[html5] OGG--Why vs

Jon Barnett jonbarnett at gmail.com
Thu Dec 13 15:01:07 PST 2007

On Dec 13, 2007 1:17 PM, Nathan Ziarek <nziarek at gmail.com> wrote:
> I would agree with the idea of a pipe dream, unfortunately. Who creates the
> browser media player? Who creates the various codecs for the media player?
> Media has become a pretty political issue -- and I don't see an easy route
> to the centralized video player.
> I like the idea of a video and audio standard on the web, but with no clear
> winner in the marketplace, I sure wouldn't want to be the person making that
> decision.

At the risk of drifting off-topic.

Flash.  It's the elephant in the room.  There is a reason that YouTube
and all its clones and almost all social networking sites that host
videos use Flash wrappers, not to mention that most amateur web sites
that want to put a video on a page just upload the video to a
YouTube-like site and copy/paste the HTML code.  It's the clear winner
in the marketplace, but you said otherwise because no one wants to
mention the elephant in the room.

Flash is already cross-platform and supported in nearly every browser.
 Even mobile platforms are beginning to use it.  It came preinstalled
on the Wii browser, but not on the DS browser.  Even iPhone may soon
support it.  (I don't know how iPhone is supporting YouTube without
Flash - I assume it's playing the FLV files directly since YouTube is
using MPEG-4 for video.)

One major problem with Flash (ignoring that it's proprietary, blah
blah blah), is that even today, you can't just point the Flash Player
to an FLV file.  You have to create an SWF file that embed the FLV
file and the video controls.  Of course, many sites use this to their
advantage - after the video is finished playing they can show
thumbnails and link to other videos from within the SWF file.

If you want to break Flash's dominance on the web (for videos), you'll
have to outdo its features.  Since YouTube can embed those thumbnails
and links at the end of a movie, your new open-source-standard-happy
player will need to be that flexible as well.

We could hope/ask for Adobe to open up SWF as a standard.  There are
third-party, open-source libs for making SWF files - I assume they
don't break any patents.  I just don't know how far you'll get that
route, though.

We could make FLV+MPEG-4+AAC the recommended format, but since Flash
won't play that file directly (at least today), we still have one
<object> tag for flash and another <video> tag for the browser.

It would be easy with Javascript to support the <video> tag by
converting it to a <object> that loads an SWF with a set of
parameters.  With a little more work, you might be able to support the
DOM API for the video element on top of that.  Also, the browser could
do this purely transparently.

But if you want a single standard media player supported by all
browsers ... that's not Flash, market forces are going to make that a
pipe dream.

I don't guess I have a single point here, but I we can't discuss the
pipe dream of standard video players, video formats, and video codecs
without discussing the elephant in the room.

I do think we should recommend a codec that Flash supports since that
will be the easiest to implement and won't fight against the existing

Jon Barnett

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