[whatwg] on codecs in a 'video' tag.

Maik Merten maikmerten at gmx.net
Tue Apr 3 09:44:54 PDT 2007

Maciej Stachowiak schrieb:
> Patent risk and unsuitability for limited processing power devices.
> (Which I'm tired of repeating.) Opportunity cost of putting engineering
> work into a less useful codec vs more useful ones.

I'd say as H.264 is far more complex technology the risk for submarine
patents there may be way higher than for the less complex and rather
"conventional" coding scheme implemented in Theora. However, as Apple
already is using H.264 in other products you already decided to take the
H.264 submarine risk and I can see you'd prefer not to pile another
(although fairly small IMO) risk on top of that. That, however, isn't a
very compelling argument for parties that don't already use H.264.

Personally I don't see a reason why Apple couldn't simply queue an Ogg
Theora component provided by a 3rd party into the QuickTime component
download system just like they did for VP3 (which is basically the very
same technology just with a buggier implementation) for years. Providing
a third party component should make sure Apple is safe if interlectual
property claims are made (very unlikely IMO, but it can happen for any
coding scheme). If this doesn't put Apple into a safe state I don't see
how Apple was able to provide VP3 technology (the Apple QuickTime
components page stopped mentioning VP3 a few days ago).

As for the "limited processing power devices": H.264 is a resource hog
and it won't play on many mobile devices that don't happen to have a
multimedia DSP (that'd be e.g. PocketPCs, that for sure are an
attractive target for WHATWG-enabled browsers). It has been demonstrated
that Ogg Theora can be played back on that class of devices.

Devices that do play H.264 usually have a H.264-capable DSP - like the
Video iPod. That one comes with a Broadcom DSP which is 100%
reprogrammable and is well suited for Theora decoding (so I am told).
Now, of course that's implementation work, but so is the whole WHATWG
spec and I'm sure Broadcom would prefer doing the implementation work
over losing customers.

Maik Merten

More information about the whatwg mailing list