisory: 04.09.10 // iDefense Labs
SecuriTeam - Apple QuickTime H.264 Nal Unit Length Heap Overflow Vulnerability
Use of Ogg formats in HTML5 (citation reference) (Wikipedia)
[whatwg] Removal of Ogg is *preposterous*"

Edit 2pm: typo correction in the 4th paragraph.

Comments (21)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Jesus, you're Microsoft. Stop pretending that you care about others' intellectual property rights and just give the browser the proper support developers expect (and rightly so). OK, so you bundle VP8 with IE and On2 decide they want some money… not like M$ can't afford it! So risk having to lose a little to give benefit to the developers =]

  2. johnnyq3 says:

    Will you provide a link to a stable codec for future Reference?

  3. Infinte says:

    That sounds good. But where can I download this codec????

    And please tell me ARE YOU GOING TO INPROVE the TEXT PROBLEM(What you need to do is to learn what the WPF Text group did)?

    And Where is the canvas? Or Direct manipulation on <img> bitmap data? Or manipulating DirectX textures that used for displaying contents on IE9? IT IS vital for your promission — ONE MARKUP!!

    Please don't make me, and EVERY WEB DEVELOPERS, frustrated again!

    Text improvements can be seen here:…/wpf-4-0-text-stack-improvements.aspx

  4. Infinte says:

    In my opinion, you can provide a CSS attribute named "-ms-text-formatting-mode", values are "ideal" and "display", for options that used for text rendering. This attribute's default value is "display".

    Like that in WPF.

  5. hAl says:

    I find it insulting to Microsoft customers that use the most advanced Microsoft codecs like WMV-HD and WMA-pro that those codecs are not supported by Microsofts own browser.

    Those codecs should be supported before an unproven codec like VP8.

  6. Mawich says:

    You're 'all in' yet you won't be shipping the VP8 codec, or even allowing the browser to use any codec which happens to be installed on the system? What makes H.264 and VP8 special? I get that there's an argument for restricting the codec pool to help encourage content creators to use widely-supported formats, but what about in the future if the codec situation changes? What if VP8 does get smashed to pieces in court when the patent trolls emerge? What if Theora becomes really good one day? We'll have to wait for you to release an IE update to allow us to use the codec even if we've got it installed on the system already?

  7. Jeff says:

    You are in a position where you can change everything…or not.

    Could you please tell us why you won't ship the VP8 with ie ) ? I want to know the reasons, because at first I felt angry but you might have reasons we don't know; I'm all ears

  8. Jeff says:

    In my previous comment I meant "vp8 CODEC"; so my question is, ok the implemention will be in IE but why not include the CODEC?

  9. hAl says:


    If Google is so certain that VP8 does not cause any risk of patent issues for Microsoft then why do they not provide indemnity for patent lawsuits

  10. Gyrobo says:

    I have a question about your audio support. In all versions of Internet Explorer since IE3 (including the latest IE9 preview), WAV PCM has been supported in the non-standard BGSOUND element, now superseded by AUDIO — and yet the only codecs the AUDIO element in IE9 supports are MP3 and AAC. Do you plan to also support WAV to preserve backward compatibility with existing content?

  11. @Gyrobo: The AUDIO tag will support AAC and MP3. BGSOUND will continue to support WAV.

  12. Gyrobo says:


    The two elements are functionally equivalent. What is the purpose of preventing a codec you *already support* from being used in a way that's consistent with other browsers? WAV may not be the ideal format for the web, but Mozilla, Opera and Safari all support it for AUDIO. Could you explain *why* this decision was made?

  13. Please clearify why IE9 will not support WMV in HTML5 video elements? This seems very strange to me.

  14. LLStarks says:

    Wikipedia relies heavily on OGG for soundbites. Why not support it out-of-box?

  15. tom says:

    IE9 is becoming IE6 again.

    Play video (VP8 codec) on Chrome and Mozilla… Work fine without problem.

    Try to play in IE9…BROKE!! more headache for the web developers.

    Please include VP8 codec in with IE9 browser without having to install VP8 codec on Windows.

  16. Ray Stantz says:

    "The AUDIO tag will support AAC and MP3. BGSOUND will continue to support WAV."

    @EricLaw: As Gyrobo said, WAV support would make sense for audio as bgsound already supports it. Similarly to the video tag, will Vorbis audio be supported by the audio tag if WebM support is installed on the system?

  17. Ralph says:

    WMV support? What a horrible idea! As soon as either WebM or H.264 has become the de-facto standard, support for all other codecs should be dropped until all vendors agree upon supporting a new one.

    Web designers should be forced to use interoperable formats, otherwise a lot of content will be inaccessible to users with the "wrong" browser/OS.

    Supporting OGG and WAV for audio seems like a good idea (don’t know about other browsers, but at least support for those formats can be easily added).

  18. Adam says:

    Several of you have already commented on Windows Media Video formats, and why they aren't supported by Internet Explorer.

    Here's a revolutionary idea for Internet Explorer, integrate with other Windows programs such as Windows Media Center/Player, to provide things like that, and take stress off the Internet Explorer development team.

    And guess what this revolutionary idea would lead to (possibly), a better IE, because IE developers will be spending more time working on what they should be working one IE.  While the Windows Media Foundation, and Direct X Foundation work on seperate things.


    In every blog post I comment on I like to leave a Random Idea, that hopefully is related.

    Random Idea:  You know the MS Office Web Apps, why not make like Windows Live Webapps, of Windows Media Player (or something else), that can be used by web developers, displayed on their site, then displayed to any browser that can connect with the Windows Live server itd be on.


    Just thought Id through those two ideas out there…

    Maybe the first idea would work, maybe it won't but if you could find a way to integrate them all in the next Windows OS, I think it would make (as Google says) "the most important application on your computer, alot better.

    I know the second one is a long shot, but I personally like coding for Windows Media Player, over iTunes, QuickTime, or RealPlayer, because it just seems to work better.

  19. Infinte says:

    The codec…

    First: WHERE IS IT? Defaultly supported? Or manually install? REMEMBER: 97% of internet users don't know how to install it.They KNOW ONLY: "This page is broken".

    It's a good idea for you that provide codecs on Microsoft site and download it when first time that needs to use it.

    Then: Where is the solution of issue #556799. You're ignoring 400 million internet users!

  20. pstinnett says:

    The Internet Explorer 9 HTML5 Canvas Campaign has been announced. The goal of this campaign is to get full support for HTML5 in the next version of Internet Explorer.  

    See more about the IE9 HTML5 campaign here:

  21. Clue says:

    pstinnett: No, that's not the goal of the campaign. The goal of the campaign is to get support for *CANVAS* not "full

    HTML5". The latter is meaningless, since no browser fully supports the "full" HTML5 spec, which isn't even done being written yet. Asking for CANVAS is a little less crazy, but again, the spec is still being written so it's a bit premature.

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