2 comments on
“The state of video on the web”

  1. Thanks for linking to me, I was really quite surprised!

    As I see it, the codec issue can only stay as it is, or get worse:—

    Apple will never ever give up H.264. Since the introduction of it in Tiger, they have staked their entire media platform on H.264’s quality. iTunes / iPod / iPhone / QuickTime / AppleTV. We will always have to supply at least one OGG and one MPEG‑4 video file, I don’t see that ever going to just one unfortunately.

    What worries me most is what Microsoft are going to do if they ever decide to join the party with IE9. They have a number of options:

    1. Dictate: Only WMV supported; Microsoft have invested a lot in WMV and it would seem unnatural for them to adopt OGG. Going with WMV-only would prevent IE working with all current Video tags on the net as well as massively peeing-off web developers for having to support a third encode.

    2. Tag along: Only MPEG‑4. It’s common enough and it would work with all existing HTML5 video content on the web.

    3 Somebody Else’s Problem: Just embed WMP and allow whatever codecs are installed. This is the most likely situation IMO. It would be the least amount of work for them, it would be compatible with existing content and they wouldn’t be taken to task for choosing one codec over another. They could easily spear-head WMV as well, by encouraging use of WMV content and using it on their own sites, knowing that despite caliming that they ‘support the standard’ HTML5 video tag, in reality much content would be tied to Microsoft’s WMV, requiring users to install the necessary codecs for their systems.

  2. Hi Kroc,

    You shouldn’t be surprised, you wrote a great article!

    Yes, the codec issue is a thorny one. The sticking point seems to be more about patents; despite plenty of assurances, some people still don’t trust that OGG doesn’t contain ‘submarine patents’, and H.264 is still not royalty-free in some territories (I’m abbreviating the argument a lot here).

    In the short term, I agree that I can’t see a situation where we don’t have to encode video at least twice.