HTML5 Video Update—WebM for IE9


Today IE9 can play HTML5 video in both the industry-standard H.264 format and the
newer WebM format. With the WebM Project’s
release of WebM Components for IE9 (Preview),
Windows customers running IE9 can play WebM videos in Web pages. IE9 is the only
browser today committed to supporting both formats directly.

In the newly published
Video Format Support demo
at the IE Test Drive
site, you can try out for yourself Web pages with both video formats on them in
different browsers. You can see how Web site authors can adjust the experience on
their pages based on the browser and operating system the visitor is using. You
can also see the opportunity that HTML5 video offers publishers to make video an
integral part of the Web experience, especially when it is fully hardware accelerated.


alt="Demo page in IE9 before installing WebM components" />
Demo page in IE9 before installing WebM components


alt="Demo page in IE9 after installing WebM components and clicking refresh (F5)" />
Demo page in IE9 after installing WebM components and clicking refresh (F5)

Unanswered Questions

In a
previous post
about HTML5 video, we described the current situation that
consumers and publishers face, and
others in the industry
echoed the
questions for WebM
proponents. To summarize the situation:

  • IE9 supports HTML5 video using H.264, a high-quality and widely-used video format
    that serves the Web very well today. Microsoft has released add-ons for both Firefox
    and Chrome on Windows to add support for HTML5 video in H.264. “(These add-ins support
    the most basic consumer video playback scenarios in other browsers; to support additional
    HTML5 video scenarios, other browsers would need better video codec extensibility
    support or direct support for OS-provided video codecs.)”
  • IE9 supports HTML5 video using WebM for Windows customers who install third-party
    WebM support.
  • As an industry, we still face many legitimate, unanswered questions about liability,
    risks, and support for WebM, such as:

    • Who bears the liability and risk for consumers, businesses, and developers
      until the legal system resolves the intellectual property issues?
    • When and how does Google genuinely make room for the Open Web Standards community
      to engage?
    • What is the plan for restoring consistency across devices, Web services,
      and the PC?

Moving Forward

The people who build and use the Web deserve practical and consistent video support
rather than
ideology
. Working through these questions is part of moving the Web forward.
The Open Web is a product of consensus and open dialog. This post is part of the
dialog to move the Web forward.

—Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer

Comments (108)

  1. eyelidlessness says:

    "The people who build and use the Web deserve practical and consistent video support rather than ideology."

    That's exactly right. And it's exactly why a codec licensed freely to everyone is important. A web standardized on a royalty-encumbered codec is *neither* practical nor consistent.

  2. Chris says:

    eyelidlessness: Stop living in the past. They have explained ad nauseum that H.264 will never have royalty issues.

  3. Andrew says:

    That quote summarizes MS exactly.

    Also, seriously, final version, and no input placeholder attribute support? No required attribute support? No form validation? STILL no support of maxlength in textareas?!

    You may have border-radius finally but you are severely lacking in ability when it comes to forms!

  4. Mesofa says:

    Video is all well and good, but SVG filters, that's what we really need! Come on Microsoft!

  5. Bernard says:

    Chris: I guess it depends on what you mean by "issues." The reality is that if you want to have an h264 encoder or decoder in your software, or if you want to make money on your videos, you *do* have to pay royalties. Please do even cursory research before responding on this point.

    IE Team: While this blog post itself isn't exactly a beacon of good will (protip: IE9 is awesome; stop trying to sell it by tearing competitors down), *thank you thank you* for being the only browser to offer us actual choice when it comes to video. The <video> situation is unfortunate, but at least IE9 will be the one major part of my audience where the availability of a major video codec won't be dictating the choices my clients and I make.

  6. Brian LePore says:

    So … when does Opera get an H.264 add-on

    And no offense, but I really hate that first quesiton there. That is a good talking point, but the fact of the matter is that exactly question applies to H.264 as well.

    I don't really understand the third question.

    That said, I applaud Microsoft for at least playing the video if the user has the appropriate codec installed. I really wish all browsers were doing this and we were just battling about which formats are supported natively. This would at least display videos better for more users.

  7. WRONG says:

    Why do I need to install anything to ***NATIVELY*** support WebM?

    This is a Monopolistic FAIL.  Either ***FULLY*** support it out of the box – or STOP CLAIMING YOU SUPPORT WebM "Directly" – because you DO NOT!

  8. Asa Dotzler says:

    I think it's disingenuous to claim that IE supports both formats "directly".  It's not direct when users have to download and install a third-party Media Foundation component.  Please correct your opening paragraph to avoid misleading people. Not doing so would be a signal that you intend to mislead and I don't think any of us want to believe that. Thanks.

  9. joshuatee says:

    eventually, were gonna be enjoying

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    in both, H.264 and VPx, flavours?

    cool!

  10. Justification? says:

    "IE9 is the only browser today committed to supporting both formats directly." — what exactly is your definition of "directly"?  And how does IE support WebM any more "directly" than Firefox and Chrome?  All of the browsers need to install (optional) third-party plugins in order to use both formats …

  11. steve says:

    Along with @eyelidlessness's comment: "A web standardized on a royalty-encumbered codec…" – is simply NOT standardized and never will be.

    Supporting a web video format that does use a royalty-encumbered codec – IS THE ONLY ANSWER!

    Microsoft you need to get in a room with Mozilla, Google, Apple, & Opera… order a whole whack of pizza and wings… and come together and pick a non-royalty-encumbered codec.  If you can't all decide on one that you are all going to natively support.  Then you need to create a team between you, whose SOLE purpose is to come up with that format, that has no royalty-encumberments… (even if you have to write the damn thing from scratch!) and roll that out in all of your browsers.

    Anything less than 1 unified, non-royalty-encumbered format natively supported by all browsers – is a total HTML5 Video Fail.

