[whatwg] codecs and containers

James Justin Harrell herorev at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 10 09:14:39 PST 2007

Section, "Video and audio codecs for video elements", currently says this:

"User agents should support Ogg Theora video and Ogg Vorbis audio, as well as the Ogg container
format. [THEORA] [VORBIS] [OGG]"

The language could be improved. "Ogg Theora" refers to Theora-encoded video enclosed in an Ogg
container, not the Theora codec. Similar for Vorbis. "Theora" and "Vorbis" should be used without
"Ogg" to refer to the actual codecs.

I also feel the choice here of the Ogg container format is a bad one, and that Matroska would be a
much better choice.

Matroska is produced by an effort focused solely on producing a container format, while Xiph was
more concerned with the codecs. Ogg's purpose was to contain Theora and Vorbis, quickly, while
Matroska is a powerful general-purpose media container that is built to last. The tools for
Matroska are more polished, easier to use, and offer more features. Most importantly, Matroska is
already a much more popular container format for video than Ogg.

I suggest the text be changed to something like the following:

"User agents should support the Theora video codec and Vorbis audio codec, as well as the Matroska
container format. [THEORA] [VORBIS] [MATROSKA]"

It might be a good idea to define what "support" here means. Are user agents supposed to come with
support out of the box, or could they satisfy this recommendation with a mechanism that
automatically finds, downloads, and installs the appropriate codec when first needed?

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