[whatwg] The issue of interoperability of the <video> element

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Sun Jun 24 16:04:28 PDT 2007

On Jun 23, 2007, at 10:58 AM, Ivo Emanuel Gonçalves wrote:

> Dear WHATWG members,
> It has come to my attention that Apple developers behind the WebKit
> platform, which powers the web browser Safari, apparently intend to
> support the video element of the HTML 5 spec, section 3.14.7.  It's
> all fine and well, but not a victory for web interoperability, as they
> do not intend to follow the "User agents should support Theora video
> and Vorbis audio, as well as the Ogg container format" part.  In their
> own words: "should support in a spec does not denote a requirement.
> We could have a perfectly suitable implementation of audio and video
> as seen in this draft spec without having theora/vorbis codecs
> available".[1]
> What this means, in my opinion, is that they will push for QuickTime
> video, in spite of the effort of the Opera developers to push Theora
> forward as the de facto standard for web video.  Even if Mozilla and
> the KDE team prepare their web browsers to support Theora, by choosing
> to alienate it, Apple is allowing Microsoft to put WMV support alone
> in their Internet Explorer, for if Apple, one of the big players,
> shuns Theora, so will Microsoft.  Considering the statistics, Internet
> Explorer being currently the web browser with bigger market share, it
> will force pretty much every web designer/programmer to stick to WMV
> only.

Our current plan is to primarily support MPEG-4, including H.264/AVC  
video and AAC audio. We may support other codecs as well - it won't  
necessarily be the full set of codecs supported by QuickTime. This  
has been discussed to death already, but here are our basic reasons:

- MPEG-4 is an ISO open standard (although unfortunately patent- 
- Ogg Theora/Vorbis offers a royalty-free license for the few known  
patents, but we would assume additional risk of submarine patents if  
we supported it.
- H.264 offers considerably better quality at the same bitrate than  
- H.264 is better for video delivery to limited-capability and low- 
power devices that support hardware video decoding. You may have  
heard that YouTube will be serving their video content as H.264 to  
AppleTV and iPhone.

That's our current plan. We may revise it in light of future events,  
but it is unlikely that even a MUST-level requirement in the HTML  
spec would have much effect on whether we support Ogg or not.


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