  12. directly says:

    @Justification: directly means without a plug-in. The WebM installation is for a codec, not a plugin. The playback is still done by the browser, not a plugin. I'll grant that this is a very fine distinction, but it's still a distinction. I'm more concerned with the "supporting" part. If the third party codec fails, is Microsoft going to provide customer support for it?

  13. A340-600 says:

    Uh, are there sites that are using WebM, besides YouTube? I tried WebM playback on YouTube using Chrome but quickly went back to Flash.

  14. snarkmaiden says:

    @steve do you have any idea how much of the codec space is covered by patents and how hard it would be to write a codec that delivered quality and didnt break them? And can someone tell me why it's ok to insist that users buy new PCs to get hardware acceleration for something other than H.264 just because one's ideology says that haveing a codec someone earns a royalty from for their work is opposed to their philosophy? because I haven't seen anyone backporting WebM acceleration to the Broadcom chip in my netbook…

  15. iPulp says:

    I am really happy with where IE9 is going. However, as publisher of iPulpFiction.com, I have a vested interest in all browsers supporting the CSS 3 multi-column capabilities. IE9 has not shown any progress along those lines. It is the only major browsers not to offer support. Are you working on it? I'd like to be able to recommend IE to our readers.

  16. alvatrus says:

    Thanks  to Microsoft to recognise that we need one (and only one) video standard – a standard that has been proven and embraced in a much wider context than only the browser. A standard that has been adopted by the industry and that we all sustain and pay for through electronics hardware such as compact and video cameras.

    As a parallel, incompatible "standard" invented by a single company, WebM should go the same way as IE6. Only a lot sooner and with a lot less traction, I hope.

    if you want WebM support, then install the codec yourself. Microsoft does *not* want to add another patent trolling risk to their portfolio. It great that Google (and all the WebM implementors) are fine with that, but that's hardly something to hold against Microsoft.

  17. Pete says:

    Which intellectual property issues? Until today there are no known issues, so you should rather say "_possible_ intellectual property issues". And if we are at it, the  term "intellectual property" is misleading for a number of reasons and specifically misleading in this case as it is generally used to describe copyright, not patents.

  18. heh says:

    "The people who build and use the Web deserve practical and consistent video support rather than ideology."

    That's pathetically low and hypocritical, even for Microsoft scum.

  19. Hugh says:

    I'm not sure what "only browser … supporting both" is supposed to infer. I just tried that test page in Chrome and all four videos played fine. Is IE claiming no non-IE9 browser supports the formats on that test page?

  20. Kroc Camen says:

    "Who bears the liability and risk for consumers, businesses, and developers until the legal system resolves the intellectual property issues?"

    Better go read your H.264 licence, because it doesn't bear any liability either.

    "When and how does Google genuinely make room for the Open Web Standards community to engage?"

    When and how does the MPEG-LA genuinely make room for the Open Web Standards community to engage? The answer is not at all, not ever.

    "What is the plan for restoring consistency across devices, Web services, and the PC?"

    WebM is the plan. You're blocking it.

  21. Jean-Baptiste Bourgoin says:

    «« IE9 is the only browser today committed to supporting both formats directly. »»

    False.

    1) IE9 doesn't support Webm directly. A plugin is not a direct support.

    2) Epiphany support really directly Webm and Theora/ogg and H264 a long time ago.

    3) You can thanks Google for that.

  22. Pete says:

    @snarkmaiden: Do you have any idea how specific most of these patents are and how narrow their claims are in order to not get accepted? Don't forget that abstract ideas by itself are still not patentable. Also, see carlodaffara.conecta.it

  23. Berry says:

    Interesting that there is Flash but not Silverlight is not on the video test site.

  24. Arieta says:

    @Kroc Cramen: "WebM is the plan. You're blocking it."

    h264 is ALREADY supported in nearly everything… What "plan" is WebM compared to that, is it even hardware-accelerated? And how is Microsoft blocking that so-called "plan" by actually supporting WebM?

  25. WarpKat says:

    I agree with one of the posters who brought to the forefront that MS doesn't "directly" support WebM – the user has to install it manually.

    So how about MS makes the download available as a necessary component through Windows Update instead?

    Call it KB1337OMGWTFIHAZWEBM.

    I say that as a recommended course of action because…unless we've all forgotten…MS did the same with the forced installation of .Net for Firefox, so nobody can say it can't be done.

    THEN we can say MS "directly" supports WebM…kinda…

    My current dilemma revolves around IE8 – and my question now becomes this:  will IE8 support playback of WebM?  My company is stuck with XP and we have no upgrade path to IE9 except to purchase new machines with Win7, which isn't much of an option because of lacking support for other software we're currently using – it simply won't work on Win7.

    So the GoogleSoft Alliance simply can't abandon WebM playback on IE8 – I'm sure we're not the only company stuck with XP…

  26. José Pedro says:

    @Arieta and everyone else supporting IE's stand or against WebM: MPEG LA does not offer protection to h264 patents outside their patent wall (the same as Google with WebM), h264 can not be accepted by the W3C as a WEB standard due to royalties (thus making it worse than WebM regarding standards), thus also placing the burden to restore consistency in the IE team as they are the ones promoting an unstandardizable codec, while Google is actually trying to promote a web browser and a phone OS which support WebM. Also, WebM already has their first hardware decoder available for use: blog.webmproject.org/…/introducing-anthill-first-vp8-hardware.html

  27. Richard Maynard says:

    @Dean Hachamovitch: "The people who build and use the Web deserve practical and consistent video support rather than ideology."

    Backing a format, such as  H.264, which does not conform to the licencing norms for Web standards strikes me as being a decision far more driven by ideology than backing a format that does, such as WebM.

  28. Jose Pedro says:

    Ignore my link, that's an hardware encoder, but I am aware there is a hardware decoder, if I recall correctly.

