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

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Sun Dec 23 05:08:21 PST 2007

On 23/12/2007, Robert (Jamie) Munro <rjmunro at arjam.net> wrote:

> 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.

Arbitrary executable downloads didn't work out well with ActiveX, and
"Download codec to view this!" is already a vector for malware.

> However, now that Java is free, Java applets could provide a solution.
> There is already a free Ogg Vorbis/Theora java applet here:
>   http://www.flumotion.net/cortado/
> Java is available for all the major browsers and already installed on
> many small devices.

Wikimedia sites use this now. It's not a great solution (click, wait a
minute with a hung browser application while Java loads), but it's a
kludge we consider slightly better than nothing.

As soon as Firefox 3 is out I strongly suspect we'll be putting Ogg
Theora in a <VIDEO> element, with JavaScript trickery to allow
stick-in-the-mud browsers like Safari to tell the reader how much they
suck. Nokia and Apple can then decide whether they want to support the
content or not.

- s.

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