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

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Honnestly, depending on, if google is going to use vp8 for html5 and embed this in youtube, both Microsoft and Apple are outmatched, they can't do anything against the biggest influence on the internet called youtube. So in the end it's google who decide! Also h264 is only royality-free for internetstreaming things until 2016!
Also Mozilla is not willing to pay anything, so they will never implement it. When google open-sources vp8 and use it for streaming in html5 Mozilla already said that they would use it too for there browser.

Tim Acheson (04 May 10, 19:36)

These are all interesting points! But I don't think Microsoft, Apple and their partners could be out-gunned by Google.

Even Apple alone could not be out-gunned by Google. If the best (or only) way for YouTube to stream to the iPhone, iPad etc is H.264, that's exactly what Google will do! (Apple's mobile platform doesn't support Flash, thus HTML 5 is by far the best way forward for video on that platform.) YouTube already works with MP4 video files -- the "download" button available to the creator of a video on YouTube downloads an MP4 file.

Remember, YouTube is a loss-making enterprise, losing millions of dollars every year; Google needs MS and Apple more than they need Google. And Google is an old, tired, dated internet brand, which is in decline. They led the way with search and have been dining out on that ever since.


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