  29. David S says:

    @WRONG I imagine you don't have Flash installed in your browser…

    I don't see what the issue is. As long as there is a way to play both formats everyone should be happy. Plus the video tag really doesn't matter. Flash provides an exponentially better user experience than any implementation of HTML5 video I've seen. The controls suck and I don't think I've seen it do actual full screen. Also the videos that are worth watching are going to have some sort of DRM. How can you stop someone from downloading the video in HTML5?

  30. Aethec says:

    Question for all people who want IE to support WebM natively: Will you give money to MS when they get sued because WebM is not patent-free? (the fact Google refuses to give legal protection to companies using WebM is the proof they know WebM is not patent-free and, sadly, will never be thanks to the USA's patent system)

    Google must have been taking lessons from Steve Jobs, their reality distortion field has become pretty big recently.

  31. AMWJ says:

    Would a Theora Media Foundation plugin work also if it existed?

  32. Jose Pedro says:

    @Aethec Have you even read my comment? h264 does not give protection to any patent OUTSIDE their patent wall either (the license is only to protect from patents inside the patent pool, they basically make you pay so no company inside the pool will sue you). If someone has a patent for h264 which is not in the patent pool, they can sue any company, including Microsoft, and MPEG LA will not help Microsoft, nor any other company, in such situation. What you said is a moot point, because both codecs can have submarine patents nobody knows about.

  33. Craig says:

    I have to agree with others: IE9 does not natively support WebM if I need to manually install its components from a third party. This is nothing more than "native support" for Flash or PDF.

    Also, regardless of this native support that you are offering, the WebM link is for the Preview release of IE9.

    As I am running the final release, I cannot determine if this download is appropriate or (natively) supported.

    Please update your native support of this component for the final release.

  34. mehmehmeh says:

    @Aethec, your comment is deceptive and dishonest.

    Observe:

    "Question for all people who want IE to support WebM natively: Will you give money to MS when they get sued because WebM is not patent-free?"

    There is no evidence whatsoever that WebM violates any patents. In fact, On2's business model relied on avoiding patents. H264, on the other hand, has no such background. H264 is simply a patent pool. No attempt was made to avoid infringement.

    "the fact Google refuses to give legal protection to companies using WebM is the proof they know WebM is not patent-free"

    The MPEG-LA refuses to give legal protection to companies using H264. According to you, this is proof they know H264 is not patent-free.

    And indeed, again, VP8 was created specifically to be patent-free. H264 was created simply by pooling patents without actually looking for any other patents that may affect it.

    So H264 is MORE dangerous than VP8.

  35. 6205 says:

    These codecs are the best

    http://xiph.org/dshow/

  36. hAl says:

    WebM is a poor choice for IE9 users.

    It increases the size of videofiles

    It has fairly poor performing software encoders and decoders

    It has no hardware accleration support

    All of this leads to a much less effcient and slower browsing experience for IE9 users if they encouter sites with WebM in stead of h.264 video.

    For IE9 user that all have h.264 codec additional support for the VP8 codec in WebM is just a menace that has absolutely no value whatsoever.

  37. nooope says:

    @hAl

    All your claims about WebM are either grossly exaggerated, purely dishonest, or simply misleading. Please stop the dishonest FUD against WebM now.

    H264 is a threat to the open web. That's the bottom line.

  38. Jace says:

    One more try for reading comprehension. I'm quite certain that the post says "Directly", not "Natively"

    There's quite a difference. If you don't understand the difference, maybe you're not qualified to be bashing Microsoft on this topic. If you're mis-quoting/mis-using "natively" or "directly", try re-reading the post.

    Also review the meanings of codec and plugin, then back up and review what Microsoft and other browser vendors are doing?

  39. I'm .Net developer, I use Internet for over 15 years I'dont belive how power of Microsoft ignorance is to DISABLE CLEAR TYPE OFF in IE!!!!  I change browser to Chrome after 15 years of using IE.

  40. joshuatee says:

    please excuse my ignorance, whats webm precisely?

    a codec, a container, an implentation, a standard or yet another attempt of googles to stifle the web?

  41. Echo 8 says:

    Re: Not directly supported crowd.

    Does no one actually read the links? The WebM component in question adds OPERATING SYSTEM support for WebM, not just for IE. With it installed, from IE's point of view, WebM gets treated exactly the same as H.264.

  42. Ken Jackson says:

    Why are people so dumb?  Echo 8, the trollers here don't understand computer technology.  They can't be expected to understand the difference between a codec and a plugin.  They don't have any idea how IE9 uses the H264 and WebM codec in the exact same way.  I'm saddened for them.

  43. Steve Kelly says:

    The WebM component is still beta ("preview release"). I do not install beta software outside a VM. So I cannot use this yet. Let us know when a final release is available.

  44. hAl says:

    @Nooope

    You want facts:

    De VP8 codec in WebM is a pure proprietary format owned and controlled by Google.

    De h.264 codec is not a propietary format but is an ISO/IEC standard

    There is currently no hardware accelleration for VP8 on existing devices and it might take years before such hardware support will be availalbe to everyone on each device. That is especially anoying for IE9 users that already have hardware accelerated html5 video support using h.264.

    VP8 is a less efficient codec than h.264 and thus requires larger video files. Files might be 10%, 20% or even 40% larger to have equal video quality to AVC/h.264. That mean extra downloading which (if de codec is massively used) will affect internet traffic and ISPs bandwith and in the end cost the endusers which foot the bill.

    The current lack of hardware accelleration and the required extra bandwith usage will also mean more energy used for WebM than for h.264. That makes WebM a needless waste of energy and a non-green choice.

    WebM is not a codec for environmentalists.

