[whatwg] Video

Lachlan Hunt lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au
Mon Oct 30 21:43:25 PST 2006

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Mon, 30 Oct 2006, Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
>> Would you be open to hearing suggestions about how to add native video 
>> and video player support?
> Sure. FWIW, there's a lot of interest in browser vendors about introducing 
> a <video> element or some such (or maybe making browsers natively support 
> video in <object>, or both).

I don't like the idea of a <video> element just for the purpose of 
embedding video.  What I think needs to happen is for browser vendors 
and plugin vendors to improve the usability and add better support for 
video formats.  Places like YouTube and Google Video work around this by 
building their own interface using Flash, which handles multiple formats 
seamlessly for the user.

With the current plugin architecture, each plugin provides it's own UI. 
  So that, for example, a Quick Time video (.mov) gets the Quick Time UI 
and a WMV gets Windows Media Player.  That's a bad user experience, the 
browser should provide a common UI for all videos, regardless of the format.

Perhaps, to go along with the Audio() interface, we could have a Video() 
interface as well.  Maybe it would be wise to introduce a MultiMedia() 
interface, which is then inherited by both the Audio() and Video() 
interfaces and extended by each with APIs specifically for their 
respective media.  e.g. Video() could have an API for capturing a frame 
and exporting it as a JPG or PNG.

Those interfaces could also possibly be implemented on the <object> and 
<embed> elements.

Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
>> #1: A natively supported video format.  (Like the way GIF's, JPEG's, and
>> PNG's are natively supported.)

Defining which video format for browsers to support is out of scope of 
the WHATWG and HTML5.  However, I do agree that there needs to be a more 
widely supported format so that websites don't have to offer the user a 
choice (commonly WMV, Quick Time and Real).  If offered a choice, it 
should only be to pick one suitable for their bandwidth.

> Given this, I would suggest Ogg Theora be the natively supported video
> format common to all browsers.

It would be very nice to have a widely supported, non-proprietary, 
patent free format on the web, which is also completely free of DRM.  I 
would love to see Ogg Vorbis/Theora become as successful in the audio 
and video market as PNG has for images, but the current problem holding 
it back is the lack of implementation in the major media players and 

In comparison, alpha transparency in PNG hasn't taken off significantly 
despite having major benefits over index transparency, primarily because 
IE hasn't supported it until now.  I suspect that will change once IE7 
becomes more widely deployed.

I aware that there are many implementations of ogg available, but 
Windows Media Player, Quick Time and Real Player don't.  Of course, it 
would also be nice if VLC (when it matures enough) became the most 
popular player, but that's not going to happen any time soon.  So, I 
think it would be a good idea for the video and audio community to 
strongly encourage native implementation of ogg in the major players and 
authoring tools.

Once the major players support it, we'd then need to see digital cameras 
and other authoring equipment adopt ogg as the native format, instead of 
MPEG and Quick Time.  Aside from the companies who have a stake in 
proprietary formats, I'm sure they would like to because they could save 
money on licensing fees.

Lachlan Hunt

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