[whatwg] Possible alternative to specifying a codec for the <video> tag

Robert (Jamie) Munro rjmunro at arjam.net
Sun Dec 23 04:58:27 PST 2007

We need a free video codec, but browser makers will not implement it in
their browsers, due to alleged patent risks (which may or may not be real).

What if we could transfer those patent risks away from the browser, and
on to the content providers? Would that satisfy people?

How could we do that? The codec is usually a relatively small download
download compared to the video itself. If we could suggest a way for
codecs to be provided alongside the videos by the content providers,
this /may/ be a way forward. Hypothetically, you could do video by
adding better binary file handling to Javascript, and painting on the
canvas, but good performance is unlikely.

However, now that Java is free, Java applets could provide a solution.
There is already a free Ogg Vorbis/Theora java applet here:

Java is available for all the major browsers and already installed on
many small devices.

We should structure things so that browsers that did have a native codec
for the format can use it. Perhaps we should mandate the ability to
unpack an ogg contained stream, play the vorbis audio, and pass the
video to java. Maybe we can allow either Theora or Java, but you must
have one.

Robert (Jamie) Munro

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