  45. Mario says:

    I Will Not Install WebM Unless Microsoft sends it as an update for IE9  or unless Microsoft Creates an IE9 addon for WebM Support.   I never trusted google.   never will.  google is evil

  46. Böcker says:

    @hAl: Flash didn't use hardware acceleration for playing H.264 files for some time, hardware acceleration for VP8 should be easier since it can step into the footsteps of h.264. Also, when playing a baseline video most power is actually consumed for apparently trivial tasks like color conversion.

  47. hAl says:

    @Bocker

    This is not about flash but about the html5 codec for IE9.

    And we know that h.264 is hardware accellerated and VP8 isn't.

    A VP8 encoded HD movie is virtually unplayable on a netbook with W7 starter edition but a h.264 HD video is not a problem

  48. Matthew Heaney says:

    @directly: Google has been working with Microsoft for several months to allow the WebM integration with IE9 to be as seamless as possible.  If you have any problem with the WebM Media Foundation components for IE9, just file a bug report, and if a fix is necessary, we'll push it out in the next update.

    http://bit.ly/fF1KI3

    You can also join the WebM discussion group if you have comments or questions:

    http://bit.ly/fDMmtR

    In fact, we had our first feature request from a user today, and the sources have already been patched.

    Regards,

    Matt

  49. joshuatee says:

    "Google has been working with Microsoft"

    scary

  50. Jose Pedro says:

    @hAl: You said:

    "It has fairly poor performing software encoders and decoders"

    False, the ffvp8 decoder ( x264dev.multimedia.cx/…/499 ) is made by the same team that made x264 (the best h264 encoder) and is incredibly fast by using the same back-end as the one used by the x264 decoder and several other known formats (ffmpeg).

    "VP8 is a less efficient codec than h.264 and thus requires larger video files. Files might be 10%, 20% or even 40% larger to have equal video quality to AVC/h.264. That mean extra downloading which (if de codec is massively used) will affect internet traffic and ISPs bandwith and in the end cost the endusers which foot the bill."

    While true, such differences are only noticeable when h.264 videos are encoded in the high quality profile (I forget the exact wording), which is not appropriate for mobile devices as these do not have the power to handle them (they literally refuse to support it). When encoding a video in the standard profile, although h.264 has a slightly better quality than vp8, this is barely noticeable, especially on high motion scenes.

    "It has no hardware accleration support (…) There is currently no hardware accelleration for VP8 on existing devices and it might take years before such hardware support will be availalbe to everyone on each device. That is especially anoying for IE9 users that already have hardware accelerated html5 video support using h.264."

    False: http://www.webmproject.org/hardware

    Furthermore, implementing hardware acceleration for VP8 is as "hard" as updating the firmware of the chip used to accelerate other video formats (like h.264). So if a device supports a specific hardware accelerated video codec, it can support VP8.

    "De VP8 codec in WebM is a pure proprietary format owned and controlled by Google. De h.264 codec is not a propietary format but is an ISO/IEC standard"

    Being an ISO/IEC standard is irrelevant if the format is patent encumbered and there is a need to pay royalties, as W3C, the only RELEVANT standards association (for this specific discussion, regarding web standards) does not accept to be in their specs formats that require the payment of royalties. On the other side, VP8 has no limitation so far that prevents it to become a W3C recommendation.

    "The current lack of hardware accelleration and the required extra bandwith usage will also mean more energy used for WebM than for h.264. That makes WebM a needless waste of energy and a non-green choice. WebM is not a codec for environmentalists."

    Having in account my previous arguments, this argument was already rebutted.

  51. Jose Pedro says:

    Update: When I said

    "'It has no hardware accleration support (…) There is currently no hardware accelleration for VP8 on existing devices and it might take years before such hardware support will be availalbe to everyone on each device. That is especially anoying for IE9 users that already have hardware accelerated html5 video support using h.264.'

    False: http://www.webmproject.org/hardware (…)"

    I meant that although it currently has no hardware acceleration on Windows, the fact that graphic card companies (such as Nvidia and the ATI owner AMD) are supporting the codec, it is predictable that their graphics card's firmware and drivers will receive updates to implement hardware acceleration and probably soon.

  52. Jose Pedro says:

    Also, here is proof of my latest comment: http://www.webmproject.org/…/supporters

  53. joshuatee says:

    "VP8 has no limitation so far that prevents it to become a W3C recommendation."

    still google are reluctant to submit it?

  54. Jordan Biserkov says:

    Am I the only one who gets "Your browser cannot play H.264 high/baseline profile content with the HTML5 video element. You aborted the video playback." on a gray background?

    32bit IE 9.0.8112.16421 on Windows 7 Professional x64

    Email me: Firstname@Lastname.com for more information.

  55. Michael says:

    What about if you have Windows N edition installed? Then you need WMP, which is completely unnecessary…

  56. Richard says:

    @David S. – "Also the videos that are worth watching are going to have some sort of DRM. How can you stop someone from downloading the video in HTML5?"

    Now you are missing the point! Which part of the Open Web blocks users from doing stuff with the content they have access to?  More importantly if you think that Flash actually stops people from downloading videos of any kind you are very, sadly mistaken… Hundreds of Flash video/audio downloaders exist and are use thousands if not millions of times a day.

    From a developer perspective I don't care what the format is as long as it meets these goals:

    1.) I will publish videos that I serve up from my site in 1 (and only one) format/encoding

    2.) The format/encoding will not be DRM-encumbered (or provide such an option)

    3.) The format/encoding will not contain royalty-encumbered nonsense that makes it a financially and/or logistically awkward for me to support

    4.) The format/encoding will work natively in all major browsers (desktop and mobile) without the need to download a plugin

    a.) Therefore h.264 will not work because it FAILS #2 and #3… which means it CAN'T pass #4… and therefore FAILS #1

    b.) WebM (with minor tweaking) could PASS #1, #2, and #3… which means that *if* all browsers supported it natively it would PASS #4

    c.) Some other format that solves #1, #2, #3, #4 would also work.

