Microsoft and Apple unite to agree on a common format for video on the web: H.264
Microsoft and Apple have united to agree on a common format for video in the web browser, removing the most challenging obstacle facing HTML 5 adoption. The universal format for video on the web will be H.264.
This standardisation of video format will make it much easier for web developers to embed video on the page, simply by implementing the Media element or the Video element which extends it. The user will then be able to watch video online without needing a browser plug-in like Silverlight or Flash. The developer will no longer have to worry about whether or not the chosen format is supported by the user's web browser, or which video codecs are installed on the user's computer. YouTube's current HTML 5 Beta is a good demonstration of the principle of surfacing video without a plug-in.
Despite all the sensationalist bloggers and commenters who suggest that HTML 5 heralds the death of Flash, the reality is that plug-ins will continue to be the best and the only way to provide a rich user experience that goes far beyond the native browser's woefully basic capabilities.
03 May 2010