    However what is plain as day, is that h.264 is not the answer, and NEVER could be.  Microsoft made a wise choice to support WebM… but they FAILED to execute by not shipping IE9 with standard support out of the box.

    Finally, this is only the tip of the iceburg.  The same problem exists for HTML5 Audio.

    It's time to come together and solve this once and for all.  Drop h.264, and find and support one universal web video format.

    Rich

  57. LeChuck says:

    @Chris: Stop living in the past. They have explained ad nauseum that H.264 will never have royalty issues.

    Who are "they" and why haven't they made it officially and perpetually royalty-free then?

  58. Biased Encode By Microsoft says:

    Microsoft is probably intentionally trying to give WebM a bad name through making a terrible WebM encode for the demo site. I've done an encode of the trailer at the same bitrate of their encode and here is an image comparison of the result (Microsoft encode on the right):

    http://ubuntuone.com/p/i4j/

    I think the differences are beyond my ability to comment.

  59. Mac says:

    @Richard: the problem is that we are looking at the issue from the developer (or the publisher) perspective, understandably. End users have different priorities, the top of which is a video format that provides the best quality/bandwidth ratio there is. As long as a new format doesn't beat H.264 in a significant way, then it's not the best choice, regardless of how open or unencumbered it might be.

    Now, I may sympathize with the ideology behind supporting an open format, but I think that what Microsoft is doing here is the soundest approach circumstances allow. Google, Mozilla and Opera have enough combined "mass" to make sure that WebM will enjoy at least some popularity, but this will ultimately create a fracture: publishers will either have to take sides on the subject or pay the price of supporting two separate formats, and end users will have to suffer from a suboptimal experience when they have to watch videos from some sites using Flash or Silverlight.

    The best solution would be if all the browsers out there supported both formats, which would leave publishers free to chose the format they favor without impacting end users. The line Microsoft is taking is not optimal, as they don't provide the WebM codec themselves, but they do support the format, and it's a lot better than what other browser vendors are doing, taking a hard stance on the issue.

    End users are worth supporting, video formats are not.

  60. DanglingPointer says:

    That’s a great step towards interoperability and standard support. But how about Ogg Theora support? For example, if you visit this link en.wikipedia.org/…/Microsoft_Anna and try to play the media at right, you will find that IE9 fails the execution. Even, there is no concept of fallback for this one. Wikipedia is so pervasive these days, at least they shouldn't be using the non-standard media format.

  61. joshuatee says:

    im affraid wiki lost credibility after the the latest google stunt ;(

    or before?

  62. jabcreations says:

    H.264 / MP4

    –links to–

    MPEG LA

    –links to–

    DVD6C (patent pool)

    –links to–

    Warner Home Video

    –links to–

    Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

    –links to–

    MPAA

    –links to–

    Suing grandmothers

    I have not, will not nor ever will use H.264. The only ones advocating it's use are patent trolls who want nothing more then to monopolize the web with their codec in order to suck money dry out of anyone and everyone they can. If ANY browser does not support something out-of-the-box it does not support something.

    In Laymen's Terms IE9 does not support the HTML5 video element (along with Apple's Safari browser) and web designers like myself will have to deal with IE not supporting HTML5 video for what…a decade? That's not what I consider interoperability.

  63. Ryan Sharp says:

    This is more FUD tactics from Micro$haft again.  This whole PR release is disgusting to be honest. Not a single word of it is objective. Half of it is to cast FUD against WebM and the other half if a pathetic attempt to appear impartial while championing H.264. Please give it a rest M$ – you guys are getting worse than politicians.

  64. hAl says:

    @Jose Pedro

    As I stated there is no CURRENT support for hardware acceleration. Nvidia and AMD might be supporter but thay have not released drivers that support VP8 and they might not do so unless they get indemnity insurance by Google on  IP rights. amd even then they are unlikely to update all hardware but likely only new hardware and upmarket hardware. Cheap integrated gfx hardware which powers most hardware is even unlikely to be updated

    IE9 is a current browser and a this time WebM is just a burden slowing IE9 down considerably.

    You said:

    "When encoding a video in the standard profile, although h.264 has a slightly better quality than vp8, this is barely noticeable, especially on high motion scenes"

    It currently required still more data to produce identical quality video. So for every WebM video you can always produce a smaller h.264 to get the same video. A that size difference is not slight but is fairly significant. There is no use talking quality delivering fvideo in quality difference. Only size difference in the same quality matters as a website is always be able to deliver the same video at smaller bitrates using h.264 which is a performance and bandwith benefit for a website.

    Being a ISO/IEC standard is not irrelevant. It means that no private party owns and controls the format. It also means that every party involved in the development of h.264 (which was most video tech companies) was required to limit their IP right claims. Quallcom who tried to sue people over h.264 IP rights was denied by a judge because they were party in the development and had not disclosed that IP which was a requiredment of ISO/IEC.  

    The VP8 codec however is a proprietary format owned and controlled by Google that as open as the old binairy MS Office files. Any possible IP right owner can put a claim and none is limited in that claim. As most IP rights claims become clear only  after about 2-3 years it is much to early to implement VP8 worldwide with indemnity insurance by Google.

    X264 developers have already stated that VP8 uses similar technologies to h.264. That is indicative of a massive risk that WebM also uses patetend technologies for h.264. If Google is so confident that the technologie is not patent encumbered they should idemnify everyone using the codec. Why don't they do that?  Why should others take a risk in implementing a codec that is fully owned and controlled by Google?

  65. Leave a Comment says:

    Microsoft is part of the MPEG-LA patent pool and collect massive royalties from H.264. This can't ever be adopted for an free/open web.

  66. joshuatee says:

    hm,

    x264?

  67. Bello says:

    > X264 developers have already stated that VP8 uses similar technologies to h.264.

    See carlodaffara.conecta.it

  68. meni says:

    joshuatee,

    Since you mentioned wikipedia and Google, two of greatest things of our age (no offense it's only my opinion), i wanted to ask what exactly do you mean:

    "im affraid wiki lost credibility after the the latest google stunt ;(

    or before?"

    My views: 1) As a 45 yo knowledge buff, wikipedia is the greatest thing that came out of the internet bare none. More important then email, video, search, file sharing, and whatnot. As a kid in my country it was a struggle to get knowledge. we had book stores and libraries, and quite poor ones. It puzzels me to no end when i hear someone denigrate wikipedia.

    2) Google is the company that is the successor to bell labs. It may mean zilch to you, but for me it menas the world. First in spirit, which means open-source. Yes bell-labs had the SPIRIT of open source even before the term was coined. Second, in contribution to the computing world. In this ultra-fast tech world, isn't it a miricle that you can buy a 25 year old book about unix programming and have it be 100% relevant today? Try that with VB6 :-) Google is advancing the open, free, internet. I can only thank god that Microsoft's plan of pushing Silverlight bombed so bad. Just my view.

  69. Michael A. Puls II says:

    "directly"

  70. Mike Dimmick says:

    @Kroc Camen:

    US courts have *already* struck down an attempt by Qualcomm to troll Broadcom, with a patent not included in the disclosed pool, and ruled that their patent claims should not cover H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10.

    H.264 has come out of the ITU and ISO/IEC MPEG committee open standards development processes. These are the same processes that cover development of pretty much all the major programming languages. Other major standards organizations follow the same rules for patented materials in standards.

    ECMA's Patent Policy, which covers ECMAScript (JavaScript) is at http://www.ecma-international.org/…/codeofconduct.htm:

    2. If an Ecma International Standard is developed and a party may own or control a patent or application with claims that are required to implement such Ecma International Standard, three different situations may arise:

    2.1 The patent holder is prepared to grant licenses free of charge to other parties on a non-discriminatory basis on reasonable terms and conditions. Negotiations are left to the parties concerned and are performed outside of Ecma International.

    2.2 The patent holder is prepared to grant licenses to other parties on a non-discriminatory basis on reasonable terms and conditions. Negotiations are left to the parties concerned and are performed outside of Ecma International.

    For patented technology contributed to and incorporated into a Final Draft Ecma International Standard by a patent holder member, the patent holder member may select 2.1 or 2.2.  If such patent holder member does not make a selection, 2.2 shall apply.

    2.3 For patented technology contributed by a party other than the patent holder, the patent holder is not prepared to comply with the provisions of either Paragraph 2.1 or Paragraph 2.2.

    IEEE-SA (for Ethernet and WiFi): standards.ieee.org/…/sect6-7.html

    A Letter of Assurance shall be either:

    a) A general disclaimer to the effect that the Submitter without conditions will not enforce any present or future Essential Patent Claims against any person or entity making, using, selling, offering to sell, importing, distributing, or implementing a compliant implementation of the standard; or

    b) A statement that a license for a compliant implementation of the standard will be made available to an unrestricted number of applicants on a worldwide basis without compensation or under reasonable rates, with reasonable terms and conditions that are demonstrably free of any unfair discrimination. At its sole option, the Submitter may provide with its assurance any of the following: (i) a not-to-exceed license fee or rate commitment, (ii) a sample license agreement, or (iii) one or more material licensing terms.

    IETF, for TCP, IP, HTTP and other Internet RFCs defining protocols: http://www.ietf.org/…/rfc3979.txt

    Since IPR disclosures will be used by IETF working groups during their evaluation of alternative technical solutions, it is helpful if an IPR disclosure includes information about licensing of the IPR in case Implementing Technologies require a license.  Specifically, it is helpful to indicate whether, upon approval by the IESG for publication as RFCs of the relevant IETF specification(s), all persons will be able to obtain the right to implement, use, distribute and exercise other rights with respect to an Implementing Technology a) under a royalty-free and otherwise reasonable and non-discriminatory license, or b) under a license that contains reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions, including a reasonable royalty or other payment, or c) without the need to obtain a license from the IPR holder.

    Only W3C insists on royalty-free licensing. The rest of the standards bodies do not.

    MPEG LA is simply a licensing company, that administers licences on behalf of the patent holders. The list of patent holders for H.264 is at http://www.mpegla.com/…/Licensors.aspx. Note it's mostly consumer electronics manufacturers and telecomms companies, not software companies. MPEG LA has nothing to do with defining the standards.

    Anyone wanting to propose a new video encoding format to ITU and ISO/IEC, or participate in developing new standards, can do so. Indeed MPEG are appealing for royalty-free formats. If you want to contribute feel free to join the Joint Video Team, for improvements to MPEG-4 (http://www.itu.int/…/jvt.aspx) or the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding for H.264's successor (http://www.itu.int/…/jctvc.aspx).

    H.264 is already very, very widely used, as the main codec for high-definition broadcast digital television (some use MPEG-2, which is also patented and licensed by MPEG LA), for Blu-Ray, for video playback on the iPod, and as the main codec used by Flash. Google and the other browser makers are trying to re-fight a battle that was lost five years ago.

  71. aidusa says:

    @Mike Dimmick: Nice wall of text, unfortunately it is in vain. MPEG-LA's monopoly over the video industry is very dangerous. Simply asking every browser vendor to pay them large royalties is crippling. Does this mean no one in the world can develop a standards-compliant browser without having to pay royalties to MPEG-LA? According to word from x264 developers, VP8 can *exceed* H.264 given a good encoder (like xvp8).

  72. hAl says:

    @aidusa

    "Simply asking every browser vendor to pay them large royalties is crippling"

    Nearly everybody already supports h.264 on their devices beacause is it a common format that everydoby is using already

    99% of new computer and smartphones have h.264 codecs on them (Windows 7 , OS X, Ubuntu depending on OEM, Android, iPhone, Windows Phoen 7)

    Browsers can hook into those exisiting codecs easily.

    That means browser do not really need to distribute any h.264  codecs or mayby only a few if they aboslutly needed to.

    So the cost aspect for browservendors is bogus. codec aare already out threre. Browser do not need to pay any significant royaltiies f they use the existing codec on computers.

    In fact for Firefox the code to hook into the Directshow h.264 codecs on Windows was already developed but it was never used in the browser.

    Pushing WebM, a codec owned by the main sponsor of Firefox however is not a problem for Firefox.

    Licensing cost is not the issue here but politics and control over formats.

  73. aidusa says:

    If MPEG-LA  grants users a worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free patent license (like what Google did), then maybe I'll consider using their format. There is no guarantee that MPEG-LA will not suddenly change their minds and start asking for royalties on serving video. Also, next iterations of VP8 will always be free and have the same license. When H.264 becomes irrelevant and multimedia needs increase exponentially, you'll find yourself begging MPEG-LA again to make H.265 or (whatever their successor format is) free in the aspects of web video. Spare me that.

  74. Alistair says:

    Note: Firefox CANNOT bundle H.264 since as it is a closed proprietary format. Doing so violates their it's open source license as everything included in the package must also be open source. This is true of any application that has a GPL like license and is another reason why WebM is the only sane choice.

    Microsoft, you are a huge corporation. that is all.

  75. Ooh says:

    @hAl: +1

  76. David S says:

    I still see HTML5 video as a novelty. Until there are some nice jQuery plugins to make the interface decent it's a step backwards in terms of UX.

    Also how will content providers like Hulu ensure that your videos are interrupted with ads? A 5 yr old could right click and download any video like a jpeg. The open source crowd is really like a bunch of hippies. The world doesn't work that way. I don't see any provider of movies and TV shows making their content available through this medium. This is purely for Joe Shmoe user created videos.

  77. John says:

    Now that the Firefox 4 RC is out, will you guys update your H.264 plugin to work with it?

  78. Ian says:

    Please tell me again how many worm spread by people downlowding fake video codec….  Now a lot of people will think it is OK to download a video codec when a website says it needs it!

  79. @meni says:

    Wow, you have been following up with the MSDN blogs so punctually. Apparently, you are pretty inspired by their advancements and products. So do I.

  80. Shmerl says:

    > The people who build and use the Web deserve practical and consistent video support rather than ideology.

    MS is of course weak on ideology, but you are missing the point. Practical and consistent technologies for the Web should be free and open by default, and that's how W3C defines them. That's why H.264 will never be good for Web video, unless MPEG-LA will just disband themselves, or software patents will be gone for good.

  81. meni says:

    someone said: "Wow, you have been following up with the MSDN blogs so punctually. Apparently, you are pretty inspired by their advancements and products. So do I."

    I was never inspired by Microsoft. Yes, its a great ENGINEERING company. Yes, it produces very tight code, mainly in the Windows division (I remember the pascal calling convention being used to save 4 bytes for every system call).  But compare that to bell-labs. Which I'd say was an ARTISTIC  workplace. Think about the creation of the C language, makefiles, source-code mangment tools, and on and on. Pure masterpieces with unix at the core. Granted, not everything was new (c has other languages as predecessors), but such a concentration of great things is rare in the field of CS and the mark of an inspiring company.

  82. Echo 8 says:

    @Leave a Comment

    "Microsoft is part of the MPEG-LA patent pool and collect massive royalties from H.264. This can't ever be adopted for an free/open web."

    They've stated in earlier blog entries that MS pays far more royalties than it receives in order to include H.264 support in their operating systems, as do Apple does for theirs. They're already paying money for the capability, so why not use it?

  83. rekced says:

    "Unanswered Questions"

    aka Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

  84. @meni says:

    Having said that, in the domain of CS, I believe MS and Redhat etc. (MS majorly as to speak) have played a vital role over the years in academics all around the world. AFAIK, in University & Colleges .NET and earlier Visual C/VB and Sun's JAVA this set of languages helped delivering notable computer scientist, s/w eng, s/w developers etc. Thus, in the life of an average computer scientist, MS, Redhat/other-*nix/Sun(ORACLE) etc. are the known entities. No objectiveC, Go etc. have any significant participation yet.

  85. brianary says:

    You want to play the mutual-assured-destruction patent card?

    You'd better prepare a liability statement for every single technology used by every single one of your products.

    Last I checked, Microsoft was locked in any number of struggles against patent holders.

    All you've really done is call attention to how badly the patent system is broken, and how no one without a cadre of lawyers should feel safe to innovate or create.

    Do you really want managers starting to question liability and risk for everything they buy?

  86. Leave a Comment says:

    @Echo 8: Even if Microsoft paid full royalties to MPEG-LA (which they don't because they are part of it), they won't be affected by it since Microsoft is a massive corporation. For companies and institutions that are not as big as Microsoft, these royalties are crippling. This simply means that no developer in the world can develop a web browser that is standards-compliant, unless he pays royalties for it . That can't ever be adopted for the free/open web.

  87. Peter says:

    No user care about this WebM H264, Theora thing. An user click on "WebM for IE" install and forget it. He did it already for Flash, Silverlight, … in the past. On a website an user see no difference. BUT, and this is the point where MS must do something, I really don't think that any user search on the google page for WebM-Addon updates, this should happens through the automatic windows updates. A build-in update checker in the WebM addon have the same annoying level than the Flash updater. MS should open the update server for things like this.

  88. snarkmaiden says:

    @pete – actually, I think that's rather the point; the On2 guys were trying to avoid patents and chose some inefficient options to do so in some cases (that the massive 100 videos they use as their test set are part of the quality problems with WebM as currently available – I haven't seen any of the promised internal improvements make it into the code base, but that's a different argument). The engineering space of efficient, quality video codecs is substantially covered by patents, so just thrashing out some super new codec over beers n wings is pretty unlikely.

  89. @snarkmaiden says:

    Different does not mean worse.  VP8 is better than H.264 in certain areas, it's just that the currently and only implementation is not good enough. Wait for xvp8.

  90. hAl is lying says:

    Why is "hAl" actively lying? Observe:

    "De VP8 codec in WebM is a pure proprietary format owned and controlled by Google."

    This is a blatant lie. WebM is an open-source project sponsored by Google and others. Google has given away all rights, and anyone can use it freely for anything.

    Please stop lying, hAl.

  91. Klimax says:

    @"hAl is lying" He is not. But you are very wrong. You can have all source code,but if specification is trumped by code and all relevant things are owned by one compeny we are talking about faux open techology.

  92. Final Selection says:

    So its clear we need to all get on board with a single unified format for Web Video – that is not h.264 due to royalty issues.

    the only question therefore is – can we make WebM work? or do we need to roll a new video format to get around all the encumberments entrenched into all the other formats?

    Awaiting progress on the final solution

    Mike

  93. @Klimax says:

    Klimax you are very wrong. Read the patent license; it has nothing to do with code.

  94. hAl says:

    No, you are very wrong.

    Google own and controls the VP8 format.

    VP8 is thus a proprietary format

    (Just like the old MS Office binary formats which are also free to use and have a free patent licence)

  95. Klimax says:

    Patents are only part of picture.

  96. tsop says:

    "Google own and controls the VP8 format."

    MPEG-LA own and control the H.264 format AND ask browser vendors to pay royalties.

  97. MPEG-LA monopoly says:

    MPEG-LA's monopoly over the video industry is against all anti-trust laws. There is no way a for-profit coalition of companies (who proved evil throughout their existence) can name themselves the authority over a certain industry.

  98. sigh says:

    @Klimax, hAl is indeed lying, because he is making a claim he KNOWS is false. WebM is an open-source project. You can freely take the source code and the specification and do whatever you want with it. It's under an irrevocable BSD license. Now you are a liar too.

  99. sigh says:

    @hAl

    Please stop lying now. WebM is available under a BSD license, which means that you can basically do anything with it, including fork it and make your own closed-source codec without sharing further work with others. You also have an irrevocable patent license, as Google gave up all patent rights.

    VP8 is not a proprietary format, because it is an open-source project sponsored by several companies and organizations, including Google.

  100. DT says:

    @sigh

    WebM's code is open source. Yes.

    This has NOTHING to do with whether VP8 is a proprietary format or not.

    You're trying to conflate two orthogonal things, and yet you have the gall to say that hAl is lying.

  101. Test says:

    Some sad people here that do not recognize the simple facts, which are that:

    Google does really fully own and control the VP8 format.

    VP8 is a proprietary format from Google.

  102. @above says:

    You are playing with words. Yes, Google does own the patents, but they have give all users worldwide the permission to use all the VP8 patents in whatever way they want free of charge, which MPEG-LA won't ever do. Google never asked anyone to pay them royalties.

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  103. DT says:

    @@above

    Not sure who you're responding to, but if you're trying to imply that people are saying that VP8 is a proprietary format because Google own patents which cover it, you are being just as disingenuous as sigh was previously.

    Let's say that MPEG-LA's request for VP8 patents gets responses from 10 companies which all have patents which are verified to indeed cover it. Let's say that they go with MPEG-LA and put together a patent pool which people need to buy into to be allowed to use VP8.

    In this situation the VP8 format is still controlled by and proprietary to Google. Patents are irrelevant to this issue.

  104. Serious says:

    @DT you are very much wrong as is @hAl and @Test

    Please read the below FAQ and if there are words too big for you, please put in the effort to grab a dictionary.

    http://www.webmproject.org/…/faq

    http://www.webmproject.org/…/additional

    Google have donated WebM to the community, they have also granted rights to their patents including any future patents they obtain relating to WebM.

    The format is complete and is unlikely to undergo any change, therefore to claim Google own it and it is proprietary just shows you fail to understand the meaning of the word.

    Anyone can contribute to libvpx and anyone outside of Google can become an approver of such patches once they show they know what they are doing. I love how closely Micro$oft fanboys mimic the stupidity of the Republican party in the US with such an extreme lack of understanding, combined with borderline narcissistic traits.

  105. hAl says:

    No, Google have not donated VP8 tot the community.

    They provide a free specification and and free technology licensing for patents for the format

    They keep ownership of the VP format

    They keep control of the VP format and brand.

    And in addition they control the WebM project as well.

    This is very similar to Microsoft who have released free specifications for the old binary Office formats and a have released a free technology license for patents for the use and implementation fo the format but who still own and controll the formats.

    Real open standards are handed over to independant standards organizations that develop and control the format in an open decisions making proces (like members voting).

  106. SignPost says:

    Do Not Feed the Troll.

    Thanks in Advance.

  107. AC says:

    "IE9 is the only browser today committed to supporting both formats directly."

    Everyone seems so upset about the word "directly," but its meaning is really open to interpretation. Actually, the incorrect word in that sentence is "only." By the logic used in this post, Safari supports WebM just as "directly" as IE. Just as IE will play WebM if you download the Media Foundation codec, Safari will play it if you download a Quicktime codec.

    I just find it so ironic that you and Apple are both actually *doing* the same thing to (not) implement support for webm in your browsers, but while you guys are advertising your support for it, they are actively advertising their UN-support for it (just google "steve jobs webm" to see what I mean). Kinda funny, no?